MA in English Language Learning

Degree Overview

Our online ELL endorsement preparation program is a great investment. This program is designed for currently licensed elementary and secondary school teachers who want to be licensed to teach in ELL or ESL settings. With this endorsement, you will become highly qualified in ELL or ESL, increase your career opportunities, earn re-licensure points, and have the potential to increase your salary through lane changes.

Who the program is for:

  • Licensed teachers with bachelor’s degrees who are interested in ELL or ESL instruction.
  • District instructional personnel and curricula leaders.
  • "Emergency credentialed" ELL or ESL teachers who need the endorsements to be considered highly qualified.
  • Individuals who can typically spend 15 or more hours per week on their studies.

Note: WGU is the first exclusively online university to receive NCATE accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure, a testament to the fact that WGU graduates "have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn."

IMPORTANT: This program is not for those who want to learn to speak and write the English language. This program is also not for those interested in becoming English teachers or teaching English in a foreign country. The program can lead to an endorsement in ELL or ESL, but only in those states that have such endorsements. If your state offers an ELL endorsement and you wish to pursue that endorsement, you will need to complete your practicum at the K-12 level that aligns with your state endorsement requirements and the WGU ELL PreK-12 program. Students who complete their practicum in any other setting other than a K-12 setting should be prepared NOT to be recommended for licensure. Each student should be aware of the requirements of their particular state for K-12 educators. See the list of states with ESL or ELL endorsements.

This program will be flexible and adaptable to your schedule. Click here to learn more about how your program works.

Learn more about why you should choose WGU.

What You'll Learn

Essential Knowledge and Skills

This online master's degree program in English Language Learning/English as a Second Language (PreK-12) requires the completion of coursework to ensure you have the essential skills and knowledge to teach English as a second language, as well as the completion of a teacher work sample.

Key Subject Areas

These Courses Add to Your Credentials

  • Culture
  • Language Production Acquisition
  • Field Experience in ELL
  • Language Production Acquisition
  • Assessment Professionalism
  • Subject Specific Pedagogy: ELL
  • Literature Reviews for Educational Research

Download the Program Guide        View the Course Study        More Info about Teacher Licensure

Teacher Work Sample:
WGU's online master's degree program in English Language Learning/English as a Second Language also requires the successful completion of a written project containing a comprehensive, original, research-based curriculum unit designed to meet an identified educational need. It provides direct evidence of the candidate’s ability to design and implement a multi-week, standards-based unit of instruction, assess student learning, and then reflect on the learning process.

Go ahead, show everyone what you can do.

Advance Your Career in Education

Make a Difference in a Child's Life

WGU's online teacher education programs prepare you for success in today's challenging classrooms as well as career advancement. The M.A. in English Language Learning degree program combines preparation for ELL/ESL instruction with the coursework to earn your master's degree.

How Your Program Works

A Degree Program That Fits Your Schedule

WGU is designed to let you go to school on your time, not according to a class schedule. Our online teacher education programs are flexible and put YOU at the center of your education: You choose when and where to complete your coursework. Once you demonstrate your competency in a subject area, you can move on to your next course.

Online learning is not easy.

You should expect to work hard and spend 20 hours or more per week on your studies. Still, your program will be flexible enough to fit into your schedule, not the other way around.

How Long It Will Take?

That Depends on You

The average time it takes to complete a Master of Arts in English Language Learning degree program at WGU is 2-2½ years. Our competency-based approach, which allows you to advance through your courses using the skills and knowledge you already have, means that the time to complete a degree can vary from student to student. The amount of time it will take you depends upon three factors:

  1. The knowledge and skills you already possess in the field.
  2. The amount of time you spend working on your program each week.
  3. Your self-motivation and determination.

The Master of Arts ELL/ESL degree program requires the completion of 30 competency units (CUs), which are WGU’s credit equivalents.

While you cannot transfer credits directly toward completion of this program, your transcripts will be used to determine whether you have the necessary academic content background in English language learning for enrollment. A personal evaluation of your transcripts from prior colleges is required prior to admission.

Learn more about the transcript evaluation process

Ultimately, the pace at which you complete your M.A. in English Language Learning online degree program depends on how rapidly you pass assessments.

It’s your program. It’s up to you. Move at your own speed.

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor for a personalized estimate of your time to completion.

How Competency-Based Education Benefits You

Put Your Existing Knowledge to Work

WGU was the first university in the country to employ a cutting-edge, competency-based learning model that lets you use skills and knowledge you already have to accelerate your degree program.

In WGU’s online Master of Arts in English Language Learning/English as a Second Language program, students advance by demonstrating their competence in each subject area. You’ll be able to move quickly through material you already know so you can spend your time focusing on what you still need to learn.

  • You’ll work with your assigned faculty mentor on a personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you move through the program.
  • You’ll collaborate with your Faculty Mentor to determine the learning resources that will help you develop and demonstrate your competency in each subject area.
  • With few exceptions, you’ll be able to choose when and where you study.
  • You’ll be required to complete at least 8 CUs per term (typically four courses) to make On Time Progress, and you can add courses and move more quickly if you choose to and are able.
  • You’ll complete as much work as YOU choose during each six-month term.

How to Save Time AND Money

Graduate with Less Student Debt, or None at All

Example Student A:

Total Credits in Program: 30

Time to complete: 2 years (4 terms)

Tuition: $11,560

Example Student B:

Total Credits in Program: 30

Time to complete: 18 months (3 terms)

Tuition: $8,670

We're committed to keeping tuition low and making sure our online education degree programs remain the very best value for hardworking students. WGU doesn’t spend money on classrooms, research facilities, or football stadiums. Instead, we focus on keeping costs low. In fact, we haven’t increased tuition since 2008.

WGU is Half the Cost
WGU’s M.A. English Language Learning degree program is about half the cost of a comparable program at another online university.

The Faster You Go, the More You Save
Because of WGU's flat-rate tuition, the faster you go, the more you save. Tuition is charged at a flat rate every six months and covers all coursework attempted in that time. Our competency-based approach means you'll have the opportunity to accelerate your progress; if you complete your program ahead of schedule, you'll save both time and money.

WGU's online M.A. in English Language Learning/English as a Second Language (PreK-12) degree program is designed to be affordable for hardworking adults with bills to pay.

WGU Capella University Grand Canyon University
$2,890 per six month term.
If it takes two years = $11,560
46 credit hours x $436 per credit = $20,056 34 credit hours x $510 per credit = $17,340

Here’s what it costs:

  • $2,890: Tuition per 6-Month Term
  • $145: Resource Fee per 6-Month Term
  • $65: One-Time Application Fee

For this program, you'll be expected to complete 8 competency units (credit hours) per term – each course generally represents three or four competency units. Because we allow you to complete extra courses at no extra cost, you may be able to increase the value of your program by dedicating extra time to your studies.

Teacher education programs may include additional fees, including ones for take-home labs, demonstration teaching, and/or the educational leadership practicum.

  • You pay for time—not credits.
  • Your tuition does not go up if you complete additional courses in any give six-month term.
  • The more courses you complete each term the shorter the time to your finished degree.

Financial Aid

It's Okay to Ask for Help

While WGU's low, flat-rate tuition is intended to help you graduate without putting your financial future at risk, there are times when responsible borrowing is a good option.

Federal financial aid is available to many students.
Learn more about tuition and fees.

Compare WGU’s tuition to other schools

This Program Will Help Your Career

Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and was the first exclusively online university to receive accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The NCATE accrediting team extensively reviewed the entire WGU Teachers College curriculum to ensure that “candidates have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn.” This involved intensive interviews with students, faculty, graduates, school district personnel, and education experts, as well as a review of WGU student performance on national performance exams.

WGU is an NEA Academy Partner.

Learn more about accreditation here.

An online teaching degree from WGU tells employers that you’re serious about success. Take the next step.

WGU is also supported by over 20 major corporations and foundations who believe in the university’s commitment to producing highly competent graduates. Several of these corporations continue to serve on our National Advisory Board.

WGU Graduate Success

Just Ask Employers

Our latest survey of employers of WGU graduates speaks volumes about our ability to prepare grads to work in many industries:

You can learn more about how employers view WGU grads by exploring our student success and performance data.

As a graduate of WGU, you’ll have a valued credential that is recognized by employers. You can learn more about how employers view WGU graduates by exploring our Student Success and Performance Data.

How a Course Works

Prove What You Know and Move Forward

In the MA — English Language Learning degree program at WGU, students advance through each course by mastering the course content, then completing and passing challenging assessments that measure knowledge and skills in each subject area.

These rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments, and projects) let you demonstrate your competence in each subject area in order to pass the course and earn competency units (CUs), or credit equivalents.

WGU sets a high standard, and we want our students to succeed. You'll be given ample opportunity to master subject matter, and be allowed a limited number of re-takes.

Get Started

Apply and Enroll

To be admitted into this Teachers College program, you need to submit an official transcript verifying receipt of a baccalaureate degree (B.A. or B.S.) from a regionally accredited institution. You are also required to possess a current, valid teaching license. WGU also recommends six credit hours of college-level foreign language study. See more about Teachers College admissions requirements. and overall admissions information.

Speak to an enrollment counselor and apply today. You’ll be on your way to transforming your career.

WGU awards

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Questions & Answers

Click a question, see the answer to the right.

Will my state recognize my degree?

Yes, provided your state offers ESL or ELL endorsement. (See which states offer ESL or ELL endorsement.) The WGU Teachers College currently serves over 10,000 students throughout the United States. Our master’s degrees are accepted as innovative, leading-edge, credible programs. All teaching programs at WGU are also NCATE-accredited. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor for more details. You can also learn more about WGU’s Student Success and Performance Data.

How will I complete my program?

As a WGU student, you take and complete assessments. You’ll prepare for your assessments by engaging various learning resources including textbooks, web tutorials, and courses. You will determine what learning resources are best for you in consultation with your mentor using your personalized Degree Plan. You can learn more by exploring the WGU Experience. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor who can explain this program in greater depth.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, WGU offers federal financial aid. Loans are available to most students, regardless of financial need. Grants that don’t require repayment are also available for those with financial need. You can check into your financial aid eligibility at any time during the admissions process. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to learn more or visit the Financial Aid section of the website.