Penn State College of the Liberal Arts Department of Applied Linquistics

Academic Programs

ESL Program

The Department of Applied Linguistics offers ESL courses for enrolled Penn State undergraduate and graduate students. At the undergraduate level, we offer one 3-credit course on academic writing, and an associated 1-credit tutoring option: ESL015 –ESL Composition for American Academic Communication II, and ESL005—Writing Tutorial..

ESL005—Writing Tutorial
The content of this course coincides with the content covered in ESL 015. In ESL 015 students are required to complete four formal essays, reflective journal writings, and a final presentation. These major assignments are supplemented with grammar instruction. The ESL 005 course will focus on helping students master the content and the associated skills taught in ESL 015. The student will meet individually with a tutorial adviser for 40 minutes at least once a week throughout the semester. Tutorials are led by students of the MA TESL program, as part of their Field Experience requirement. This course may not be used to satisfy the basic minimum requirements for graduation in any baccalaureate degree program, but it may be recommended for a student in order to promote success in the Academic Writing course and in future courses.
ESL 015/ ESL Composition for American Academic Communication II
Cross-listed with GWS; No prerequisites
This course is for undergraduate students who are intermediate-advanced level non-native speakers of English. Students will become familiar with the various stages in the process of writing and develop strategies for reading and writing various models of American academic discourse. Overall, students will be able to use what they have learned in this course to participate successfully in academic reading and writing tasks throughout their university experiences in the United States. Students will participate in a variety of reading and writing tasks that will enable them to: (a) define the subject, purpose, audience, and appropriate organizational structure for written compositions; (b) revise and reshape their writing to improve ideas, organization, language use, vocabulary and mechanics; (c) identify and correct structural and grammatical errors within their written texts; (d) select sources, take notes, and acknowledge sources to support ideas, using the library to conduct library research; and, (e) become better writers in preparation for their college careers. This course may be used to satisfy the basic minimum requirements for graduation in any baccalaureate degree program.

At the graduate level, we offer one 3-credit course on academic writing: ESL 116G - Composition for Academic Disciplines.

ESL 116G - Composition for Academic Disciplines
This course is designed for international students at the graduate level who are preparing to engage in scholarly activity in their academic disciplines. Through reading and writing selected rhetorical models of academic discourse, students will be able to analyze and use the organizational structure of various models of academic texts. They will engage in contextualized language activities, which will enable them to match appropriate English linguistic forms to specific rhetorical purposes. Students will be expected to gather appropriate sources, organize information, and compose various models of academic essays and research papers. By the end of the course, students will be able to translate their research activities into written reports that conform to the expectations of the English-speaking academic community.
ESL 114G - American English for Academic Purposes
This course is designed for graduate students who are non-native speakers of English in order to develop and improve their oral communication skills for effective interaction in social, as well as academic settings in English-speaking environments. Activities will include: (a) a pre- and post-testing of oral proficiency for diagnostic and achievement purposes; (b) a series of in-class oral presentations which will be audio-taped and videotaped for self, peer, and instructor evaluation; (c) participation in group discussions, role plays, and impromptu speeches; and, (d) various oral language assignments, including listening and pronunciation activities, transcriptions of recorded speech, and the creation of an audio-taped oral dialogue journal.

For more information about the ESL program, please contact Dr. Deryn Verity, Director of ESL/EAP Programs, at