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Grad Program: Bilingual and Multilingual Education

Basic Information

Bilingual/multilingual education is the philosophy and practice of teaching students with low English proficiency, using students’ native languages as well as English. To instruct effectively, educators are prepared to teach most subjects as well as respond to the various sociocultural, cognitive, and linguistic needs of diverse students. Graduate programs typically provide background in linguistics, culture, research, the history and rationale of bilingual education, and methodology, and most require a student teaching practicum. Some focus solely on Spanish as the non-English language, so students interested in working with other student populations should keep this in mind. Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults usually requires a certificate but not an advanced degree.

Degree Information

One and two year master’s degrees include an M.A., M.S., or M.Ed. in bilingual/multilingual or multicultural education and the Master’s of Bilingual Education (M.B.E.). Students will most likely want a program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students interested in the subject but not necessarily planning on teaching may want to consider a master of arts or science degree in Child Development with multilingual focus. For those interested in pursuing careers in research and teaching education at the post-secondary level, doctorate programs are less common but are certainly an option.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Is the program in the state where I want to be certified?
  • Where do graduates of the program work?
  • Is the program accredited?
  • Does the program adequately prepare students for state teaching certification?
  • Does the program incorporate the language I know/want to teach?

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