TESOL Admissions FAQ

Important Note on the Application Deadline

The deadline to submit applications via the Cal State Apply site for the Fall 2023 is July 1, 2023 for domestic students. For international applicants, the deadline is April 15, 2023. Please note that all supporting documentation (sealed official transcripts, TOEFL/IELTS scores if required, and letters of recommendation if required) must be received by Admissions within 30 days of your application. Contact the TESOL Coordinator, Dr. Daniel Rueckert (drueckert@fullerton.edu), if you have any application-related questions, or if you are having trouble with the document submission deadline.

Applications for Spring 2024 will be accepted on Cal State Apply starting on August 1, 2023. Deadlines will be announced when we know them, but applying as early as you can is safest.

Do I need to provide letters of recommendation?

We only require letters of recommendation if your GPA is a little below the required level (3.0 in the major, 2.7 in the last 60 semester units attempted). Otherwise, you don't need to send them in. You do not need to send a résumé, either, although you may if you wish.

Do I need to take the GRE?  


I haven't taken all the required prerequisites. Can I still Be admitted?

You can be admitted to the program even if you have not completed all the coursework requirements; in fact, 90% of our students have to make up a prerequisite after admission. Prerequisites are supposed to be made up by the time that you  complete nine units counting towards the degree. (Note: International students are virtually guaranteed to need to take MLNG 301.)

Do I need to tell anyone if I apply?

It is a good idea to e-mail the TESOL Coordinator 24-48 hours after you apply. This accomplishes two things: (1) The Coordinator can look up your Campus-Wide Identification Number (CWID), which is often difficult for applicants to find, and (2) The TESOL Program then has a working e-mail address for you, as opposed to the @csu.fullerton.edu address that normally appears when we view your application. This is very important if we need to contact you about an incomplete application file, or to let you know that you have been admitted without making you wait for the official letter to be generated, printed, signed, and mailed to you (which can take a week or two even for domestic applicants; for international students, add another two weeks or more!).

The current TESOL Coordinator is Dr. Daniel Rueckert

Do I need to type in every course I took as an undergraduate, as part of completing my online application?

No. International applicants should see a message stating “You do not need to enter transcript information for foreign colleges.” Domestic applicants will probably see a screen labeled “Transcript Entry.” If you do, just click the “I Am Not Adding Any College Transcripts” button or link at the bottom of the page. The TESOL Program and CSUF Admissions will manually review your transcripts; entering your course history is not necessary.

What do I do with my transcripts?

Official transcripts (in English) must be sent to the Office of Admissions California State University, Fullerton before your application can be reviewed. If you have sent all your transcripts in and something seems to still be missing, please let me know and I will try to check into the matter for you. Please do not send your transcripts to the TESOL Program.  Send them directly to Admissions.  Their mailing address is:

California State University, Fullerton
Office of Admissions
P.O. Box 6900
Fullerton, CA 92834-6900

The Office of Admissions requires that transcripts be sealed—that is, sealed in an envelope from the issuing school. You may send that envelope yourself, but it must be sealed, or they will generally not accept the transcript. If possible, write your CWID on the outside of each envelope. When sending transcripts to campus, we recommend sending them via overnight mail, FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc., so that you will have delivery confirmation.

For more information on transcripts, including how to send electronic transcripts, please see http://admissions.fullerton.edu/prospectivestudent/college_transcripts.php.
If you attended a university outside the United States, you should also consult the “Transcripts” section of http://admissions.fullerton.edu/intl/master_grad.php.
Note that CSUF does not normally require a degree evaluation.

Do you really need transcripts from all my colleges, or just from where I finished my B.A.?

Effective Fall 2023, Admissions & Records requires transcripts from every college or university where you earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree. 
Also, you must provide transcripts covering your last 60 semester units (90 quarter units). (For example: If you earned 57 units at the school where you earned your B.A., and 63 units at a community college, you must provide both transcripts.) 
If you graduated from CSUF, you do not need to supply your CSUF transcript. However, if a community college transcript is required to cover your last 60 units, you must submit a new one. (Admissions will not accept transcripts over 2 years old, even if they were submitted to CSUF previously. We’re sorry, we know it’s a silly requirement, and we have no control over it.)
You must submit transcripts showing any prerequisite courses. (For evaluating prerequisites for CSUF alumni, the 2-year rule for previously-submitted transcripts does not apply.)

Please check your admissions to-do list!
See the Office of Admissions website for more information on transcripts.

I am an international student. What documentation do I need to provide for my I-20?

At present, the International Students & Scholars Office requires all international applicants to submit the International Student Financial Affidavit Form, financial documents such as bank statement(s), and a copy of your passport page showing the expiration date. International students already attending another U.S. university should also submit copies of their current visa, I-94, and I-20 as well. This information may change, however, so please visit the International Students & Scholars website  page for prospective international students  to verify that these are the current requirements.

I am an international student. How and when should I send the documentation for my I-20?

We strongly recommend that international students send the supporting documentation for their I-20 forms via express (not priority!) mail, FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc., so that they will have delivery confirmation. Send the documents directly to the International Education and Exchange Office. You can send these documents before you are admitted; if possible, you should write your CWID on each page before sending them.

I am an international student. Can I work part-time while I am a student?

See the university's employment page  for information on the rules for international students with F-1 and J-1 visas wanting to work part-time on campus.

How do I submit my TOEFL or IELTS score?

You must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score report from the test provider. Your score must be less than 2 years old, or Admissions will not accept it.

If you earned your bachelor’s degree in a country where English is the only language of instruction, you may be exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. Please check the list of countries that qualify for an automatic waiver. 

Please see the Office of Admissions International Graduate Eligibility Requirements page for more information

I don't have the required TOEFL or IELTS score. Can I be admitted conditionally anyway?

Unfortunately, no. Cal State Fullerton recently discontinued its intensive English program, so there is no way right now to take intensive ESL on campus after being conditionally admitted. If you do not have the required TOEFL or IELTS score yet, you can enroll at an intensive ESL program (there are several in the area). Once you get the necessary score, you can apply for the next semester. The application deadline is July 1 for fall semester admission. 

 If you are attending an intensive English program near Cal State Fullerton, you may also be able to take a prerequisite or TESOL course at the same time, through Open University . Please contact the TESOL Coordinator for advice on what you should take before you enroll, if you decide to do this.

My overall TOEFL or IELTS score meets your requirements, but
my speaking score is still below 26/7.0. What can I do?

Students with an 89 iBT overall but an iBT Speaking score of 23-25 can be admitted conditionally if they have a 23. Students with an overall 7.0 IELTS score can be admitted conditionally if their speaking score is 6.5. These students will have an extra semester to practice, get tutoring, and attend free workshops from the University Learning Center. They can then take an interview test late in their first semester (November/April) offered for free by the TESOL Program. This interview is different from the iBT or IELTS speaking section, but is not intended to be harder or easier than those tests. (Students can also take the iBT or IELTS again, if they want to spend that much money!)

I took the Paper-Based TOEFL, so I don't have a speaking score. What do I need to do?

Students who took the PBT can also be admitted conditionally, and will also need to pass the interview test or iBT speaking section during their first semester.

I have a three-year bachelor's degree. Can I be admitted?

If you graduated from a three-year degree program, you must provide a diploma supplement along with your transcript. As a rule, degree programs for which diploma supplements are issued will be considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree.

If I'm admitted and have prereqs to make up, what classes should I take?

If you are admitted, take TESL 500 and up to two prerequisites as necessary during your first semester. Take a second TESOL course and any remaining prereqs during your second semester. If you cannot complete all your prerequisites in one semester, take MLNG 301 first, then give second priority to ENGL 303. LING 406 and ENGL 300 or the equivalent are of roughly equal importance after that.

What is MLNG 301, anyway?

MLNG 301 is an upper-division (junior or senior level) writing course. Courses that are often accepted as equivalent include writing-intensive seminars, and courses focusing on written communication. The course must have been taught in an English-speaking country to count. For a more definitive answer, the TESOL Coordinator will need to review your undergraduate transcript.

What if I can't get into TESL 500 my first semester?

During your first semester, if you cannot take TESL 500, take TESL 509, a pedagogy course (TESL 515, 520, or 525), or an elective from within the TESOL program. If TESL 500 is full, though, you should also contact the TESL 500 instructor via e-mail to see if you can possibly get added anyway. If TESL 500 is not being offered (this happens sometimes in the spring semester), however, don't worry about it, and just follow the advice above. 

Are there any scholarships or grants available?

The University offers a limited number of non-resident tuition waivers to incoming international and incoming domestic non-resident students. These waivers allow the recipients to pay the in-state tuition and fee rates. The TESOL Program will automatically nominate the most competitive incoming students; the decision on whom to nominate depends on a  student's GPA, letters of recommendation,TOEFL/IELTS score, and statement of purpose. Note that out-of-state domestic students might be advised to remind the TESOL Coordinator that they are not California residents. The University (not the TESOL Program!) usually makes the award decisions during the summer for fall admission, and in December for spring admission.

Once a student enters the program, they are eligible to apply for the $1,000 Nancy "Terry" Baden TESOL Scholarship on a competitive basis.  Students may also apply for competitive CATESOL Education Foundation Grants, which provide several students with 2-year memberships in CATESOL (California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, the regional professional organization in our field) and registration at 3 CATESOL conferences.

What's the difference between the M.S. in TESOL and the TESOL Certificate?

One of the purposes of our certificate program is to accommodate people who are pursuing a master's in another subject, or already have one, and want to be able to teach TESOL at the community college level. The master's degree requires three additional courses (TESL 560, Second Language Assessment; TESL 595, Curriculum and Syllabus Design; and one more elective), plus the comprehensive examination. If you already have a master's in something, you should consider how competitive you will be for community college jobs with your current master's plus the certificate, versus with two master's degrees.

Anyone completing the M.S. in TESOL is automatically awarded the Certificate as well.
When I applied online, it said something about applying for a credential.
Is the Certificate a credential? Is the M.S. in TESOL a credential?

Neither program is a credential. Please see here for information on our undergraduate TESOL programs, including the Undergraduate TESOL Certificate and the World Language: ELD Subject Matter Preparation Program (SMPP).

Please see here for information on our undergraduate TESOL programs, including the Undergraduate TESOL Certificate and the upcoming ELD Subject Matter Preparation Program (SMPP). Requirements for the SMPP will eventually be posted here, following approval.

What's the difference between the graduate and undergraduate certificate programs?

Please see click here for an explanation. The Undergraduate TESOL Certificate Program is an 18-unit program for undergraduate students. The Graduate TESOL Certificate Program is a 14-unit program for post-baccalaureate or graduate students.