Academic English Program

Academic English Program students
  • Level: Undergraduate and graduate
  • Registration: Most courses require a permission number. If interested in enrolling, call or email the department. 
  • Tuition: Cost varies. See One Stop for full details.
  • Phone: 612-624-1503 or 800-234-6564
  • E-mailesl@umn.edu
  • Office20 Nicholson Hall, 216 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

The U of M's English as a Second Language (ESL) credit classes help undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral students like you who want to improve their English skills in order to be more effective in their studies, research, and work at the University.

Most AEP courses require a permission number. If interested in enrolling, please call 612-624-1503 or email esl@umn.edu to request a permission number.

Reading/Writing

ESL 3201 Advanced English Reading and Composition (5 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in a degree program at the University of Minnesota to work intensively on academic reading and writing skills. In this course, students will develop skills and strategies for reading college-level texts and writing multiple-draft essays in English. Students will apply reading strategies and demonstrate comprehension and analysis of course readings. Students will also engage in extensive reading and discuss readings. They will work on essay development, paraphrasing and summarizing, and incorporating and citing sources. Students will progress from developing paragraphs to developing academic essays using effective patterns of organization and will complete informal writing assignments.

ESL 3202 Academic Reading and Composition (5 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in a degree program at the University of Minnesota. In this course, students will build and refine advanced-level skills and strategies, including audience awareness and incorporating sources, reading authentic college-level texts, and writing multiple-draft papers in English. Students will read essays and articles on a variety of topics from many sources. They will improve their ability to identify main ideas and details, analyze and critique support, and respond with their own ideas in writing and discussion. Students will plan and develop three multiple-draft papers to practice applying persuasive and expository modes of writing to accomplish specific purposes as writers. Students will also develop informal writing skills.

ESL 3302 Academic Writing (4 credits)
This course is designed for students who are non-native speakers of English and are concurrently enrolled in undergraduate degree programs at the University of Minnesota. This course focuses on foundational writing skills and emphasizes the writing process - developing ideas, drafting, revising, and editing. Guided textual analyses of readings are used to develop writing skills through the close examination of strategies employed by accomplished writers. Through ongoing, active participation, students learn to (1) match writing to audience and purpose, (2) produce different genres of academic writing, (3) incorporate source material into writing, and (4) critique their writing and that of others. Gains in basic writing skills culminate in students’ ability to transfer acquired skills into discipline-specific writing. Through development of personal voice and an appreciation for the importance of the credibility of the writer, students also learn to recognize and avoid plagiarism. Problems with sentence structure, lexical grammar, and diction are addressed individually.

ESL 3402 Research Writing for the American University (4 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for non-native speakers of English who are concurrently enrolled in degree programs at the University of Minnesota. This course enables students to develop the methods of citation, conventions of style and organization, and critical reading and thinking skills necessary for writing college-level research papers. Students select topics derived from a contemporary academic theme provided by the instructor and, applying a process approach, produce a research paper. Students will learn to use the library effectively and will learn about writing resources on campus such as Peer Research Consultants and Student Writing Support. Problems with structure and vocabulary usage are addressed individually.

ESL 5302 Academic Writing (4 credits)
This course is designed for students who are non-native speakers of English and are concurrently enrolled in graduate degree programs at the University of Minnesota. This course focuses on foundational writing skills and emphasizes the writing process - developing ideas, drafting, revising, and editing. Guided textual analyses of discipline-specific readings are used to develop writing skills through the close examination of strategies employed by accomplished writers. Through ongoing, active participation, students learn to (1) match writing to audience and purpose, (2) produce different genres of academic writing, (3) incorporate discipline-specific source material into writing, and (4) critique their writing and that of others. Gains in basic writing skills culminate in students’ ability to transfer acquired skills into discipline-specific writing. Through development of personal voice and an appreciation for the importance of the credibility of the writer, students also learn to recognize and avoid plagiarism. Problems with sentence structure, lexical grammar, and diction are addressed individually.

Oral Skills

ESL 3001 Integrated Skills for Academic English (2 credits)
This course focuses on the academic and language the necessary to thrive in a US university setting. Students will strengthen English language communication skills, both written and oral, that will help them succeed in their other content area courses at the University. Focus is on examining aspects of US classroom culture, building strategies and language for more effective oral communication with instructors and peers including formal and informal presentations, and developing skills for academic writing.

ESL 3501 Advanced Listening and Speaking (5 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in a degree program or other coursework at the University of Minnesota. In this course, students will develop listening and speaking skills for participating in American academic lectures, discussions, and presentations. Students will lead small group discussions and deliver individual and group informative and persuasive presentations with a variety of evidence as support. Students will learn to paraphrase and summarize listening material and evaluate a speaker’s reasoning and support. They will also develop inferencing, active listening, and note-taking skills. Students will use clear pronunciation and accurate vocabulary and grammar.

ESL 3502 Academic Listening and Speaking (5 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for students already enrolled in a degree program or other coursework at the University of Minnesota. In this course, students will develop skills and strategies for listening to authentic academic content and for speaking in discussions and presentations on academic topics in English. Students will listen to academic lectures, develop note-taking skills, and synthesize and respond to content. This course will help students further develop both their fluency and accuracy through work on pronunciation, spoken grammar, and academic vocabulary.

ESL 3550 Pronunciation Improvement (2 credits)
Pronunciation Improvement is designed for advanced non-native English speaking students who want to polish their pronunciation skills in English. In order to improve students’ ability to understand and pronounce English, a variety of areas of pronunciation will be covered while paying special attention to individual difficulties. Students will also be equipped with techniques to practice pronunciation improvement on their own. Topics covered include word stress, sentence stress, rhythm, intonation, linking, understanding fast speech, and pronunciation of sound combinations. Open to graduate and undergraduate students, visiting scholars, and members of the community with advanced English skills or above. This course is a shortened version of ESL 3551 which covers the same topics and others in greater depth.

ESL 3551 English Pronunciation (4 credits)
This four-credit course is designed for advanced non-native English speaking students who want to polish their pronunciation skills in English. In order to improve students’ ability to understand and pronounce English, a variety of areas of pronunciation will be covered while paying special attention to individual difficulties. Students will also be equipped with techniques to practice pronunciation improvement on their own. Topics covered include English sounds (individually and in combination with other sounds), word stress, sentence stress, rhythm, intonation, linking, understanding fast speech, pronunciation, and spelling connections. Open to graduate and undergraduate students, visiting scholars, and members of the community with advanced English skills or above.

ESL 3602 Speaking for Academic Purposes (4 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for non-native speakers of English who are concurrently enrolled in a degree program at the University of Minnesota. The goal of this course is to help non-native speakers of English who are already at the advanced level develop the skills needed to participate in American academic interactions at the university level of various types: presentations, group presentations, seminar-style discussions, and informal exchanges. In this class, students learn to present themselves professionally and socially in academic settings with accuracy, variety, and flexibility. They will learn to organize and outline academic presentations, present information clearly and effectively, explain concepts and processes from their academic field, involve audience members and respond to questions, and monitor and improve their spoken fluency, grammar, and pronunciation.

Grammar

ESL 3101 Advanced English Grammar (4 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in degree programs at the University of Minnesota who want to improve their accuracy and confidence in communicating their ideas. In this course, students will review basic English grammar skills and develop their understanding and control of more complex grammar structures by focusing on their meaning, form, and use in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Major topics include passive voice, past modals, causatives, adjective clauses, conditionals, all verb tenses,  and accurate use of adverbs, time expressions, and time clauses. Students will complete paragraph-level writing assignments, recorded speaking assignments, and tests that require increasing levels of independent production with complex grammatical structures.

ESL 3102 Grammar for Academic Purposes (4 credits)
This course for academic credit is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in degree programs at the University of Minnesota who want to work on polishing their English skills and build on the concepts covered in ESL 3101. In this course, students work on increasing their accuracy and range in English grammar. Topics that are especially relevant to academic writing, such as conciseness and smooth connections between sentences, are emphasized. Among the traditional topics of grammar, the course will cover: subordination, coordination, and transition expressions; tense, aspect, and associated adverbials; gerunds, infinitives, and other types of complementation; and lexical grammar—the grammar associated with individual words. Activities and regular assignments will improve students’ ability to analyze grammar, including their own mistakes, and to use grammar more effectively.

English for Science 

ESL 3007 English for Physics (1 credit)
This course is designed for non-native speakers of English who have high-intermediate to advanced English skills and are currently enrolled in an introductory Physics course (1101, 1102, 1201, 1202, 1301, 1302). The goal of this course is to help students further develop the English and academic skills needed to be successful in their physics class. Students taking this course will gain more support and practice with the conventions of writing scientific lab reports, applying the concepts of academic integrity, interacting and participating in lab-type discussions, interpreting authentic texts (both text and aural-based), and understanding the cultural expectations for seeking additional academic/social support. This course also equips students with techniques to aid in their continual improvement of English skills for science and engineering contexts beyond the class.

Business and Professional English Courses

ESL 3006/5006 English for Business Interactions (2 credits)
This course is designed for high-intermediate to advanced non-native speakers of English who are currently business majors or in a closely related degree program. The goal of this course is to help students polish their English skills for communication in the world of business. The course covers topics such as writing for business communication, self-editing skills, successful group work, active listening, communication styles, presentations, and telephone communication. Participants will learn techniques to aid in their continual improvement of English skills for business contexts beyond the class. This course meets with ESL 906 and ESL 5006.

ESL 5008 Speaking for Professional Settings (2 credits)
This course is designed for non-native speakers of English who are graduate students seeking to improve their English speaking skills for professional contexts. The course assumes that students already have a high level of proficiency in English; this course will help students refine their skills for specific professional situations. The course covers topics such as small talk, networking, interviewing, and presentation skills. Students will increase their confidence to communicate in a variety of settings including informal exchanges, career fairs, conference presentations, and job interviews.