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Online English as a Second Language Endorsement (P-12)

The online English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement (P-12) is designed for certified Kentucky teachers seeking the expertise and credentials essential to meeting the unique needs of English language learners.

Offered by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville, the ESL endorsement addresses the growing demand for teachers with specialized training who are qualified to teach this diverse, yet distinct population. Gain knowledge in sociolinguistics, cross-cultural competency, cultural diversity and language acquisition and learn to make important connections between linguistic theory and classroom practice—and improve retention of the English language. If you are not a Kentucky certified teacher or you are not interested in teaching in the P-12 public school system, you may be interested in the TEIL graduate certificate.


Complete this endorsement on your own time with fully online classes.

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Take only 4 courses to earn your teaching ESL endorsement!

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Complete 30 hours experience observing a Kentucky Certified ESL teacher.

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Online learning video - Online English as a Second Language Endorsement (P-12)

Teachers give their best to their students and UofL gives its best to teachers!

UofL offers a 25% Tuition Reduction for Teachers enrolling in approved teacher education programs.

Read the Q&A with Betty Hampton, Director of Graduate Services in the College of Education and Human Development at UofL.

How Much Will I Pay?

Tuition & Aid    

Students enrolled solely in the non-degree endorsement program are not eligible to receive federal aid. Tuition rate does not include costs associated with a specific course or program, such as textbooks. Tuition and fees are subject to change at any time without prior notice.


  • Develop a deepened understanding of the diverse concerns and intricacies related to learning English as a second language.
  • Get hands-on training through the required Field Experience component of the program – 30 hours of documented classroom teaching observation with a Kentucky certified ESL endorsed teacher.
  • Earn your endorsement as part of the Master of Education in Teacher Leadership, Master of Education in Literacy or the Rank I program.
  • Complete your endorsement in under a year.
  • Attach your earned ESL endorsement to your Kentucky teaching certification by passing the ESOL Praxis test.

* Check state authorizations for requirements in your state


The P-12 student population in the state of Kentucky speaks more than 94 different languages, according to the Kentucky Department of Education. This linguistic and cultural background variety across public school systems has led to a growing need for teachers with specialized training who are qualified to teach English as a second language (ESL). UofL’s ESL teaching endorsement strives to meet that demand by preparing you to understand and effectively meet the needs of this growing population within Kentucky classrooms.

Preferred Application Deadline Term Start Date
August 1 Fall August
December 1 Spring January
April 1 Summer May/June

Note: We admit students on a rolling basis. The preferred deadlines help you complete the application process on time, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. We review applications as they become complete, and admit students for a specific term up to the day classes start. We recommend you work on and submit your complete application well in advance of the preferred deadline, as obtaining transcripts and other materials may take more time.

Steps to Apply

  1. Completed graduate application – select the Master of Education degree program*
  2. Submit signed code of ethics/technology statement, uploaded within the online application
  3. Submit $65 non-refundable application fee
  4. Submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work


Please have transcripts sent directly to:
School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

*Should you encounter any issues while completing the application form, please contact Betty Hampton, Director of Graduate Student Services, at 502.852.0411 or betty.hampton@louisville.edu.

Interested in pursuing a master's degree in Teacher Leadership?

Make sure to review the master’s program specific requirements.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree earned from an accredited institution*
  • Valid Kentucky Teaching Certificate or statement of eligibility for candidates outside Kentucky
  • Two semesters of foreign language studies or a qualifying experience (contact ESL Program Coordinator at elizabeth.patton@louisville.edu for evaluation)
  • Minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) on 4.0 scale; minimum 3.0 GPA for graduate work
    • Two graduate recommendation forms *
    • Applicants should enter the names and email addresses of two academic or professional references in Section VII of the application for admission. The Office of Graduate Admissions will email the proper form to each reference.
  • A personal statement (with Cover Sheet [PDF]) of only 250-500 words

*See the Graduate School Transfer of Credit Policy for more information.

ESL Endorsement as part of the Rank I program:

Candidates interested in pursuing the Rank I program with an ESL endorsement should contact the College of Education and Human Development Education Advising and Student Services office for further information and assistance (gedadm@louisville.edu) or 502-852-5597.

Out-of-state Applicants

Certified teachers outside Kentucky should be advised that we cannot guarantee the program will meet licensure, salary, advancement or other requirements in their state. As part of the admission process, we require a written statement confirming their interest in the program for personal development and that they understand the program is designed to meet Kentucky certification requirements only. For more information, please contact betty.hampton@louisville.edu.

If you live outside of the United States, be sure to view special requirements for international students.

For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselors at 800.871.8635 or by email at online@louisville.edu.

Start Your Application

The online English as a Second Language endorsement is a 12 credit hour program consisting of 4 courses taken in the order shown below.

Core Courses

Course List Hours
EDAP 518 Survey of Linguistics for Educators (must take this course first in the sequence) 3
EDAP 535 Teaching English as an International Language OR
EDAP 525 World Englishes
EDAP 530 Language Society & Power OR
EDAP 642 Literacy Learning & Cultural Differences
EDAP 521 Teaching and Assessing English Language Learners (must take this course during your last semester in the ESL program) 3
Total 12

Additional courses are available on campus only

In addition to the 4 endorsement courses, a Field Experience is required and consists of 30 hours of documented observation with a Kentucky certified ESL endorsed teacher.

Important: Admitted students are required to contact Dr. Elizabeth Patton (elizabeth.patton@louisville.edu), ESL endorsement Program Coordinator, prior to registering for ESL coursework.

Sample Course Descriptions

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    • Why do I need to complete the application for the master’s or Rank 1 program? I’m interested only in the endorsement.

      Due to the way the system is set up, you will need to complete your application as if applying to the Master of Education program. From there, you will select the endorsement of your choice.

    • Can I receive federal aid while pursuing this teaching endorsement?

      Unfortunately, federal aid is not available to students enrolled solely in the endorsement program. However, students also enrolled in a master’s degree or Rank 1 program are eligible to receive financial aid. Visit the financial aid & tuition page for more information.

    • How does the ESL endorsement get attached to my teaching license after graduation?

      In order to add the P-12 ESL Endorsement to your teaching license, you have to pass the ESOL Praxis test. Students in our program consistently score a pass rate of over 90% on the ESOL Praxis exam. To find out more information or select the correct Praxis test for Kentucky, access the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) Praxis Test website at http://www.ets.org/praxis/ky/requirements. To view Praxis Test requirements for other states, visit: http://www.ets.org/praxis. For program availability and state authorization regulations in your state visit http://uofl.me/sarstates.

    • What types of positions will this endorsement prepare me for?

      Upon completion of the endorsement program, and a successful passing score on the ESOL PRAXIS exam, Kentucky certified teachers (with an active license) are eligible to apply to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board for the endorsement in English as a Second Language (grades P-12). Teachers who receive Kentucky’s ESL endorsement certification are qualified to apply for ESL teaching positions in Kentucky public school districts.

    • I am not a Kentucky certified teacher. Can I still apply?

      Yes, but we cannot guarantee the program will meet licensure, salary, advancement or other requirements in a state other than Kentucky. As part of the admission process, we will require a written statement from you, confirming interest in the program for personal development only.

      While we certainly welcome out of state applicants to the ESL endorsement program, certified teachers residing in states other than Kentucky should contact the ESL Program Coordinator , Dr. Elizabeth Patton (elizabeth.patton@louisville.edu), to discuss further. For program availability and state authorization regulations in your state visit http://uofl.me/sarstates.

    • Can I complete this program as part of my Rank I?

      Yes. The Rank I program is flexible and the courses required for the endorsement can also be used toward the Rank I.

    • Can I complete this program as part of a master’s degree?

      Yes. Kentucky certified teachers with a Rank III status (typically those who have completed a Bachelor’s level certification program) can use the endorsement courses as part of the Master of Education in Teacher Leadership, which leads to the Rank II in Kentucky.

    • I need to take two classes to renew my certification. Can I take two of these classes without enrolling in the full endorsement?

      Yes. The ESL program is a non-degree program and ESL courses are available for professional development or personal growth.

    • I am a non-native English speaker. What are the requirements for admission in my case?

      Kentucky certified teachers who are non-native speakers of English must have a strong command of the English language with excellent oral and written communication skills to participate and succeed in the program.

      Students who are from countries where English is not the native language are required to submit scores from the TOEFL examination.

      If international students hold a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the U.S., then they are exempt from this requirement.

      All classes in the ESL endorsement are taught at the graduate level, and all candidates must pass the ESOL PRAXIS exam to be eligible for certification in this area.

    • I want to travel abroad and teach English. Is this program right for me?

      This program is an endorsement for those certified to teach in U.S. P-12 classrooms. We offer a graduate certificate in Teaching English as an International Language that will give you the skills you need to travel abroad and teach English Language Learners.

    • I am a Kentucky certified teacher, but I have never taken a foreign language course. Do I need to complete any pre-requisites before I can apply to this program?

      The program requires two semesters of foreign language instruction. These hours can be satisfied by satisfactory high school or college-level language coursework. Additionally, there may be other qualifying experiences (teaching in an international setting, living overseas, etc.) that can be applied toward this pre-requisite. Please contact the ESL Program Coordinator, Dr. Elizabeth Patton, for specific recommendations and an evaluation of your experience.

    • Does coursework emphasize teaching students of a specific native language (e.g. Spanish)?

      No. Teaching English as a Second Language prepares certified Kentucky classroom teachers to teach students who are non-native speakers of English. It is not limited to teaching Spanish speakers.

    • Are there oral components to completing this endorsement? If so, how are those completed online?

      No. There are no requirements of the program that cannot be completed through online instruction or courses.

    • Do I need to take the Teaching English as a Second Language (ESOL) Praxis exam upon completion of the endorsement?

      Yes. Earning a passing score on the ESOL PRAXIS exam is a requirement for Kentucky certification.