College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

English as a second language additional teaching license

For teachers who already hold a teaching licensure, advance your career and skill set by earning an additional license to teach ESL in Minnesota K-12 classrooms. Our license is highly transferable to other states. Programs are individualized based on your past experience. This ensures you get maximum credit for previous academic work and experience.

This program is designed for working professionals. Most of the courses are offered in the evening during the school year and some are offered during the summer.

About this program


The core curriculum topics include:

Following are the state-required competency areas and corresponding U of M course requirements for the ESL license.

  • Introduction to linguistics
  • English grammar for ESL teachers
  • Introduction to language acquisition
  • Language, culture and education
  • Teaching literacy in second language classrooms
  • Teaching speaking and listening in second language classrooms
  • Second language curriculum design
  • Assessing English learners
  • Practicum: Teaching ESL in the elementary school
  • Student teaching in second languages and cultures

In order to be recommended for your Minnesota K-12 English as a Second Language teaching license, you must successfully complete these licensure requirements required by the state of Minnesota.

This material is available in alternative formats upon request. Direct requests to the Office of Teacher Education at, 612-625-5060.

Master's of education

You can pursue the additional licensure alone or together with an MEd Professional Studies in Second Language Education. You will need to apply to both the additional licensure program and the MEd and then work with your adviser to plan your coursework to meet both requirements simultaneously.

How to apply

    Application deadline and instructions


    • Current state of Minnesota teaching license.
    • Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent with at least a 2.8 GPA.
    • Experience learning a second language (including American Sign Language) as demonstrated by:
      • Four years of high school second language study OR
      • Two years of college or university second language study ORA non-English language background and bilingualism in 
      • English and another language [nonnative English speakers must demonstrate proficiency in English at the "Superior" level on an Oral Proficiency Interview. Schedule an interview through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)] OR
      • Significant experience in a second language community setting or a foreign country with a primary language other than English

    Application Deadlines:

    • October 1 for Spring admission
    • February 1 for Summer admission
    • June 1 for Fall admission

    Admission decisions are made up to eight weeks after the application deadline. The number of credits required to complete this program varies based on past coursework, which will be determined upon receipt of your application.

    For additional information, contact faculty advisor, Sam David.

    Tuition and funding

    Tuition varies depending on your degree program, student status, and residency.

    If you are seeking only the certificate, you pay the CEHD departmental master's tuition rate. More cost information is on the CEHD site.

    Application requirements

    Adding a teaching license requires a current Minnesota state teaching license along with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent with at least a 2.8 GPA.

    To apply you will need:

    • Unofficial transcripts: Upload your transcripts into the application system; please do not mail your transcripts. Official transcripts are required only after you are admitted. Tips for uploading your transcript(s). Transfer credits must be evaluated and approved by a faculty advisor.
    • Resume: Upload in the Program Supplementary Information -Graduate Program Additional Application section.
    • Educational goal statement: Upload in the Program Supplementary Information section.
    • Current Minnesota teaching license: Upload in the Department\Program Forms section.

    Complete only the following sections:

    • Personal information
    • Application information
    • Educational background
    • Employment/Residence information


    International applicants

    International applicants may also need:

    An English translation of your transcripts, if the transcript is not in English.
    A course by course evaluation may be required.
    TOEFL scores. Official TOEFL scores are required. You may qualify for an exception if you have completed 16 semester or 24 quarter credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States.

    UMN TOEFL score requirements and submission guidelines

    TOEFL registration and score submission

    Additional admissions information

    Earn your master’s in education

    You can pursue the additional license alone or pursue the additional license and an MEd Professional Studies degree in the same program area concurrently.

    You will need to apply to both the additional license and MEd program and then work with your advisor to plan your coursework to meet both requirements simultaneously. More information on application to the MEd program.

    Contact the program faculty in your area of interest for more information:

    Visual Arts License, Jim Bequette
    Theatre or dance license, Betsy Maloney Leaf
    English as a Second Language license, Sam David
    Math licenses, Terrence Wyberg
    Science licenses, Gillian Roehrig
    World Languages, Sam David


    We’re here to help. Simply complete one of these forms and a member of our department will be in touch.