Catalog: The TESOL Certificate Program

CU Linguistics is pleased to announce our new TESOL Certificate Program, launched in January 2017. The undergraduate TESOL certificate provides CU Boulder students with foundational knowledge and skills for English teaching while also incorporating the broader perspectives of culture, language use and language learning. Housed in the linguistics department, the 18-credit certificate is open to all interested students, and may be of particular relevance to students from social science, humanities, speech/language, foreign language, international affairs and communication programs or backgrounds. Recent graduates and others who hold a bachelor’s degree may enroll as Access students through Continuing Education.

The widespread role of English as an international lingua franca opens up many opportunities for trained English teachers globally. Increasingly, EFL (English as a foreign language) providers want to hire individuals with relevant training—not just those who are native or near-native speakers. In conjunction with their bachelor’s degrees, students completing the certificate will have the credentials to be able to tap into professional opportunities in the dynamic world of English language teaching–globally and domestically.

The program is focused on the teaching of English to young adults and adults; students with an interest in teaching younger children can apply relevant elective courses from education. Electives also include courses in anthropology, communication, foreign languages, and speech/language. A one-semester practicum experience involves teaching or tutoring with a community ESL provider.

Highlights of the 18-credit-hour Certificate:

  • LING-TESOL core of 3 courses (9 credit hours)
  • 3 electives (9 credit hours) in subjects related to language learning, language(s), communication, culture and society.

Application and Admission
Application Form

Interested degree students and non-degree students may contact the Academic Program Director directly: Application forms are also available from the Linguistics Department office in Hellems 290 and online. Applications are accepted year round. We encourage undergraduate students to apply for admission to the program by their junior year. Earning the Certificate involves meeting the course requirements and receiving a grade of C or better in all Certificate courses. Enrollment is approved on the basis of an unofficial transcript, plan of study, and the information provided on the application form. The Director will also advise students on their course plans and successful Certificate completion. The Linguistics undergraduate academic advisor Allison Sedey ( can also assist students regarding certificate requirements and how certificate courses can fit into a student’s degree plan.

Curriculum Plan: 18 credit hours
Three Core Linguistics Courses with the TESOL focus, including Practicum (9 credit hours)

  • LING 3630 (3 credits). Principles & Practices in TESOL
  • LING 4610 (3 credits). English Structure for TESOL
  • LING 4910 (3 credits). TESOL Practicum


  • LING 3630 was offered earlier as LING 3800: Open Topics: Introduction to TESOL. Students who took LING 3800 will be able to apply this course to the Certificate.
  • LING 3630 can be applied to either the TESOL Certificate or to the Linguistics minor or major (not to both). 
  • LING 4610 can be applied to the TESOL Certificate and also to the Linguistics major or minor.
  • LING 4910 can be applied to the TESOL Certificate only.

Three Elective Courses (9 credit hours)
Choose any three courses below from at least two subject areas. At least one course should not be cross-listed with LING.


  • Students show be aware of prerequisites that may apply for upper level courses listed below.
  • Electives besides those listed below may be considered. Students can propose their alternative electives to the Certificate Academic Director for approval.

Language Learning/Teaching and Literacy

  • SLHS/LING 4560 - Language Development
  • PSYC/LING 4225 - Learning Languages in the World
  • EDUC 2625 - Teaching English as a Second Language
  • EDUC 4125 - Secondary World Language Methods
  • EDUC 4222 - Language Study for Educators (secondary level teaching focus)

Language, Culture, Society

  • ANTH 2100 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH/LING 4800 - Language and Culture
  • ARAB 1011 - Introduction to Arab and Islamic Civilizations
  • ARAB/RLST 2320 - The Muslim World, 600-1250
  • ARAB/WMST 3410 - Gender, Sexuality and Culture in the Modern Middle East
  • CHIN 1012 - Introduction to Chinese Civilization
  • COMM 2400 - Discourse, Culture & Identities
  • COMM 3410 - Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 3420 - Gender and Communication
  • EDUC 4015 - International/Comparative Education
  • FREN 1610 - How to be French 1
  • FREN 1620 - How to be French 2
  • FREN 3700 - French-American Cultural Differences
  • FRSI 1011 - Introduction to Persian Civilization
  • GRMN 1601 - Germany Today
  • GRMN 3520 - Open Topics in the Cultural Context (taught in German)
  • HIND 1011 - Introduction to South Asian Civilizations
  • JPNS 1012 - Introduction to Japanese Civilization
  • JPNS 3851 - Studies in Japanese Popular Culture
  • KREN 1011 - Introduction to Korean Civilization
  • ITAL 1500 - That's Amore: An Introduction to Italian Culture
  • JPNS/LING 4050 - Japanese Sociolinguistics: Japanese Language and Society
  • RUSS 2501 - Russia Today
  • SPAN 3050 - Spanish Phonology and Phonetics
  • SPAN 3200 - Spanish Culture
  • SPAN 3220 - Latin American Culture : Spanish America and Brazil