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English Language for Academic Communication (ESL)

Program Overview

The English Language for Academic Communication (ELAC) program prepares students for study in degree programs in American university context. Through instruction in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, students learn how to communicate their ideas effectively, interact using academic discourse, and apply their language skills to different situations and audiences for greater understanding and engagement.

The ELAC program offers instruction at seven levels of proficiency: low beginner, beginner, elementary, low intermediate, intermediate, high intermediate and advanced. Each level can be completed in one term of full-time study. Each level includes 140 academic hours of classroom instruction per level, per term. Each term is seven weeks long, and full-time students receive 20 hours of classroom instruction per week. The overall length of the program depends on the student’s initial placement and how quickly the student progresses from one level to the next.

Search ELAC Courses

English Language for Academic Communication Course Descriptions

Click the course name or adjacent to the name to view the course description:

ELAC 0230: Low Beginner Speaking, Listening & Pronunciation (70 hours)

Prerequisite: Placement or no previous exposure to the language

In this course, students will begin to build their academic listening, speaking, and vocabulary skills, and focus on clear speech through pronunciation practice. Listening tasks include predicting listening content, listening for main ideas, details, opinions, and examples on a variety of high-interest topics. Some of the speaking tasks include expressing opinions and reactions, asking and answering questions, agreeing and disagreeing, and asking for repetition. Pronunciation features are introduced such as sentence intonation and syllable stress. Students will learn and use selected vocabulary from the Academic Word List.

ELAC 0235: Low Beginner Reading, Writing & Grammar (70 hours)

Prerequisite: Placement or no previous exposure to the language

In this course, students will begin to build their academic reading, writing, and vocabulary skills with a focus on developing a strong grammatical foundation. Reading skills include previewing a text, reading for main ideas and details, and recognizing different text types. Writing skills include basic sentence structures and an introduction to the writing process including pre-writing, outlining, revising, editing, and rewriting. Some grammatical structures covered are affirmative statements, parts of speech, and selected verb tenses.

ELAC 0330: Beginner Speaking, Listening & Pronunciation (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0230 or placement

This course will help students develop the necessary academic speaking and listening skills to gain confidence communicating in English in a variety of situations. Students will focus on building skills to listen for main ideas and details, for specific purposes, and for specific information. Speaking skills include forming questions for follow-up, clarification, and repetition. Some speaking tasks involve group and pair discussions, as well as the preparation and delivery of a short presentation. Aspects of pronunciation covered in the course include question intonation, word stress, reduction and linking sounds.

ELAC 0335: Beginner Reading, Writing & Grammar (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0235 or placement

This course focuses on developing basic reading and writing skills. Students will develop reading skills including recognizing main ideas and supporting details, making basic inferences, and using charts for comprehension. Students will also focus on developing writing skills such as: capitalizing proper nouns, writing well-formed complete sentences, using coordinating conjunctions, and using time order words. In addition, students will study present and past simple verb tenses, prepositions of location, and subordinating conjunctions. Furthermore, students will also increase their vocabulary by working with synonyms, antonyms, phrasal verbs, and different word forms.

ELAC 0430: Elementary Speaking, Listening & Pronunciation (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0330 or placement

This course focuses on developing students’ academic speaking and listening skills, including the ability to identify the main ideas and factual information in level-appropriate listening passages, participate in discussions on a variety of topics, give simple presentations, and verbally summarize listening passages. This course includes an overview and practice of pronunciation features such as sentence stress, reduction, and linking sounds.

ELAC 0435: Elementary Reading, Writing & Grammar (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0335 or placement

In this course, students will improve their reading comprehension skills and begin to learn how to write paragraphs. Specifically, students will learn to use a variety of pre-reading strategies to become more effective readers, such as identifying main and supporting ideas of a text, recognizing sequence, and identifying the author’s purpose. Students will be introduced to different types of paragraphs, for example opinion and descriptive, and be expected to produce well-structured paragraphs. In addition, students will study different verb tenses (including the present perfect,) modals, comparative & superlative adjectives, future time clauses, adverbs.

ELAC 0530: Low Intermediate Speaking, Listening & Pronunciation (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0430 or placement

This course focuses on developing students’ listening comprehension, summarizing, and presentation skills. Students will understand main ideas and specific details of recorded passages on academic and general interest topics; take notes while listening; produce oral summaries of written and listening materials; prepare and deliver structured technology-assisted presentations on topics of general interest. In addition, students will give advice, make suggestions, ask for and give clarification to facilitate group discussions; and develop an ability to support opinions, explain in detail, and hypothesize. Students will also work on pronunciation skills including but not limited to word endings, syllable stress, intonation, and linking sounds.

ELAC 0535: Low Intermediate Reading, Writing & Grammar (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0435 or placement

In this course, students will work with a variety of academic reading materials to develop basic academic reading skills (skimming for main ideas and scanning for key details). Students will also learn to deduce the meaning of new vocabulary from contextual and structural cues. Students will review the principles of basic paragraph structure and focus on mastering the ability to write different types of paragraphs including descriptive, example, and opinion paragraphs. In addition, students will review sentence structure and learn how to avoid fragments and run-on sentences. Students will continue to work on using verb tenses correctly and ensuring subject-verb agreement in their writing.

ELAC 0630: Intermediate Speaking, Listening & Pronunciation (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0530 or placement

This course helps students expand their fluency, emphasizing the language they need for academic studies and real world communication. This course develops students’ listening comprehension and note-taking skills, including listening for main ideas and details, tuning out distractions, and understanding the speaker’s purpose. This course also provides insights into U.S. life and culture and builds academic vocabulary through topics such as gender issues, the environment, and philanthropy. In addition, students will improve their understanding of American English pronunciation by focusing on intonation, stress patterns, and reduced sound in fast speech.

ELAC 0635: Intermediate Reading, Writing & Grammar (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0535 or placement

This course is designed for students who need to improve their academic reading and writing skills and enlarge their vocabulary. The students expand their vocabulary by understanding the meaning from context as well as word root meanings. The course readings explore controversial issues of contemporary U.S. culture. During this course, students will be introduced to the basic essay structure as well as various types of essays including descriptive and compare/ contrast. In addition, the course will focus on the correct usage of dependent clauses, subordinating conjunctions, comparatives, phrasal verbs, and complex verb tenses.

ELAC 0720: TOEFL & Academic Listening (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0630 or placement

In this intensive course, students will listen to a variety of conversations and lectures in English. Some topics that will be covered in this class are non-academic and informal; they reflect typical situations university students face in the United States. Other topics are academic and come from various fields of study in the natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts, and business. Through daily exercises, students will learn and practice useful listening strategies and test-taking skills that are required for TOEFL iBT.

ELAC 0722: TOEFL & Academic Reading (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0635 or placement

This course trains students to read and understand lengthy readings on a variety of academic topics. Students will learn about vocabulary, pronoun reference, the meanings of sentences, where sentences can be inserted, inferences, rhetorical purpose, and overall organization of ideas.

ELAC 0730: High Intermediate Speaking, Listening & Pronunciation (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0630 or placement

This course focuses on developing academic listening and speaking skills. Students will learn to give short structured presentations and improve their ability to comprehend and analyze academic discourse including expressing surprise, encouragement, and approval; and refuting an argument. This course includes an accent-reduction component to help students speak clearly and with appropriate intonation patterns. Furthermore, the academic language skills developed in this course will help to prepare students for the TOEFL iBT test.

ELAC 0735: High Intermediate Reading, Writing & Grammar (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0635 or placement

In this course, students will review the basic principles of essay organization, focus on mastering multiple types of essays, including argumentative, and cause/effect. Students will further develop their academic reading skills in interpretation, inference, and contextual vocabulary cues. Students will analyze summarize, and criticize ideas encountered in reading passages. In addition, this course provides instruction on higher-level grammatical constructions in academic writing, such as verb tense consistency, effective relative clause usage, real and unreal conditionals, and passive voice. Furthermore, the academic language skills developed in this course will help to prepare students for the TOEFL iBT test.

ELAC 0802: North American Standing English Phonetics (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 or placement

This course is designed to help prepare students to comfortably converse with clear pronunciation in a variety of situations. The course will focus student attention on intonation and syllable stress, which is one of the most important facets of accent reduction. Students will feel more confident about conversing with Americans in their daily lives. In addition, students who are preparing to enter academic programs will gain useful pronunciation experience that will enable them to better understand (and be understood by) native speaking professors and classmates.

ELAC 0803: Public Speaking (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 or placement

This course is designed to develop practical skills of public speaking. It will cover how to reduce speaker anxiety and various kinds of speeches such as impromptu, persuasive, and informative. During the duration of the course, students will give constructive peer-to-peer feedback as well as student self-evaluations. This course will enable students to improve their public speaking skills for not only college or university courses, but also in the workplace.

ELAC 0804: Presentation Skills (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 or placement

In this course, students will develop their confidence and abilities to be effective presenters. Strategies for creating and selecting effective visual aids will be discussed and applied. Students who take this course will be able to deliver solid presentations in academic and professional settings.

ELAC 0805: Personal Branding (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 or placement

One important aspect of any career is personal branding. This means developing skills for presenting yourself to future employers in person, on paper, and online. This class will focus on improving your professional image and social media, interview and networking skills, and business writing such as résumés and emails. The course includes speaking, reading, and business writing assignments.

ELAC 0806: Advanced Writing Skills for University (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0735 or placement

The main focus of this course is to develop the skills and knowledge required to write an academic research paper including quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, accessing and evaluating research sources, avoiding plagiarism, citing sources and essay formatting according to APA style. In addition, the course familiarizes international students with the general expectations of the American higher education system and assists them in building strong academic skills.

ELAC 0810: Grammar Workshop & Editing (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0735 or placement

The course is designed for students who have taken grammar courses and have a general understanding of grammar rules, but have trouble demonstrating it consistently, particularly through their writing. Each week, the class will target specific grammar errors that are commonly observed among English learners, such as incorrect use of verb tenses, various forms of agreement, determiners, word forms, and mechanics. After reviewing the rules, students will be asked to check their comprehension by using the targeted grammatical points at the sentence and paragraph level, eventually leading to writing 5-paragraph essays, which will be peer- and self-edited.

ELAC 0811: Academic Listening (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 or placement

The main goal of this class is to improve the student’s academic listening skills. Students will be exposed to a variety of authentic listening materials such as US television, Ted Talks, and current events. Students will learn how to effectively use among other skills ask probing questions, request clarification, paraphrase, and summarize.

ELAC 0812: Critical Reading for Academic Purposes (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 and ESL 0735 or placement

The main goal of this class is to improve critical reading skills for academic purposes. Students will actively engage in critical analysis of authentic texts from a variety of academic disciplines, such as learning to distinguish between fact and opinion, evaluating conclusions, assessing the validity of arguments, and telling whether or not a text is academic. Students will gain strategies for improving reading comprehension, developing academic vocabulary, and critical thinking.

ELAC 0813: English through Popular American Literature (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 and ESL 0735 or placement

In this course, students will explore the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Participants will have the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills through reading, discussion, debate, and writing activities that are essential to success in American academia. In addition, the course will build active college-level reading skills and provide students with a repertoire of strategies for reading for different purposes. The reading selection provides an enjoyable learning experience to foster both an appreciation of reading and greater cultural awareness.

ELAC 0815: English through Service Learning (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 and ESL 0735 or placement

This course is designed to provide students with authentic experience that fosters their language learning objectives and gives them first-hand exposure to American culture and American people. Students will explore different social and economic issues that impact our communities through their service learning as well as through researching and critical thinking. The course will have two components: in class and in community service.

ELAC 0817: Critical Thinking through News around the World (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 or placement

Students in this elective course will use a variety of news sources to develop and sharpen their critical thinking and writing skills, as well as hone the speaking skills necessary to partake in stimulating discussions. Through this course, students will gain a better understanding of the impact of current events throughout the world.

ELAC 0821: TOEFL Speaking (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0735 or placement

In this intensive course, students will learn six different tasks of the Speaking section: two independent tasks and four integrated tasks. Students will be introduced to a variety of speaking strategies and given ample opportunities to practice responding to different topics in a given period of time with comprehensible pronunciation.

ELAC 0823: TOEFL Writing (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0735 or placement

In this course, students will learn how to write two types of essays for the TOEFL iBT independent and integrated tasks.

ELAC 0827: Debate and Analysis through American Media (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0730 or placement

Debating builds confidence and skills required for critical thinking and communication.  In this course, students will explore a variety of controversial topics through American documentary films, TEDTalks, newspaper articles, and selected televised programs. They will learn to collect information, distinguish between and effectively use facts and opinions to support their arguments, observe the strategies used by other debaters to build their arguments, interpret and analyze information critically, and strategically support or refute their positions. The course also aims to develop students’ self-monitoring and self-correcting skills, as well as improving their ability to give and receive constructive feedback.

ELAC 0840: English for Business Professionals (35 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0735 or placement

In this course, students will improve their skills in the following key areas of business communication: taking part in meetings, telephoning, negotiating, presenting, and socializing. Students will also be introduced to the style, vocabulary, and various formats of business writing, such as letters, reports, memos, email, and other electronic communication. Grammar and editing skills are reinforced as important components of effective professional communication.

ELAC 0850: IELTS Preparation (70 hours)

Prerequisite: ESL 0735 or placement

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an internationally recognized standardized English proficiency exam, which is generally required for universities in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. While most American universities require TOEFL scores as entry requirement for international students, some schools also accept IELTS scores. This course prepares students who plan to take the IELTS exam by improving their overall English skills and familiarizing them with the test format, topics, and strategies that are needed to succeed in achieving their desired IELTS score.

ELAC 0906: Writing for Graduate Classes (70 hours)

Prerequisite: Completion or 0800 Level courses or placement

This course is designed to expose students to the conventions of academic writing and critical thinking so that they may successfully produce prose that is clear and direct with appropriate structure and support. Students are introduced to the basic rhetorical modes (e.g., argumentation, cause and effect, comparison and contrast) in the context of English rhetorical structure. This course provides students with the opportunity to experience writing as a process that requires refinement and experience. Students will learn to write for specific audiences and to understand how to approach writing for different disciplines.

ELAC 0998: Intercultural Communication in College and University (35 hours)

Prerequisite: Completion or 0800 Level courses or placement

This course explores academic culture and interaction in college and university. Students will explore cultural assumptions and academic norms at US-based higher education institutions. This interactive course allows for students to discuss, debate, and form common understandings about practices, interactions, and ethics in US-higher education institutions.

ELAC 0999: Succeeding as an International Student (35 hours)

Prerequisite: Completion or 0800 Level courses or placement

This course serves as an introduction to the US-based higher education experience. In addition to learning in-the-classroom, students also need to learn how to navigate the college and university setting outside of the classroom. This practical course helps students to understand the basic structure of the university, the various resource centers available to them, and the people who can help them navigate in their college/university experience. This course provides an opportunity for students to become more fluent in talking about and navigating the university as a system, as well as helping them become more comfortable in engaging with different individuals outside of the classroom.

Course Schedule

In the Seven-week Intensive English Program, students must enroll in two courses.
Classes meet 4 days a week, totaling 140 hours (including field trips) per session.

Day Morning Afternoon
Monday 9.00 AM – 11:20 AM 12:20 PM – 2:40 PM
Tuesday 9.00 AM – 11:20 AM 12:20 PM – 2:40 PM
Wednesday 9.00 AM – 11:20 AM 12:20 PM – 2:40 PM
Thursday 9.00 AM – 11:20 AM 12:20 PM – 2:40 PM
Friday —————– No Classes——————–

ELAC Academic Calendar

  Spring I, 2022 Spring II, 2022
Start Date Monday, January 10, 2022 Monday, March 7, 2022
Orientation Date Monday, January 10, 2022 Monday, March 7, 2022
Add/Drop Date Tuesday, January 18, 2021 Monday, March 14, 2022
(Monday is federal holiday.)
Holidays Monday, January 17, 2021 -------
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
End Date Sunday, February 27, 2022 Sunday, April 24, 2022
Gap Week Monday, February 28, 2022-Friday, March 4, 2022 Monday, April 25, 2022-Friday, April 29, 2022
Summer I, 2022 Summer II, 2022
Start Date Monday, May 2, 2022 Monday, June 27, 2022
Orientation Date Monday, May 2, 2022 Monday, June 27, 2022
Add/Drop Date Monday, May 9, 2022 Tuesday, July 5, 2022
(Monday is a federal holiday.)
Holidays Monday, May 30, 2022 Monday, July 4, 2022
Independence Day
Memorial Day
End Date Sunday, June 19, 2022 Sunday, August 14, 2022
Fall I, 2022 Fall II, 2022
Start Date Monday, August 22, 2022 Monday, October 17, 2022
Orientation Date Monday, August 22, 2022 Monday, October 17, 2022
Add/Drop Date Monday, August 29, 2022 Monday, October 24, 2022
Holidays Monday, September 5, 2022 Labor Day Monday-Friday November 21-25, 2022 Thanksgiving Week
End Date Sunday, October 9, 2022 Sunday, December 11, 2022
Gap Week Monday, October 10, 2022-Friday, October 14, 2022 Classes start again 2023.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition payment is generally due prior to the 1st day of classes. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice. The following tuition and fee structure is effective for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Tuition Testing Fee
$1,260 (7-week, 140-hour course) $55 (per test)

Contact Us

For assistance or more information about ELAC program, please send us email at or call us at (703) 591-7042 ext. 363.

HOW CAN I REGISTER FOR ELAC CLASSES?

Follow these 4 easy step-by-step instructions to register for the classes:

1. Create an Account

Sign in or create a new account (if you have not done so already). Click on the APPLY NOW button below to start your new application.

2. Complete and Submit your Application

Complete your profile and submit all necessary documentation as PDF files.

3. Take the Placement Test

Arrange to take the test either on campus or online at your convenience. After you complete the test, you will receive an email explaining your scores and level placement within the Intensive English Program.

4. Register for Classes

Once you have received your ESL level placement, please contact your admissions officer at in order to begin the registration process. Your admission officer will help you with this process.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for admission into the ELAC program, the following conditions must be met:

1. Minimum Age Requirement

18 years of age. See the “Minimum Age Requirements for Admission” in the academic catalog for more detailed/requirements for applicants who are below the age of 18; and

2. Application Form

All applicants must submit a fully completed online application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission until all necessary information has been received by the Admissions Office; and

3. Identification

A copy of an official government-issued photo identification (for example, a driver’s license). For domestic students, a copy must be obtained by the university upon time of semester check in.

ESL Program Placement Test

All new students must demonstrate their current level of English proficiency by taking the English language proficiency test. The assessment includes computer-based subtests of grammar, vocabulary, reading skills and an essay writing task. The test is available on site or online. Results determine student placement within the program. Students are placed at a level that is consistent with existing skills. In the case of multiple test results prior to beginning the program, the highest overall score will be used to determine placement. All placement tests are at the expense of the student applicant and are valid for no more than six months.

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