The ESL Certification Program of Saint Joseph’s University is a state-approved graduate
program. It provides training necessary for teachers to obtain the Pennsylvania Program
Specialist-ESL Certificate and for others who plan to work with English language learners in
the United States and who may desire to teach English abroad.
The ESL Certification Program requires four core courses that include (a) English Linguistics,
(b) Language and Culture, (c) Second Language Acquisition, and (d) Methods in Teaching
ESL (with lab). The program aims to help the candidates develop the theoretical
understanding and the pedagogical knowledge and skills needed to work with the English
language learners.
Certificate Requirements (13 credits)
All courses meet weekly in the evening. Students are able to complete the program in one to
two years depending on the number of courses they choose to take each semester. The credits
can also be counted towards a Master’s Degree in Education at Saint Joseph’s University.
Option #1 (program completed in 1 year):
First Semester (FALL):
• EDU5905 English Linguistics (3 credits)
• EDU5925 Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
Second Semester (SPRING):
• EDU5915 Language and Culture (3 credits)
• EDU5935 Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language (3 credits)
• EDU5936 ESL Lab (to be taken together with EDU5935) (1 lab credit)
Option #2 (program completed in 2 years):
First Semester (FALL):
• EDU5905 English Linguistics (3 credits)
Second Semester (SPRING):
• EDU5915 Language and Culture (3 credits)
Third Semester (FALL):
• EDU5925 Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
Fourth Semester (SPRING):
• EDU5935 Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language (3 credits)
• EDU5936 ESL Lab (to be taken together with EDU5935) (1 lab credit)
Dr. Ailing Kong, Director
Grad ESL-Specialist Certification Program
Today, English language learners (ELLs)
are the fastest growing student
population in American schools. As this
student population increases, so does
the demand for highly qualified teachers.
The four required courses are designed
to help you gain a better understanding
of ESL students and explore various
teaching strategies which will create
opportunities for your students to
practice and develop their English
If you are caring, empathetic, and eager
to learn about different people and
cultures, we encourage you to join our
program. You can make a difference in
the lives of ESL students and help them
develop the knowledge and skills needed
in their pursuit of the American dream.
—Ailing Kong, Director
ESL-Specialist Certification Program
Saint Joseph's University is a member of the Alpha
Epsilon Lambda honor society, the nation's only
graduate interdisciplinary honor society. Saint
Joseph's Omega Chapter was charted in
1996 and has a proud history of graduates
acknowledged for their academic accomplishment
and leadership skills. A minimum of a 3.85 GPA
and recommendation by the Program Director is
required for membership consideration.
ESL Specialist Certificate Program
“While in the ESL program, I have learned
so much regarding the theory behind
teaching ESL students. I have acquired not
only language and cultural training, but
have also learned how important it is to be
aware of the backgrounds of various
populations serviced through ESL programs.
Through the sensitivity of the
teachers I have had, I have learned how
important student advocacy truly is. This
program has instilled in me a sense of
renewed confidence and enthusiasm for
my profession. I now know what my true
purpose is.”
Erika Yepremian
Reading Specialist and ESL Teacher
Upper Darby High School
Contact information:
Office of Graduate Admission
Saint Joseph’s University
5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Telephone: 610-660-1101
Dr. Ailing Kong, Director, Graduate
ESL-Specialist Certification Program
Telephone: 610-660-1581
To learn more about Saint Joseph’s
ESL Specialist Certificate program
please visit our website:
ESL Specialist Certificate Program
Graduate Programs
College of Arts and Sciences
Application Requirements
• A completed Saint Joseph’s University graduate application. Applications
can be downloaded from or requested by
calling Graduate Admissions at 610-660-1101 or email
• Official sealed transcript(s) of undergraduate/graduate coursework.
• Personal statement – a letter of intention outlining the candidate’s
professional goals and educational objectives for attending the program
of their choice.
• Recommended 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) in undergraduate work.
• Two letters of recommendation.
• $35 application fee waived if attended an Open House or are an
SJU graduate.
Application Deadlines
Saint Joseph’s University operates on a rolling admissions basis for graduate
applications. This means that documents can be submitted to the Graduate
Admissions Office at any time throughout the year for admission consideration.
We suggest that students complete their applications by the dates listed below.
Fall (August): July 15
Spring (January): November 15
Summer (May): April 1
International students visit: for
additional admission requirements.
Submit Applications to:
Office of Graduate Admission:
Saint Joseph’s University, 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Email: Telephone: 610-660-1101 or 1-888-SJU-GRAD
Financial Assistance
Students applying for financial aid administered by Saint Joseph’s University must
file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In order to be eligible
for federal financial assistance, the applicant must be enrolled on a half-time
basis (at least 6 credits per semester) and be a citizen of the United States or have
permanent resident status. For more information go to