Postgraduate Certificate in TESOL (ESOL Specialism)

This ESOL-specific award takes inspiration from a rights-based approach to language that sees the provision of language education to all members as a right that enables them to participate equally in society. Drawing on theories of participatory pedagogy and recognising the needs of learners who may have literacy and trauma related challenges, the philosophy of the course informs all aspects of its content – from classroom organisation to the focus on the real–life needs of the learners.

The award is structured to facilitate flexible learning and professional development. Each of the three modules will feature a minimum of one session of face-to-face teaching at our Cardiff Campus.

Dr Mike Chick, who is USW’s Refugee Champion and responsible for a wide range of activities associated with USW’s status as a University of Sanctuary, has developed this course regarding the ESOL specialism. Course and module design builds on his experience in this area, on his professional networks, published and current research, and consultation with external stakeholders.

The sixty credits which constitute the PG Certificate forms the first part of the MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) specialism.

Active, collaborative, and interdisciplinary learning are encouraged, drawing on sound principles of Action Research, Exploratory Practice and Critical ESOL pedagogies. The approach to learning is based on active enquiry brought to bear on predominant theories in the field. The development of communities of practice will be encouraged throughout the course and the interconnectedness of politics, migration, education, and inclusion will be a central feature.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 4 Months February Online B
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 4 Months February Online B

The postgraduate certificate consists of three, core, 20-credit modules taught in sequence.

Participatory Approaches to the ESOL Classroom

The module aims to provide participants with a thorough understanding of both the theory and practice of participatory language education, to enable participants to be confident in carrying out emergent language teaching, and to empower participants to be confident in enacting a co-constructed, emergent, syllabus.

The Politics of Migrant Language Education

Language educators working with the growing numbers of forced migrants in the ESOL classroom require a broader understanding of inclusion, integration, and related policies in their local contexts. As such, this module offers potential for collaborations with students working on projects relating to public services, social sciences, and global leadership.

Teaching Basic Literacy and Trauma Informed Pedagogy

This module covers the approaches to teaching basic literacy - to people literate in a first language but unfamiliar with Latin script (e.g., Arabic speakers) and to people who are not literate in their first language.

It involves the development of a deep understanding of the role of a trauma informed pedagogy in language education for migrants.


This course features blended learning with block (intensive) delivery: most workshops are online, but participants will also meet during the face-to-face sessions at our Cardiff Campus.

Modules are taught one at a time. The usual schedule will be:

Participatory approaches to the ESOL classroom: February

  • Three sessions of online delivery
  • A minimum of one session face-to-face

The politics of migrant language education March / April

  • Three sessions of online delivery
  • A minimum of one session face-to-face

Teaching Basic Literacy and Trauma Informed Pedagogy: April / May

  • Three sessions of online delivery
  • A minimum of one session face-to-face

This delivery pattern is designed to foster an effective learning community and professional network for students, while facilitating students already employed full-time in this area, for whom employers may fund continuous professional development.

The modules are taught through interactive workshops consisting of short lectures, activities, and discussions. These interactive workshops accommodate cutting edge research-based content best shared in the form of short lectures; opportunities for staff and students to discuss and model different classroom scenarios; time for formative assessment in the form of practical individual and small-group exercises; and space for discussion of key concepts.


Students will be able to meet with the course leader online or in person, by appointment, throughout their studies.  


Assessment brings theoretical aspects to bear on practical, context-specific classroom realities. All assessment is through coursework, there are no exams.

Participatory approaches to the ESOL classroom

Assessment is through a project which contributes 100% of marks for the module. The project which can be shaped to learners’ current or planned professional experience.

The Politics of Migrant Language Education

Assessment is through two essays, each contributing 50% of the marks for the module.

Teaching Basic Literacy and Trauma Informed Pedagogy

Assessment is in the form of one essay, contributing 40% of marks for the module, and one project, contributing 60% of marks for the module: the project is an exercise in syllabus design.


USW has a strong commitment to providing technology-based learning environments to support students. Whether studying on campus, at home or elsewhere, students have web access to essential course materials anytime and anywhere.

Students will have access to libraries and study spaces at all our campuses. Many library resources are also available digitally.


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

An undergraduate degree in any discipline with a minimum 2:2 classification.

An interview may be offered where applicants do not meet this classification. The interview will assess any combination of relevant study, language-teaching qualifications, and work experience, including volunteering.

For applicants not educated through the medium of English, an IELTS score of 6.5 is required.  Each component minimum required score is IELTS reading 6.0, writing 6.0, listening 6.0 and speaking 6.0.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £6840 per 20 credits

  • Full-time International: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

UK Students

You can apply directly via the university.

If you have refugee status in the UK and would like to apply for a scholarship, please note this in your application, in the personal statement. You will be contacted by the course leader with further details.

The need for this highly original and unique course is the culmination of work in the field of ESOL over the last decade or so. Moreover, the current humanitarian crises surrounding forced migration means that the demand for specifically trained tutors of migrants and forced migrants is extremely high.

The ESOL specialism proposed here is a response to feedback from employers, educators, and volunteers in the field. It reflects Welsh government strategy as well as educator needs identified throughout the UK (and beyond) by relevant professional research networks.

This award is suitable for anyone working or seeking to work in language education for migrants. Colleges, adult education, third sector and local authority employees would benefit from the award’s focus on language, politics and inclusion.