Jul 15, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2024-2025 
Graduate Catalog | 2024-2025

Teaching English as a Second Language, Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is an 18-credit hour program which includes a required graduate student teaching/internship experience.  The Graduate Certificate is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to teach English as a Second Language in K-12 settings.  Completion of the Graduate Certificate leads to the initial Standard Professional I teaching license in Teaching English as a Second Language.  

The required courses for the Graduate Certificate are identical to Phase I of the M.A.T.  Upon completion of Phase I and formal acceptance into the M.A.T. program by the Graduate School, qualified candidates may continue into Phase II to complete the remaining requirements for the Master’s degree and qualify for the advanced Standard Professional II teaching license.  Applications must be submitted to the Graduate School for formal admission to the Graduate Certificate Program in TESL (Phase I). Upon completion of Phase I, another application must be submitted for formal admission to the Master’s program. 

Admission to the Graduate Certificate is separate and distinct from admission to a graduate degree program and not an indication of automatic admission to the M.A.T. degree program.  For more information on this option, refer to the M.A.T. in Teaching English as a Second Language 

All courses for the Graduate Certificate must be completed within four years. 

General Requirements for Admission to the Graduate School

Please refer to general information provided in The Graduate School  section.

Admission Requirements for all Graduate Certificates in Teaching programs

  1. An undergraduate degree from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body
  2. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (For alternative ways to demonstrate academic competence, contact the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL))
  3. Two professional references in a supervisory capacity (i.e. principal or manager) and/or academic references (i.e. professor)
  4. Statement of purpose (500-1000 words)
  5. Clear criminal background check
  6. Apply online at graduateschool.uncc.edu

Certificate Requirements

Internship/Student Teaching (3 credit hours)

The graduate-level student teaching/internship is the culminating experience of the Graduate Certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the initial Standard Professional I teaching license.  Students are assigned to an appropriate classroom for a full-time, semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and university faculty.  Residency teachers and teacher assistants must contact the Office of School and Community Partnerships to determine the appropriateness of their classroom for the student teaching/internship experience and licensure requirements.  This contact should take place at least one semester before student teaching.


* TESL 6470  is a full-time internship requiring employment as an English as a Second Language teacher in an approved school or a non-paid placement with a licensed ESL teacher in a public school. It requires application and approval during the semester prior to the internship.

Certificate Total = 18 Credit Hours


All students are assigned an advisor upon formal admission to the program. Students should consult with their advisors at least once each semester.

Clinical Field Experiences

Most courses require students to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in public school settings. These experiences broaden their ability to help all students learn, including children with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups. During clinical experiences, students apply theories and understandings gained in coursework, analyze P-12 student learning, and develop the ability to positively impact all learners. All students are expected to complete clinical experiences in at least two significantly diverse settings.

Candidates who are lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must move beyond their own classrooms and schools for at least two clinical experiences. Alternative settings must be approved by the instructor and may include schools on different schedules, afterschool and summer programs, Saturday programs, private, and charter schools. A limited number of clinical experiences may be approved in significantly different classrooms within their school of employment. Employed candidates are encouraged to seek assistance and support from their administrators.


Upon successful completion of the Phase I/Graduate Certificate, students will be recommended for the North Carolina initial Standard Professional I teaching license. For this license, students are required to complete an electronic licensure portfolio that is created during coursework and student teaching.