Languages and Cultures

West Chester University

Dr. Mahmoud Amer
Acting Chair 2016-2017
224 Mitchell Hall
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2700
Fax: 610-436-3048

TESOL Programs



Please visit the Graduate Studies page to apply!

Program Brochure

MA TESL Advising Sheet / TESL CERT Advising Sheet

Approved Program of Study Form




[Program Handbook]

[Mission Statement and Student Learning Outcomes]

The mission of the TESL Program at West Chester University is to educate and prepare candidates, so that they are knowledgeable in the factors and issues which inform second language education, are highly capable instructors of English as a Second Language for a variety of learners in a variety of contexts including public schools (PK-12), and have the skills necessary to function as effective language and literacy educators and community leaders among diverse populations both within the U.S. and abroad.

The courses and scholarship in the TESL Program fulfill the following learning objectives:


1. Language (Content Knowledge): Candidates know, understand, and use the major theories and research related to the structure and acquisition of language to help English language learners’ (ELLs’) develop language and literacy and achieve in the content areas.


2. Culture: Candidates know, understand, and use major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the nature and role of culture and cultural groups to construct supportive learning environments for ELLs.


3. Instruction: Candidates know, understand, and use evidence-based practices and strategies related to planning, implementing, and managing standards-based ESL and content instruction. Candidates are knowledgeable about program models and skilled in teaching strategies for developing and integrating language skills. They integrate technology as well as choose and adapt classroom resources appropriate for their ELLs.


4. Assessment: Candidates demonstrate understanding of issues and concepts of assessment and use standards-based procedures with ELLs.


5. Professionalism: Candidates keep current with new instructional techniques, research results, advances in the ESL field, and education policy issues and demonstrate knowledge of the history of ESL teaching. They use such information to reflect on and improve their instruction and assessment practices. Candidates work collaboratively with school staff and the community to improve the learning environment, provide support, and advocate for ELLs and their families.


6. Information literacy: Candidates determine and evaluate information critically, use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose, and access and use information ethnically and legally. Candidates communicate information in a clear manner.




Garrett G. Molholt, Ph.D. (English)

Frederick R. Patton, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)         

Andrea Varricchio, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)


Associate Professors

Maria José Cabrera, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)


Assistant Professors

Mahmoud Amer, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)

Jelena Colovic-Markovic, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)

W. Keith Corbitt, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)

Innhwa Park, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures), Program Director

Esther Smidt, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)

Dominik Wolff, Ph.D. (Languages and Cultures)

[Programs of Study]

The Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA TESL) is an
interdisciplinary graduate program administered by the departments of Languages and Cultures and
English, and in collaboration with Literacy, Communicative Disorders, and various programs within the
College of Education. The MA is primarily designed for those preparing to teach English to learners
whose first language is not English, and for pre-certified teachers who wish to develop their field-related
expertise in the area of second language teaching, curriculum design, assessment, language program
development, and educational leadership and advocacy.

The PDE ESL Program Specialist Certificate Program (PDEEPS) is designed to qualify pre-certified
teachers to teach ESL in PA public schools, in cases where a primary teaching certification is already in
place at the time of application to the program. Therefore, PDEEPS applicants should have previously
student taught and earned formal (stand-alone) certification from the PDE in another area before entering
this program. Applicants to PDEEPS are required to first earn Instructional I certification in an alternate
subject area (e.g., K-12 Spanish or French, Secondary English, Social Studies) recognized by the PDE in
order to apply for the necessary qualification for teaching ESL in the public schools in Pennsylvania.

In consultation with an advisor and faculty mentors, the PDEEPS course sequence may also be
geared to prepare graduates for EFL or ESL teaching outside of PK-12 public school contexts in the U.S.
and abroad. As detailed below, all certification courses and experiences may be applied toward the MA
TESL when students decide to continue advanced coursework beyond the requirements of certification.


[Admission Requirements]

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to a graduate program at West Chester, applicants must document background in the following areas:

1) Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited in the United States or its equivalent from a school in another country. A minimum 2.80/4.0 undergraduate GPA is required. Provisional acceptance may be possible under some circumstances for applicants who do not meet this standard;

2) Prior “Introduction to Linguistics” coursework (subject to approval by a TESOL program adviser). Applicants who do not meet this criterion will be offered provisional admission to the program and be required to take LIN 501 during the fall semester in order to gain full admission status;

3) A broad liberal arts background with an emphasis on languages, linguistics and other social sciences is expected, e.g., background in a second language, English, linguistics, education, philosophy, communications, anthropology, sociology and/or psychology;

4) Proficiency in English. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official report from one of the following organizations:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) - applicants must score a minimum of 580  (218 for the computer-based exam; 92 for the internet-based exam); or
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) - applicants must receive an overall IELTS score at band 6.5 or above, and minimum scores of 6.5 for speaking, listening, reading and writing are preferred.
  • In addition, for students in the ESL Program Specialist Certificate Program, applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English via the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test called the "English Language Oral Proficiency Interview" (OPI). Information about the ACTFL test, including test dates and locations in international countries, can be obtained from the

5) GRE scores *are not required* for application or admission to TESOL Programs at WCU. 

6) Students who do not meet requirements upon application for admission may be admitted provisionally and, in consultation with their adviser, will select additional courses in order to satisfy these requirements by the time of degree candidacy (after 12-15 credits).  

7) All students who are US citizens must have all clearances completed before starting any courses which involve field experiences in public schools in Pennsylvania, including LAN 503, ENG/LAN 569, ENG 576, and ENG 587.


Further information is provided in the Program Handbook.

M.A in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) (36 Semester hours)

Required courses (24 semester hours)

LAN 500 (Methods and Materials of Research in Second Language Education)

LAN 503 (Techniques of Second Language Teaching)

LIN 540 (Sociolinguistics)

ENG 575 (Structure of Modern English)

ENG 576 (Curriculum and Materials for TESOL)

ENG 581 (Teaching Reading and Writing to ESL Students)

ENG/LAN 583 (Second Language Acquisition)

ENG 587 (ESL Practicum)


Electives (12 semester hours)

Electives may be drawn from the following areas:

ENG, LIN, LAN, SPA, EDR, EDM, EDT, EDT, other (by advisor approval)

MA  TESL  candidates  also  submit  a  culminating  assessment  portfolio  and  take  a required comprehensive  examination  upon  completion  of  the  required  coursework (final semester). Candidates  must  inform  the  program  director  of  the  completion  plan  to  schedule  the  examination at

their  earliest  convenience (no  later  than  the  beginning  of  the  final  semester).


ESL Program Specialist (PDEEPS) Certificate (18 semester hours)

Required courses (18 semester hours)

LAN 500 (Methods and Materials of Research in Second Language Education)

LAN 503 (Techniques of Second Language Teaching)

LIN 540 (Sociolinguistics)

ENG/LAN 569 (Teaching English Language Learners PK-12)

ENG 575 (Structure of Modern English)

ENG 576 (Curriculum and Materials for TESOL)


[Course Descriptions]

Symbols: ENG (English), LAN (Languages and Cultures), LIN (Linguistics)

ENG 575 Structure of Modern English (3) Analysis of the details and system of English grammar. Consideration of alternate approaches in analyzing English sentences. Application of analyses to grammar instruction.

ENG 576 Curriculum and Materials for TESL (3) Application of basic second language learning principles to the analysis, development, and implementation of ESL materials, learner assessment instruments, and curriculum design.

ENG 579 History and Dialects of American English (3) Exploration of the historical, cultural, social, and linguistic conditions and processes contributing to the development of varieties of American English. Linguistic and sociolinguistic analysis of varieties of American English, including regional, social, and gender varieties, as well as register. Consideration of implications of nonstandard language varieties for education.

ENG 581 Teaching Reading and Writing to ESL/Second Language Students (3) ESL/second language reading and writing research and theory; connections to first language/literacy models; techniques, materials, and tasks that facilitate the acquisition of ESL/second language literacy.

ENG/LAN 582 Sociolinguistic Issues in ESL/Second Language Education (3) Introduction to social, historical, legal, and cultural issues influencing language use and language learning in language minority communities, schools, and homes. Introduction to issues in bilingual education and language programs for immigrants around the world.

ENG/LAN 583 Second Language Acquisition (SLA) (3) Introduction to key issues in SLA research and theory. Analysis of SLA studies and connection to second language teaching. Design of original mini-study of second language learning.

ENG 586 Field Experiences and Issues in ESL Teaching (3) Provides opportunities for students to observe ESL instruction in a variety of settings, as well as assist ESL instructors in the classroom, including elementary, secondary, university, and adult community programs. Discussion and projects allow students to connect their experiences and observations to current TESL theory and trends introduced in course readings.

ENG 587 ESL Practicum I (1-6) Assists students in developing ESL teaching skills. Encourages reflection on practice and examination of personal beliefs on practice.

ENG 588 ESL Practicum II (1-3) This course is designed for graduate students and ESL professionals who desire additional practical experience in ESL contexts. Special topics covered include some of the following: program design, teacher development and supervision, and materials writing.

ENG 610 Teaching ESL/Second Language to Elementary/Secondary Students (3) Focuses on special language-learning needs of ESL/second language students in elementary, middle, and high school, as well as on trends in teaching second language to these groups, including literature-based, theme-based, and vocationally oriented instruction.

ENG 611 Content-Based ESL/Second Language Instruction (3) Designed for teachers of content areas, as well as for ESL/second language teachers. Examines program models, curriculum design, materials adaptation, and evaluation/assessment that combine language and content. Students consider shortcomings of this second language teaching trend.

ENG/LAN 612 Assessment of ESL/Second Language Students (3) Selection, evaluation, adaptation, and creation of assessment instruments for ESL/second language students. Practice in administering tests and interpreting results. Overview of issues in assessing second language students.

LAN 500 Methods and Materials of Research in Second Language Education (3)

Techniques of research in language education, including sources, design, interpretation, evaluation, and reporting of data.

LAN 503 Techniques of Second Language Teaching (3)

Advanced course in recent theoretical bases, methods for teaching beginning and advanced levels, curriculum design, and evaluation.

PREREQ: LIN 501 or permission of equivalent.

LIN501 Introduction to Linguistics (3) Analysis and characterization of what humans know when they know a language, including knowledge of the sound, word formation, sentence structure, meaning, and pragmatic systems. Development of tools and skills for describing and analyzing language. Application of linguistic principles to such cross-disciplinary studies of language as sociolinguistics, language classification, and language acquisition.

LIN 540 Sociolinguistics (3) The study of language in its social context: the ethnography of communication; language and society, social classes, ethnic groups, politics, sex, and education. PREREQ: LIN 501 or permission of instructor.

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