Deadline:  Students may apply for non-degree status until the first day of classes for the semester or until classes are filled. See the academic calendar for semester start dates. Please complete the application for Non-degree Admissions. Non-degree status students pay graduate tuition rates.

CU Denver’s Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners (CTELL) is designed to help graduate students gain the skills necessary to teach English Language Learners in multilingual public and private schools in the U.S. as well as overseas. This certificate also serves the needs of international students interested in teaching English as a Second Language in their home country or other countries. Upon successful completion of the program, CTELL participants will be able to discuss the theoretical basis of second language instruction; demonstrate a variety of effective ESL teaching techniques; and explain, in pedagogically relevant ways, the linguistic structures of the English language. The program can be completed through CU Online. Opportunities exist for internships at CU Denver’s ESL Academy, CU Denver’s International College of Beijing (ICB) and other language schools.  For more information, see our program learning goals.


I. Required Courses (9 credit hours)

  • ENGL 5171: Language Theory 
  • ENGL 5601: Principles and Practices of Second Language Acquisition 
  • ENGL 5651: Second Language Writing 

II. Electives (3 credits). Choose one of the following:

  • ENGL 5093: Teaching of Writing 
  • An alternative elective such as a special topic course (e.g., ENGL 5190: Advanced Topics in Writing and Digital Studies), approved by the program advisor
  • An internship (ENGL 5939: Internship), approved by the program advisor 

Application Requirements and Certificate Rules:

Candidates must possess a Bachelor of Arts in any field. Certificate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA with no courses below a B-. All courses must be taken at the graduate level through CU Denver. 12 credit hours are required to obtain the certificate. Graduate students at CU Denver will also be permitted to apply for the certificate while they are concurrently completing another graduate degree. 

Non-native speakers of English are required to submit an official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) report showing a score of at least 600. Those who score below 600 but above 500 on the TOEFL may be admitted conditionally to the program. Under these conditions, students will have their English language skills assessed by the faculty of the program immediately after they arrive on campus to determine whether further courses are needed to develop English language proficiency. After assessment, the students may be assigned to full-time language study in an intensive English program, permitted to take graduate-level classes on a conditional basis along with further designated language study, or permitted to begin graduate study without further restrictions.

Application Deadlines:

Students may apply for non-degree status until the first day of classes for the semester or until classes are filled. See the academic calendar for semester start dates. Please complete the application for non-degree admissions. Non-degree status students pay graduate tuition rates.

Financial Information:

Taking classes as a non-degree certificate student may affect your costs. For example, some non-degree certificate students are not eligible for financial aid, student loans, scholarships, or tuition assistance. If you have financial questions about non-degree costs, please contact the Bursar's Office at 303-315-1800 or 

Where to send items:

Submit all materials online for faster processing. Send hard copy materials to:

Graduate School
University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 163
PO Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Additional Information:

If you have any questions regarding the Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners, please contact Joanne Addison, Professor of English, at

If you have any questions regarding the application status or are having technical difficulties, please contact the Graduate School at