A teacher and a child working together at a classroom table

English as a Second Language: Professional Learning

This flexible online course series is designed to develop PreK-12 teachers who are confident and well-versed in quality ESL instructional practices. Online courses, an 18-credit certificate, and the opportunity to pursue an ESL endorsement.

At a Glance

Program Results

Professional Learning

  • Professional Development
  • Certificate - Teaching English Language Learners in PreK-12
  • Endorsement - English as a Second Language PreK-12

Program Type

  • Part Time


  • Online

Estimated Length

1-6 semesters

Application Deadline

Spring entry: November 1

Summer entry:

  • February 1 (priority deadline)
  • May 1 (final deadline)

Fall entry:

  • March 1 (priority deadline)
  • July 1 (final deadline)

About This Program

As U.S. classrooms become increasingly diverse, the need for teachers of second language learners continues to grow. Teachers of English learners have exciting opportunities to work with students from a wide array of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

This course series is designed to be flexible, so you can select exactly what you need. Focus solely on classroom practice, study linguistics to help prepare for testing, or mix-and-match to meet your individual goals. All courses are offered online, and discounted tuition is available for preK-12 educators in Virginia.

These courses can fulfill a range of requirements, including:

  • Professional development and recertification: Educators may opt to take one or more courses, without completing the series, to learn more about working with English learners or earn master’s level credits. This can be used toward licensure renewal.
  • Certificate: Students may complete a 6-course graduate certificate in Teaching English Language Learners in PreK-12 Education.
  • Endorsement: The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) sets the requirements for licensure with an endorsement in English as a Second Language preK-12. Teachers with a current Virginia teaching license who wish to add an ESL endorsement may take courses in this series to prepare them to add the endorsement, whether through the full course series or the ESL Praxis exam. Teachers should consult with a UVA advisor to plan the best pathway for them. 

For students who may desire to pursue a master's degree, this course series can also contribute to one of two degrees offered by the School of Education and Human Development: the M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction or the M.T. in English as a Second Languge.

Questions about which courses to take? Reach out to the contact at the bottom of this page for guidance.

Professional Learning Opportunities

Teaching English Language Learners in PreK-12 Education Certificate

The certificate provides an official designation on your UVA transcript that you have completed the English as a Second Language course series. This option may be appealing for teachers who wish to demonstrate they have advanced preparation in working with ELs, including teachers working in private schools and international contexts.

This online graduate certificate program helps practicing PreK-12 teachers gain the knowledge and skills needed to provide quality instruction for English learners across content areas and grade levels. The curriculum is designed to provide candidates with a deeper understanding of second language acquisition and to help candidates develop skills in tailoring instruction and assessment practices to English learners’ unique needs.

Students must take six classes to complete the Teaching English Learners in PreK-12 Certificate. If seeking to add the ESL endorsement to their teaching license, students may then be required to take two additional courses or the ESL Praxis. An advisor will work with students to develop a plan based on their previous coursework and licensure needs.

Important Notice: This certificate program does not satisfy initial teaching licensure requirements. If you are seeking an initial teaching license, visit our Become a Teacher page.

ALL application materials, transcripts, and recommendations must be received by the deadlines below in order for an application to be considered complete. You may begin, or return to, your application here.

Courses must be completed within five years of being admitted to the program.

Professional Learning Admission

Application for admission is made to the School of Education and Human Development Office of Admission & Enrollment. For more information about the professional learning admission process, please visit our Professional Learning Admission page.

Course Series - Professional Development

The English as a Second Language online course series is designed to equip licensed teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to address the learning needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students. This course series will provide teachers with research-based strategies to support these students across content areas and grade levels. Courses can be used for professional development, recertification points, or preparation to add the endorsement. 

Students can transfer two courses from this course series into the Teaching English Learners in PreK-12 Certificate. 

Application Due Date

Students should fill out the Non-Degree Student form at least a week before the start of the desired term. Early submission is recommended to secure spots in desired classes.

Program Details

Students interested in taking courses in this series must fill out a Non-Degree Student form; no application is needed.

For Students Seeking the Graduate Certificate

The certificate program is intended for students who already hold a teaching license in Virginia or another state. Any student who wishes to apply for the certificate must submit an online application, two letters of recommendation, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and a current statement of professional goals (1-2 pages). Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts with their application; however, official transcripts are required prior to matriculation. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for admission to, and completion of, the certificate and for contacting their advisor for planning.

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

The Graduate Record Exam is not required for the Teaching English Learners in PreK-12 certificate.

Transfer Credits: Students may be eligible to transfer up to 6 credits from other academic institutions (or other programs at UVA prior to admission) if the following criteria are met: courses are listed on the transcript from the transferring institution as “graduate level”; the student earns a final grade of B- or higher; the courses are deemed aligned with the rigor and content of the student’s program of study; and the course credits are no older than 5 years at the time of matriculation.

Students seeking the graduate certificate will work with an advisor to select 6 of the 8 courses; students with individual questions may reach out to the contact listed further down on this page.

All course are offered online and on a set schedule, as follows:


English Linguistics

EDIS 5423


Cross-Cultural Education for Diverse Learners

EDIS 5422


Second Language Acquisition

EDIS 5424


Reading and Writing Foundations for Diverse Learners

EDIS 6710


Teaching Reading and Writing to ELs

EDIS 5270


ESL Methods PreK-12

EDIS 5428


ESL Assessment & Curriculum Design

EDIS 5470



As well as an ESL elective course (to be selected with advisor approval), which might include:

Differentiating Instruction, EDIS 5080 (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom, EDIS 5014 (Spring)

Contact US


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/content.php?catoid=55&navoid=4441.