TESL Certificate

Program Description

The Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certificate program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), is specifically designed for those who intend to teach English to speakers of other languages—English as a Second/Subsequent Language (TESL) in the United States or English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) abroad. It provides certification that the candidate has received advanced training in the theoretical and practical aspects of English instruction from CSUN through courses taught by CSUN faculty. Coursework deals with the specific approaches to teaching English to people whose native language is not English. The certificate is ideally suited for those who teach in private institutions and in colleges and universities abroad, as well as those who work as teachers or tutors in adult education programs in California and elsewhere. Those who tutor English language-learners will benefit from specialized training in the theory and practice of language instruction.

Program Requirements

A. Admission Requirements

Admission to the TESL certificate program is limited to the Fall semesters only. To be accepted into the certificate program, candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.85 in the last 60 units of their B.A. degree work and satisfy the University requirements for Graduate Admission. Speakers of languages other than English who hold postsecondary degrees from non-English-speaking institutions must have a minimum:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 85 (internet-based test, iBT)
  • International English Language Test System (IELTS) Academic score of 7
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced English (formerly CAE) score of 185
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic score of 64
  • International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP) Academic score of 4.5
  • Duolingo English Test (DET) score of 115
  • Jitsuyo Eigo Gino Kentei [Test in Practical English Proficiency] Common Scale for English (EIKEN CSE) score of 2630 (1)
  • Global Test of English Communication Computer-Based Test (GTEC CBT) score of 1275

Meeting the minimum GPA and TOEFL/IELTS score does not guarantee admission into the program.

Applicants should file an online application to the University through Cal State Apply. The application period closes July 1. Submissions after this date will not be considered. The Department of Linguistics/TESL does not require a separate departmental application, letters of recommendation or a statement of purpose. For additional information, please consult Admissions & Records and Cal State Apply Graduate.

B. Academic Standards

1. University Regulations

Graduate students will be placed on academic probation whenever their GPA falls below 3.0 in all units attempted. To be removed from probation, students must earn sufficient grades in the following semester of enrollment to raise their GPA to 3.0 or above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from the University. University regulations allow graduate students to repeat up to 6 units of credit in which a grade of "B-" or below has been received. (See Graduate Studies section of this Catalog.)

2. Additional Regulations for the TESL Certificate

No grade below “B-” can be counted in the formal program, including the prerequisite course. Any grade of “C+” or lower must be repeated. If the student does not receive a grade of “B-” or better on the second attempt, the student will be disqualified from the TESL Certificate program. University regulations allow graduate students to repeat only up to 6 units. The repeat grade will appear on the transcript. Students must request approval to repeat a course using the Course Repeat Request Form from the graduate advisor in advance of enrolling in the course.

Course substitutions: Taking courses outside the department to count towards the required core courses, whether in another department or at another institution, is normally not allowed and may only be done under extenuating circumstances after consultation and prior approval. Courses must be equivalent in content and quality to the relevant courses in the Linguistics/TESL program curriculum. Students must earn a grade of B or higher in all courses to be used as replacements for required core courses in the program.

Prerequisite Course (3 units)

LING 510 Foundational Concepts in Linguistics (3)
or LING 300 Approaches to Linguistic Analysis (3)
or ENGL 604 Seminar in Language and Linguistics (3)
or ENGL 301 Language and Linguistics (3)

Required Courses (15 units)

LING 517 Foundational Concepts of Language Development and Acquisition (3)
LING 525 English Structures for ESL/EFL Teaching (3)
LING 530 Introduction to TESL (3)
LING 555 TESL Classroom Practices in Postsecondary Academic Settings (3)
LING 568 TESL Testing and Assessment (3)

Graduate units earned in the program may, in most cases, be applied toward a master’s degree in TESL or in Linguisticsat CSUN.

Total Units for the Certificate: 18

Applicants should file an online application to the University through Cal State Apply. The Department of Linguistics/TESL does not require a separate departmental application, letters of recommendation or a statement of purpose. For application deadlines and additional information on how and when to apply, please consult the Admissions & Records website.