Master of Science in Education or ESOL Certification

  • Gain the skills and certification to teach one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, at all grade levels (pre-K to grade 12).
  • Learn to use an array of written resources, technologies, and methods to create engaging learning experiences and to differentiate for students of different ages, first-language backgrounds, and prior school experiences.
  • Understand the theoretical, historical, and political dimensions of education for culturally and linguistically diverse students, so you can adapt in this ever-changing field and can best help students achieve proficiency in English.

Program Options

TESOL master's degree with initial certification (43 credits)

Program is ideal for:

  • someone not yet certified as a teacher who wants to teach school-age students of different cultures and ideally has earned at least 12 credits studying a language other than English. (Six credits required for admission.)

  • Program can be completed in four semesters. Open to people with any bachelor’s degree.

TESOL master's degree with additional certification (36 credits)

Program is ideal for:

  • someone who has New York state teacher certification in any area, seeks professional certification, wants New York state teacher certification for English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and wants a career teaching English language learners.
  • Program can be completed in one year (three semesters).

Post-master's ESOL certification-only (18 credits)

Program is ideal for:

  • someone who has New York state teacher certification, has completed a master's degree, and seeks New York state English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) certification.
  • This option doesn't require the standard graduate application process; instead, see the ESOL program guidelines and application. Deadlines are on a rolling basis for fall, spring, and summer terms.

Don't need New York state certification? 

If you want to teach English language learners in countries outside the United States, or to teach in the United States in private schools, adult programs, and universities, and you don't need certification to teach in New York state public schools, see Nazareth's TESOL master of science program. This program also suits people who have New York state initial teacher certification and need a master’s degree in a related field to apply for professional certification.

Career Information

  • Job growth nationwide: For teachers with this specialty, above-average job growth is expected, as the number of U.S. students who don’t speak English is predicted to continue growing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • New York state needs TESOL/ESOL teachers: The New York state Education Department requires that all English language learners receive ESOL services.
  • Non-classroom options: Graduates are also suited for non-classroom roles such as:
    • government agency adviser
    • private language arts tutor
    • director of an English as a second language (ESL) program
    • developer of English language materials for a private company
    • academic adviser for an educational institution
    • Fulbright award candidate (to teach overseas)
    • administrator or teacher at an English language center

Urban Education Grant

A TOC state grant can provide up to half the cost of tuition for eligible students from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in the teaching field who are committed to teaching in high-need urban schools. Learn more about TOC »

From the Field

"My professors were supportive, encouraging, and made learning fun. I always felt that I was part of a very close-knit, friendly community that was as dedicated as I was. Many of my classes were taken with international TESOL students as well as Inclusive Childhood, Literacy Education, and other education grad students, which allowed me to obtain and share ideas and information with others from different areas of education. Being in a student-centered, collaborative environment has inspired me to create the same type of environment for my future students."

Kyle Ridley '13, ESOL teacher at Bronx Theatre High School

What to Expect

Curriculum Examples
  • Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
  • Foundations of Bilingual/Multicultural Education
  • Culture and Context in TESOL/Bilingual Curriculum and Assessment
  • Principles and Practices of TESOL
  • Language and Literacy Development for English Language Learners

Program Requirements & Course Descriptions

Program Director

Cindy McPhail

Cindy McPhail

Professor and Director of TESOL Certifications Programs and Bilingual Extension Program in Language, Literacy & Technology Education
Golisano Academic Center 294

Education: B.A., Hamilton College; Ed.M. & Ph.D., State University of New York Buffalo

Teaching and Research Interests: TESOL; language acquisition; bilingual education; elementary education, reading fluency (prosidy), English language learners.

Proudest Moments: Dr. McPhail is proud of a federal grant for more than $1 million that allowed Nazareth College to host the ELL Consortium for 5 years and to begin the bilingual extension program. That program provides an important service to the greater Rochester community in a specialty in which it is perennially difficult to recruit appropriately certified teachers.

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