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English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Graduate Certificate

The United States is growing more diverse, as is the international global marketplace. A graduate certificate in English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) benefits those interested in teaching English language and content to non-native speakers of English.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

The program provides in service teachers and prospective teachers with theories, strategies, techniques, skills, learning, and teaching approaches that are needed to be effective in teaching and supporting English learners. The program is embedded with elements of social and emotional learning, covers a series of courses to foster participants' discussion on language and cultural issues, technology, and e-learning integration.

In addition to the ESOL certificate from GVSU, courses also prepare licensed educators for the K-12 ESL endorsement delivered by the Michigan Department of Education.

Why Study ESOL at Grand Valley?

  • GVSU offers a high quality ESOL program with experienced ESOL instructors.
  • The program has been tailored and customized to meet the unique needs of schools and school districts as well as English learners and families.
  • The courses are designed to assist participants to meet their own classroom/interest needs.
  • The program integrates technology, social, and emotional learning strategies into the key courses with field hours to foster such learning.
  • Ideal for the busy professional, this certificate can be completed in accelerated online or hybrid format.

Location & Format

Classes are a combination of online and in-seat on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Online option for those living outside the region.



The certificate requires 24 credit hours and covers topics such as language development, linguistic features, assessment, Michigan EL guidelines, aspects of social and emotional learning, instruction, race, class, and research methodology. The program is offered in a hybrid or online format. Please visit for course details and descriptions.

Career Options

With the certificate or endorsement delivered by the Michigan Department of Education you can teach:

  • K-12 students (ESL and native speakers of English)
  • Overseas
  • Community based literacy programs
  • English programs for colleges or universities
  • Any setting where English is learned as an additional language

Application Deadline

The program accepts applications year-round. All accepted applicants will be placed in the desired starting semester or the next available one.

Admission Requirements

For general requirements for graduate admission, visit Grand Valley State University’s admission section of the online catalog.

Admission into the ESOL program has additional requirements, which are available on this page.

If you have additional questions, please contact our graduate admissions office.

For More Information

Graduate Education Programs

Rui Niu-Cooper, Ph.D., ESL/ESOL Program Director
[email protected]
(616) 331-6669

Nagnon Diarrassouba, Ed.D.
[email protected]
(616) 331-6285

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office

Program Director

Rui Niu-Cooper, Ph.D., ESL/ESOL Program Director
(616) 331-6669