Frequently Asked Questions About the TESL/TEFL Basic Certificate

Does it matter in what order I take the Certificate courses?

Yes. Ling 420 or 501 must be taken first, since you need one of these courses as the prerequisite for other Certificate courses. (You may take Ling 430 and Ling 551 at the same time as Ling 420 or 501 if you have completed Ling 101 as part of the Linguistics major requirement or as a General Education course.) It is recommended, but not essential, that you take Ling 550 after your language acquisition and processing course (Ling 452, 454 or 552), since Ling 550 brings material from these courses to bear on the issues involved in teaching English to speakers of other languages.

What is the difference in Linguistics 420 and 501?

Linguistics 501 is ideally suited to students who are obtaining a B.A. or M.A. in linguistics while Linguistics 420 is appropriate for all other students. Linguistics 501 focuses more heavily on the theoretical aspects of Linguistics while Linguistics 420 contains more material which may be designed for a teaching population.

Is there a time limit for completion of Certificate coursework?


How long does the Certificate program take?

It should always be possible to complete the program in two regular semesters.

How can I apply for the Certificate program?

Fill out a Certificate Enrollment Form and return it to Certificate in TESL/TEFL, Department of Linguistics, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-7727.

You can register, and pay for, courses for the Basic Certificate in any of four ways:

1. as an undergraduate candidate for a bachelor's degree, taking the courses as electives (Note: Linguistics, English, and Liberal Studies majors may count all Certificate course work toward their major requirements, but other majors may count no more than six units toward both an undergraduate major or minor (other than a Linguistics minor) and the Certificate, unless otherwise stated). Information regarding fees can be found at the SDSU University's Tuition and Fees page. You must have been admitted to San Diego State University through the regular application process.

2. as a graduate candidate for a master's degree, taking the courses as electives.  Additional information is available on the SDSU Admissions website.

3. as an unclassified graduate student (that is, one not pursuing a degree) seeking the Certificate only.  The link directly above provides additional information.

4. through the College of Extended Studies ("Open University"). Additional information is available at College of Extended Studies website.

For alternatives 1-3, you must have been admitted to San Diego State University through the regular application process. For alternative 4, no application or acceptance procedure is necessary; the College of Extended Studies is the division of the university open to the general public. (Note: the course work and all Certificate requirements are the same regardless of the way you register and pay for them, and there is no difference between Certificates earned by individuals registering through Extended Studies and those earned by individuals registering as admitted students.)

How do I obtain the completion of certificate document?

After completion of the coursework and tutoring requirement for the certificate, students should contact the department office and provide an unofficial transcript showing that relevant coursework has been completed. Students need to submit the Completion of ESL tutoring form to the department to demonstrate completion of the ESL tutoring requirement.