This program seeks to develop expert educators capable of serving in a variety of settings, including English as a Second Language (ESL), English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), bilingual education, and general education with students labeled as English learners (ELs) or English language learners (ELLs). 


Classrooms and communities are more diverse than ever before, with a multitude of languages and cultures enriching the possibilities for learning and instruction. This increasing linguistic diversity has prompted much-needed attention to the large and growing sub-group of students labeled as English learners or emergent bilinguals. Spanning urban, suburban, and rural areas across the United States and beyond, educational stakeholders recognize the need for all teachers to integrate and support students’ languages and cultural backgrounds into curriculum and instruction.

With this context in mind, we designed the Language, Culture, and Curriculum program at Loyola University Chicago to equip all teachers with the pertinent understandings and pedagogical practices to push forward emergent bilinguals’ learning and language development across settings, including literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, and fine arts classrooms with children, adolescents, and adults. Since students develop and use language while engaged in learning, all educators can enhance their practice by adding lenses on language and culture to their curriculum.

Reflecting our deep commitment to social justice, this program centers on promoting equity for emergent bilinguals. We embrace as asset-based approach, recognizing that all students have resources that must be integrated into inclusive and welcoming environments and rigorous and engaging instruction. We challenge institutional constructs that marginalize students and focus on developing teacher expertise and advocacy to leverage change in their unique contexts. To accomplish this, the backward designed curriculum first focuses on classroom practice before considering application in schools and communities. Graduates leave with the ability to support emergent bilinguals in classrooms, as well as promote broader change for equity and justice.

Loyola faculty designed the program with the classroom teacher in mind. The 10-course Master’s degree program can be completed in 1.5 years while teaching, drawing from your current expertise and directly applying learning to your daily practice. Reflecting the responsive approach that we emphasize in our curriculum, we recognize the knowledge and experience that you bring to the program and meld course learning to make learning applicable to your setting. The curriculum focuses on solving problems of practice, with each course centering on an authentic project that directly connects to and informs your teaching. There are no lengthy research papers that only the instructor reads, but rather meaningful applications of your learning to immediately enhance and support your classroom practice with students.

To meet the widespread demand for well-prepared teachers of emergent bilinguals, we have an online cohort option that allows completion of the degree program from anywhere in the world on flexible time schedules. Mirroring the content of our in-person cohort offering in the Chicagoland area, we meticulously designed the asynchronous online curriculum to be purposeful and authentic, allowing the top-notch professors and experts in the field of EL/bilingual education to respond to your goals and needs as teachers in diverse contexts across the globe. The project-based focus allows for targeted online learning and support, rather than busywork and endless discussion boards.

In addition to completing your Master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, the coursework also meets the requirements for the English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement in the state of Illinois. If you work in one of the 43 states that has reciprocity agreements with the state of Illinois, the ESL endorsement can transfer to your teaching license if first attached to the Illinois license. We look forward to supporting your learning and professional development in the Language, Culture, and Curriculum program.

Program Benefits

  • Enhance your expertise and practice to work in settings including ESL, EFL, TESOL, bilingual, and general education.
  • Earn your Master's degree, which includes required coursework for the ESL endorsement. You can take one additional course to receive bilingual endorsement.
  • Develop in-depth expertise to support the learning and language development of all students with targeted focus on emergent bilingual learners.
  • Complete coursework online from anywhere in the world, or take courses in-person on our Chicago campus.
  • Immediately apply your leaning to your classroom practice via the project-based approach that prioritizes the development of both you and your students.
  • Engage in collaborative learning with other educators via structured cohorts that move through the strategically sequenced 10-course program together. 
  • Complete the degree program in less than 1.5 years by taking two courses per semester – ideal for the busy classroom teacher looking for flexibility and applicability. 

Program Outcomes

  • Holistically support students' social, emotional, cultural, linguistic, and academic development and achievement. 
  • Actively engage in the design and implementation of educational policies, programs, and services for emergent bilinguals.
  • Align curriculum and instruction with the cultural and linguistic goals and resources of families and communities. 
  • Plan and implement classroom instruction and assessment that integrates language into rigorous literacy and content area teaching.  
  • Find and utilize culturally and linguistically relevant literature, materials and technology, to support learning, literacy, and biliteracy.
  • Involve parents, families, and communities in meaningful ways to support students' learning, development, and achievement.
  • Promote equity for emergent bilinguals via leadership and advocacy work both inside and outside of schools. 

Program Faculty

Our dedicated Teaching and Learning Faculty are experts in their fields who will support students throughout each stage of the program.

Program Advisor

Amy Heineke

Faculty Expertise
  • Curriculum foundations-practice-policies
  • Field-based teacher education and teacher advocacy
  • Collaborative school-community partnerships
  • Language, literacy, and culture
  • Culturally responsive practice and curriculum reform
  • Spirituality & transformative curriculum leadership
  • Disciplinary expertise: Math, Science, ELA, Social Studies, Elementary Ed, Special Ed, and Early Childhood

International Students


International Students: Educators from countries around the world are encouraged to apply to Loyola's Language, Culture and Curriculum Master's Program to develop their asset-based linguistically and culturally responsive practice and explore new ideas. Courses focus on theories, concepts, and skill development applicable to schools with bilingual and multilingual student populations in any context. 

For more information on taking part in this program as an international student, please visit: International Students

What our students are saying!


The program requires 30 semester hours, consisting of 10 classes and a comprehensive portfolio, which is embedded in program coursework. Courses are taken one at a time spanning 6-8 weeks, meaning that students only focus on the content and project for one course at any given time.

Length of the Program: Students complete the program in 1.5 years, takings two classes each semester for five semesters (i.e., Spring, Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer). Should the need arise to deviate from the cohort, students have five years from acceptance to complete the program.

Continuous Enrollments
Master's students in Language, Culture, and Curriculum are required to maintain the status of continuous enrollment during their program of studies. This means that during each semester of each academic year (excluding Summer Sessions), each student must enroll in at least one course. A formal leave of absence may be granted upon request and the approval of the School of Education’s Assistant Dean of Student Academic Affairs.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses (30 semester hours; courses listed in order taken in the program)

  • CIEP 508: Social Justice and Multilingual Learners 
  • CIEP 503: Culturally Relevant Literature for Children & Adolescents
  • CIEP 471: Theoretical Foundations for Teaching ESL/Bilingual
  • CIEP 507: Language Demands & Development
  • CIEP 474: Assessment of Bilingual Students
  • CIEP 509: Literacy & Bilingualism
  • CIEP 472: Methods and Materials for Teaching ESL/Bilingual
  • CIEP 506: English Language Learning Practicum
  • CIEP 504: Applied Linguistics for Teachers
  • CIEP 473: Instructional Leadership for Multicultural Schools

Clinical Experiences: Students will complete clinical experiences integrated within individual courses. For students who are not currently teaching, additional clinical hours may be required outside of coursework.

Comprehensive Assessment: The comprehensive portfolio for this program will be completed throughout the program. The professional portfolio includes the focal project from each practice-based course, including:

  • Personal philosophy for teaching emergent bilinguals
  • Community study and culturally relevant library list
  • Parent guide to federal, state, and local language policies
  • Classroom displays for students' metalinguistic awareness
  • Student case study and assessment portfolio
  • Literacy and biliteracy student intervention plan
  • Disciplinary unit plan with language lens
  • Co-planning and co-teaching unit of study
  • Applied linguistics problem and action plan
  • Professional development plan for school change



Students interested in pursuing the MEd in Language, Culture, and Curriculum are not required to hold a teaching license

Students will need to hold a valid teaching license should they wish to formally attach the ESL endorsement that is a part of this larger Master's degree program. 

This program will provide the coursework needed to receive an ESL endorsement if candidates hold an Illinois teaching license. The endorsement is for the grade range of the license with the exception of the middle grades. Adding the middle grade ESL endorsement may require additional course work if the middle grade endorsement is not currently on the license.

Applicants licensed to teach outside of the state of Illinois may be able to receive the ESL endorsement through the Language, Culture, and Curriculum program through reciprocity agreements.

  • The following states have reciprocity agreements with Illinois: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

For more information, please visit: Illinois Licensure


Admission Requirements

Interested in applying? Check out the Admission Requirements.


Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships


The School of Education and Loyola's Financial Aid Office are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their education at Loyola affordable. You can learn more on the Financial Assistance page.