Since the fall of 1970, when the University of Sonora in Hermosillo sent 22 engineers to the UA to perfect their English language skills before beginning their graduate degrees in the College of Engineering, CESL has trained thousands of undergraduate and graduate students from nearly 100 countries for academic study at the University of Arizona.

As a self-funding unit, CESL strategically invests in marketing and recruitment efforts around the globe. In recent years, with a network of recruitment agents and affiliate agreements, CESL has been recruiting many students to the UA. CESL directly transfers students to the UA which eventually translates into thousands of dollars in tuition brought to the UA via CESL students.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) at the University of Arizona is threefold:

  1. To provide superior English language instruction to native speakers of other languages through quality teaching, a rich and engaging curriculum, and co-curricular support to prepare students for academic and professional success at the University of Arizona as well as for other academic, professional, and social settings.
  2. To serve the linguistic and professional development needs of the University of Arizona and the greater global community by offering high-quality professional development and mentoring for teachers, supporting research in language learning, providing program evaluation services, and providing networking opportunities for educational professionals in order to help teachers and programs succeed in a wide variety of educational contexts.
  3. To encourage respect for cultural and linguistic diversity through intercultural competence, professionalism, and collaboration both on and off campus in an effort to promote cultural understanding and overall student success.  


The Center for English as a Second Language at the University of Arizona is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation and agrees to upholdthe CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions.  CEA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as nationally recognized accrediting agency for English language programs in the U.S. With thousands of university-based ESL programs, CEA is the marker of quality.

Accreditation by CEA signifies that an English language program has met nationally-accepted standards of excellence and assures students and their sponsors that the English language instruction and related services will be of the highest quality.  CESL is the only CEA accredited program in Arizona and one of 60 accredited worldwide.

Innovative Curriculum

All CESL faculty have at least a Master's and/or doctorate in foreign and second language eduation. This translates into innovative curriculum based on research and student needs. Students in our intensive English program spend more than 20 hours in class per week and supplement with homework, lab practice and weekly activities.

Ernestine A. Neff Memorial Library

CESL’s extensive, 6000-volume Library of language teaching materials is available to its faculty and UA students in the Master’s and PhD programs.  In addition, the library offers CESL students an extensive individualized reading program under the supervision of the CESL Librarian.  This individualized Reading Program (IRP) is being pioneered at CESL to develop reading skills and the love of reading for ESL students.


CESL partners in many ways with UA academic programs, universities abroad and world governments.

University Partnerships

Teacher Training TEFL Certificates
Exchanges with UA classes

Global Partnerships

UNISON University of Sonora, Mexico
Colegios Particulares A.C. Escuela Gante, Mexico
Tokyo International University, Japan
Council for International Education Exchange, Japan
Toyota Technological Institute, Japan
Trident School of Languages, Japan
Korea National University of Education, Korea
Daegu University, Korea


U.S. Department of State
Education USA
Institute of International Education
Embassy of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
Embassy of the State of Kuwait
Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière,Mauritania

"I have really enjoy the method of teaching at CESL, very friendly place where I made life time friends."