Undergraduate Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners (CTELL)

The Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners (CTELL) is designed to help you gain the skills necessary to teach English Language Learners at a variety of levels.  It is built to serve those who want to teach in multilingual public and private schools in America as well as those who plan to teach English overseas. This certificate also serves the needs of international students wanting to teach English in their home country or other countries.

The program, which can be completed through CU Online, is designed to build the necessary skills to teach adults English as a second language. It is primarily aimed at native speakers of English who want to teach overseas but may serve the needs of international students wanting to teach English in their home country or other countries. Opportunities exist for internships at CU Denver’s ESL Academy, International College of Beijing (ICB) and other language schools.

Upon successful completion of the program, CTELL graduates will be able to:

  • discuss the theoretical basis of English language instruction
  • demonstrate a variety of effective English language teaching techniques
  • explain, in pedagogically relevant ways, the linguistic structures of the English language

Program Goals


The curriculum consists of 15 credit hours (nine credit hours of required courses and six credit hours of electives).

Required Courses (9 credit hours)

  • ENGL 3160  Language Theory 
  • ENGL 4601 Teaching English Language Learners: Theory and Practice (by instructor's permission)
  • ENGL 4651 Second Language Writing 

Electives (Choose two of the following)

  • ENGL 5093 Teaching of Writing (approval of instructor required)
  • An alternative elective such as a special topic course (i.e., ENGL 4190 Advanced Topics in Writing and Digital Studies) or a course from the Department of Modern Languages Linguistics Minor, approved by the program advisor
  • An internship (ENGL 4939 Internship), approved by the program advisor 

When can I start?

You may begin in any semester. There is no fixed deadline for application for admission. Students who are not currently enrolled at CU Denver should apply for non-degree admission. 

Students who are currently enrolled at CU Denver do not need to apply for non-degree admission. 

The CTELL Undergraduate Application can be found here.

All students must complete the CTELL Undergraduate Application and submit it to Joanne Addison, Joanne.Addison@ucdenver.edu

Requirements for receiving the certificate

None of the required 15 hours may be taken pass/fail. Only courses completed with a grade of C- (1.7) or better may be counted toward the certificate.  A minimum of twelve ENGL credit hours must be taken with Downtown Denver English faculty. A minimum of 12 credit hours must be taken at the upper-division (3000- or 4000-) level.  The same courses counted toward a minor or degree at CU Denver may also be used toward the requirements for a certificate, however a single course may not fulfill more than a total of two graduation requirements.

Additional Information

Additional information about the undergraduate CTELL may be obtained from:

Joanne Addison, Professor
Office: 1051 Ninth Street Park, Room 104
Phone: 303-315-7845
E-mail: joanne.addison@ucdenver.edu