Cambridge Delta Course FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Cambridge Delta Course

Note that while we mainly use the term TEFL on these pages, in most cases the terms TESOL and TESL could equally well apply.

See TEFL Diploma Courses FAQ for more general information on diplomas, including comparisons between the Cambridge Delta and other qualifications.

What are the entry requirements for the Delta?
Cambridge say that people entering the course will normally have at least two years' full-time relevant teaching experience, a first degree, an initial teaching qualification, a range of teaching experience, and a sufficient level of English. As the wording suggests, these are not absolute requirements. In practice, though, course providers are quite precious about their pass rates and so often impose their own requirements (such as a longer period of teaching experience) on people applying to take the course through them. Having taken part in a lot of professional development is probably the most useful thing for actually passing the course.

Why is it referred to variously as Cambridge Delta, Cambridge DELTA, RSA/Cambridge DTEFLA and RSA Diploma?
The old Cambridge DELTA (upper-case) stood for the Cambridge Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults, but they changed to small letters to take away the “Adults” part of the name. The DTEFLA is an older version. It was offered by the then Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and subsequently jointly with Cambridge, before Cambridge took over the qualification in 1988.

What does “modular Delta” mean?
Unlike the older Cambridge DELTA and RSA/Cambridge DTEFLA, the Delta is divided into three totally separate parts. Module One is a written exam; Module Two is observed lessons and PDA (Professional Development Assignment); and Module Three is an extended assignment. Although the three modules are meant to reinforce each other, they can be taken in any order or you can even decide to do just particular ones.

Can I take the Delta if I don’t teach adults?
Yes. One reason that Cambridge took away the old acronym (see above) was to remove the word “Adults”. You can also do observed lessons for the Delta with teenagers, older primary school kids, Business English classes, teacher training sessions etc.

Is it better to take an intensive, extensive or distance Delta course?
If you have a course provider near you and so can travel there twice a week or so for input sessions etc, part-time may well still be the best option. Having a group of people in the same situation that you can bounce your ideas off and having time to do plenty of background reading and try things out in the classroom often makes this the best option. The disadvantages include the amount of travel, and the difficulty of keeping your work level up for the whole nine months of the course. People who might think about doing an intensive course instead include those who are in a rush to get the qualification (e.g. for a promotion), those who work better under pressure, and those who don’t have a local course provider. Distance/online courses have the usual benefits of flexibility and convenience, but it can be a bit demotivating if you can’t meet up with other people who are doing the Delta. You also need to find a local tutor.

How long does an intensive course take?
It depends entirely on the course provider and can be anywhere between seven and twelve weeks.

Is it possible to take just one or two modules of the Delta?
Yes. It’s quite rare, though, as you need to pass the whole thing to able to apply for jobs that ask for a diploma.

Do I need to do a face-to-face course as part of a distance or online Delta?
It depends on the provider.

Who can I take a distance/online Delta through?
The two options are The Distance Delta (offered by the British Council and International House London) and Online Delta (offered by Bell).

I want to take a distance/online Delta course. How can I find a Local Delta Tutor/Regional Delta Tutor?
Ask around. For example, approach schools that are likely to have qualified people (e.g. British Council or International House) and ask if you can advertise for someone.

What are the differences between the online/distance Deltas?
The biggest differences are how long you have to do individual modules and the whole course. This can also affect whether the modules overlap each other. There may also be different policies on how face-to-face and online instruction are combined.

There are two/several Delta course providers locally. How can I choose between them?

Does it make any difference if I have a Cambridge CELTA or not?
No. The most important things to enter and pass the course will be your teaching experience and professional development during your teaching career, although having an initial teaching qualification such as the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL will help.

Do I have to take the three modules in order?
No, although it might be easiest that way.

How long do I have to complete the course?
Cambridge doesn’t set any time limit for finishing all three modules, so if you take all three modules through one course provider any limits will be set by them.

How often can I retake each module?
As many times as you like, but you will probably have to pay the full fee each time.

Do I have to take a course, or can I just do the assessed bits?
The only instruction that Cambridge imposes is contact with your tutor for Module Two. They also suggest a number of hours of study for each module. However, you will need to register with a course provider (distance or local) to take the Delta, and they will probably impose a certain number of online and/or face-to-face study hours.