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Develop skills to enhance the learning of the English language across many contexts.

Program Info

Students in the M.S.Ed. English as a Second Language (ESL) program are prepared to be ethical and critical educators who support linguistically and culturally diverse learners through exemplary teaching, scholarship, and service. This on-campus, 30-credit program's curriculum will provide students, many of whom possess degrees outside of education, with the fundamental theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work in the field of language teaching. Our students understand diversity and are committed to both personal and professional advocacy in order to ensure that all learners can be successful.

Graduates from our program find rewarding careers as or continue their education as:

  • ESL teachers in K-12 public and private schools, language centers, or universities in the U.S. and across the globe
  • Advocates for English learners and immigrant populations
  • Doctoral students in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), language, or education programs.
Admission Requirements

The MS.Ed. ESL program offers rolling admissions for the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters.

Application Materials

Duquesne University Online Application

ESL Application online

Statement of purpose - 1,000 words describing your academic and professional goals

Official transcripts from undergraduate and/or graduate coursework (minimum of 3.0 GPA required)

Send application domestic and international materials to:
Duquesne University School of Education
Office of Graduate Admissions
214A Canevin Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282



Tuition and Aid

A Duquesne degree is an investment in your future. Join one of the nation's top-tier universities with the best value, considering cost and academic quality, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. At Duquesne, you'll become part of a community of nearly 9,500 students studying at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

Graduate tuition is $1,284 per credit. In addition to tuition, graduate students may also incur fees for administrative services, room, and meals, if applicable. At Duquesne University, we believe that financing your education is a partnership between the student and the university. As part of that partnership, The School of Education offers financial assistance in many forms including:

  • Tuition awards between 25-35%
  • University-offered graduate assistantships are available for competitive applications.
  • Current full-time lay teachers of pre-K through high school or school administrators in a Roman Catholic school in the Pittsburgh, Greensburg, or Altoona-Johnstown Dioceses pursuing a non-doctoral degree or certificate in the School of Education may be eligible to receive a 60% tuition award. This Lay Teacher award does not apply to the doctoral programs. Only one Duquesne University degree may be earned under this reduced tuition program. The Catholic School Lay Teacher & Administrator Award Form details information pertaining to this award.

For further assistance, please contact the Duquesne University Office of Financial Aid.


Xia Chao

Xia Chao, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Instruction and Leadership in Education

110A Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.2329
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Xia Chao (Ph.D., Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Alabama, 2013) teaches courses in culturally and linguistically diverse learners, second language literacy, TESOL methods, and issues related to English language learners education. Her research focuses on the complex relationship between language, literacy, pedagogy, identity, and power in the settings of home, community, and school. Her work has been published in several journals including: Journal of Literacy Research, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Linguistics and Education, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Urban Education, etc. Dr. Chao’s research contributions have been recognized through awards, including the 2015 J. Michael Parker Award of the Literacy Research Association and the 2016 Outstanding Early Career Scholar Award of the American Educational Research Association’s Adult Literacy and Adult Education SIG.

Laura Mahalingappa

Laura Mahalingappa, Ph.D.

Program Director
Associate Professor
Department of Instruction and Leadership in Education

101A Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.6111
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Laura Mahalingappa (Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Texas at Austin, 2009) is an associate professor and serves as the Director of the M.S.Ed. ESL program as well as the ESL and TESOL certificate programs. Her research on learning and teaching in marginalized communities has included: grammatical and sociocultural aspects of bilingual language acquisition; teachers’ beliefs about teaching linguistically and culturally diverse populations; using virtual field experiences to prepare preservice teachers to work with English learners; notions of race, ethnicity and language in ESL teacher preparation programs; and supporting Muslim refugee students through community-based organization. Her research has been published in Teaching Education, Language, Identity, and Education; Language Learning & Technology; and the European Journal of Higher Education. She received the School of Education Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014 and Duquesne’s Creative Teaching Award in 2015.

Nihat Polat

Nihat Polat, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
Department of Instruction and Leadership in Education

106C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.4464
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Nihat Polat (Ph.D., Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Texas at Austin, 2007) has worked as an English teacher (ESL/EFL/ELA) and teacher educator in different countries. Currently, he serves as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research. His research focuses on (1) L2 learning, teaching, and assessment, (2) teacher education, and (3) the education of immigrant populations and English learners. He has published two books, over 22 peer-reviewed journal articles, and numerous other scholarly works. In addition to his book “L2 Learning, Teaching, and Assessment: A Comprehensible Input Perspective”, his work has appeared in many journals such as Applied Linguistics, TESOL Quarterly, Modern Language Journal, etc. Currently, he serves as the consulting editor for the Journal of Educational Research and is an editorial board member for TESOL Quarterly.