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

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

Tuition & fees

Costs include tuition & fees. See cost details

Credit hours

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

Program duration

Finish in as little as 1 year. Explore program requirements


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

Program Highlights

  • Choose a mode of study that is blended (a mix of online and in-person courses) or fully online (which can be completed from wherever you are).
  • Save money with reduced e-tuition for out-of-state students who choose to study fully online.
  • Continue working while earning your certificate: Our flexible schedule helps accommodate working professionals.
  • Make progress toward a future degree: Apply course credits from your certificate toward our Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) master’s program.
  • Gain hands-on experience through our practicum, which offers English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching experience.
A student sits at at table and takes notes in a notebook.

Program requirements

This program accommodates teachers, educational technicians, and other holders of baccalaureate degrees who don’t want to complete all of the requirements for a master’s degree but choose to obtain foundational knowledge in English language learning.

Students sit at desks in a classroom.

Put theory into practice

You’ll have the option to connect with English language learners, such as K-12 students or adults in the community. We can work with you to find volunteer positions close to where you live, whether you’re in Maine, out-of-state, or abroad.

An aerial view of the University of Southern Maine Gorham campus.

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.

A student writes on a large piece of paper, taped to the wall.

Future degree planning

Interested in earning your MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in the future? The credits you earn through this certificate program can be applied toward our TESOL master’s program. Some restrictions may apply.

Buoys painted with the flag designs of different countries.

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.

Students sit at desks in a classroom with a map of the world on the wall.

ESL endorsement

When you complete your certificate, you can earn a Maine K-12 endorsement in ESL if other requirements are met, such as holding a provisional or professional teaching license.

A man smiles and waves while holding a large flag, among many other large flags of various countries.

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).

You may also be interested in…
Next steps

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

Get info
Meet us

A student sits at a table and writes on a stack of papers.

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

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 bachelor’s degree and an interest in English language learning. To earn a certificate, students must complete 75 percent of the required coursework at the University of Southern Maine, and earn a grade of B (3.0) or better in each course.

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

  • Personal statement discussing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your professional goals, and how you think this program of study will contribute to these goals.

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address