Interested in helping others learn the English language?

The Certificate in TESL Linguistics is a great start!

The Certificate in TESL Linguistics is a basic program directed at undergraduate students with little or no teaching experience. The program exposes students to foundational issues in English grammar, second language acquisition, and classroom practices. Although the Certificate itself is not a specific employment credential, it constitutes preparation for advanced study in applied linguistics and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). When combined with appropriate professional certification, this program provides the specialized linguistic knowledge necessary to teach English language skills to those who are not native speakers of English.

Courses are primarily offered at the Burnaby campus and a few introductory courses are also offered SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre and at SFU Surrey. Students should consult with the Department of Linguistics regarding availability of courses at each location.

Download the application form

The deadline to apply for the Spring 2020 intake of this program is Friday, January 31, 2020.

Please submit your completed application directly at the Linguistics General Office, RCB 9201 between 10:00am and 2:00pm.


Visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for information on language requirements, the application process, and more!

Program Application and Admission

Prior to application to the Certificate, students must have completed:

  • LING 200
  • LING 220 (with a minimum grade of C+)

Applications are accepted three times per year and deadlines are as follows:

  • September 30 for the Fall intake
  • January 31 for the Spring intake
  • May 31 for the Summer intake
All applicants
  • must have excellent command of spoken and written English.
  • will be interviewed to determine if their goals and interests are suited to the program and if they are likely to succeed in the required courses.
Please read the FAQ and review the program requirements prior to submitting an application.

If you are a prospective Certificate student and not a current SFU student, please see SFU Undergraduate Admissions for SFU admissions requirements and application.

Program Curriculum

The program requires successful completion of 27 units as below. Students must also complete a supervised practicum (LING 363) which includes 25 to 30 hours of experience in an adult ESL classroom.

Lower Division Requirements

Students complete the following 4 courses (12 units):

  • LING 111-3 Introduction to English Vocabulary Analysis
    (or LING 110-3 The Wonder of Words)
  • LING 200-3 Introduction to Sentence Analysis
  • LING 220-3 Introduction to Linguistics
  • LING 282W-3 Writing for Linguistics

Plus 2 of the following (6 units):

  • EDUC 220-3 Introduction to Educational Psychology
  • LING 100-3 Communication and Language
  • LING 160-3 Language, Culture and Society
  • LING 301W-3 Linguistics Argumentation
  • LING 309W-3 Sociolinguistics

Upper Division Requirements

Students complete all of:

  • LING 360-3 Introduction to Applied Linguistics
  • LING 362-3 Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults
  • LING 363-3 Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults

Recommended courses:

  • EDUC 468-4 Sociocultural Perspectives on Language, Cognitive Development and EAL Instruction
  • LING 350-3 First Language Acquisition

Please refer to the University Calendar for a full description of the program requirements.