The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program is available as a major or a minor.  An ESL major is for students who plan to teach English to non-native speakers from birth to age 21, in PK through 12th grade. Students must select the Early Childhood through Adolescence ESL major for grades PK through 12th grade. The ESL minor will result in an additional certification at the same level as your initial license.

Students at this level of certification may also add the following licenses while pursuing or after obtaining their ESL licensure as their initial certification:

• World Languages


General Education Requirements (GERs)

UW-Milwaukee has General Education Requirements that must be met in order to earn a bachelor’s degree. Some of the requirements of your program may fulfill the campus GERs. Please review the requirements and consult with your academic advisor.  

Program Admission Requirements

Program Core

COMMUN 103Public Speaking (GER-HU, fulfilled prior to program admission)3
CURRINS 300Introduction to Teaching: Colloquium and Fieldwork (fulfilled prior to program admission)3
Minority Group Relations (Act 31)3
A component of the Human Relations Requirement for Teacher Certification is met by completing one of the following courses.
American Indian Peoples of Wisconsin (GER-CD, GER-SS)
Introduction to American Indian Literature: (GER-CD, GER-HU)
Western Great Lakes American Indian Community Life of the Past (GER-CD, GER-SS)
North American Indian History Since 1887 (GER-CD, GER-SS)
Total Credits9

Content Area

ENGLISH 400Introduction to English Linguistics3
or LINGUIS 350 Introduction to Linguistics
Select one of the following:2-3
Grammar and Usage
Survey of Modern English Grammar
Seminar in Rhetoric and Professional Writing:
Teaching and Assessing Grammar to Enrich Writing
Literacy, Grammar, and Methodologies in ESL Education
LINGUIS 420Introduction to Second Language Acquisition3
or CURRINS 501 Language Acquisition for Children of Diverse Backgrounds
ENGLISH 404Language, Power, and Identity3
or LINGUIS 430 Language and Society
CURRINS 542History and Politics of Second Language Education3
CURRINS 543Developing Biliteracy3
CURRINS 546Language, Content, and Comprehensible Input3
CURRINS 655Applied Educational Linguistics3
Following two courses MUST be taken concurrently:6
Student Teaching in ESL- Early Childhood-Adolescence: (first placement) 1
Principles and Methods of Teaching ESL
Total Credits29-30

Professional Education Requirements2

Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Learning and Development 3
Cognition: Learning, Problem Solving and Thinking
Human Development: Theory and Research
Select one of the following:3
The Exceptional Individual
Inclusion for Secondary Educators: Humanities, the Arts, Foreign Language 3
Survey of Exceptional Education
Reading in the Content Areas: Middle, Junior, and Senior High School
CURRINS 444Student Teaching in ESL- Early Childhood-Adolescence: (second placement) 17-9
CURRINS 445Seminar in Language Education3
Total Credits16-18

Students must complete paperwork in order to be assigned a student teaching placement. To be approved for placement, additional criteria must be met. See Benchmarks for details.


A grade of C or better is required for all professional education requirements, including student teaching. Prerequisites may be required.


Preferred course.

Additional Requirements for Graduation

  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75, including any transfer coursework that is counted towards certification at UWM, as well as grades earned in student teaching or field experiences;
  • Satisfactory completion of a minimum 120 credits;
  • Completion of the last year of coursework (30 credits) in residence at UW-Milwaukee;
  • Program Portfolio - based on Wisconsin Teacher Standards #9 and #10; and
  • Completion of edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment): English as an Additional Language (required for certification).

Advance to Major

Program Admission Requirements

Application to the English as a Second Language program requires satisfactory completion of the requirements listed below. For more information about the application process, visit our website at:

  • English Composition: Achieve a placement level of 4 or higher on the English Placement Test, or complete ENGLISH 102 or an equivalent with a grade of C or better.
  • Mathematics Skills: Achieve a placement level of 30 or higher on the Math Placement Test, or complete MATH 102MATH 103MATH 105, MATH 108MATH 175, or an equivalent, with a grade of C or better. NoteMATH 103 or MATH 105 are recommended as they also meet core curriculum requirements.
  • Completion of CURRINS 300Introduction to Teaching, with a grade of C or better.
  • Completion of COMMUN 103  with a grade of C or better.
  • 2.75 minimum GPA in all English as a Second Language content courses completed prior to program admission.
  • A 2.5 minimum GPA in all UWM and transfer courses at time of admission application.
  • minimum of 48 credits (UWM and transfer credits) at the time of admission application. It is not required to have all content area courses completed at the time of application.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires that all applicants to a professional education preparation program pass a Criminal Background Check (CBC) prior to admission. 


Student Teaching

Students must complete an application to request/be assigned a student teaching placement. Deadlines for submission are posted by the Office of Clinical Experiences.

To be approved, students must ALSO meet the following criteria:

  • Be admitted to the School of Education.
  • Complete all required coursework. An exception to allow a student to take a course concurrently with student teaching requires approval by the student's faculty advisor.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on all undergraduate coursework, including transfer courses.
  • Have a content GPA of 3.0 or better, OR Pass the Praxis Subject Assessment exam: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages: Content Knowledge #5362.
  • Removal of all F and/or I (incomplete) grades in courses that count toward graduation or certification.
  • TB test results submitted to the Office of Clinical Experiences (may take up to 6 weeks).
  • Criminal Background Check submitted to the Office of Clinical Experiences.

Undergraduate Advising

Our purpose is to provide collaborative, mentoring relationships which promote educational, career, and professional development. We value a student-centered, holistic, and ethical approach to advising based on strong partnerships with students, faculty and staff, and the larger campus community. We are committed to creating a respectful and supportive environment. We encourage students to be self-reliant through informed decisions and choices based upon dissemination of accurate information. We value our own continuous professional development to enhance the quality of the advising experience.

How to Prepare for an Advising Meeting

  • Review your Advisement Report in PAWS.
  • Come prepared with questions or topics for discussion.
  • Make a list of courses you think you should take.
  • Investigate opportunities to prepare for the job you want.
  • Keep a record of your academic progress.
  • Understand you are ultimately responsible for creating your educational, life, and career plans.
  • Maintain honest and open communication with your advisor.
  • Take responsibility for choices you make as a student and member of the UW-Milwaukee community.

Scheduling an Appointment

Office of Student Services
Enderis Hall, Room 209
(414) 229-4721

Graduate Advising

If you are a School of Education graduate student, you may schedule an appointment with your faculty advisor by contacting your faculty advisor directly. Faculty contact information can be found in the People Directory. Your faculty advisor will be listed in your PAWS account. 

Honors in the Department of Teaching and Learning

Departmental Honors are granted to students who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester.

Honors in the School of Education

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.