English as a Second Language

To realize the incredible potential of our increasingly multilingual and multicultural PreK-12 student population, teachers and researchers need to understand how to support the academic and linguistic development of students who are learning English as an additional language. These students, who are often classified by their schools as English learners, English language learners, dual language learners, emergent bilinguals, or ESL/ESOL students, represent a growing and often underserved demographic in many U.S. schools and classrooms.

There are many benefits to obtaining an ELL focused degree or endorsement:

  • Better understanding of language learning, thereby increasing your instructional effectiveness and ELLs' educational success
  • Greater understanding and appreciation of students' diverse languages and cultures
  • Expanded job opportunities as the ELL student population continues to grow
  • Increased earning power and career options from adding a degree or endorsement to your skill set

Our Impact

Our English language learner education programs support educators in developing and providing effective, equitable, and enriching learning opportunities for students from a wide array of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. We ensure that our students have meaningful access to the latest research-based practices in the field, coursework tailored to their needs, ample opportunities to engage in hands-on learning with expert educators and researchers, and one-on-one advising to support a range of career goals.


ELLs are the fastest growing segment of the PreK-12 public school population, and the need has never been greater for educators to specialize in this field. Graduates find meaningful, impactful employment as teachers of ELL students within both ESL and general education classrooms, ELL education coordinators, curriculum and assessment developers, textbook contributors and researchers that engage in work that serves the needs of multilingual students and their teachers.

By the Numbers

  • 11 th

    Best Curriculum & Instruction Program in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

  • 15 th

    Best Graduate Education School in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

  • 2 nd

    Ranked Public University in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

English Language Learner


The School of Education and Human Development offers many paths for those interested in ELL education. Choosing the right program is important to ensuring that you achieve an outcome that supports your career goals. Let us help guide you through your choices.

  • ELL Online Course Series for Endorsement

    The School of Education and Human Development offers an online course series that can be used toward earning an ESL endorsement. Students have flexibility in choosing to complete the entire course series or to take one or more courses toward professional development.

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  • Teaching PreK-12 English Learners Certificate (online)

    The Teaching PreK-12 English Learners Certificate provides practicing teachers with proof that they have completed coursework in building the skills and knowledge to work with students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The online course series, which meets Virginia core requirements for an add-on ESL endorsement, is meant for preK-12 teachers, who are already licensed in another preK-12 area.

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  • Master of Teaching in English as a Second Language (on-grounds)

    UVA is approved by the Virginia Department of Education to provide teacher preparation in a selection of endorsements including English as a Second Language (prek-12). The Master of Teaching degree is offered as a one-year post-graduate program.

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  • Master of Teaching-English as a Second Language (Online)

    The School of Education and Human Development is proud to offer a part-time, online Master of Teaching (MT) degree with licensure and endorsement in English as a Second Language (PreK-12). This is a post-graduate (PGMT) program for working professionals who have already completed an undergraduate degree. In this program, prospective graduate students who have an undergraduate degree have the opportunity to earn a Master of Teaching (MT) degree from the School of Education and Human Development. This part-time, online program of study allows you to earn licensure with endorsement in English as a Second Language (PreK-12).

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  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction (online)

    This online program is designed for individuals who want to broaden their knowledge of curriculum and instruction in support of improving education in the United States. This M.Ed. also offers a focus area in ELL. We strive to provide students with a strong foundational knowledge of principles of curriculum and instruction and the opportunity to explore concepts from the field of educational assessment. Through this work, we encourage students to be attentive to the needs of a wide spectrum of unique learners who are situated within diverse learning environments.

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  • M.Ed. in Social Foundations- ESL Area of Emphasis (online or on-grounds)

    The M.Ed. in Ed. Psych: Social Foundations (often called the "humanities of education") is a 30-hour online degree that can include a 15-hour focal area in ESL. The degree is to designed to provide students with a broad understanding of education, and a focus area in ESL.

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  • Ed.S. in Curriculum & Instruction (online)

    The Ed.S. degree focuses on courses work in Curriculum & Instruction and gives applicants the opportunity to take electives in an area of interest. The Ed.S. in Curriculum & Instruction is a 30 credit hour graduate degree designed for the professional educator. Applicants must have already earned a master's degree. The Ed.S. is for educators who seek to influence positive educational change and improve student achievement through effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Employment options include curriculum specialist positions within preK-12 schools, university settings, adjunct faculty, government and military, and more.

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  • Ed. D. in Curriculum and Instruction- ESL Area of Emphasis (online or on-grounds)

    The School of Education and Human Development offers a Doctor of Education degree with an area of emphasis in ESL. The Ed.D. is designed for educational professionals who are seeking doctoral studies that are relevant and directly applicable to education- and school-based settings.

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  • Ph.D. in Education - Language Education in Multilingual Contexts

    The Language Education in Multilingual Contexts (LEMC) Ph.D. concentration provides opportunities for students to pursue research interests related to teaching and learning in preK-12 second language, foreign/world language, and bi/multilingual educational settings.

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