Picture of Maunakea with snow The Departments of English and Linguistics are pleased to offer a program in Teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESL and EFL). This 18-credit program is designed for students with an interest in teaching English as a Secondor Foreign Language either abroad or in a wide range of educational settings in the United States. English or Linguistics majors will find the Certificate Program a useful adjunct to the baccalaureate training, as well as students pursuing other majors who are interested in working in other countries. Current or prospective elementary or secondary teachers will also find this program a useful addition to their professional credentials.

Is this certificate right for you?

  • Do you want to travel?
  • Do you want to work overseas?
  • Do you enjoy learning about different cultures?
  • Are you interested in the cultural diversity of Hawaiʻi?
  • Are you a current or prospective primary or secondary school teacher?

Earn a Minor in English

TESOL Certificate participants in majors other than English can earn a minor in English by completing an additional upper level English class (300- or 400-level class). After fulfilling the TESOL Certificate requirements and after taking one more upper division English class, students can declare a minor in English along with their major and receive the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Student teachers

TESOL students practice teaching

TESOL student

The program offers students a theoretical foundation and practical tools for teaching English as a Second Language. Course work includes the study of

  • General linguistics;
  • The English language;
  • Language Acquisition;
  • English as Second Language materials and Methods; and
  • A supervised practicum.

TESOL students working on lesson plans

Requirements for the TESOL Certificate

See the TESOL Certificate requirements in the UH Hilo Catalog.

How do I sign up for the TESOL Certificate?

It is easy to join in. All you need to do to begin is register for LING 102 because this is a prerequisite. However, it is possible to take some of the other classes at the same time. If you decide to take any of the upper division ENG classes at the same time as the prerequisites, you will need to get permission to enter those classes. Simply contact the teacher of the class and explain that you are interested in earning the TESOL Certificate.

How do I get my TESOL Certificate?

When you apply for graduation, you will mark on the application that you are earning a certificate and write TESOL in the blank.

You can also put in a change of major form. On this form at the bottom is a place where you can indicate that you intend to earn the TESOL certificate. This will NOT change your major, but it will allow STAR to track your progress through the certificate as well as your major. While it is not necessary to submit a change of major form, doing so will allow STAR to add TESOL to your academic journey.¹

For all seniors, it is a good idea to periodically check with the office of the registrar that you are on track for graduating with the TESOL Certificate in addition to your bachelor's degree.

For unclassified students earning the Certificate, you will also need to apply for graduation. In your case, all you do is check the certificate box and enter TESOL on the line.

There is a fee to apply for graduation.

¹: Please note that Banner only tracks two paths (e.g. major and minor, major and certificate). It lacks the capacity to track a major, a minor and a certificate, so for those of you who fall into this category, you will have to be especially diligent in checking that you have all requirements fulfilled for each degree, minor and or certificate you want to earn.

Student Journeys

Contact Information

Francis Dumanig

Chair & Associate Professor, English; Program Coordinator, TESOL Certificate, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

(808) 932-7936


(808) 932-7214

Kanakaʻole Hall, room 216