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English as a Second Language (ESL)

Master of Education – English as a Second Language Master of Education with certification – Credits: 33 (program code:  0904) 

Master of Education – English as a Second Language without certification – Credits:  33  minimum  (program code:  0914)

English as a Second Language certification only – Credits: 33 minimum  (program code: 0924)

Program Description

This online program is for certified teachers interested in gaining a master's degree and/or additional certification in English as a second language (ESL). The curriculum is aligned with the Pennsylvania Department of Education ESL Program Specialist Standards and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Standards. Graduate students in the English as a second language program will apply knowledge in the following domains: language, culture, instruction, assessment and professionalism. In each of these domains, educators will be challenged to develop professionalism in language education, promote individual language rights, provide accessible and high-quality education, develop collaboration in a global community, engage in research and reflective practice for educational improvement, and cultivate a respect for diversity and multiculturalism.

Program Objectives

  • Knowledge of Subject Matter – The candidate understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.
  • Knowledge of Human Development and Learning – The candidate understands how children learn and develop and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development.
  • Adapting Instruction for Individual Needs – The candidate understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
  • Multiple Instructional Strategies – The candidate understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem-solving and performance skills.
  • Classroom Motivation and Management Skills – The candidate uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation.
  • Communication Skills – The candidate uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration and supportive interaction in the classroom.
  • Instructional Planning Skills – The candidate plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community and curriculum goals.
  • Assessment of Student Learning – The candidate understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the learner.
  • Professional Commitment and Responsibility – The candidate is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (students, parents and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
  • Partnerships – The candidate fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents and agencies in the larger community to support students' learning and well-being.
  • Diversity – The candidate understands the influence of culture on personal growth and recognizes and respects cultural differences, and believes that all human beings possess capacity for thought, feeling and learning.
  • Field Experience– The candidate understands the importance of completing and documenting early field experience and recognizes the importance of a steady progression from being an “observer” to becoming an “active participant.”

Delivery Mode

Global Online (100 percent online delivery)


National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Admissions Criteria

Minimum 2.80 GPA or 3.00 GPA in last 48 credits in baccalaureate  verified with official transcripts from an accredited institution

A copy of all current professional certificates held

A current resume or curriculum vitae

Graduate Application for Admission plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

PA Act 24, 34, 114, and 151 clearances (or appropriate clearances for non-PA residents) are required for field-based course registration but not admission. Applicants may be admitted to the program but will not be able to register for field-based courses until all of the up-to-date clearances are submitted.

Additional information:

The program is open to students with a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree and teaching certification.

Previous teaching experience is not required, but teaching certification is required for admission.


PA Act 24, 34, 114, and 151 clearances (or appropriate clearances for non-PA residents) are required for field-based course registration but not admission. Applicants may be admitted to the program but will not be able to register for field-based courses until all of the up-to-date clearances are submitted.


Semester 1
EDE 704 Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language3 crs.
EDE 701 Development and Organization of School Curriculum3 crs.

Semester 2
EDE 709 Developing Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity3 crs.
RES 800 Methods of Research3 crs.
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaborations3 crs.

Semester 3
EDE 713 Language Acquisition and Development 3 crs.
EDE 714 Language Proficiency Assessment 3 crs.
PSY 712 Advanced Psychology of Learning 3 crs.

Semester 4
EDE 712 Content Instruction and Assessment Pre-K-123 crs.
*EDE 768 Teacher Education Internship 3 crs.

Semester 5
EDE 719 Supporting Second Language Learners, Families and Community 3 crs.

*Internships are arranged a semester in advance. The internship experience will be framed in a similar context as student teaching in which the candidate will be required to plan instruction and teach English language learners for the duration of his or her 120-hour internship. All internships must be pre-approved and all internship students must have appropriate clearances (Act 34, 114 and 151 if Pennnsylvania internship.) If you are completing an out-of-state internship, clearances necessary for that state also apply. Schools or sites may require additional documentation. Any additional documents/requirements must be met in order for the internship to begin.

Electives (for students not required to complete an internship, select one course, 3 credits)
MSE 750 Online Technologies in Education 3 crs.
MSE 775 Teacher Leadership 3 crs.
MSE 755 Constructivist Instructional Strategies 3 crs.
MSE 760 Reflective Practitioner 3 crs.

Note: Those seeking Pennsylvania ESL program specialist certification must also complete the following courses in order to meet Pennsylvania Chapter 49 regulations effective for any candidate applying for a Pennsylvania instructional and/or educational specialist certificate on or after 2011: (a) at least 9 credits of special education/ accommodations and adaptations for students with disabilities in an inclusive setting and (b) at least 3 credits addressing instructional needs of English language learners.

ESP 612 Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion (prerequisites: ESP 610 and ESP 701) 3 crs.
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavioral Analysis 3 crs.
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaboration (already included in the course sequence listed above) 3 crs.

The online program coordinator reviews student resumes upon admission to the program to determine which students will need to complete EDE 768 Teacher Education Internship and which will need to complete a research study EDE 766 Action Research/RES 849 Thesis as part of the program. You are responsible for providing the coordinator with an accurate resume that reflects your teaching experiences. Those who do not have experience teaching English language learners will be required to complete the internship during semester 3, 4 or 5. Those who do not need to complete the internship are required to complete the research study.


Students in the English as a second language education program receive academic and professional advisement from the program coordinator and program faculty. Each student is assigned to an academic adviser from the time he/she is accepted into the program of study. Advisers work with students to discuss, monitor and provide advisement as it relates to their program of study.

Application Questions

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Eberly 202B
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419

Program Coordinator

Clover Wright, Ed.D., M.A. (West Virginia University), B.A. (Antioch College)
Web Page:
Phone: 724-938-4222

Graduate Faculty

Christine Peterson, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.S. (Johns Hopkins University), B.S. (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania), Associate Professor