Languages and Cultures

English as a Second Language/English for Academic Purposes


Welcome to UMSL and English as a Second Language/English for Academic Purposes! 

International Students bring diversity and international perspective to our campus. We welcome you and want you to have a positive experience at UMSL!

International students arrive excited at the new environment and opportunity to study in the U.S. However, the change in study system and academic expectations overwhelm many new international students. American college courses often require strong language skills, having students participate in class discussions, deliver oral presentations, read extensively, write research papers, and take timed reading and written exams. Even native speakers of English may lack competency in their language skills and not do well in course requirements. Students whose native language is not English need a strong command of their second language and level of confidence in order to have a positive and successful experience living and studying in the U.S.  Thus, we offer an academic program of courses in English as a Second language that are tailored to the specific skill and level needed for communication in a regular university course. ESL classes are limited to 15 students or fewer to improve the learning process and for the international students to feel comfortable and be able to participate in discussions.

The ESL classes at UMSL help you

· Improve your English language skills
· Gain confidence to live and study in the United States
· Understand the expectations in American classes
· Ease the cultural and academic transition to the American university
· Improve your success and grades in other courses
· Meet other international students

Our ESL classes

· Are for course credit
· Are taken concurrently with regular academic classes
· Are taught by qualified, experienced instructors. All hold graduate degrees on TESOL.
· Include grades that affect the grade point average

Furthermore, elective credit may be earned in the Colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences and Fine Arts and Communications, up to 9 hours of the 4000-level classes. International students can also seek exemption from the foreign language requirement. Diagnostic test results will determine whether a course is required, recommended or exempt. Classes are divided into skill levels. If a student has a requirement for a 3000-level course, he or she will need to take the advanced course in that skill level the following semester. Students whose level is below intermediate may be advised to enroll in the ELS Language Center on our campus or another ESL program in the St. Louis community.

Intermediate ESL classes must be completed before taking the advanced ESL classes.

3201-Listening and Speaking Skills prior to 4302-Advanced Listening and Note-taking
3203-Intermediate Reading and Writing prior to 4303-Advanced Reading and Writing
3205-Intermediate Grammar prior to 4305-Advanced Grammar.

Furthermore, students must successfully complete ESL 4303 before enrolling in Freshman Composition (English 1100) or Freshman Composition for International Students (English 1110). 4305 may be taken concurrently with either English 1100 or 1110.

For help with ESL tutoring, visit the Language and Cultures Office in 554 Clark.  For assistance with writing needs, the Writing Lab, located in 409 SSB, helps with written assignments, and no appointment is needed.