English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) With Certificate

About English as a Second Language with Certificate

Make an impact on multiple generations by teaching English as a second language.

Whether you want to teach English to non-native speakers in your home country or while traveling the world, you can earn a top-quality master's degree in ESL from PennWest California. Designed for certified teachers, this graduate program is aligned with Pennsylvania Department of Education ESL Program Specialist standards and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) standards.

At PennWest California, you'll expand you professional teaching skills by gaining the knowledge, tools and disposition you need to work with the growing ESL population. Our M.Ed. program will prepare you to teach ESL to both children and adults, and it will help you develop professional relationships in one of the most in-demand teaching fields.

Why should you earn your ESL master's degree at PennWest California?

  • Earn your M.Ed. and ESL certificate simultaneously in just five semesters, including summers.
  • Take 100% of your courses online, and on your schedule.
  • Collaborate online with fellow students who are completing the same classes as you.
  • Receive personal advising via telephone or email.


Top Accreditation: PennWest California's education programs have been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This program also meets the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Experienced Professors: ESL education professors at PennWest California have top certifications, are actively engaged with international ESL professional development associations, and have years of real-world experience teaching ESL in the United States and around the world.

Learn more about applying.

U.S. News& World Report has named PennWest California's graduate education programs among the "Best Online Programs" three years in a row, and counting …
This graduate program is aligned with Pennsylvania Department of Education ESL Program Specialist standards and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) standards.
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Degree Benefits

As an ESL master's degree student at PennWest California you will:

  • Engage in research and reflective practice for ESL educational improvements.
  • Cultivate a respect for diversity and multiculturalism.
  • Develop collaborations in a global community.
  • Receive job-placement support from PennWest California's Career and Professional Development Center.
  • Earn a degree from a university with a 160-year reputation of producing top teachers in Pennsylvania and beyond.
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Degree Benefits

Teaching English as a second language is as rewarding as it is demanding. ESL teaching opportunities exist throughout the world, across grade levels, and in both the public and private sectors. In Pennsylvania, there is a shortage of ESL teachers, meaning there are many job opportunities. Competitive teaching qualifications such as an M.Ed. and ESL teaching certification, further increase your career opportunities. PennWest California alumni have gone on to jobs as:

  • ESL teachers at public and private elementary and secondary schools and tutoring centers.
  • School counselors.
  • Reading specialists.
  • Speech pathologists.

English as a Second Language Master's Degree Courses

This master's degree and teaching certificate program is delivered 100% online and takes into consideration the prior knowledge and background of individual learners. Program courses will prepare you to become an effective and versatile ESL teacher. All coursework can be used to complete continuing education requirements under Pennsylvania's Act 48 professional development program.


Course Credits
Required Courses 24
EDE 701  Standards Aligned Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction  3
EDU 704  Foundations of ESL Education 3
EDU 709  Sociolinguistics 3
EDU 712  Content-Based ESL Instruction 3
EDU 713  Language Acquisition and Development 3
EDU 714  Language Assessment 3
EDU 719  Supporting Second Language Learners, Families and Community 3
RES 800  Methods of Research OR ADP 673 Supervised Field Project/Research and Evaluation 3
Elective Courses
(Select two from the following)
EDU 702  Instructional Design and Strategies for Gifted Education 3
EDE 750  Foundations of Integrative Stem** 3
ESP 610  Special Education Foundations 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy 3
MSE 656  Methods of Foreign Language Teaching* 3
MSE 740  Advanced Instructional Technology 3
MSE 750  Online Technologies in Education 3
MSE 755  Constructivist Instructional Strategies 3
MSE 771  Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms 3
PSY 702  Psychology of Childhood 3
PSY 713  Psychology of Growth and Development 3
Total 30

* Summer-only course

** Speak with the program coordinator

Program Notes

  • ESL courses require field experiences.
  • This is not an initial teaching licensure program. Pennsylvania requires initial licensure before the ESL program specialist certificate can be added on.

View Course Sequence

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or a 3.00 in last 48 credits earned (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • Master's with certification  AND Certification Only: Copy of teaching certification
    • Applicants in other states will have six months after admission to secure and submit evidence of PA Department of Education certification
  • Master's Only:  Resume will be evaluated on the basis of prior studies and/or significant professional experience

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Email: calugo@pennwest.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Fall, Spring, and Summer start dates for English as a Second Language Master's plus certification and English as a Second Language Master's
Summer start only for English as a Second Language Certification only.

Related Programs
Online student using laptop outside.

Professional Associations

As a graduate student studying ESL education at PennWest California, you'll have the opportunity to engage with local and international professional ESL development communities such as western Pennsylvania's Three Rivers TESOL and the TESOL international association.

A professor in a classroom.

Hands-On Experience

Field-based components are an integral part of each ESL master's degree course and will provide you with opportunities to apply your skills with English language learners in K-12 classroom settings near you. PennWest California's program uses a variety of video, text and other assignments to help you achieve a full range of applicable ESL teaching experiences.

PennWest California campus

A Top Reputation in Online Education

PennWest California's online master's degrees in education were ranked #26 in the nation in 2017 by GraduatePrograms.com. Our quality online courses at PennWest California have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.

Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.

As of Summer 2018 and forward, per PDE, if you are PA certified then you will no longer be required to complete the Chapter 49 Special Education Requirements for the ESL programs. These included:   ESP 610, ESP 612 and/or ESP 701.  For questions, please contact Dr. Morris-Rutledge for advisement.  This does not apply to those enrolled under the Intermediate Unit 1 Partnership.