DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse > Graduate > TESOL (Certificate) > FAQ

TESOL Certificate FAQ

How long does it take to complete the Certificate?

The TESOL Certificate can be completed in one calendar year and can be started in any academic quarter. In some cases, it may be possible to complete the program in three academic quarters, depending on the quarter of entry and how many courses are taken each quarter. In all cases, completing the Certificate requires taking courses during the academic year and possibly a summer course. The Field Experience requirement can be completed at any time after a student has taken at least three TESOL Certificate courses.

When and where do the classes meet?

Classes meet one evening a week, usually from 6:00-9:15. All classes are on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.

What is the Field Experience requirement?

The Field Experience is a chance for students to spend at least 20 hours in a teaching setting for ESL/multilingual adult students. There are a range of teaching contexts that can be used for this requirement, and we encourage students to find a context that is in line with their own professional goals. Some students complete this requirement at DePaul’s intensive English program, the English Language Academy, while others decide to do it in other settings, including community college classes, community-based ESL or literacy programs, and WRD composition courses designed specifically for multilingual undergraduate writers.

The 20 hours may include some combination of class observation, one-on-one work with students, collaboration with a teacher, and teaching. After completing the 20 hours, students write a final reflective essay, in which they connect aspects of the Field Experience to what they have learned in the TESOL Certificate courses.

Do I have to be a graduate student to pursue the Certificate?

No, you can enroll only in the TESOL Certificate program as a non-degree-seeking student, although most students pursuing the TESOL Certificate are also students in the MA in WRD program, and all TESOL Certificate courses are regular graduate classes at DePaul.​

Can I pursue an MA in WRD degree and the TESOL Certificate simultaneously?

Absolutely—and this is an excellent way to get a strong education in Rhetoric and Writing Studies while also building up expertise in the area of TESOL/Applied Linguistics. The four required TESOL Certificate courses can be part of the regular MA in WRD coursework, so no extra classes are needed. The only additional requirement for the TESOL Certificate is completion of the Field Experience.​

What job opportunities might be available after completing the TESOL Certificate?

If you have a BA and the TESOL Certificate, you would definitely be a strong candidate for certain kinds of EFL teaching jobs overseas. Also, a BA plus the Certificate could open up job opportunities in the U.S. in adult-education settings and possibly some K-12 settings. Completing the TESOL Certificate together with an MA in WRD makes you a strong candidate for a wider range of jobs, including university teaching jobs abroad, and many composition and ESL teaching jobs at two- and four-year colleges in the U.S. Some MA in WRD/TESOL Certificate graduates have received multiple offers for teaching jobs at universities overseas. Others are currently teaching courses in ESL and/or writing to adults and college students in the U.S.

The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, & Discourse at DePaul also has a direct relationship with the English Department at Huaqiao University in Xiamen, China. TESOL Certificate graduates who also have an MA get preferred consideration for one-year university teaching positions at Huaqiao. DePaul graduates have taken these positions in recent years and have had wonderful experiences. Find more information about this opportunity here.

Do you help with job searching and placement?

The TESOL Coordinator is always willing to meet with TESOL Certificate students to discuss job opportunities, advise about the teaching markets both abroad and in the U.S., and to help in the preparation of application materials. Also, we work to maintain contact with our recent graduates, who are often great sources of information for current students.

How is DePaul’s TESOL Certificate different than “TEFL Certificate” courses or other similar programs than can be completed in 1-3 months?

DePaul’s Graduate Certificate in TESOL offers a much richer intellectual engagement with both the theory and practice of English language teaching than short-term programs, which typically help students develop classroom teaching skills based on a particular method. Also, all courses in the TESOL Certificate are at the master’s level, so students work with DePaul’s graduate faculty to encounter advanced readings in a university-seminar environment. For students who enroll only in the TESOL Certificate but are considering future MA or PhD studies, the program provides an excellent introduction to graduate coursework and a strong foundation in Applied Linguistics, which can inform a wide range of future academic pursuits. ​

How much does the Certificate cost?

Non-degree-seeking students can expect to pay approximately $10,000-11,000 total for the Certificate. The Certificate requires 16 hours of graduate credit (four courses). Graduate tuition at DePaul is calculated at cost per credit hour. To see the current tuition rates in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences visit the Office of Student Financial Accounts web site. There is no extra cost to complete the TESOL certificate in conjunction with the MAWRD graduate degree. The four required TESOL Certificate courses can be part of the regular MAWRD coursework, so no extra classes are needed. Graduate students outside the WRD department may need to take additional courses to fulfill both their degree and TESOL requirements, which could result in some added cost.​

What financial aid is available?

Graduate students who are also pursuing the TESOL Certificate qualify for federal aid by submitting their yearly FAFSA. Unfortunately, federal aid is not available for non-degree-seeking students who are only pursuing the TESOL certificate.​ 
Don't see an answer to your question? Please contact the TESOL Coordinator, Jason Schneider.