English Second Language

Doctor of Philosophy in Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

With the rise of global business, the importance of knowing English has risen exponentially and drives demand in today’s classrooms as students and adult workers seek after English as a Second Language education. Our PhD in English Second Language (ESL) specialization provides a strong base in assessing the skills of diverse students, designing bilingual instruction for others involved with ESL teaching and learning, and conducting research to advance the field of ESL. As a PhD in ESL graduate, you will be prepared to research, teach and build successful programs to support those who are learning English as a second language.

General Degree Requirements

The PhD Program may be completed in 60 semester credit hours. However, up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If the program is not completed in 75 credit hours, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The PhD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

PhD Degree Requirements

Admission to the doctorate programs at NCU requires a master's degree from an accredited institution. PhD students are also required to demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Foundational Competencies for PhD Program

  • Graduate Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete a Statistics in Education Research Course, EDU8003, and also EDU8006, Advanced Educational Statistics.
  • Competency in Research Writing Skills - PhD students are required to show competency in writing skills for research purposes through their Northcentral University graduate coursework before being assigned to any dissertation courses. Students will be required to take EDU8001, Advanced Scholarly Writing, to improve APA formatting skills and to address advanced writing and research skills as necessary.
  • Computer Competency - PhD students are required to use appropriate computer skills that are necessary in writing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents, etc.). In addition, students need to use computer programs for the statistical analysis and presentation of data (e.g., Excel, SPSS). The oral defense normally requires a computer-based presentation by the candidate (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation).

Course Length

All new students enrolling in the PhD in Education program are automatically enrolled in courses that are eight weeks in length. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


Instructional Practices

This course examines the principles and theoretical base of ESL instruction as they relate to improving instructional practices. Students will investigate theories of language acquisition and language teaching. Emphasize will be placed on research findings and students will recommended practices and articulate a professional philosophy of instruction.


Cultural Diversity

In this course, students will obtain awareness of both the cognitive knowledge, analysis, and synthesis skills necessary to reflectively interact with and/or serve or lead culturally diverse populations. This course will particularly emphasize effective leadership knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions that are essential in effective professional relationships. Additionally, it will focus on those whose diversity is cultural and who are more likely to be encountered by the students taking the course.


Evaluation of Diverse students

In this course, students will focus on practices in assessing K-12 learners from diverse cultures and with diverse abilities. Students in this class learn assessment practices that lead to plans for supporting age appropriate development in ways that are individually and culturally relevant for families and practitioners and that are consistent with current recommended practices in the field of K-12 education.


Bilingual Instructional Methods

In this course, students will be provided a framework for instruction of students whose primary language is one other than English. Constructivist paradigms will be utilized to provide relevant theoretical and practical information related to bilingual instructional methods with a goal of development of cultural competence and cultural respect for students growing up in a bilingual world.


Developing Curriculum for ESL students

This course prepares ESL teachers to develop curriculum for their students. It includes a general overview of curriculum design, the basics of second language curricular needs and how to adapt the content curriculum for ELL students, with emphasis on integrating language and content by means of thematic units. Different types of ESL programs and plans will be studied. Students will also learn how to evaluate and adapt materials for ELL students.


Second Language Foundations

The course will prepare teachers to assess the needs of English Language students (ELL) and develop curriculum materials and effective teaching methods for ELLs enrolled in both Structured English Immersion programs and mainstream classes. Students will examine critically the theoretical foundations and recent research findings that inform second language classroom practices.



In this course, students will gain supervised experience teaching English as a Second Language. Focus will be placed on the development of effective communication skills in reading, writing, speaking, as well as interpersonal and technology skills. All practicum experiences will be supervised through virtual or web-based activities. This course is highly recommended for students who wish to work with English as a Second Language students in the classroom or for those with limited teaching experience.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s PhD in Education costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $1,129
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $3,387
  • Program cost: $68,090
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors.For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.