We offer an academic program of courses in English for Academic Purposes which is tailored to the specific skill and level needed for communication in a regular university course. EAP classes are limited to 15 students or fewer.

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 about the opportunity to study in the U.S. However, the change in study system and academic expectations may overwhelm many new international students. American college courses often require strong language skills for class discussions, oral presentations, extensive reading, research papers, and timed reading and written exams. Even native speakers of English may be challenged by course requirements. Students whose native language is not English need a strong command of English and confidence in order to have a positive and successful experience living and studying in the U.S. 

The English for Academic Purposes Program (EAP) at UMSL develops learners who are both linguistically and culturally competent and ready to engage in their studies at the university and excel in their chosen fields.

The program at UMSL offers a range of opportunities for students to bring their language skills up to the expected level needed in listening and note-taking for academic lectures, speaking informally and formally in regular classrooms, reading and synthesis of ideas for deep understanding, building vocabulary and writing to explain academic ideas.

The curriculum demands active learning and diligent students who understand the necessity to focus on improving their language skills as a key to success in further studies.  Dedicated and caring English language faculty at UMSL strive to meet students where they are in their learning and take them to the next level of proficiency.

Students can expect a challenging environment which hones their ability to collaborate and interact in every course. EAP students at all levels are a part of a larger learning community connected through the English for Academic Purposes website, the Friends without Borders club, and numerous activities throughout the year. Our students are encouraged to further their language skills and cultural competence by engaging in our programs and other extracurricular activities offered on campus.

Studying English for Academic Purpose provides students with valuable skills to think critically, negotiate familiar and unfamiliar situations, evaluate and analyze texts, and communicate with a variety of people.  Learning takes place not only in the classroom, but in the multiple opportunities the English for Academic Purposes and UMSL campus organizations offer outside the classroom.

  • 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

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

Furthermore, up to 9 credit hours of elective credit may be earned in the Colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences, and Fine Arts and Communications. Elective credits may be only be earned in courses at or above the 1011 level; elective credit may not be earned for 1003X. International students can also seek exemption from the foreign language requirement. Diagnostic test results will determine whether a course is required, recommended or exempted. Classes are divided into skill levels. If a student has a requirement for a 1003X, he or she will need to take the advanced 1013 course the following semester.

1003X-Reading and Writing 1 prior to 1013-Reading and Writing 2

Furthermore, students must achieve a C- or better in EAP 1013 before enrolling in First-Year Composition (English 1100) for International Students (English 1110).

For help with EAP tutoring, visit the Language and Cultures Office in 554 Clark.  For assistance with writing needs, visit the Writing Center, located in 222 SSB.

Most incoming international students have completed a standardized exam of English, such as a TOEFL or IELTS test, prior to admission to the university. However, during orientation week--which is one week before classes start, the department also administers an EAP proficiency exam to measure students' active English skills for academic study.  

The EAP proficiency exam has three areas: 

  • Academic listening with follow-up questions to determine listening comprehension, note-taking abilities, and test-taking skills.
  • Writing an essay to show fluency, grammatical accuracy, and ability to organize and support ideas in writing.
  • Speaking test to demonstrate how well students can communicate in spoken English.

The test takes approximately two hours.  The next EAP Proficiency Exam is given the week prior to when classes begin or by appointment. The exam is graded by EAP specialists and results are provided to students' academic advisors. The score results for each skill area (listening, speaking, grammar, and writing) will indicate whether a course is required, recommended, or exempt for each student. Also, on the first day class, another proficiency exam is administered to further determine accurate placement.  We have classes for intermediate and advanced levels of grammar, reading and writing, listening, and speaking/pronunciation. We also have a research writing class and a seminar for international teaching assistants and it is required for international graduate students who will instruct a class alone.

Both undergraduate and graduate students take the same EAP exams but the results are handled somewhat differently. Undergraduates must enroll in all required EAP classes during their first semester but if they also have intermediate level requirements, then the advanced courses are to be taken during their second semester. All EAP students should take at least one regular academic course per semester.  Academic advisors should contact the EAP Coordinator about students with scheduling conflicts.

For graduate students, the outcomes of the EAP Proficiency Exam are slightly modified. The speaking section measures their ability to communicate for extended academic purposes. The written tests of graduate students are evaluated more closely with their majors. Since graduate students have core requirements, they generally take only the EAP courses they need the most. For academic advisors of graduate students whose results indicate required EAP courses, please contact the EAP Coordinator to determine which courses are most needed according to their other course requirements and assessed EAP skill levels.

All teaching assistants who are non-native speakers of English are required by Missouri law to complete EAP 5400, the ITA Seminar, a 2 or 3 hour non-credit course that is offered at no cost. Exemption from the ITA Seminar is not determined from the EAP Proficiency Exam; it must be arranged with the EAP Coordinator.