Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) | Online

Program Type
Certificate of Advanced Study (Online)
Certificate of Advanced Study
Modes of Study

Credit hours

30 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Program duration

Finish in as few as 18 months. Explore program requirements


Apply for fall, spring, or summer term. View application process

Program Highlights

  • Gain expertise in linguistic and cultural diversity in preparation for success in the classroom.
  • Save money with affordable tuition: Out-of-state students who choose to study online are eligible for reduced e-tuition.
  • Design your own course of study to meet your career goals.
  • Continue working while earning your certificate: Our flexible schedule helps accommodate working professionals.
  • Engage in a long-term research project that could have a positive impact on your school system.
  • Mentor English language learners through volunteer opportunities.
  • Earn your Maine K-12 endorsement in ESL: We’ll guide careful course selection to meet requirements, if this is your goal.
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Program requirements

This program requires 30 credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the master’s degree and includes a capstone experience. You’ll work closely with a faculty advisor to design a program that meets your needs for advanced study.

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Diverse, expert faculty

Every full-time faculty member holds a doctoral degree in the field of Literacy, Language, and Culture. Our part-time faculty are experienced members of the professional education community and many are current practitioners in the field.

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Put theory into practice

Throughout the course, you’ll focus on a long-term applied research project geared to positively impact your school system. We can also work with you to find volunteer opportunities to connect with English language learners close to where you live, whether you’re in Maine, out-of-state, or abroad.

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Global alumni network

Our graduates teach all over the world, including in the United States, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, and Egypt, among other countries.

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ESL endorsement

When you self-design your course of study based on your career goals, you can choose a course plan that leads to a Maine K-12 endorsement in ESL.

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Frequently Asked Questions

In this program, you’ll gain the practical knowledge and skills to help students develop proficiency and literacy in English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

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Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

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Admission information: Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) | Online

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
All applicantsAugust 1December 15April 15

Criteria for admission include successful completion of a master’s degree, strong recommendations, documentation of excellent written communication skills, and clarity and strength of professional goals. Applicants must hold a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are up to the discretion of the admitting program.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Essay: A brief essay (500-750 words) which includes the applicant’s reason(s) for pursuing advanced graduate study; the proposed focus of the applicant’s program, including specific courses if known; and an explanation of how the proposed program fits the applicant’s personal and professional goals.

Transfer Policies

Previously completed graduate courses may be approved for transfer into a graduate program within the Literacy, Language, and Culture programs if credits for the courses were earned no more than five years prior to matriculation, with grades of B or better.

For previous work completed through the University of Maine System, up to twelve credits may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. Up to six graduate credits completed at institutions outside of the University of Maine System may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. A syllabus for each course submitted for transfer credit from outside the University of Maine System must be provided upon application.

Transfer of more than twelve University of Maine System credits or six non-University of Maine System credits may be approved by the program coordinator and faculty. These credits may include certificate of graduate study program courses and professional development in-service graduate courses. Requests for the transfer of credits taken more than five years prior to matriculation may also be evaluated and approved by the program coordinator and faculty.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address