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Multilingual and Multicultural Education


Multilingual and multicultural education programs prepare people to teach subjects in one or more languages.

In this program students learn to teach adults and children who are mastering a second language or do not speak English in the home. These non-native English speakers are also called English Language Learners (ELLs).

Multilingual and multicultural education programs include topics such as:


A few colleges offer bachelor degrees in multilingual and multicultural education programs in conjunction with a program such as elementary teacher education or a liberal arts interdisciplinary major. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities also offer graduate programs in multilingual and multicultural education teacher education. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Some programs require you to complete an admissions process separate from their general undergraduate admissions process. In such a case, you typically apply to the bilingual and multilingual teacher education program after your freshman or sophomore year.

Program admissions vary. However, for all programs, you need good grades. You also usually need to complete some combination of the following requirements:

You may also need to complete the following core courses to qualify for the program:

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

In general, your bachelor's degree does not have to be in any particular major. It may be helpful, however, to take courses in linguistics and education, if possible. You should also take several courses in a second language.

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Additional requirements at some schools may include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

You also take courses in the particular culture you're studying. The culture most typically studied in multilingual and multicultural education programs in the US is Hispanic culture. So you might, for example, take courses in historical and contemporary Hispanic culture.

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in graduate programs varies. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

The core courses are often a more thorough study of issues and topics that are introduced in undergraduate courses for this program. You also take courses in research methods and statistics. These courses prepare you to undertake independent research based on your own interests in the field.

All programs require you to complete a student teaching practicum, which is a hands-on opportunity to work directly with bilingual students in any of a variety of settings. Most typically, you could work in a traditional K-12 classroom. Or you could tutor students in an international student services office at a college or university.

Whatever the setting, you benefit not only from the practice, but also from working under the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced bilingual or multilingual teacher.

You typically begin a practicum by leading some of the classroom activities and teaching part of the lesson; for the rest of class time, you might observe or assist. Eventually, however, you are given much more, if not full responsibility of teaching your supervisor's class.

Some programs offer a pre-practicum course. This gives you time to formally observe different styles of classroom teaching before trying it yourself.

Things to Know

If you want to teach bilingual education in a K-12 public school, you need to be licensed. In all states, getting licensed requires you to have at least a bachelor's degree as well as a certain amount of supervised practice-teaching experience. Some states require that you have a master's degree as well.

As part of their licensure processes, many states require you to take an exam such as the Praxis series. The Praxis II exam tests your knowledge of the particular subject you want to teach. The Praxis III exam tests your knowledge of general education theories and teaching methodologies.

You often combine multilingual and multicultural education course work with course work in another education specialty such as secondary education. This allows you to teach multilingual courses in particular subjects or to a particular school-age group.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

City University of Seattle

Green River College

Seattle University

University of Washington - Seattle

Tri-Cities Area

Heritage University (Pasco (Tri-Cities Area))

Washington State University - Tri-Cities

West Side Area

Saint Martin's University