Bilingual Education Advanced Certificate Program

SUNY Oneonta student working with children in a library
SUNY Oneonta student reading to a child
SUNY Oneonta student working with children outdoors

About the program

The SUNY Oneonta Bilingual Education Advanced Certificate Program is offered fully online in response to the growing number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in K-12 classrooms throughout New York. Housed within the university's Department of Elementary Education and Reading, the program is partially funded by a New York State Education Department (NYSED) grant that provides eligible students with tuition assistance of $400 per credit, which represents 85% of tuition costs (based on 2023-2024 tuition rates).

The Bilingual Education Advanced Certificate Program consists of five courses delivered fully online through the summer, fall, and spring semesters. Students are admitted for summer entry cohorts of 20 students per year (three semesters) who are guided in classroom practices that integrate pedagogy, experiential learning and research in multilingual/multicultural school environments.

In addition to working closely with program faculty, students receive support from mentors who are alumni of the Bilingual Education program. Mentors are selected from diverse regions and student populations, and each will work with three to five student mentees.

Start of Term


Delivery Method


Application Deadline

Rolling: Apply Anytime

Number of Credits 32


Admission requirements include:

  1. a completed application and the non-refundable fee;
  2. a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of at least 3.0
  3. an initial certification in any content area other than library media or technology specialists;
  4. submission of all undergraduate or graduate transcripts;
  5. a one-page statement of your teaching philosophy as an instructor of English Language Learners (ELLs) that describes how you might differentiate teaching and learning for this student population;
  6. 12 study hours in a language other than English or demonstration of Intermediate Mid proficiency through the Oral Proficiency Interview-Computer (OPIc) by the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACFTL standards) Foreign Languages (ACFTL standards); and
  7. employment in a school district by the fall of your admission to the program. You must submit the Letter of Agreement form signed by the school district where you are employed and will have access to a bilingual classroom.

Tuition support is available to qualified accepted students, subject to fund availability. This funding is provided by the New York State Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (a NYSED grant program). Students must meet all criteria for acceptance into the program.

Tuition Support Requirements:

  • Students must agree and sign the SUNY Oneonta Bilingual Education Tuition Assistance Agreement
  • Students must pass the New York State Bilingual Education Assessment in a language other than English by the deadline stated in the Tuition Assistance Agreement form, or they must pay full tuition to the university.
  1. This program is a cohort model where students begin in the summer and end the program the following spring. Admitted BEC students must complete the program course sequence as described below.
  2. BEC students must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA.
  3. This program includes a mentorship model where students are placed with mentor-teachers for the duration of the program. Students are assigned a mentor from a New York State (NYS) school district who has previously completed the BEC certification and has experience in the field. Students agree to have frequent online communication with mentors. See the mentoring model overview below.
  4. Students must take the required state exams during the summer after course completion, before the school academic year begins.
  5. Students apply bilingual education theories, research and assessment strategies into their own teaching practice and document field hours in the bilingual classrooms through assignments, including lessons’ observation and analysis, critique,and redesign.

The program consists of 15 credits delivered online in the following order:

Summer Semester

  1. FLED 5012 - Second Language Acquisition and Literacy (3 s.h.)
    This course consists of a general introduction to the study of second language acquisition and literacy development considering linguistic theory and research. Topics will include a review of linguistic theories related to first and second language acquisition, as well as bilingual upbringing, and bi-culturalism. It includes understanding terminology and modes of research; L1 inference in L2 learning, inter-language and code-switching; processes of language transfer and literacy skills between L1 and L2; emotional and psychological factors in L2 learning; fossilization and error analysis; cognitive effects of different types of bilingualism; cognitive processes involved in synthesizing and internalizing language rules for second language acquisition.
  2. FLAN 5010 - Linguistic for Foreign Language Education (3 s.h.)
    This course introduces the various branches of linguistics and linguistic diversity, emphasizing the history of linguistics, prescriptive and descriptive modes of language study with emphasis on practical application in the bilingual classroom. Topics will include linguistic theories, terminology and modes of research; phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics both in general and as specific to the language focus of each student; sociolinguistics concepts on bilingualism are observed, and comparative linguistics strategies are used to design activities aimed to nurture the Native Language Arts (NLSs) in bilingual students.

Fall Semester

  1. FLED 5930 Advanced Research, Theories & Best Practices -Teaching English as a Second Language (3 s.h.)
    This course discusses methods, materials and assessment criteria used to teach English as a Second/New Language (ESL/ENL) to English Language Learners (ELL). This course will prepare students to teach their students at the elementary and secondary levels to meet the English as a Second Language Learning Standards (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and assessment requirements in the state of New York. Along with an exploration of the research and theories of first and second language acquisition, students will be involved in numerous hands-on activities and practice in teaching methods, planning, peer teaching, student evaluation and test preparation, classroom management, materials design and preparation with a view toward meeting the needs of a diverse population of learners, parents and community relations.
  2. EDUC 5077 Issues in Diversity, Multicultural Education & Bilingualism (3 s.h.)
    This course prepares teachers to be global citizens of the 21st century who are aware of diversity issues that touch individual learners as well as educational institutions, and to use that understanding to improve teaching and learning. Issues to be discussed include ethnicities, races, languages, socioeconomic status, regional/geographic backgrounds, and exceptionalities (physical, mental, emotional), and teaching for social justice, with a special focus on emergent bilingual learners.

Spring Semester

  1. EDUC 5095 - Methods of Teaching Core Subject Areas in the Native Language and English (3 s.h.)
    This course includes curriculum, assessment and methods of teaching used to teach core subject areas (mathematics, science, and social studies) to students who are English Language Learners, including those with disabilities, at both the elementary and secondary levels. This course content includes adapting methodologies to meet the language arts modalities (listening, speaking, reading, and wiring) for Native Language (NL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction.

Dr. Maria Cristina Montoya – Associate Professor in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department - Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University at Albany and has been teaching at SUNY Oneonta for the last 21 years. Dr. Montoya also completed master’s in communication media technologies in education from Teachers College-Columbia University and has bachelor’s in Social Communication from Universidad del Valle in Colombia. As a native-born Colombian and later an immigrant child in the United States, she experienced two different programs for ELL students, first a bilingual "pull out" program, and later an ESL full-immersion approach. During her career at Oneonta, she has taught and designed courses for education and liberal arts Spanish majors in language acquisition and literacy, linguistics for educators, advanced conversation with service-learning component, and she has established a volunteer program with the Hispanic community in Oneonta.

Alejandra Escudero – Lecturer in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department - ABD in Linguistics from the University at Albany, and she has been teaching at SUNY Oneonta for the last 11 years. Professor Escudero has a BA in Modern Languages and Translation from Universidad Metropolitana, Caracas, Venezuela. MA in Hispanic Studies from The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Her teaching areas are Spanish language, Phonetics & Phonology, Translation. Research areas: Applied Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition and use of Open Pedagogies in the foreign language classroom. Her experience as a linguist has allowed her to help students in the comparative analysis of second languages and heritage language learning.

Dr. Suriati Abas - Assistant Professor of Elementary Education and Reading at SUNY Oneonta. She has a Ph.D. in Literacy, Culture and Language Education from Indiana University; Dr. Abas completed a master’s in Applied Linguistics and a bachelor’s with honors in Education, majoring in English language and Literature from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has taught literacy theory, methods, linguistic landscapes, children’s literature (focusing on diverse, multicultural books) to pre-service teachers and, university composition courses to ELLs. Dr Abas was involved in several federally funded language and literacy projects. Her research centers around intersections of literacy, linguistic and language education.

Dr. Xuexue Yang - Assistant Professor in Elementary Education and Reading – Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education with a Specialization in Language & Literacy and Graduate Certificate of English Language Learner (ELL) Education from Michigan State University. Dr. Yang also completed her master’s in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages, and Bachelor’s in Chinese Language and Culture from Sichuan University in China. Her research and teaching areas include ELLs or bi/multilingual education, world language education, differentiated instruction and assessment, and teacher education. Dr. Yang’s current work focus on assessment equity for ELLs or bi/multilingual learners coupled with teachers’ equitable and inclusive assessment practices in elementary classrooms.

Kimberly Voellm - Adjunct Professor in Elementary Education and Reading – She has a master’s in education with a specialization in Best Practices from National University in San Diego, CA. and bachelor’s in Early Childhood/Childhood Education and Spanish from SUNY Oneonta. Former English as a New Language (ENL) teacher in the Palo Verde Unified School district. She holds a teaching certification from California in Multiple Subjects (including English as a New Language) TK-8 and New York Birth-2nd grade and 1st-6th grade. Instructor Voellm is currently teaching 5th grade in the Schenectady City School district.

The mentor-teacher’s role in this program will be to:

  • maintain monthly contact (via email, Zoom, phone or in person) with students to discuss issues at hand. (Contact may be more often if necessary. The mentor-teacher is there to provide support but is not an instructor.);
  • communicate as needed with students, fellow mentor-teachers and instructor;
  • become familiar with course syllabi and requirements at the start of each course; and
  • help the student incorporate teaching and learning strategies at the school where they are teaching.


Office of Graduate Admissions: (800) SUNY-123 x2523 or (607) 436-2523
Department of Elementary Education and Reading : (607) 436-3176

Contact Program Director Dr. Maria Cristina Montoya if you have questions about the program curriculum, cost or application process.


SUNY Oneonta offers Graduate and Teaching Assistantships to a number of full-time graduate students who are enrolled in degree programs. Assistantships are awarded by academic departments. Assistantships may involve tuition waivers and/or stipends.

Graduate Studies at SUNY Oneonta

As a SUNY Oneonta graduate student, you will develop meaningful relationships with outstanding, accessible faculty who are experts in their fields, experienced, caring teachers, and advocates for your success. You will expand your knowledge, hone your skills and become a leader in your field. When you complete your degree program, you will join a network of successful alumni whose experiences at SUNY Oneonta opened new doors, fostered personal and professional growth, and enriched their careers. We’re committed to nurturing a community where students grow intellectually, thrive socially and live purposefully, and you’ll see that mission reflected in your coursework, in your conversations and in your experiences.

The Office of Graduate Admissions is eager to assist you, from the application process to graduation. Email us at or call us at 607-436-2523 to get started.

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