School of Education & Counseling

English as a Second Language (PreK-12 non-licensure or 5-12 licensure)  Master of Education

Learn to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in this flexible, affordable graduate program designed for working professionals. Those who complete the program are career-ready and technologically savvy, exhibit intercultural competence and are equipped to advance social justice.

30 - 36 Credits
Starts September 3, 2024


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MEd in English as a Second Language Program Overview

This program prepares candidates with the disposition, knowledge and skills to create learning environments that enable English learners to become proficient in English and access the academic content area curriculum.

Courses present nationally recognized research-based models for first and second-language learning, and address curriculum mandates and the developmental characteristics of students in grades PreK-6, 5-12 and adult levels.

The ESL master’s degree program from Cambridge College includes both the PreK-12 non-licensure and 5-12 licensure versions. It meets all state regulations for licensing of Teachers of English as a Second Language, with the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement. Additionally, the licensure program is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and offers eligibility for the Massachusetts SEI Teacher Endorsement.

English as a Second Language Master’s Degree Program Highlights

English learners are one of the fastest-growing groups of students in the United States. The master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language prepares you for careers in this high-demand field, offering benefits such as:

  • Career-focused learning: Courses present nationally recognized research-based models for first and second language learning, address curriculum mandates and explore the developmental characteristics of students in grades 5-12 and adult levels.
  • Real-world skill development: The English as a Second Language master’s degree program includes a practicum and seminar guided and evaluated by a licensed/certified ESL teacher in the classroom and a Cambridge College ESL supervisor.
  • Diverse experiences: At Cambridge College, you’ll work with other adult learners from all over the world, gaining diverse viewpoints and enriching your educational experience in the process. In fact, we were recently ranked among the Most Ethnically Diverse Colleges in America by Best College Reviews.
  • Flexible, hybrid program: The program is taught mostly on-campus, but some remote (Zoom) and some online (asynchronous) classes are included. On-campus and remote classes are scheduled on nights and weekends to accommodate working professionals.
  • Great location: Attend in-person classes at our Boston campus which is a 5-minute walk from the Orange Line and offers free parking for students throughout the year.
  • Exceptional value: As one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges in the United States, Cambridge College gives you greater value for your education. In addition to providing low tuition, we offer a wide range of scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.

English as a Second Language Learning Outcomes

Graduates demonstrate the disposition, knowledge and skills expected of professional educators according to regional, state and national accreditation bodies. They understand language as a system, the structure and nature of language, and language variation and change. They also understand language acquisition and literacy development, including:

  • Practices for reading skills/comprehension in a first language at different levels
  • First and second language differences for reading instruction
  • English phonemic awareness for students not literate in their first language
  • The effect of first language literacy on second language learning/literacy
  • The role of oral language development in literacy development for English language learners
  • Formal/informal reading assessment with English learners
  • Listening/speaking/reading/writing vocabulary and practices for developing writing skills/writing tools
  • Oral/aural English fluency at different proficiency levels
  • The role of community, families and schools in ESL education
  • Social and academic content English
  • Metalinguistic skills and vocabulary for cognitive, academic and language proficiency

Graduates of this program utilize research-based ESL approaches and best practices and apply socio-cultural and socio-emotional considerations. They understand the role of community, families and schools as well as the laws pertaining to the education of English language learners.

ESL master's degree graduates utilize inclusive practices to create a safe and collaborative learning environment that fosters positive socio-emotional development. They also:  

  • Set high expectations for all students
  • Implement well-structured lessons with measurable assessments of learning
  • Engage in ongoing reflection on practice

English as a Second Language Tuition Information

Cost Per Credit
Total Program Tuition
Cost Per Credit$639
Credits* 30 - 36 credits
Total Program Tuition $19,170 - $23,004

*See curriculum sheet for a breakdown of credits and credit ranges.

Prospective graduate degree students for programs in the School of Education & Counseling must satisfy the following requirements plus any program-specific requirements your program may have.

  1. Complete and sign the online application.
  2. Pay the application fee. Pay your $50 ($100 for international students) application fee by the term start date.
  3. Send official transcripts. Maildirectly to Cambridge College in a sealed, unopened envelope. Learn How to Send Transcripts. Required degrees must be from accredited colleges or universities.
    • Master's and most graduate certificate programs require an earned bachelor's degree.
    • Post-master's certificates and CAGS require an earned master's degree.
    • International transcripts must be translated and evaluated by an approved agency. See all international student requirements
  4. Send your résumé and work experience. Send your resume that details your education and work experience, including how they pertain to your career goals. If your SEC program has a work experience requirement, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  5. Submit your personal statement. Write a 500-word, typed, double-spaced essay describing your professional experience, goals and objectives for graduate study. How do you expect your graduate studies to enhance your future career?
  6. Include two professional recommendations (not required for fully online programs). These should address your professional character and ability to perform graduate work. Download Applicant Recommendation Form
  7. Interview (required for some programs). If your program requires an interview, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  8. Satisfy Health Insurance & Immunization requirements. (Massachusetts only). These are required only for graduate students taking six or more credits per term in Massachusetts through on-campus or hybrid classes. Health insurance may be waived.

Teacher Licensure Program Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed above, our Teacher Licensure Programs have these additional requirements:

  1. Earned bachelor's degree with 3.0 or higher GPA.
  2. MA Educator Documentation from the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website. Keep copies of all documents submitted and, upon admission, post in your electronic portfolio:
    1. Massachusetts Educator Personnel ID (MEPID number)
    2. MTEL Communication & Literacy Test, successfully completed.

Required if completed:

  • Massachusetts preliminary license, if held
  • Sheltered English Instruction requirement
  • Fingerprinting and Criminal Offender Record Information

Applicants who do not initially meet all requirements (e.g. GPA of 3.0 or MTEL) for admission into their chosen licensure program must enroll in the corresponding non-licensure degree option. Students who achieve a 3.0 GPA upon completion of the first three SEC courses, pass the MTELs, and now meet all requirements, may request a change of program.

Disclosures: For all Licensure Programs

  • Licensure requirements are subject to change per Massachusetts regulations. All Cambridge College licensure programs are based on current regulations.
  • All candidates admitted for licensure programs must successfully complete the program in its entirety.
  • All requirements at the time of program completion must be finalized prior to seeking Massachusetts endorsement for licensure purposes.
  • If you have any licensure questions, please speak to your program chair.

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

This program accepts students to start in the Fall term.

Careers for ESL Teachers

As an English as a Second Language teacher, you’ll be able to apply the skills and strategies you’ve learned to a variety of fields and settings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a health education specialist was $58,590 in May 2022. Additionally, it is projected there will be about 4,200 openings for adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers each year for the next decade.*


Median annual salary for an English as a Second Language teacher*


Projected annual openings for adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers are projected*

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, ESL Teachers, (visited Nov. 13, 2023). 

Jobs for English as a Second Language Teachers

Graduates of the 5-12 licensure program are able to teach English as a second language in a variety of educational settings, such as:

  • Public, private and charter schools
  • Educational collaboratives
  • Community programs

Non-licensure master’s degree graduates are able to provide ESL support and tutoring in schools, and to teach or tutor ESL in other settings, including:

  • Higher education intensive ESL
  • Other countries
  • Immigrant support programs
  • Workplace ESL