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Teaching English as a Second Language

  • Credits:
    (4 terms)
  • Degree:
    Master of Education
  • Program Approved:
    PR Council of Education

Program Description

Learn how to teach English as a second language to students in Puerto Rico and across the nation. The Teaching English as a Second Language master’s degree is based on nationally recognized research-based models for teaching students in grades PreK-6, 5-12, and adult levels. Graduates may request recertification from the Department of Education of Puerto Rico if they already possess certifications in other areas, and are qualified to teach English as a second language in public and private schools.

Why Learning to Teach English as a Second Language Is Important

English learners are one of the fastest growing groups of students in the United States. These English language learners are faced with learning a new language and culture, while simultaneously working to the same academic standards as their classmates whose first language is English. Teachers of English as a second language create learning environments that empower English learners to succeed in the classroom, in their careers, and in day-to-day life. Dedicated, compassionate ESL teachers are critical to the success of these students in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the United States.

Cambridge College English as a Second Language Master’s Degree Program Highlights

Take the next step toward a rewarding career working with English language learners. The Teaching English as a Second Language master’s degree prepares you for this fast-growing field while 

offering a flexible, affordable graduate program option for adult learners. Benefits of our program include:

  • Career-focused learning. This program is designed for educators who want to get to know their students and help them learn. Learning is personalized through independent projects that prepare you to be informed, compassionate, and committed English as a second language teachers.
  • Experienced faculty. Our faculty are professionals with extensive knowledge of language acquisition and the cultural factors that affect learning. They are also experienced in using best practices in the classroom.
  • Flexible classes. Offering convenient evening, weekend, and online class options designed for adult learners, Cambridge College provides the flexibility you need to complete your master’s degree on a schedule that works for you.
  • Exceptional value. Cambridge College is one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges in the United States, offering lower tuition and greater value for your education.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 9 percent of all public school students in the United States are English language learners. By the year 2025, it’s expected that nearly one out of every four public school students will be learning English as a second language.

Teaching English as a Second Language Learning Outcomes

When you complete your master’s degree, you’ll understand what it means to acquire a language; be aware of the cultural factors that affect your academic achievements; and grasp the current theories, research, and best practices for literacy in English.

You will learn how to use research-based methodology to help English language learners master the language. You’ll know how to use Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) strategies to understand the class content standards. You’ll also be ready to plan a curriculum, teach effectively, manage your classroom, and promote equality.

Teaching English as a Second Language Jobs

Our graduates are teachers of English as a second language in schools, higher education and professional settings, and more. Graduates of this program are also eligible for recertification by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. Prior valid Puerto Rico teacher certification in another area or discipline is required.

Example Teaching English as a Second Language Classes

Classes for the master’s degree in teaching English as a second language include:

  • Sheltered Instruction and Assessment
  • Second Language Acquisition and Culture
  • Technology for Linguistically Diverse Classrooms

Download the Teaching English as a Second Language program sheet.

Teaching English as a Second Language Scholarships and Financial Aid

Get help with tuition and other education costs. You may qualify for grants, scholarships, loans, and other types of financial assistance to help pay for your master’s degree. Learn more about applying for financial aid at Cambridge College.

Many companies also offer tuition assistance programs that can help to pay for your education. Find more about getting your company to help.



All courses are taught in Spanish.


Course content focuses on ESL secondary students.

Teaching Child and Adolescent Literature to ESL Students
ESL 600 3 credit(s)

This course will focus on developing ESL teachers' knowledge of quality literature available for adolescents. Teachers will read various literary genres (essays, short stories, poetry, novels) to analyze and evaluate their content to be able to select those which will best adapt to their ESL students. The course promotes literature to motivate reading and writing about topics related to students' lives, culture, and social issues. Strategies to improve students' reading comprehension and analytical skills will be studied.

Linguistics and Language Variations
ESL 610 3 credit(s)
Participants are introduced to language and linguistics (system, functions, registers, variation, change). They consider language structure (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse, social/academic language, registers, writing conventions). They discuss language acquisition and literacy: significant theories/practices for English first-language reading skills and comprehension at different grade levels, and the relevance of linguistic differences between first and second language for reading instruction in English. They understand socio-cultural and socio-emotional considerations in teaching ESL: regional, socioeconomic, and developmental factors influencing language variation and bilingualism/multilingualism
Methods and Materials for English as a Second Language
ESL 615 3 credit(s)
In this introductory course, participants reinforce and apply knowledge of structure and nature of language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse, social/academic language, registers, writing conventions). They discuss and model instructional approaches and best practices for teaching ESL (instructional foundations, theories and sheltered strategies for developing English language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing for English language learners in bilingual/multilingual classes from primary grads on and research-based practices for English language development.
Teaching Reading and Writing to ESL Students
ESL 620 3 credit(s)
Participants apply understanding of language and linguistics, reinforce knowledge of language acquisition and literacy: theories/practices to develop reading skills/comprehension in English as a first language at different educational levels; linguistic differences between first/second language for English reading instruction; differences in initial instruction for students not literate in their first language; first language literacy effects on second language literacy; formal/informal measures for assessing skill development with ESL learners; developing listening/speaking/reading/writing vocabulary; approaches for developing writing skills and use of writing tools; writing process and formal writing elements; English oral/aural fluency; social/academic English and content language; metalinguistic skills and vocabulary appropriate to cognitive, academic, and language proficiency levels.
Technology for Linguistically Diverse Physical and Virtual Classrooms
ESL 625R 3 credit(s)

Participants acquire technological knowledge of resources and strategies that can be utilized for various language and linguistic functions. Students will strengthen their technological knowledge of listening, speaking, reading, and writing vocabulary development, as well as the use of writing tools in both physical and virtual classrooms. Participants will apply this knowledge to plan and implement standards-based ESL and content instruction; they will also gain knowledge of instruction, assessments, resources, research, and recent advances in technology for ESL teachers.

Equitable Assessment for ESL Learners
ESL 630 3 credit(s)
Assessment of English Language Learners (ELLs) is affected by federal/state regulations, including state-wide adoption of the WIDA ACCESS Test for ELLs. Course participants will understand laws and issues pertinent to the education of ELLs, and user of tests, performance tasks and self-assessments for identification, placement, and reclassification of ELLs. They will learn to interpret ACCESS results, consider the effects of socio-cultural, psychological, political, and individual learning variables, and apply these to design differentiated assessment measures that enable ELLs to use academic language in demonstrating content knowledge and English proficiency. Participants will have the opportunity to observe and interact with ESL students in field-based classroom situations.
Second Language Acquisition and Culture
ESL 631 3 credit(s)
Participants in this introductory course develop knowledge of language and linguistics: system, functions, registers, variations, changes. They discuss language acquisition theory/research; cultural/linguistic differences affecting reading instruction; ESL socio-cultural, socio-economic, socio-emotional, and developmental factors influencing bilingualism/multilingualism; cultural intersection with teaching and learning; cultural/racial/ethnic/linguistic identity; inter-cultural communication, role of community, families, and schools in ELL education. They apply theoretical, political, historical foundations of education for ELLs, and strategies for school collaboration, family outreach, and community.
Sheltered Instruction and Assessment
ESL 635 3 credit(s)
This course is designed for teachers and administrators experiencing the challenge of meeting the academic needs of multilevel, diverse classrooms PreK-12 that require sheltered instruction techniques and state mandated assessment instruments for English language learners (ELLs). This course will provide participants with multiple opportunities to learn and apply sheltering content instruction strategies to enable ELLs to meet grade level academic standards by utilizing the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) as demonstrated in national research on best practices for effective instruction. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Identification and Instruction of ESL Learners with Disabilities
ESL 640 3 credit(s)
This course will provide a framework for developing a comprehensive system for the assessment and instruction of ESL learners preK-12 with disabilities and/or limited or interrupted formal schooling. Participants will gain an understanding of the second language acquisition process, literacy development in the second language, culture, alternative assessment measures, and appropriate instructional methodology for ESL learners with disabilities and/or ESL learners with limited or interrupted formal schooling. They will identify key issues in the assessment and instruction of ESL learners with disabilities and/or limited or interrupted formal schooling, including under-representation and over-representation in special education, appropriate assessment measures, and legal responsibilities. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the use of alternative assessment measures for distinguishing between disability, literacy development, and developmental process of second language learning. They will also develop appropriate second language instruction for ELLs with disabilities and/or limited formal schooling.
Teaching Content to ESL Learners
ESL 650 3 credit(s)
This course provides educators working with second language learners a theoretical and practical framework for integrating academic language development into content area instruction in grades preK-12. Students will be presented with an overview of instructional concepts and approaches that recognize the role that language plays as the major medium of instruction and learning including language across the curriculum, CALLA (cognitive academic language learning approach), process writing, cooperative learning and cognitive instruction. Participants will have guided practice in using and applying effective teaching strategies that support the linguistic and academic development of ESL learners within the context of the content area classroom. They will learn how to plan and deliver instruction to help ESL learners understand academic content, develop academic language, increase higher order thinking skills, and strategically apply learning strategies.


  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Program Requirements

Prior valid Puerto Rico certification as teacher of English (elementary level) or another area required.

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for Undergraduate Programs

For the MEd in Interdisciplinary Studies, see Graduate Education Programs Admission Requirements

International Students 

International students need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more about transferring credits.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Note: Rates are as of June 2023, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half-time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state, and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

Take the Next Step Toward Your Master's Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language