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M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License in Second Language Education


Earn a license to teach ESL and/or world languages in Minnesota K-12 classrooms. Our program will prepare you to step into your classroom with confidence and solid classroom experience through our unique co-teaching practicum model. The license to teach in Minnesota is highly transferable to other states and our candidates are sought after by local school districts.

Interested in teaching at an immersion school? See the teacher licensure program in elementary education for dual language and immersion teachers.

We also offer a part-time M.Ed and Initial Licensure in Second Language Education program for candidates who are already teaching ESL or a world language and want to earn licensure to teach in Minnesota classrooms.

Master of Education

This program includes two components: initial licensure to be an ESL and/or a world or classical language teacher in Minnesota and a Master of Education degree. A graduate degree will, on average, earn you a pay increase and make you a more competitive job candidate.

Combining an M.Ed. with your teaching license offers the following advantages:

  • Teachers with a master's degree are regarded as experts in their field, making you a more competitive job candidate with an M.Ed.
  • Teachers who have a master's degree will see a roughly $7,000 annual salary increase []
  • Though the salary increase with a master's degree will vary by district and state, Minnesota teachers are on the higher end of the payscale.
  • Once a teacher is employed, there is much more mobility that comes with a master's degree. Teachers with advanced degrees can be promoted to school administration positions and can become mentors to other teachers based upon their graduate training.


The initial teaching licensure coursework is offered in a full-time, 12-month, post-baccalaureate format integrating educational theory and pedagogy with classroom practice. Licensure courses start in June and finish the following May. To complete the M.Ed. students take an additional 3 credits after finishing the licensure part of the program. Evening, online, and summer courses are available to complete the M.Ed. coursework on a part-time basis while teaching. You have up to four years to complete the required 3 credits to earn your M.Ed.


Many students complete licensure in ESL and in a world/classical language. You may also complete licensure in one or two languages such as Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Ojibwe, Classical Greek and Latin, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

The Core Curriculum topics are:

  • Culturally and linguistically sensitive pedagogy
  • Effective pedagogy to promote multilingualism
  • Second language and literacy development
  • Effective use of assessment and technology in the classroom
  • Advocating for social justice in language education
  • Supporting linguistically diverse students
  • Humanizing pedagogy
  • Effectively serving immigrant and refugee student populations

View the curriculum in the course catalog under subplan “Second Language Education.” View a sample plan of study [link].

Unique Cohort and Co-Teaching Model

You will be placed in a classroom with an experienced teacher as part of your educational experience. With ample opportunity to co-teach with a master teacher, you'll merge the theory of your coursework with the complex and compelling realities of the classroom to enter your career with confidence and experience in the field. Learn more about the co-teaching experience.

Our graduate program is designed to foster a community of support. You will join a cohort of candidates who want to become second language teachers and be paired with experienced teachers to complete your fieldwork, entering the classroom prepared to teach.

"You build such strong connections with people who are on the same career path. My colleagues in the cohort push my thinking and growth as much as my professors."

— Paul Glembocki, M.Ed. 2017

Teacher Scholars of Color program

Do you identify, or are you identified, as a non-majority racial group? Consider participating in the Teacher Scholars of Color program. Students admitted to the M.Ed. and initial teaching license have the opportunity to join a community of prospective teachers of color and get paired with a faculty mentor. International students are also welcome to this program. Find out more about the TSoC program.

Career Outlook

Our graduates find teaching positions locally, nationally, and internationally.

The annual mean salary for Minnesota teachers in 2016 were $62,000 for elementary school teachers, $62,470 for middle school teachers, and $64,310 for high school teachers [Burea of Labor Statistics].


Priority deadline to apply: December 15

Admissions decisions made by February

A bachelor's degree and 2.80 GPA is required. All international students require transcript evaluations.

To ensure you have the required prerequisites to enter the program, please get your transcript pre-checked by the academic adviser, Michelle McElroy before applying. A bachelor's degree and 2.80 GPA are required.

DirecTrack to Teaching: For current freshmen and sophomores at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, DirecTrack to Teaching offers a preferred admission to the M.Ed. and Initial licensure program. If you are a freshman or sophomore interested in teaching, visit the DirecTrack page.

Consider adding the Racial Justice in Urban Schooling minor or Teach English as a Second Language (TESL) minor to explore teaching while you are in your undergraduate major.

For detailed admission information and tuition information on the M.Ed and Initial Teaching License program visit our admissions page.

Erica Grandpre

My teaching cohort provided a constant energy of encouragement and empathy. I remember being told at orientation how close we would become; I kind of doubted it at the time, but it is absolutely true.

Erica Grandpre, M.Ed. Second Language Education, 2017