banner USF Home College of Arts & Sciences OASIS myUSF USF A-Z Index

USF Home > College of Arts and Sciences > Department of World Languages

Graduate Certificate Programs


Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign and Second Language (TESL)

Our TESL Certificate provides solid preparation for persons interested in teaching non-native speakers of English. This program is a good option if you have a background in graduate study related to language, and you are interested in teaching EFL and/or ESL. Our TESL Certificate holders have gone on to teach overseas, in community colleges, and in volunteer organizations.

Our TESL Certificate is a rigorous program. The 21 credit hours are comprised of six graduate courses and one semester-long internship. All of this coursework is offered through Applied Linguistics in World Languages. The program might be completed in three or four semesters (exclusive of summers).

Prospective TESL Certicate students should be aware that certificate programs do not lead to a degree. Furthermore, extremely different standards exist among different TESL/TEFL certificate programs. Note that some employers in the U.S. might accept the TESL Certificate as evidence of professional qualification; most, however, require a full graduate degree. The Master's remains the qualification of choice among U.S. employers.

If you are interested in teaching in the K-12 public school system, read this note.

Admission to the Certificate program is restrictive. You would be admitted into the program only if you already hold, or you are presently pursuing, a graduate degree in a field related to Applied Linguistics. (Examples of allied disciplines are Linguistics, Foreign Languages, and English.) Further admissions requirements also exist. Details are found online at http://www.usf.edu/innovative-education/programs/graduate-certificates/teaching-english-as-a-second-language.aspx.

If you do not have this educational background, we invite you to apply for admission into the Master's program. Your best route into the field will be the MA, because it comprises the depth and breadth that you need for development into an effective professional.

Below, you will find an outline of the TESL Certificate courses, when they are taught, and the pre-requisites (if any). If you would like advising and course planning, contact the Advisor for Linguistics – Dr. Amy Thompson. The email address is athompson@usf.edu; alternately, you can call our Department at 813.974.2548 and ask for the advisor.

In administrative terms, our TESL Certificate Program is housed by Innovative Education. Contact them for information concerning application to the program, admissions, and so forth. The URL for Graduate Certificates is http://www.usf.edu/innovative-education/programs/graduate-certificates/on-campus.aspx. The telephone number is 813-974-8031; their email address is GradCerts@usf.edu.


TESL Certificate Courses

  1. TSL 5371 Methods of TESL (Fall)
  2. LIN 5700 Applied Linguistics (Fall)
  3. TSL 5372 ESL Curriculum & Instruction (Spring)
  4. TSL 5525 Cross-Cultural Issues in ESL (Spring)
  5. TSL 5471 Language Testing (Fall)
  6. LIN 6720 Second Language Acquisition (Spring)
  7. TSL 6945 TESL Internship (Fall, Spring, Summer)

Recommended Sequence


Year 1: Fall
LIN 5700                Applied Linguistics                3 credit hours
TSL 5371                Methods of TESL                 3 credit hours

Year 1: Spring
TSL 5372         ESL Curriculum and Instruction     3 credit hours
TSL 5525         Cross Cultural Issues in ESL         3 credit hours

Year 2: Fall
TSL 5471                Language Testing                3 credit hours
TSL 6945                      Internship                    3 credit hours

Year 2: Spring
LIN 6720         Second Language Acquisition         3 credit hours

Learn more in Info on Classes.

TESL Certificate versus State of Florida Endorsement and Certification


Our USF TESL Certificate is not the same as "ESOL Certification" by the State of Florida.

If you want to teach ESOL in K-12 public schools, you need either ESOL Certification or ESOL Endorsement. We, in the Linguistics program, provide educational preparation. The designations, however, are granted by the State of Florida.

Concerning State of Florida ESOL Endorsement, we offer all five of the Endorsement classes. Click the ESOL Endorsement link to find out about these classes, the Performance Standards they address, and when they are taught.

For those of you who wish to pursue State of Florida ESOL Certification, we have more information. Our Master's program has prepared scores of preservice and inservice educators for the ESOL Certification Examination, as well as for teaching minority-language children in the public school system. We invite you to visit our pages devoted to the ESOL Certification and to our Master's program.

State of Florida ESOL Certification requires that you pass the State ESOL Certification Examination. Find out more about this exam online at http://www.cefe.usf.edu/, the site for Certification Examinations for Florida Educators. More general information on ESOL Certification is available from the Department of Education. Go to http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/ for further information.