M.S.Ed. in Literacy Education: English as a Second Language/Bilingual Education Specialization


The United States remains a country of many languages – and many of those are spoken by children in P-12 schools. English as a Second Language/Bilingual teachers are needed to design and implement instruction for diverse learners – and to advocate for their families. Our 33-semester-hour M.S.Ed. in Literacy Education with a specialization in English as a Second Language/Bilingual Education will prepare you to teach those children to learn English as they grow in their knowledge and confidence to thrive in our nation.

You can complete our program in two or three years through coursework approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. You also can apply for and receive the Certificate of Graduate Study after completing 18 credits. Our program is nationally recognized by TESOL, the leading ELS professional organization.

You can apply to the NIU Graduate School as a degree-seeking student or as a Student-at-Large, which allows you to take a course while waiting for official admission to the program. Your complete application packet will require:

  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Your career goal statement.
  • Your college transcripts and test scores (GRE or MAT).

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During your program of study, you will:

  • Plan, implement, manage and adapt instructional methods and curricular models.
  • Understand the constructs and issues associated with assessment.
  • Create a learning environment that maximizes and motivates students' learning based on knowledge of interests, abilities and prior experiences.
  • Demonstrate and use the knowledge of the major concepts, principles and research on the psychological, sociological, linguistic, historical and cultural foundations of literacy education.

Courses are offered at NIU campuses in DeKalb, Naperville and Rockford; Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove; and various school districts. Courses are delivered in face-to-face, hybrid and online formats.

We prepare professionals to succeed and lead through programs that are student-centered, experiential, research-informed, inclusive, innovative and collaborative. You'll take courses such as:

  • Methods of Foundations of Language-Minority Education
  • Multicultural Education: Methods and Materials
  • Applied Linguistics for Teachers in Multilingual Classrooms
  • Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language in Content Areas
  • Teaching Language-Minority Students in Bilingual Programs-Methods and Materials
  • Assessment of Language-Minority Students
You also can take advantage of our Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic, which provides reading support services for K-12 students, continuing education and professional development opportunities for reading specialists and excellent practicum experiences for you.

Bilingual/English as a Second Language Endorsement (18 credits)

  • EPFE 505 - Foundations of Language-Minority Education
  • LTIC 501 - Multicultural Education: Methods and Materials
  • LTIC 545 - Applied Linguistics for Teachers in Multilingual Classrooms
  • LTIC 520 - Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language in Content Areas
  • LTIC 535 - Teaching Language-Minority Students in Bilingual Programs: Methods and Materials
  • LTIC 547 - Assessment of Language-Minority Students

You can take courses as a Student-at-Large while waiting to be officially admitted into the degree program.

Additional Courses Required for the Master's Degree (15 credits)

One of the following:

  • ETR 519 - Applied Educational Research
  • ETR 520 - Introduction to Research Methods in Education
  • ETR 525 - Qualitative Research in Education

Two of the following:

  • LTLA 539 - Issues of Diversity in Children's Literature
  • LTLA 541 - Young Adult Literature
  • Elective - An approved elective

Both of these courses:

  • LTIC 515 - Bilingualism and Reading
  • LTIC 598 - Issues in Teaching English Language Learners (Capstone seminar)
  • According to the 2014 Annual Report on Educator Supply and Demand in Illinois, bilingual/ESL teachers are being under-produced by Illinois universities – and rank fourth in terms of unfilled positions.
  • Nearly 250 Illinois school districts reported shortages of bilingual/ESL teachers.
  • The need for bilingual/ESL teachers is so strong that many school districts have been willing to pay for groups of their teachers to complete the six required bilingual/ESL endorsement courses.
  • Some school districts want teachers who can work effectively with all learners – and thus encourage their teachers to enroll in bilingual/ESL endorsement courses.

Contact Us

Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Nick Slicer, Graduate Advisor

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Complete this short contact form and our advisor will follow-up with specific program information. 

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