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 (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Graduate Certificate Program is designed to meet the needs of graduate non-degree students or graduate students concurrently enrolled in a UWM master’s or PhD program. Requirements for this program are very similar to those for the undergraduate-level “Adult/University-Level TESOL Certificate Program” but is more rigorous and can be applied (concurrently or subsequently) to the Master of Arts program in Linguistics.

Admission Requirements 

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

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


  • Students wishing to obtain this certificate must declare their intention by applying to the program office or director.
  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School through the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted into a certificate program.
  • Submit the following materials to the TESOL Certificate Program Coordinator in the Department of Linguistics:
    • Adult/University-Level TESOL Graduate Certificate Program application form (available from the Linguistics Department office).
    • Transcripts of all college-level academic work, with evidence of a GPA of 2.75 or better.
    • A statement of purpose.
    • Two letters of recommendation from persons knowledgeable about the applicant’s recent academic and/or work experience.
    • Applicants who are not native speakers of English should also submit TOEFL scores of at least 550 (paper-based test) or 79 (internet-based test), or at least 6.5 on the IELTS exam, and 45 on the TSE, or an equivalent means of demonstrating proficiency.

Eligibility and Admission

Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted in to a certificate program.

Credits and Courses

Students are required to complete the six courses (18 credits) plus teaching internship (3 credits) outlined below.

LINGUIS/MALLT 708Proseminar in Linguistics3
LINGUIS 810Methodologies in English Language Teaching3
LINGUIS 720Introduction to Second Language Acquisition3
LINGUIS 741Introduction to TESOL Methods3
LINGUIS 430GLanguage and Society3
or ANTHRO 570G Issues in Bilingualism
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 and Comparative Linguistics
Advanced Phonology
Advanced Syntax
Oral Language, Cognition, and Literacy
Seminar in Linguistics: (Subtitle)
Teaching internship
LINGUIS 869Practicum in Teaching ESL to Adult Learners3
Total Credits21

Additional Requirements

Transfer Credit

No more than 6 credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program. Students who have completed any of the required courses for undergraduate credit must substitute other courses at the graduate level, selected in consultation with the certificate program coordinator to fulfill the credit requirements.

Grade Point Average Requirement

A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in PhD programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

  • 18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.
  • 19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.