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Academic English

Below is a list of the for-credit ESL courses we offer to current UMass Amherst students on a regular basis. Please check SPIRE for our current offerings.

How to Enroll

To sign up for one of our courses, search SPIRE for "English as a Second Language". If one of the courses above does not appear in your SPIRE search, it is likely full; please contact us directly at for information about waitlists.

ESL125 Techniques of Oral Communication (3 Credits)

Develops oral communication skills of advanced ESL students for academic formal presentations and informal discussion. Builds confidence and improves intelligibility through focus on English sounds, rhythm, stress, and intonation. Provides guidance and feedback for the attainment of an expert level of second language speaking and listening proficiency.

ESL126 Vocabulary & Comprehension of Academic English (3 Credits)

Increases the size and expands the range of vocabulary of advanced ESL students for academic writing, speaking, and listening. Develops fluency through study and practice of lexical phrases. Promotes mastery of the University Word List, developed by researchers, of the most frequently found words in authentic texts in various academic disciplines.

ESL130 Advanced Composition (3 Credits)

Promotes the achievement of an expert level of second language writing proficiency demanded by the university's academic community. Uses critical inquiry to explore global and local issues from multicultural perspectives as a basis for writing. Emphasizes the creation, revision, and reshaping of meaningful, clearly written texts in a variety of genres. Analyzes cultural influences on writing in different languages. Helps develop informed and independent writers.

ESL225 Techniques in Academic Presentations (3 Credits)

Develops skills such as choosing an appropriate topic, delivering effective presentations, and creating effective visuals. The overall goal of this course is to develop an awareness and use of common presentation types and organizational strategies and to prepare university-level students to deliver presentations in an academic setting.

ESL290D Academic Writing for Graduate Students (3 Credits)

Focuses on skills needed for writing academic papers and research projects. Provides oral presentation practice related to writing assignments. Develops awareness of authentic text types representing various academic disciplines, revealed by corpus linguistics research. Examines considerations of context, audience, purpose, reader writer relationships, and culture. Promotes precision of academic vocabulary selection, increases the accuracy and sophistication of grammatical structures related to writing, and instructs how to use rhetorical devices to improve text cohesion and coherence. Includes small group work, revising of writing, and individual conferences.

ESL297E Academic Spoken English for Graduate Students (3 Credits)

In this course, graduate students will work on improving their academic spoken English in relation to delivering various types of presentations. The course employs task-based learning, whereby students practice the skills necessary to create and deliver academic presentations for different types of audiences. Pronunciation skills are emphasized at the sound, word and sentence level, as are strategies and techniques for delivering effective academic presentations. All presentations will be video-taped and evaluated by peers and the instructor.