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Bilingual and English
as a Second Language

Teacher Certification programs


Opportunities abound

Texas’ growing number of English language learners in public schools brings a need for qualified teachers in bilingual or English as a second language programs. These programs serve nearly 800,000 English language learners.

Bilingual education uses a child’s native language and English in all or part of the curriculum. ESL instruction enables children who aren’t proficient in English to acquire academic proficiency in the language.

The University of North Texas’ bilingual and ESL generalist teacher certification programs address the affective, academic, linguistic and cognitive needs of English language learners. You’ll learn this through specialized instruction and assessment.

The programs are aligned with state and national standards and the College of Education’s general requirements. The post-baccalaureate program courses are offered online except for student teaching and clinical experiences in classrooms. The Curriculum and Instruction master’s courses are also offered online. Online delivery makes course work accessible if you work full time, live in a rural area or prefer web-based instruction. The bilingual generalist certification program requires proficiency in Spanish and English. The ESL generalist program doesn’t require Spanish proficiency.

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 500; Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone 202-466-7496). This accreditation means we meet or exceed strict academic standards for excellence in education. The college is also one of the state’s top producers of teachers, administrators, counselors and other school professionals.

Initial Certification Programs

The undergraduate program is for students seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with initial teacher certification in:

  • Bilingual generalist education to teach early childhood through sixth grades (EC-6)
  • ESL generalist education to teach in grades EC-6
  • Math, science, social studies or language arts and reading and ESL supplemental certification to teach in grades 4-8

The post-baccalaureate program is a route to initial teacher certification for non-education majors in:

  • Bilingual generalist education to teach in grades EC-6
  • ESL generalist education to teach in grades EC-6
  • The Master of Education in Teaching degree

Certified teachers can apply to have ESL or bilingual education added to their state certificate after completing 12 credit hours of course work related to:

  • Assessment of students (EDBE 5570)
  • History and research of bilingual and ESL education (EDBE 5560)
  • Strategies to teach English language learners (ELL) or bilingual students (EDBE 5590)
  • Teaching reading to ELL students (EDRE 5070)

Advanced Programs for Certified Teachers

Certified teachers may complete courses that qualify them for supplemental certification in bilingual or ESL education. Teachers may also earn a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a resource area in ESL or bilingual education. This M.Ed. degree requires 30 credit hours of course work that enhances a practicing teacher’s knowledge and expertise.

The M.Ed. degree combines theoretical perspectives and research-based practice with opportunities for field-based projects and action research. More information is at our website.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

Undergraduate students must meet the university’s admission requirements and the following program requirements:

  • Minimum 2.75 overall GPA
  • 60 earned credit hours (junior standing)
  • Passing scores on the THEA examination (240-reading, 230-math and 220-writing) or SAT/ ACT/TAKS test exemption
  • Complete an online interview questionnaire in the Tk20 Campus Tools system
  • Degree plan in process or completed

Post-baccalaureate students must meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School® and the following program requirements:

  • Completed 3 credit hours each of math, science, social studies and English with a grade of C or better
  • Undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.8 overall GPA or 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work
  • Passing scores on the THEA, ACT, SAT, GRE or appropriate substitute exam
  • Passing scores on the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test for the bilingual certification to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction students must meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School and the following program requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.88 or 3.0 on the last 60 semester hours at the bachelor's level
  • Documentation of verbal and writing proficiencies using GRE scores submitted to the graduate school
  • Valid Texas teacher certification or the equivalent
  • Three- to four-page essay on your personal philosophy of teaching with concrete examples of that philosophy applied to your own teaching practices
  • Letter of intent for pursuing a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Current curriculum vitae or résumé

Program requirements

For the undergraduate bilingual or ESL generalist certification programs, 133 credit hours are required. The courses are:

EDBE 3470: Foundations of Bilingual and ESL Education
EDBE 3480: Bilingualism/Multiculturalism for ELL: Issues and Perspectives
EDBE 4470: Curriculum and Assessment for Bilingual/ ESL Education
EDBE 4480: Bilingual Approaches to Content-Based Learning (bilingual education track only)
EDBE 4490: Teaching ESL EC-12: Instructional Strategies and Resources
LING 4030: Acquisition of English as a Second Language

For the post-baccalaureate program, 24 credit hours that include 6 credit hours of student teaching or advanced practicum are required.

Bilingual generalist education track

EDCI 5010: Everyone Can Learn: Applying Theory to Teaching Practice
EDBE 5560: Fundamentals of Bilingual and ESL Education in EC-12 Settings
EDBE 5570: Assessing Language and Content Learning in EC-12 Bilingual and ESL Education
EDBE 5580: Bilingual Content Instruction
EDBE 5590: Pedagogy of ESL for EC-12 Classrooms
EDRE 5070: Literacy Development for English Learners
EDEE 5105: Practicum I and EDEE 5115: Practicum II or EDEE 5101 and EDEE 5102: Student Teaching in EC-6

ESL generalist education track

EDCI 5010: Everyone Can Learn: Applying Theory to Teaching Practice
EDBE 5560: Fundamentals of Bilingual and ESL Education in EC-12 Settings
EDBE 5570: Assessing Language and Content Learning in EC-12 Bilingual and ESL Education
EDBE 5590: Pedagogy of ESL for EC-12 Classrooms
EDRE 5070: Literacy Development for English Learners
EDBE 5582: ESL Content Instruction
EDEE 5105: Practicum I and EDEE 5115: Practicum II or EDEE 5101 and EDEE 5102: Student Teaching in EC-6

For the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction program, the following courses constitute a resource area that may lead to supplemental certification.

Bilingual Generalist

EDBE 5560: Sociocultural Foundations of Bilingual and ESL Education
LING 5060: Second Language Acquisition
EDBE 5620: Leadership in Bilingual and ESL Education
EDBE 5650: Academic Spanish in the Bilingual Classroom
EDBE 5580: Bilingual Content Instruction
EDBE 5585: Effective Practices in Biliteracy Education

ESL Generalist

EDBE 5560: Fundamentals of Bilingual and ESL Education in EC-12 Settings
LING 5060: Second Language Acquisition
EDBE 5620: Leadership in Bilingual and ESL Education
EDRE 5070: Literacy Development for English Learners
EDBE 5680: Diversity in the ESL Classroom
EDBE 5582: ESL Content Instruction

For the undergraduate and post-baccalaureate certifications, students must pass the following Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) exams:

  • Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities TExES exam EC-12
  • Bilingual generalist EC-6 TExES exam or ESL generalist EC-6 TExES exam
  • Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test for Spanish and English bilingual education only

For supplemental certification, students must pass the following Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES):

  • Bilingual Generalist EC-6 TExES or ESL Generalist EC-6 TExES
  • Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test for Spanish and English bilingual education only

Visit our website or call 940-369-8601 for more information about these tests.

Financial assistance

For undergraduate students, the TEACH Grant Program provides $3,716 a year to students who agree to teach four years in high need schools within eight years of graduation and certification. Students with a 3.25 minimum GPA or score in the 75th percentile or higher in one section of the SAT or ACT qualify to apply.

The Roberto Alonzo Scholarship program is available to undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students each June for the following school year.

For more information about these opportunities, email Rossana Boyd.

General financial aid and scholarship information is available at the Financial Aid website.