ESL teacher with adult students

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

Program Info

This program has three options: the ESL Specialist Certificate, the TESOL Certificate, and the M.S.Ed.

Students in the TESOL and CAEP accredited M.S.Ed. in 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 courses 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.

Flexible study tailored to meet your career goals

  • Students have the freedom to choose a concentration track such as Instructional Technology or Reading Literacy.
  • Small class sizes allow our faculty to create relationships with students and provide individualized attention.
  • Classes are designed for the working professional with flexible class offerings in the evenings and online.
  • Depending on individual plans of study, this degree can be completed in 3-6 semesters.
  • Focusing on education, social justice, and diversity, students receive more than the bare minimum required by a program.

Our students, who come from all over the world, understand diversity and are committed to both personal and professional advocacy in order to ensure that all learners can be successful. While enrolled in the ESL program, our students not only join the Duquesne University community but a global community as well.

Our graduates find rewarding careers...

  • ESL teachers in U.S. public schools for those holding initial certification
  • ESL teachers in U.S. K-12 private schools
  • EFL teachers in K-12 schools abroad
  • EFL teachers in language centers overseas
  • ESL/EFL teachers in universities in the U.S. and abroad
  • Higher Education Professionals
  • Directors of Language Centers
  • Advocates for English learners and immigrant populations
  • Doctoral students in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), language, or education programs.

Financial Assistance

The Duquesne University School of Education is committed to assisting our students financially. The School of Education offers all students pursuing a master's degree in ESL a 25% tuition scholarship.

A word from our alumna, Tracy Coleman...

Want more information?

Visit our M.S.Ed. ESL FAQs page.

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

Application Materials

Duquesne University Online Application

Send official transcripts to:



School of Education
Office of Graduate Admissions
Duquesne University
214 Canevin Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Statement of purpose - 1,000 words describing your academic and professional goals as well as your interest in our program and how you believe it can help orient you and attain your goals in the future.

Official transcripts from undergraduate and/or graduate coursework

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



International Applicants

Duquesne University requires submission of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores for all non-native English speaking applicants.

Visit International Admissions for additional information and requirements.

Admission Requirement

3.0 GPA*

*Applicants are customarily expected to have a 3.0 grade point average, based on a four-point scale, in their undergraduate work. However, exceptions may be granted on a limited basis, in which there is substantial additional evidence of a student's academic competency. 

If your IELTS or TOEFL scores are lower than our requirement, you may be eligible for the Pathway Program. Please visit the ESL/TESOL Pathway Program page for more information.

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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.

In addition to graduate tuition rates, 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 application
  • 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.

Federal government financial aid options:

In addition to awards and scholarships, you may be eligible for financial aid with the federal government. The federal government has loan options that can cover education and living costs. Loan forgiveness options are also available for those working inside and outside of the classroom, these include:

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

For further assistance, please contact FedLoan Servicing.

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Xia Chao

Xia Chao, Ph.D.

Program Director, ESL
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)is a faculty member of language and literacy education at the School of Education in Duquesne University. Her research, which is grounded in perspectives and methods from educational linguistics, critical applied linguistics, and anthropology, centers on investigating everyday language and literacy practices in schools, immigrant, refugee-background, and Indigenous families and communities as well as the preparation of teachers to teach multilingual learners.

Dr. Chao has published papers in the peer-reviewed scholarly journals including Journal of Literacy Research, Linguistics and Education, Language and Education, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Teacher Education Quarterly, Adult Education Quarterly, Urban Education, etc. Dr. Chao is the recipient of 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 Special Interest Group. Her work has been funded by the National Geographic Society and Duquesne University.

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