English as a Second Language, Graduate Certificate

Department of Educational Specialties

College of Education

The reality of today’s classroom is a diverse one. Specialization in bilingual and multicultural education is very applicable to meeting the needs of students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. This program meets a growing need for highly qualified English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in Arizona, and was designed to meet the requirements of the Arizona Department of Education for an ESL endorsement which went into effect in 1984.

    • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many graduate certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.
    • No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 - 4 units) may be used on a graduate certificate program.
    • No more than twenty-five percent of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.
    • A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a Grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.
    • A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.
    • Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • 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.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • 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 18
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Fieldwork Experience/Internship may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.

Purpose Statement

The ESL graduate certificate prepares candidates for a career as an English as a second language (ESL) classroom teacher, ESL resource teacher, or a teacher responsible for providing ESL instruction and support in the regular classroom or special settings. Candidates gain the knowledge, skills and dispositions for developing ESL skills across reading, writing, and listening, and for involving community and families as partners. They will also leave the program with a historical perspective of English learners in the U.S. Candidates will develop specific skills for assessing English learner proficiency and content area knowledge, and knowledge of various program models. They will become familiar with current research in ESL instruction, and understand how theory can be structured in classroom practice to develop the oral language and literacy skills of all students.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Candidates will:

1. Know, understand and use the major theories and research related to the structure and acquisition of language

2. Apply major theories and research to help English language learners develop language and literacy and achieve in the content area.

3. 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.

4. Know, understand and apply concepts, research and best practices to plan classroom instruction for ELLs.

5. Demonstrate understanding of issues and concepts of assessment.

6. Use a variety of standards-based language proficiency instruments to show language growth and to inform their instruction. 

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card
    • Teaching certificate (if the applicant has one)
Certificate Requirements
  • Take the following 18 units:

    • Foundations: BME 530 (3 units)
    • Linguistics: BME 538 (3 units)
    • ESL Methods: BME 631 (3 units)
    • Teaching Reading and Writing to LEP Students: BME 520 (3 units)
    • Assessment of LEP Students: BME 634 (3 units)
    • School, Community, Culture, and Parental Involvement: BME 637 (3 units)
    Please note that only one 400-level course may be substituted for credit.

    Teachers who choose this plan to fulfill state of Arizona ESL endorsement requirements will also need to demonstrate a second-language learning experience and show that they have already taught ESL students for two years in their classes, or they will need to take a teaching practicum course.


  • Federal financial aid cannot be used for this 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.