English as a Second Language Program Specialist Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Program

Person-in-ChargeMari Haneda
Program CodeESL


University Park

The postbaccalaureate ESL Program Specialist Certificate is designed to give teachers the essential knowledge and skills to effectively work with English learners, their families, and communities in public school (K-12) contexts. Students are required to take five three-credit courses which correspond to the ESL Program Specialist K-12 Program Guidelines of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It involves 15 credit hours of course work, including 60 hours of integrated field experience. The program will lead to demonstration of knowledge of the fundamental concepts and teaching practices of English as a Second Language instruction and services to the growing numbers of English learners in public schools.

Effective Semester:  Summer 2023
Expiration Semester:  Spring 2028

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies. International applicants may be required to satisfy an English proficiency requirement; see GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Applicants to the English as a Second Language certificate program must have a minimum TOEFL score of 100 with a 23 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT), or a 600 on the paper-based test.


Certificate Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in Graduate Council policy GCAC-212 Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs.

The program is a joint offering of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and the Department of Applied Linguistics in the College of the Liberal Arts at The Pennsylvania State University.

Required Courses
WLED 400Foundations of Language in Second Language Teaching3
WLED 444Language, Culture and the Classroom: Issues for Practitioners3
APLNG 484Discourse-Functional Grammar3
APLNG 493Teaching English as a Second Language3
WLED 483Evaluating Schools Performances and Programs with English Language Learners (ELLs)3
Total Credits15


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Learning Outcomes

  1. English Language Development: Develop and demonstrate an understanding of English language structure, different varieties of English, and vocabulary development.
  2. Diversity, Community, and Equity: Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of language and culture in the educational experiences of linguistically and culturally diverse students.
  3. Language Teaching Pedagogy: Plan, differentiate, and demonstrate student-centered teaching using Second Language Acquisition principles and effective Second Language teaching practices.
  4. Assessment: Use multiple and appropriate formative and summative assessment measures for a variety of purposes, including classroom and student self-assessment and technology-based assessment.
  5. Professionalism: Conduct and integrate appropriate ESL research into planning and teaching; collaborate productively with other teachers; understand and articulate the legal basis and requirements for ESL services; and pursue professional development opportunities.

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


Campus Berks
Graduate Program Head Mari Haneda
Program Contact

270B Chambers Building
University Park PA 16802

Program Website View
Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Mari Haneda
Program Contact

Dept. Plant Science, 101 Tyson Building
Penn State University
University Park PA 16802

Program Website View