Online Courses for ESL and ENL Endorsements

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For more than forty years, the TESL program in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has been helping on-campus teachers-in-training meet the ESL Endorsement requirements of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The same State-approved courses offered on campus are also offered online to in-service teachers; they are taught by the same internationally recognized TESL specialists who teach them on campus.

Minimal ISBE requirements for those who wish to teach ESL in public school programs consist of (a) coursework in designated content areas and (b) clinical experience in a public school ESL or bilingual education program. Those who wish to earn an advanced credential, the ENL Endorsement (for secondary certificates only), must satisfy the two requirements above, (c) take two additional TESL or bilingual education courses, and (d) complete a State-administered TESL proficiency test. For more information about these two endorsements, refer to the FAQs.

If you have questions that are not answered by the following information, you are welcome to contact Randall Sadler, coordinator of online courses in Linguistics, at

Meeting Content-Area Requirements

The State requires that an ESL Endorsement candidate complete coursework in five content areas. In our program, that amounts to five courses (each either 3 hours of undergraduate credit or 4 hours of graduate credit). For the ENL Endorsement, two additional TESL courses are also required.

Most online course is eight weeks long and are offered during the Summer 2 session (early June through early August). A few online courses are offered druing the Fall and Spring semesters. For information about when each course is offered, see this listing. The full set of online courses for the ESL Endorsement can be completed in one academic year.

A. Linguistics LING 400 Intro to Linguistics Structure (Fall, Spring)
B. Theoretical foundations of teaching ESL B. LING 489 Theoretical Foundations of SLA (Second Language Acquisition) (SU II)
C. Assessment of the bilingual student C. EIL 460 Principles of Language Testing (SU II)
D. Methods and materials for teaching ESL D. EIL 411 Intro to TESL Methodology (SU II)
E. Cross-cultural studies for teaching limited-English-proficiency students E. CI 446 Culture in the Classroom*
F. Two TESL electives (for the ENL Endorsement)

F. Recommended (for the ENL Endorsement):

EIL 422 English Grammar for TESL Teachers (Fall and SU II)
EIL 488 Engl Phonology & Morphology for TESL (Spring)

If you want to earn a Bilingual Endorsement (or a Bilingual Endorsement and an ESL Endorsement using the same courses), the College of Education offers a suite of online courses for this purpose. For more information on this, see here.

*This Curriculum and Instruction course has been offered online in the past from mid-July to mid-September. Contact the C&I department for more details:

Note: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has approved a number of UIUC courses to meet its content-area requirements (left column in the table above). For a full listing of State-approved UIUC courses for ESL endorsements, please see:

Students may mix courses from different departments in order to fulfill content-area requirements. However, those students who wish to teach in bilingual education programs and need a heavy concentration on bilingual education should take CI courses. Those students who wish to teach ESL should take the EIL and LING courses above because the professional preparation in these courses is exclusively for ESL teaching. See the first four questions in FAQs for more information.

Special Instructions for EIL 460:

Students taking EIL 460 must inform the instructor that she/he is taking the course to satisfy Illinois State Board of Education requirements for an ESL or ENL Endorsement. The instructor will adapt the curriculum for public school work. When the course is complete, the student must ask the instructor to write the Council on Teacher Education, stating that the course satisfies the public school assessment component.

A schedule of courses, tuition and registration information, as well as descriptions of online EIL courses can be found at EIL Courses Online. 

Meeting Clinical Experience Requirements

In-service teachers who teach at least three months in a public school ESL or bilingual education program can meet the practical on-site teaching requirement with a letter from their school principal, attesting to their months of clinical experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

See FAQs