Graduate Certificate in English as a Second Language (ESOL)

The Graduate Certificate in English as a Second Language (ESOL) program provides teachers with the theory, practical knowledge, and skills necessary to teach non-native speakers of English. The program focuses on language and cultural issues, methodologies, and curriculum design.

Admission Requirements

Students must meet the guidelines for certificates as indicated in the Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures Manual. The program prefers candidates have an undergraduate major, minor, or graduate degree in English, modern languages, bilingual education, or an equivalent program.

  • Candidates from other disciplines must take an introductory course in linguistics, EDR 634: Linguistics for Teachers.
  • Students are also encouraged to take EDR 602: Teaching English Language Learners Across Content. This course is for teachers in working in content area classes, and addresses methods and strategies for teaching ESL students.

All candidates must submit a completed ESOL application, along with previous transcripts from degree-granting undergraduate and graduate institutions. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA; if lower, you may be admitted into the program with conditions.

Application Deadlines

The program accepts applications year-round. Any application submitted and completed by April 15 will be considered for Spring/Summer semester, by August 10 for Fall semester, and by November 15 for Winter semester.

Program Contact:

Rui Niu-Cooper, Ph.D.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (616) 331-6669


Courses Offered

For candidates with an elementary or secondary teaching certificate, the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Graduate Certificate requires a minimum of 24 semester hours and passing scores of the appropriate Michigan Test for Teacher Certification exam. Once candidates have officially added the English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement to their current Michigan teaching certificate, they are able to support English Language Learners within a K-12 setting.

All applicants to the program must demonstrate an ability to serve as effective models of spoken and written English. This is needed in successfully completing all the required course work with an experience of learning a second language.

See PDF link below for the Planned Program. Information on the courses for each subject area can be found by searching GVSU's Catalog.

PDF Instructions:

To view the PDF Planned Program sheet, you will need to use Adobe Reader (using Adobe Reader prevents tab order errors and other inconveniences present in browser-based PDF readers).


Additional Information:

Related Program

Education (M.Ed.) - Literacy Studies - Online and Hybrid/Blended Options


Page last modified June 26, 2023