English Language Learner programs

For Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
(online or on campus)

Photo of a panel of educators meeting with our ELL students to examine the importance of cultural awareness in K-12 schools.

A panel of educators meeting with our ELL students to examine the importance of cultural awareness in K-12 schools.

Master of Arts in Teaching English Language Learners (ELL) Options: with and without Licensure; online and on-campus

Our Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) English Language Learners program (36 credits) prepares you to meet the needs of one of the fastest growing student populations in the United States today, multilingual students. The program equips you to work effectively with culturally and linguistically diverse students - including emergent bilinguals (English language learners) both within the US and abroad. You will be prepared to work in a range of settings, including public schools, private schools, and community education programs.

Students taking the licensure track (42 credits) can also earn a Massachusetts state teacher’s license in teaching English language learners (ESL; PreK-6 or 5-12) along with their master’s degree.

The ELL program includes:

  • a rigorous but supportive program, based on the most current research and taught by experienced scholars and practitioners
  • a focus on preparing educators with the pedagogical, assessment, planning and theoretical tools required to meet the needs of diverse students, with the skills to apply this learning to practice.
  • an explicit commitment to equity and social justice
  • personalized advising

The non-licensure ELL program is offered in a hybrid format that allows students to participate on campus or remotely in real time. The program culminates in students working with a mentor on a capstone project, paper, or internship.

The ELL program with Massachusetts licensure in teaching English language learners (ESL; PreK-6 or 5-12) includes a year-long practicum in area schools, so you can build your network while working closely with experienced ELL educators.

We also offer options for students interested in pursing an Additional License, or who would like to take some courses for professional development.

Myth-busting on the need to know a second language

“One of the biggest revelations for many of our candidates when they start their work towards becoming an ELL teacher is that they didn’t need to know a second language!”
— Ruth Hornsby, assistant director, Teacher Licensure Programs

“In a globalized world, it is vitally important that we, as educators, are equipped with the necessary skill set to support one of our most vulnerable student populations. By combining knowledge, collaboration and expertise, our nation’s English language learners can excel not only in the classroom but also in life. The Mount Holyoke College Masters program is the first step towards understanding the impact a multifaceted education can have on non-English speakers and native speakers alike. With the guidance and mentoring of extremely skilled and highly educated faculty, your journey towards deepening your knowledge surrounding working with culturally and linguistically diverse students begins here.”
-- Megan Gombatz, MAT’20, ESL PK-6 and 5-12

Make an impact

Watch the video to hear MAT Teacher Candidate, Stephani Lopez Rodriguez and her Supervising Practitioner, Alicia Lopez talk about the impact they make as ELL teachers.

What you learn

Whether you are looking to take classes in pedagogy or to develop your expertise in a particular content area, we have classes to help deepen your skills and knowledge.

The English language learners program includes courses on second language acquisition theory, English language teaching methods and how to apply this knowledge to content learning. Students will learn about the structure, meaning and context of language, and how to develop effective instructional plans and assessment. We also examine relevant social and cultural factors that impact culturally and linguistically diverse teaching and learning.

At the end of the program, students will be able to apply knowledge, analyze and evaluate:

  • linguistic and sociolinguistic concepts, processes and stages of language acquisition
  • theory, research, and best practices for language instruction and development
  • assessing reading, writing, aural and oral language skills
  • socio-emotional and sociocultural factors that influence the teaching and learning of English language learners
  • learners' social and academic language proficiency, as well as content-area learning

View all ELL courses and descriptions

Where and how you learn

This program is designed for current educators as well as those interested in pursuing a new career path. Classes meet during the summer and evenings to accommodate a work-school balance. The program can be completed entirely online either full-time in one year or part-time over the course of two years. The program includes both interactive online courses and on-campus courses.

Students not pursuing licensure have the option of completing the full 36-credit program remotely, either through exclusively online courses, or through a mix of online and on-campus courses.

Students pursuing their degree with licensure will complete their 42-credit program through a mix of courses and a year-long student teaching practicum in a local school. Students pursuing licensure will have some courses that must be completed on-campus, as per licensure regulations.

Initial Teacher Licensure

Mount Holyoke College is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to offer teacher education programs leading towards an initial teacher license at the masters degree level.

The teaching licenses obtained through this program are recognized in a number of other states, U.S. territories and Canadian provinces through the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.

To become eligible for licensure in the state of Massachusetts while at Mount Holyoke, students must successfully complete the requirements of a teacher licensure program, pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) [fees apply], and submit licensure application materials and fees to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Distance Learning

Mount Holyoke College has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. As a SARA-approved institution, Mount Holyoke College is authorized to offer online courses in each state that is part of the agreement without having to get approval from each state individually.

Admission, Tuition and Financial Aid

We do rolling admissions throughout the year.  Apply Now.

Questions on How to Apply?

Find out about Tuition, Fees, and Billing.

Consider applying for one of our competitive scholarships and fellowships.

Frequently Asked Questions


Related Programs

Have a question?

For more information contact us at 413-538-3478 or graduateadmissions@mtholyoke.edu.

Mount Holyoke College has consistently prepared outstanding educators who have transformed communities around the world. Mount Holyoke College is a member of the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE).