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ESL/Bilingual Bicultural Education Teacher Certification Programs

Our English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual/Bicultural Education programs provide a critical need for urban school communities throughout the Garden State, where 31% of young people over five years of age or older speak a language other than English. In contrast, the number of New Jersey teachers receiving certification in English-as-Second Language (ESL) instruction is drastically disproportionate, at only 2%.

Rutgers University-Newark and the Department of Urban Education offers two Postbaccalaureate Teacher Certification Programs in ESL and Bilingual/Bicultural Education to already practicing teachers and those seeking initial certification in the State of New Jersey. We offer a 15-credit online or in-person endorsement certificate for already practicing teachers, and a 21 credit alternate route program for those seeking initial licensure (those with a Certificate of Eligibility (CE)). These programs are designed to provide students with certification to teach Kindergarten through twelfth grade, and prepares teachers in the state and nation for high needs areas of certification in suburban and urban school districts.

Three individuals sit smiling at a table with food
In 1 out of 4 households in New Jersey a language other than English is spoken.
U.S. Census, American Community Survey

Program Requirements

The following information is required to gain admission to the ESL Post-baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program:

  • transcripts verifying a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) from the New Jersey Department of Education (or other state educational governing body)
  • NJDOE English as a Second Language – ESL, Initial Certification
    • Applicants who hold a CE in English as a Second Language and accept employment into a teaching position requiring the certificate must enroll in a Department-approved ESL program at a New Jersey institution program consisting of 15 to 21 credit hours of formal instruction while employed provisionally to secure standard licensure.
  • NJDOE Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Endorsement Certification
    • A candidate who holds a CE in Bilingual/Bicultural Education and accepted employment into a teaching position requiring the certificate must enroll in a Department approved New Jersey college Bilingual/Bicultural program that includes 12 credit hours of formal instruction while employed provisionally to secure full licensure.


Our ESL  and Bilingual/Bicultural Teaching Certification Programs include seven core courses. These courses have an asset-based, justice-orientated approach to language acquisition and pedagogy. Each course, along with a brief description is described below.


This course provides Bilingual/ESL teachers with a comprehensive overview of the English Language Learner in the U.S. and New Jersey. Students will understand the rapid demographic transformation and its effects in the public schools, and as a result, exhibit greater appreciation for the needs and challenges that individual and/or specific populations of English learners face. 

This course examines the various facets that impact a bilingual/bicultural learner. It begins by providing a deeper understanding of how the brain, comparative language analysis and culture relate to the bilingual learner. The course also provides an outline of the history of Bilingual Education and ESL, which depicts the evolution of Federal and various State policies and its implications on the bilingual/bicultural learner.

This course is designed to illuminate future language teachers’ understanding of the linguistic and cultural diversity among English language learners by reviewing research on language development in social context. Understanding how cultural factors influence many aspects of second language learning and use will enable teachers to discover the relationship between culture, language teaching, and learning. Language and cultural differences affecting English language learners’ success will be covered extensively to provide language teachers with the tools to promote equity and social justice, and to make developmentally appropriate educational decisions which recognize the implications of diversity for teaching and learning in a multicultural society.

This course aims to provide comprehensive coverage of second language acquisition (SLA) with theoretical cases and facts to understand how second languages are learned. Second language learning is covered within language in context; linguistic, psycholinguistic, and neurolinguistic perspectives; skill learning; individual differences; setting for learning; and assessment of second language (L2) knowledge. This course will enable candidates to discover and use research to identify how different approaches to learning a second language might be applied to pedagogical practices in order to enhance students’ levels of language proficiency at the various stages of language acquisition.

This course begins by examining various components of the English language through World-class Instructional Design and Assessment, WIDA. Participants are also gain a deeper understanding of the theory of English language acquisition and its pivotal role in ESL methodology; while delving into instructional ESL practices, such as Sheltered English Instruction, assessments and co- teaching as a means of addressing the academic needs of English language learners.

This course is designed so that students can develop an understanding of how socio-political marginalization influences the development of vocabulary. Additionally, the course provides the content for students to gain a deeper understanding of how scaffolding is utilized as an instructional tool. Throughout the course, students will examine brain-based learning and language in order to foster vocabulary building across content areas, as well as develop and evaluate strategies to build literacy in various content areas. 

This course is an introduction to the study of language and linguistics as a foundation of language learning and teaching. It covers the rudiments of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics as well as psycholinguistics to help us understand how we produce and comprehend language. In addition, the field of computational linguistics is explored not only to understand how humans and computers process language but how computers can help us to test linguistic theories about language. This course aims to foster understanding of language form, language meaning, and language in context within the field of linguistics and the linguistic features which are crucial to second/foreign language learning and pedagogy.