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Undergraduate Minor and Certificate in ESL/TESL


The undergraduate minor and certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) will prepare you to teach English in non-K-12 school settings such as community ESL programs, during study abroad, or after you graduate with programs like JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching), the Peace Corps, or the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants program.

This program does not lead to state teaching certification or licensure. ESL teaching licensure is offered only at the graduate level. See the Second Language Education program page for licensure program options.


This program will begin to prepare you to become an effective ESL teacher and can prepare you for further study in second language acquisition at the graduate level. You will learn the structure of English language and best practices for teaching and learning a language in both formal and informal settings.

Curriculum & Requirements

We generally recommend that students take the courses in the following order: CI 3610, 3611W, 3612, 3613, one per semester. It is, however, possible to take courses concurrently with one exception: the required linguistics course (CI 3610, LING 3001, or LING 5001) should be completed prior to enrolling in CI 3612 Introduction to Pronunciation and Grammar for ESL Teachers).

Current student or non-UMN student?

If you are a current University of Minnesota undergraduate student, both the minor and the certificate will appear on your transcript and you will be able to obtain a paper copy of the certificate when you graduate. International students already pursuing a full-time academic program at the University of Minnesota are eligible to apply.

If you are not a current University of Minnesota student, you will apply through the College of Education and Human Development for the certificate only. This certificate program is not intended for international students needing a visa to study in the U.S.

Admissions Information

Application deadlines:

  • August 1 for Fall
  • December 15 for Spring
  • April 15 for Summer

A 2.0 GPA is required.

Current undergraduate students apply online to enroll in the Teaching English as a Second Language minor using the C&I application. For questions related to the minor application or program, contact Darya Tenenbaum.

Non-UMN students apply online for the non-degree TESL certificate using the College's application process. For questions related to the non-degree TESL certificate, contact

Current graduate students cannot apply to the TESL certificate program.

Beccy O'Neil, TESL Minor

"The faculty within the TESL minor have been so incredibly supportive. They work to keep students engaged in the material and encourage students to think critically not just about pedagogy, but about the world as a whole."

Beccy O'Neil, B.A. in English, 2019