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M.A.Ed. – ESL and Bilingual Education

In Virginia and across the country, school districts have a rapidly growing population of English learners (ELs), and there’s a shortage of teachers with the training and experience to meet their needs. W&M’s master’s program in ESL/Bilingual Education prepares teachers to work with students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in general education, ESL and dual language classrooms.


The M.A.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction with a Concentration in ESL/Bilingual Education is a 12-month, full-time program leading to initial certification in English as a Second Language PreK-12. This program is open to, and only to, people who are not already certified to teach. The degree will also help prepare students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in ESL/Bilingual Education.

W&M's program in ESL/bilingual education prepares compassionate, knowledgeable educators with the foundation and skills to support ELs and their families. Grounded in an understanding of issues of social justice and equity, the program helps students learn to be advocates for students and their families. Students gain an in-depth foundation in research and theory and learn to integrate additive and effective language and content instruction while embracing ELs' culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Whether preparing to teach in an urban, suburban or rural setting, students learn to create an inclusive environment where all students have a voice and the support they need to learn.

Field Experiences

Clinical experiences are a complement to and an integral component of the teacher preparation program in the School of Education. Throughout the program, preservice teachers have experiences in a variety of settings and with diverse populations at our partnering public schools. These experiences serve as a bridge between the knowledge, skills, and dispositions developed through formal course work and the practical application of those professional attributes as a teacher candidate and, subsequently, as a classroom teacher.

In the fall, ESL/bilingual education candidates complete a minimum of 60 hours in the field, practicing their teaching skills, interacting with students, reflecting on the experiences, and learning about the ecosystem of schools. These field activities prepare candidates for their culminating field experience – student teaching. The 15-week, immersive student teaching experience takes place in the spring and is a critical component of our candidates’ preparation and development as a teacher.   


Students who successfully complete our ESL/Bilingual Education program will be eligible to apply for licensure in English as a Second Language PK-12 in the state of Virginia. Learn more about applying for licensure.

Testing Requirements

All teacher candidates must obtain passing scores on the professional teacher assessments prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education. At William & Mary, all required licensure tests are also graduation requirements; therefore, the appropriate tests must be completed regardless of a teacher candidate’s decision to apply for a teaching license. Learn more about testing requirements.

Undergraduate Programs

Current William & Mary undergraduates may pursue ESL/Bilingual Education through a B.A.Ed. or our 5th year program, in which students complete the master's degree as a fifth year.

International Students

Please visit our International Admissions page to learn more about entrance requirements and support services for international students. 

ESL and Bilingual Education Program Contact

[[kbarkoalva,Katherine Barko-Alva]]
Associate Professor of ESL/Bilingual Education and Program Director
(757) 221-6073

Affiliated Faculty: ESL/Bilingual Education 

[[thuang03,Ting Huang]]
Assistant Professor, Curriculum & Instruction

[[ghkrause,Gladys Krause]]
Assistant Professor of Mathematics 

[[RLOliver,Robert L. "Bobby" Oliver]]
University Supervisor and Instructor for ESL/ Bilingual Education  

Download Program Fast Facts (PDF)