Effective Fall 2023, admission to the TESOL certificate is suspended. 

UWM's TESOL certificate prepares students for a career teaching English to non-English speaking adults. TESOL is an internationally-recognized acronym that denotes the holder of the certificate has received specialized training in the methodologies of teaching English, second language acquisition, bilingualism, and multicultural awareness.

The use of English as a common language of communication has risen dramatically in the last few decades, and the demand for TESOL trained instructors is high in certain parts of the world. Asia, Central America, and South America are three particular hot spots where people have a strong desire learn English or improve their English language skills.

Students who love to travel often make a career out of traveling the globe, picking up jobs in various nations. Others stay closer to home and find similar positions in the U.S. teaching English to immigrants, visitors, foreign students, or others who have not learned English as their first language. TESOL is a dynamic profession that combines innovation and creativity with interactions in culturally-diverse communities.


The Adult/University-Level TESOL Undergraduate Certificate Program is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults or university-level students abroad. The program is open to undergraduates with at least junior standing, to post-baccalaureate special students, and to those who do not plan to pursue a college or university degree (non-degree students) but who have a strong interest in this subject. Non-degree students must meet regular University admission requirements. Graduate students or post-baccalaureate non-degree students should pursue instead the "Adult/University-Level TESOL Graduate Certificate." Training in the graduate certificate program is more rigorous, and some credits earned can be transferred to the Linguistics Department MA program.

Undergraduate students concurrently completing a bachelor’s degree receive the certificate upon completion of their degree requirements; post-baccalaureate special students and non-degree students receive the certificate upon completion of the required coursework and internship.

Effective Fall 2023, admission to the TESOL certificate is suspended. 



Students who wish to apply to the program should submit the declaration of interest form.

Requirements for admission include: 

  1. A current transcript, with evidence of a GPA of 2.50 or better;
  2. A meeting with the Director of TESOL, to assess the student's interest and plan for completing the certificate.

Applicants who are not native speakers of English also should submit scores of least 550 on the TOEFL exam and 45 on the TSE.

The teaching practicum is completed at one of the institutions affiliated with the certificate program. The site of the internship may be chosen by the student, but it must be approved by the certificate program staff. The student is expected to complete between 60 and 80 hours of supervised teaching over a period of a semester. Students who previously have taken any of the required courses while enrolled as non-degree undergraduate students or students in other undergraduate programs at UWM may transfer the credits earned into the certificate program, so long as the courses have been taken within the last five years. Students who have taken comparable undergraduate-level courses at other institutions may be allowed to transfer in up to 6 credits of coursework, upon approval of the certificate program coordinator.

There is a time limit of three years from initial enrollment for completion of the certificate.

Students are required to complete the six courses (18 credits) plus teaching internship (3 credits) outlined below. All credits must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

LINGUIS 350Introduction to Linguistics3
LINGUIS 510Methodologies in English Language Teaching3
LINGUIS 420Introduction to Second Language Acquisition3
LINGUIS 441Introduction to TESOL Methods3
ANTHRO/LINGUIS 570Issues in Bilingualism3
or LINGUIS 430 Language and Society
Select one of the following:3
Applied Educational Linguistics
Language, Power, and Identity
First Language Acquisition
Introduction to Phonology
Introduction to Syntax
Language in its Various Forms:
Historical/Comparative Linguistics
Advanced Phonology
Advanced Syntax
Materials and Curriculum for TESOL
ENGLISH/LINGUIS 569Practicum in Teaching ESL to Adult Learners3
Total Credits21