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ESL Specialist Certificate and M.S. Ed. Program

The ESL Specialist Certificate and M.S. Ed. Program at Duquesne University provides a number of different services for state certified teachers as well as for those who wish to teach ESL/EFL in language centers or in higher education institutions worldwide. The ESL Specialist Certificate and M.S. Ed. Program at Duquesne University serves the university and the community in three capacities:

  1. Chapter 49 requirements for ELL training
  2. ESL Program Specialist Certification
  3. ESL MS.Ed
Chapter 49

A few recent changes have occurred in the State’s ESL teacher certification requirements based on national standards and the NCLB act. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has mandated that all public school ESL teachers obtain an ESL-Program Specialist Certificate from a state-approved provider as of the 2004-2005 school year. Recently, the PDE passed new regulations under Chapter 49 making one ESL class mandatory for all undergraduate students majoring in education regardless of specialization and/or grade level and graduate students seeking an Instructional I certificate.

The ESL program acts as a service unit offering basic ESL courses to all undergraduate (LTEL 201) and graduate (GESL 501) students in the School of Education and other schools to meet the State’s certification requirements. These courses aim to prepare content area teachers to become more competent in supporting ELLs’ basic and academic language development as well as their acculturation processes and academic achievement in mainstream classrooms. More specifically, the Chapter 49 courses integrate around 20 competencies enumerated under the five TESOL domains, including language and linguistics, SLA theories, ESL methods, learning theories, learner variables, diversity and socio-cultural awareness, assess.ent and evaluation, literacy/content area development, foundations of ESL curriculum and instruction, and professional and pedagogical responsibilities.


The ESL Specialist Certificate program at Duquesne University is one of the over 35 ESL certificate providers approved by the state. Our program is structured for teachers who already hold an Instructional I certificate and would like to add ESL as an additional certificate.  The certificate workload includes a 16-credit, graduate-level course work made up of five courses that are offered evenings and in the summer, allowing the work to be completed in just three semesters. The program of study provides candidates with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to successfully work with linguistically and culturally diverse learners.

Masters Degree

Students who plan to pursue language teaching careers in adult settings including at language teaching centers or higher education institutions can enroll in our ESL M.S.Ed program. After taking the five prerequisite courses in ESL (the 16 credits for the specialist certificate), these students take five additional courses related to different areas in education. In addition to providing the candidates with fundamental ESL domains and competencies related to theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and dispositions to successfully work with second language learners, the M.S.Ed program allows students to select a related concentration through courses ranging from multicultural education, reading disabilities, and instructional technology to adolescent literature and the teaching of language arts. The program also offers ESL practicum opportunities in adult ESL settings. This program is also very-well suited to international students and US students who plan to teach English as a foreign language (EFL) abroad.

Faculty & Staff
Application Requirements

The admission procedure for the M.S. Ed. in English as a Second Language is well-detailed and rigorous.  Find out about the entire process here.

Course Sequence

Find out about all of the required courses for the M.S. Ed. ESL program here.

Course Sequence

Find out about all of the required courses for the M.S. Ed. ESL program here.


Alumni Testimonies

Rae Balog-Duquesne University Doctoral Student:

"The graduate ESL - Program Specialist M.S. Ed/Certificate Program at Duquesne University has inspired my growth as a professional educator equipped with the skills and insight needed to serve an ever-growing population of second and foreign language learners. Program coursework has refreshed my perspective on second language acquisition theory and pedagogy, while challenging me to better my practice in response to the unique needs of second and foreign language learners. Experiences in the classroom have provided me the invaluable opportunity of coming together with fellow educators to reflect on, and dialogue about current challenges in second language instruction. Most importantly, the professorship of the graduate ESL department at Duquesne has encouraged my development as an academic and scholar in the field of second language studies through mentorship and independent study opportunities. The guidance and leadership of this department has transformed my vision for myself as an educator and allowed me to project myself and goals into the future. Thanks Duquesne!"


Still have questions about our program?  Find your answers here.


If you are a current M.S. Ed. ESL student, you may find resources and materials here.