Program Description:

With a growing need for trained instructors of English as a second language, this Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate certificate uses linguistics theory and research to provide students with fundamental knowledge of English and the skills to teach non-native learners. This program is composed of courses in linguistic theory, the structure of the English sound system and grammar, adult second language learning, and pedagogical approaches including a practicum in classroom ESL teaching.

What it costs:

The cost for this program is $581.00 per credit hour for VA state residents or $735.00 per credit hour for Non-VA residents. See the Cost tab below for a breakdown of tuition and fees. All of Mason’s tuition rates and fees can be found on our Student Accounts site.


Application Deadline:

This program has an application deadline of April 15 for Fall and October 15 for Spring. For all application information and deadlines, see the Admissions site.

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Program Summary

100% Percent Online

Program: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Degree: Graduate Certificate

College/School: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Credits: 18 total total

Learn to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages

There is a growing need for trained instructors of English for Speakers of Other Languages. Using linguistics theory and research, Mason’s online TESOL graduate certificate provides you with the fundamental knowledge of English and the skills to teach it to non-native learners. This program is available fully online and may be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis, allowing students to complete the entire program in as little as one year.


Why choose George Mason?

· This is a carefully designed distance education program based upon our 30+ years of experience in operating a successful TESOL certificate program on campus.

· This is a unique program that equips students with both the linguistic and pedagogical tools to teach adults English, stressing the relationship between theory and practice.

· The courses allow both asynchronous and synchronous types of instruction. Students work individually and in groups and develop valuable associations with various TESOL teaching institutes.

· All courses are internationally accredited and can be used toward completing Mason’s face-to-face MA in English with a concentration in Linguistics.

· Our TEOSL certificate is recognized to allow students to teach English nationally and internationally in adult continuing education and community college environments.

Program requirements are subject to change; please refer to the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements.

All courses for this program can be completed in an online format. Most courses are delivered asynchronously, typically during the semesters indicated below.


Requirements: 18 credits total

· LING 520 Introduction to Linguistics | 3 credits | Fall, Spring

· LING 521 Applied Linguistics: TESL | 3 credits | Fall

· LING 522 Modern English Grammar | 3 credits | Spring

· LING 523 English Phonetics | 3 credits | Fall

· LING 525 Practicum in ESL | 3 credits | Spring

· LING 582 Second Language Acquisition | 3 credits | Spring

Please note that students must earn a minimum grade of 3.00 in each course. In addition to meeting the requirements for this certificate, students must meet the university requirements for all graduate certificates.


Tuition (2019-2020)


Virginia Resident $546.00

Non-Virginia Resident $700.00

Distance Learning Fee $35.00

Total Cost per Credit for VA Residents $581.00

Total Cost per Credit for Non-VA Residents $735.00

Graduate New Student Fee $60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)


Please Note: In addition to the tuition and fees described above, various course and lab fees may be assessed depending on the course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.


*For students enrolled in this fully online program through Mason Learning Solutions. Starting in Fall 2015, students who enroll in this fully online program through the Learning Solutions office may receive a discount off of the university’s approved tuition rate for out-of-state CHSS graduate students. Students who register for the online program through Learning Solutions will be restricted to taking their courses in an online format and will not be able to take Mason’s face-to-face courses. Financial Aid For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Additionally, your current employer may provide tuition reimbursement opportunities for graduate studies. (


Career Opportunities

A certificate in linguistic theory provides the basis for a career that deals with language, and linguists work in a variety of positions. This program is ideal for anyone interested in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to adult language learners. Those who already teach ESL would gain a valuable linguistic background to help guide and inform language teaching.


Most graduates of the program in linguistics teach language as ESL instructors at colleges, adult education programs, and in public school systems, and some go on to teach foreign languages in the US and abroad. Linguists are also qualified for positions in industry as computational linguists, dealing with language understanding by machines. There are also careers for linguists in automatic translation, speech recognition, and brand name creation.


As a Mason student, you may also contact Mason Career Services for more career information and counseling.

Further Studies

Students may also apply to Mason’s face-to-face MA in English with a concentration in Linguistics program, which can be completed concurrently with the TESL Graduate Certificate to constitute an integrated curriculum that bridges theory and application. Contact your program advisor for more information.

Program ContactEmail:
Program Website
Department Website

All applicants should review College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) steps for Applying to a Graduate Certificate Program. For those with international credentials, see CHSS requirements for International Applicants.


Prerequisites · Meet admission standards specified in the University Catalog


Application Materials* · Graduate Application

· Application fee

· In-state tuition form (if applicable) · One Official Transcript from all previous institutions attended (see CHSS guidelines)

· Goals statement

· Two letters of recommendation

· Analytical Writing Sample (at least 1000 words)

*Students already accepted or enrolled in another degree program in CHSS only need to submit a Graduate Secondary Certificate Program Application.

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact the CHSS Department of English at or (703) 993-1160.