Non-degree English as a Second Language Endorsement Program

    Program Overview

    The non-degree English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement program offered at the GSE provides candidates with a foundational understanding of English language learning in K-12 settings; of English language instruction and assessment strategies; and of the relationships between language and culture in multilingual and diverse communities. The program is usually completed exclusively online and is designed for individuals who already possess a New Jersey Standard Teaching Certificate or Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) in a content field or elementary education. Candidates holding a New Jersey Certificate of Eligibility (CE) must successfully complete both their 15-credit program and an alternate route program prior to being recommended for the ESL endorsement. 

    Candidates will be recommended for the ESL endorsement upon completion of the 5 courses within the 15-credit program. All 15 credits in the endorsement program must be completed online at Rutgers University. No transfer credits will be accepted. After completing all of the required courses in the program, graduates should apply for and will be endorsed by the GSE to receive, certification in ESL Education from the NJ Department of Education. Students who are accepted in the program and are interested in taking one or more courses offered in-person on the New Brunswick campus must obtain special permission from their instructor. 

    This program does not lead to a degree or initial teacher certification. Applicants interested in obtaining their initial teaching certification should apply to the Ed.M. certification program in English as a Second Language rather than this program. 

    For more information about this program:

    Note to Students Currently Enrolled in the Program:

    The 18-credit ESL Endorsement Program has changed to the new 15-credit ESL Endorsement Program (described above), effective fall 2020. Current students enrolled in the 18-credit program who began on or before fall 2020 should note that the new 12-credit program requirements do meet the New Jersey Department of Education certification requirements. If you began the BBE endorsement program on or before fall 2020, you have the option of taking the new program with less credit requirements. Please contact the program coordinator for more information.

    Program Details

    Application Deadline

    Aug 15 / Dec 15 / May 15

    Entry Term(s)

    Fall / Spring / Summer

    Program Level


    Program Type



    100% Online



  • What You’ll Learn

    Students enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement program at the GSE  will take foundational courses grounded in culturally sustaining language pedagogy and practice. Community-engaged courses will allow you to connect theory and practice, and to learn with and from multilingual communities. In doing so, you can expect to learn more about English as a second language and bilingual education in the United States and around the world, as well as principles and practices underlying bilingualism-biculturalism in a multiethnic society.

    For more information about the courses in this program, please visit the course catalog and online schedule of classes.

  • Program Requirements

    15 Graduate Course Credits

    • 3 Credits – Language and Culture
    • 3 Credits – Principles of Language Learning: Second and World Language Acquisition
    • 3 Credits – Foundations of Language
    • 3 Credits – Academic English in the Content Areas*
    • 3 Credits – Methods for Teaching and Assessing English Language Learners**

    *Students who have successfully taken both 05:300:452 and 453 as part of a 5-year or post-baccalaureate initial certification program at the GSE may substitute those courses for 15:253:510. Only students who took these courses as part of a GSE initial certification program may make the substitution.

    **This course may have a clinical assignment requiring participation in a school setting. For those in online programs, clinical placements will be determined in conjunction with your instructor.



      • Students will archive artifacts from various GSE courses via an online instructional and evaluation system as directed by faculty

    Students are expected to maintain a “B” or better average as a non-degree student. Accepted students will have 5 years to complete the program. After completing all of the required courses in the program, students should contact the Office of Academic Services at the GSE to notify them and to secure an application for the state endorsement. GSE personnel will then forward the completed application to Trenton along with a recommendation that the certification be awarded.


    Additional Requirements for New Jersey Certification:

    New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 18A:37-22 requires that educators entering the workforce in the 2012 school year and beyond must have completed through their pre-service preparation (e.g., courses, practicum) a program on harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) prevention. The HIB prevention requirements apply to the following programs: (a) teachers and education services personnel certifications; and (b) administrative certifications, including chief school administrators, principals, and supervisors. Details on the required training can be found here.

  • Careers and Outcomes

    With increasing diversity in New Jersey schools and a growing need for ESL educators, certified teachers who enroll in and complete the ESL Endorsement Program distinguish themselves from their peers and are better situated for priority employment, career advancement, and increases in compensation. Beyond acting as practitioners helping students learn English and advance their language proficiency, graduates may also find themselves in advocacy, educational advisory, consulting, and development roles, both within and outside of traditional school settings, serving students from infancy to adulthood. Completion of the program can also serve as a pathway to a Master’s Degree in Language Education with Endorsement in ESL and/or Bilingual/Bicultural Education. Students admitted to the non-degree program who wish to also pursue their Master’s Degree with the ESL Endorsement are strongly encouraged to apply to the degree program as early as possible because taking the non-degree courses does not guarantee acceptance to the Master’s program.

  • Admissions Requirements
    • Electronic copy of a New Jersey Standard Instructional Certificate or a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS).
      • Applicants who hold a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) must provide a letter of employment from their school district and proof of enrollment in an alternate route educator preparation program.
    • Statement of Program Intent
    • Undergraduate transcripts
    • Passing scores on the Oral Proficiency Interview and a Written Proficiency Test in English.
      • Any test scores submitted must be less than five years old. Scores must be official, not self-reported.

    Applicants are responsible for reviewing and confirming that they meet all requirements before the application is submitted. Rutgers Graduate School of Education will not refund the application fee if an applicant is not accepted.

  • How to Apply

    Current Rutgers University Students:

    All applicants who are currently enrolled in a program at Rutgers University and wish to begin the certificate program while continuing their current program should contact the GSE Office of Student and Academic Services (OSAS) at

    Non-Rutgers University Students:

    1. Collect the materials required for admission
    2. Submit your application online at
    3. Submit supporting materials online
    4. Any supporting materials that cannot be submitted electronically should be mailed to Graduate Admissions’ New Brunswick office. Their mailing address can be found here:
  • Tuition


    Click here for the New Brunswick Graduate tuition rates.

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