English as a Second Language, Undergraduate Certificate

Department of Educational Specialties

College of Education

The undergraduate Certificate in English as a Second Language is offered by the Department of Educational Specialties.

  • To receive an undergraduate certificate (at least 15 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.

    Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program). See the "Details" tab for additional information.

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 21
Foreign Language Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Fieldwork Experience/Internship is required.

Student Learning Outcomes
1. Language
Candidates know, understand, and use the major theories and research related to the structure and acquisition of language to help English language learners’ (ELLs’) develop language and literacy and achieve in the content areas.
Issues of language structure and language acquisition development are interrelated.

1.a. Language as a System-Candidates demonstrate understanding of language as a system, including phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics and semantics, and support ELLs as they acquire English language and literacy in order to achieve in the content areas.
1.b. Language Acquisition and Development-Candidates understand and apply theories and research in language acquisition and development to support their ELLs’ English language and literacy learning and content area achievement.

2. Culture
Candidates know, understand, and use major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the nature and role of culture and cultural groups to construct supportive learning environments for ELLs. They demonstrate understanding of how cultural groups and individual cultural identities affect language learning and school achievement.

3. Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction
Candidates know, understand, and use evidence-based practices and strategies related to planning, implementing, and managing standards-based ESL and content instruction. Candidates are knowledgeable about program models and skilled in teaching strategies for developing and integrating language skills. They integrate technology as well as choose and adapt classroom resources appropriate for their ELLs.

3.a. Planning for Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction-Candidates know, understand, and apply concepts, research, and best practices to plan classroom instruction in a supportive learning environment for ELLs.  They plan for multilevel classrooms with learners from diverse backgrounds using standards-based ESL and content curriculum.
3.b. Implementing and Managing Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction-Candidates know,  manage, and implement a variety of standards-based teaching strategies and techniques for developing and integrating English listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Candidates support ELLs’ access to the core curriculum by teaching language through academic content.
3.c. Using Resources and Technology Effectively in ESL and Content Instruction-Candidates are familiar with a wide range of standards-based materials, resources, and technologies, and choose, adapt, and use them in effective ESL and content teaching

4. Assessment
Candidates demonstrate understanding of issues and concepts of assessment and use standards-based procedures with ELLs.

4.a. Issues of Assessment for English Language Learners-Candidates demonstrate understanding of various assessment issues as they affect ELLs, such as accountability, bias, special education testing, language proficiency, and accommodations in formal testing situations.
4.b. Language Proficiency Assessment-Candidates know and can use a variety of standards-based language proficiency instruments to show language growth and to inform their instruction. They demonstrate understanding of their uses for identification, placement, and reclassification of ELLs.
4.c. Classroom-Based Assessment for ESL-Candidates know and can use a variety of performance-based assessment tools and techniques to inform instruction for in the classroom.

5. Professionalism
Candidates keep current with new instructional techniques, research results, advances in the ESL field, and education policy issues and demonstrate knowledge of the history of ESL teaching. They use such information to reflect on and improve their instruction and assessment practices. Candidates work collaboratively with school staff and the community to improve the learning environment, provide support, and advocate for ELLs and their families.

5.a. ESL Research and History-Candidates demonstrate knowledge of history, research, educational public policy, and current practice in the field of ESL teaching and apply this knowledge to inform teaching and learning.
5.b. Professional Development, Partnerships, and Advocacy-Candidates take advantage of professional growth opportunities and demonstrate the ability to build partnerships with colleagues and students’ families, serve as community resources, and advocate for ELLs.

Certificate Requirements
  • Take the following 21 units:


    LinguisticsESL MethodsTeaching Reading and Writing to LEP StudentsAssessment of LEP StudentsSchool, Community, Culture, and Parental InvolvementPracticumThe practicum experience may be waived by documenting two years of certified teaching experience in a bilingual setting.
  • Your second-language learning experience must be documented by one of the following means:

    • 6 units of coursework in a single language, or equivalent, verified by the department of language, education, or English at an accredited institution
    • Completion of intensive language training by the Peace Corps, the Foreign Service, or the Defense Language Institute
    • A passing score on the Arizona Classroom Spanish Proficiency Exam approved by the State Board of Education
    • A passing score on the Navajo Language Test
    • Placement by the language department of an accredited institution in a third-semester level
    • Placement at level one - intermediate/low (or more advanced score) on the Oral Proficiency interview, verified by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
    • Verification of proficiency in an American Indian language, signed by an official designated by the appropriate tribe
    A minimum of 13 units of coursework must be taken at Northern Arizona University.
    This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate.  Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.


  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.