Degree Overview

Master of Arts English Language Learning/English as a Second Language (ELL/ESL)

Our online master’s degree program in ELL/ESL will transform you into an educational leader. The program will prepare you to teach effectively in ELL or ESL settings and provide curricular leadership in your school system. The knowledge gained from your studies will help you become an asset in your community.

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.

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 how your program works.

What You'll Learn

Essential Knowledge and Skills

This online master's degree program in English Language Learning/English as a Second Language (ELL/ESL) 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, Theory and Acquisition
  • Field Experience in ELL
  • Theories of Second Language Acquisition and Grammar
  • Planning, Managing, and Implementing Instruction
  • Assessment Theory and Practice
  • Professional Role of the ELL Teacher
  • Subject Specific Pedagogy

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.

How It 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 degree program is flexible and puts 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 Will It Take?

It Depends On You

The average time it takes to complete a Master of Arts in English Language Learning degree program at WGU is 2-2.5 years.

WGU’s competency-based method, which allows you to advance through your courses using the skills and knowledge you already have, may allow you finish your degree in even less time.

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

A personal evaluation of your transcripts from prior colleges is required prior to admission.

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

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

It’s your program. It’s up to you. Create your own schedule, choose your pace and achieve your personal goals.

"Whether you're looking for a career change with your bachelor's degree or continuing your education with a master's degree, WGU's Teacher College is a quality choice." Mrs. Karen Pence,
First Lady of Indiana

How Competency-Based Education Benefits You

Put Your Existing Knowledge to Work

Western Governors University 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 degree programs, 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.
  • With few exceptions, you’ll be able to choose when and where you study.
  • You’ll complete as much work as YOU choose during each six-month term.
  • 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.
  • You’ll be required to complete at least 12 CUs per term for bachelor's degree programs and 8 CUs per term for graduate degree programs in order to make On Time Progress. If you choose to and are able, you can add courses and move more quickly through your program.

How Much Will It Cost?

Less Than You Think

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. And because we charge tuition at a flat rate each term, if you complete coursework ahead of schedule, you can save yourself money as well as time.

Cost of Earning a Degree

You’ll pay the same low tuition each 6-month term, regardless of how many courses you complete. If you accelerate your degree program, you’ll pay less for your degree.

Tuition and Fees

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.

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

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.

Learn more about tuition and fees.

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.

Tuition Comparison: ELL/ESL (PreK-12)

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

*Note: This chart is for illustration only and reflects the tuition information made public by other institutions and WGU’s standard tuition of $2,890 per term as of February 1, 2015. Tuition for the MBA and nursing programs is higher at $3,250 per term. Actual rates will vary depending on the number of terms needed to complete the program. Check the website for the most current tuition information.

Compare WGU tuition to tuition at other schools

You pay for time—not credits

  • No matter how many courses you complete each term, your tuition stays the same.
  • The more courses you complete each term, the fewer terms you have until graduation.
  • Our competency-based model gives you the opportunity to accelerate your progress.
  • If you complete your program ahead of schedule, you'll save both time and money.

Financial Aid

You Can Afford to Earn a Degree

WGU’s financial aid experts are on hand to help you finance your education in the smartest way possible. 76% of WGU students receive some type of financial aid.

Federal Financial Aid is available to most students.

Respected, Recognized, and Accredited

Same Accreditation as State Universities and Private Colleges

Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major universities in the West, including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and the University of Utah, among many others. Learn more about accreditation here.

Western Governors University 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). WGU has Teachers College graduates working in all 50 states, and has been recognized by the White House as an example of what works in postsecondary education.

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.

An online teaching degree from WGU tells employers that you're serious about success.

Take the next step into a prosperous future.

WGU Graduates Succeed

Become a Success Story

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

99%of employers agreed that WGU graduates meet or exceed their expectations.

92%

of employers said WGU grads exceed expectations.

94%

of employers rated WGU graduates’ job performance as good as or better than the job performance of graduates from other institutions.

96%

of employers consider WGU graduates prepared for their jobs.

93%

of employers rate the "soft skills" of WGU grads as equal to or better than graduates from other institutions.

Note: 2014 Survey of 300 Employers by Harris Poll

You can learn more about how employers view WGU grads by exploring our Student Success and Performance Data.

"The big draw was the fact that it was online. I could work at my own pace." James Dye, WGU Alumnus

How a Course Works

Prove What You Know and Move Forward

You set your own pace by demonstrating your skills. In the online degree programs at WGU, you'll advance through each course by first mastering the course content, then completing and passing challenging assessments that measure your 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 re-take assessments as needed in order to graduate.

Get Started

Enrollment is easy. View our Enrollment Checklist for the seven easy steps to getting started.

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 Admission Requirements

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor and Apply Today

You'll be on your way to a successful career. A world of opportunity awaits.

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Question and Answer

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Should I consider financial aid?

Using financial aid is a personal decision. When making this decision, you should know that a degree is a great investment in yourself that will pay for itself many times over. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn on average almost a million dollars more over the course their careers compared to those without one. A master’s degree typically has a similar impact on your wallet. You should definitely consider federal financial aid if it means the difference between getting your degree or not. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to learn more.

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