Fill out the online application and submit to the ESL office. Students should apply as early as possible (after the sophomore year if they are undergraduates) to allow enough time to complete the requirements.

Download the Undergraduate Application.

Academic requirements for the program are:

For Undergraduates:  Enrollment in any one of the required certificate courses and a degree program at UW–Madison.

Native English speakers must show completion of four college-level semesters of one language (prior to or completed concurrently with certificate coursework).

Nonnative English speakers are required to show English language proficiency in the following ways:

  • A minimum score of 50 on TSE or SPEAK or an iBy score of 26 on the speaking section of the TOEFL
  • A minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL iBT or 600 on the paper-based version of the TOEFL or 7 on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) can be substituted for the TOEFL.

Requirements for the Certificate

21 credits of course work include:

Foundation Courses
ENGL 314 Structure of English3
ENGL 315 English Phonology3
ENGL 415 Introduction to TESOL Methods3
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Courses
ENGL 318 Second Language Acquisition3
ENGL 515 Techniques and Materials for TESOL3
Students must take 3 credits of TESOL Workshops during the same semester. Each spring, three of the six 1-credit workshops are offered in alternate years:3
TESOL: Pedagogical Grammar I
TESOL: Pedagogical Grammar II
TESOL: Teaching Listening and Speaking
TESOL: Teaching of Reading
TESOL: Teaching of Writing
TESOL: Teaching Pronunciation
Social Perspectives on English Courses (choose one of the following three courses):3
English Language Variation in the U.S.
Global Spread of English
English in Society
Total Credits21

Residence and Quality of Work

  • Minimum 3.000 cumulative GPA in all courses approved for the certificate
  • At least 11 credits for the certificate must be earned In residence

Undergraduate/Special Student Certificates

This certificate may be completed within the context of an undergraduate degree or as a Special student after an undergraduate degree has been awarded from any institution. The certificate may be completed in its entirety while enrolled as a Special student. Candidates are encouraged to contact the certificate coordinator to discuss course enrollment and the sequencing of certificate requirements. 

  1. Demonstrate knowledge in the historical trends in the field, the theoretical underpinnings and the role of English in society and as an international language.
  2. Become familiar with the sound and grammatical systems of English.
  3. Understand an apply basic principles in the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  4. Understand the principles of second language acquisition.
  5. Construct and execute well-crafted lesson plans.

Joseph Nosek
TESOL Certificate Advisor


Professors Purnell, Raimy, Wanner, R. Young

Assistant Professor Cho