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Linguistics Program

TESOL Certificate

Providing a firm grounding in both linguistics and pedagogical theory paired with practical teaching experience, the TESOL Certificate Program prepares future teachers of English as a second or foreign language to apply their skills in settings around the world. 

A TESOL certificate can launch students into ESL teaching opportunities, or provide the basis for further education. The TESOL Certificate Program is a one-year course of study, primarily designed to supplement other degree programs in Linguistics, Foreign Language and Literature, English, or Education. The TESOL certificate by itself can sometimes lead to employment as an ESL teacher but is more often combined with another degree.

Because the TESOL Certificate is a six-course program and because up to eighteen graduate courses from a graduate certificate may apply towards an M.A., a student can usually earn a TESOL Certificate in conjunction with an M.A. in Linguistics with just two additional semester's coursework.

The Certificate Program has close relationships with the English Programs for Internationals (EPI) at South Carolina, which is among the top-ranked adult ESL programs in the nation.

EPI faculty members typically are responsible for the instruction in pedagogically-oriented ESL theory courses, as well as for the practical training component of the Certificate Program. 


The Linguistics Program offers two tracks in TESOL:

  • English as a Foreign Language (EFL) prepares students for post-secondary and/or overseas teaching.
  • English to Speakers of Other Languages (K-12 ESOL) prepares students for ESOL and EFL teaching.

Timetable to Completion

The TESOL Certificate requires 18 credit hours of coursework, which takes one academic year to complete. The maximum time permitted to complete the ESOL Certificate is four years. No courses may be transferred from another university, although up to nine semester hours of overlapping course work from another program at South Carolina may count toward completion of the certificate.

General information about the TESOL Certificate can be found in the Graduate Bulletin. The timetable to completion, course requirements, foreign language requirements, comprehensive examination details, subfield guidelines, and other program-specific requirements can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Career Placements

Alumni of the Linguistics Program who obtained the TESOL Certificate have stepped up to careers in teaching English as a second/foreign language both at home, in the K-12 system of South Carolina, and overseas, in Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia.  

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