MA in TESOL for Non-K-12 Educators

The TESOL MA only program is designed for candidates who want to teach ESL in Adult Education programs or in college or university Intensive English Language institutes. Note: A synchronous on-line option is available for this degree.

TESOL MA with Initial Certification

Fairfield University's TESOL MA with initial certification program has been nationally recognized by the TESOL International Association since 2009. A nationally recognized program is one that has systematically assessed candidates' learning and met rigorous standards developed by the specialty professional association (SPA) in that discipline. SPA recognition informs prospective students that the accredited college or university and nationally recognized program have met national standards for the profession and operate at a high level of educational quality and integrity. Candidates in the initial certification program are prepared to educate K-12 students who are learning English as a second or additional language.

Leadership in English Acquisition Pedagogy (LEAP)

Fairfield University’s TESOL Programs offer an MA program track in Leadership In English Acquisition Pedagogy (LEAP). The LEAP track is designed for practicing teachers in K-12 schools serving English Learners. It provides candidates with a scientific research-based program of study and opportunities to develop evidence-based practices and strategies to ensure today’s English Learners’ academic success. Candidates in the LEAP program will deepen their knowledge of linguistics, second language acquisition, and second language reading development at different language levels and across content areas. Grounded in the science of teaching, LEAP prepares candidates to address the changing roles of TESOL and bilingual professionals: push-in language instruction; co-teaching; and working with teams to design and provide supplemental language support, instructional design, assessment, and progress monitoring of ELs. The MA TESOL LEAP coursework also fulfills the requirements for the TESOL cross-endorsement.

Sixth Year Certificate in TESOL

The Sixth Year Certificate (SYC) in TESOL is designed for certified teachers with an MA in TESOL or Bilingual Education, an MA that included some coursework in TESOL, or an MA in education with additional professional development training and extensive experience working with language minority populations.

Candidates with an MA in TESOL seeking TESOL PK-12 initial certification must enroll in the Sixth Year Certificate. For certification, they must complete 12 credits of required professional education coursework, 6 credits of supervised teaching or DSAP, and 3 credits of student teaching/DSAP seminar. The additional 9 credits of coursework complete the Sixth Year Certificate.

Connecticut State TESOL Certification and Cross-Endorsement Testing Requirement

Connecticut requires all TESOL initial certification and cross-endorsement candidates to pass the new PRAXIS Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Test #0362 with a score of 155. This score may change with new versions of the test.

Note: Candidates must meet all current state requirements when they apply for certification.

TESOL Durational Shortage Area Permit

Completion of all prerequisites to student teaching is required for initial certification candidates seeking a University endorsement for a DSAP position. In lieu of student teaching, candidates will enroll in a two-semester, six-credit sequence of University-supervised teaching and a three-credit student teaching/DSAP seminar the first semester of the DSAP assignment.

Certified teachers seeking a DSAP position in TESOL must be fully enrolled in an MA or SYC program and must have completed 12 hours before being considered for a University DSAP endorsement.


After an initial application review, successful applicants are invited for an interview. The purpose of the interview is twofold: to offer applicants an opportunity to review the program with an advisor and help the advisor assess the applicant's potential for success as a graduate candidate. Once a formal admission letter is received, each candidate must reply using the link provided in the letter, accept the offer of admission, and contact their assigned faculty advisor to finalize a planned program of study. Application deadlines are listed online.

Admission to the TESOL initial certification program with MA requires the following:

  1. An earned bachelor's degree.
  2. Completion of general education coursework as specified in the State of Connecticut regulations and program requirements.
  3. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.67 and a minimum 3.00 GPA in the major or certification subject area.
  4. Testing Requirements for Programs Leading to Initial Certification. Candidates must take PRAXIS CORE, SAT, ACT, or the GRE. Candidates who do not have passing scores on one or more sections of the test may be required to remediate any deficient area. Remediation may include re-taking and passing the sections that were not passed, taking additional coursework, or other remediation activities. If additional courses are required, the candidate must complete the coursework at a grade of B (3.00) or above and provide an official transcript to the Dean's office prior to student teaching. Please see advisor for additional details and recommendations.
  5. Prior to Student Teaching: Candidates must complete all program courses required for certification.
  6. Prior to Certification: Candidates in the TESOL initial certification or cross-endorsement program must attain passing scores on the PRAXIS II Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Any matriculated candidate whose relevant academic productivity is marginal or inadequate, who does not embody a socially responsible professional disposition, or who demonstrates unsuitable personal qualities, may not be recommended for continuation in the program, a student teaching placement, or state certification. Candidates are expected to behave in accordance with the State of Connecticut's Teachers Code of Professional Responsibility. In addition, the Disposition Statement presented in this catalog is applicable to this program as it is to all programs in the School of Education and Human Development.