Frequently Asked Questions about ESL and Academic English at UCLA
What are the Academic English-ESL Courses?
The Academic English-ESL Courses offer courses for ESL students that are designed to help students improve their academic English language skills such as reading, listening, writing and oral presentation.
What is the ESL requirement?
In order to maintain academic standards and to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to pursue their studies at UCLA, the university requires that students demonstrate a high degree of English language proficiency. The ESL requirement can be satisfied by scoring exempt on the ESLPE or by completing course work. UCLA does not recognize the TOEFL or other assessment measures for the purpose of completing the ESL requirement. Please see the UCLA Catalog under English as a Second Language for further information on the ESL requirement.
Who is identified to take the ESLPE?
All entering first year undergraduate students are identified to take the ESLPE by their performance on the University of California Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) exam. Students who are designated ESL by the AWPE will receive written notification of their course placement. In some cases students may receive notification that they are required to take the ESLPE, if an additional measure in needed. Nonnative-speaking transfer students who have completed the English Composition 3 and English 4W equivalent courses at their transfer institution may nonetheless be held for the UCLA ESL requirement at the discretion of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools. This includes but is not limited to all students who received a grade below B in either of these equivalent courses. Any transfer student held by UARS to the ESL requirement must take the ESLPE. All international graduate students who do not hold a BA or MA degree from an English medium university are required to take the ESLPE.
What is the ESLPE?
The English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE) is an exam offered four times a year by UCLA to determine ESL placement with respect to the ESL Courses. The ESLPE uses a formal academic essay to evaluate academic English language proficiency. Although a student may have taken the TOEFL or other English language assessments, he or she may still be required to take the ESLPE upon arrival at UCLA. Please see the UCLA Catalog under English as a Second Language for further information on which undergraduate and graduate students are required to take the ESLPE.
How do I know which ESL class to take?
The Academic English-ESL program offers a number of courses for different levels and needs. The ESL placement exam (ESLPE) will determine which level of ESL is appropriate for you. Students may have an ESL requirement that determines which classes they take. Students who are exempt from the ESL requirement may choose ESL elective courses that are appropriate to their level. Students needing guidance to decide which course to take are welcome to consult with the the ESL Student Affairs Officer.
How many students pass the ESLPE?
Approximately 30% of all students held for the ESLPE exempt by examination. These students are not required to take any ESL courses but may wish to take ESL electives. The ESL requirement for students who do not score exempt ranges from 1 to 4 ESL courses. The most common ESL requirement is 1 to 2 quarters. UCLA will not graduate students who have not completed their ESL requirement.
When must I take my ESL courses?
UCLA requires that students satisfy ESL as soon as possible after taking the ESL placement exam. This is in the students' best interest since students needing ESL will likely encounter academic difficulties due to language problems. To best benefit from the support that ESL courses offer, we strongly recommend that students take their required ESL courses during their first quarter of study at UCLA. This is especially important for students who have a requirement of 3 or more quarters.
Can I take other courses while I'm taking an ESL course?
ESL courses are considered regular courses and can be taken with any other coursework. A normal course load for students, including the ESL course, will be 3 courses.
Will I get credit for my ESL courses?
You will get normal credit as you would with any other course. All the ESL courses are four unit courses except ESL 35 and ESL 36 which carry 5 units each.
Can I take ESL courses Pass/No Pass?
All ESL courses taken by undergraduates to fulfill an ESL requirement must be taken for a letter grade. Undergraduates must receive a C or higher to fulfill their ESL requirement. Graduate students may take the ESL course on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis but must receive the equivalent of a B to pass the course. ESL electives can be taken on an S/U or P/NP basis.
Can I take ESL courses if I am not a UCLA student?
During the academic school year (September-June), only currently registered UCLA students or students concurrently enrolled through UCLA Extension may take ESL Courses. Other students interested in taking ESL courses can call the UCLA Extension English language program, the American Language Center at (310) 825-9068.
Can I audit ESL courses as a Visiting Scholar?
Visiting scholars who would like to improve their English while in residence at UCLA may audit certain classes on a space-available, by permission of instructor basis.
If you are uncertain which class you should take, consider taking our English as a Second Language Placement Exam. The results from this test will help you choose the class that is best for you. Register now.
For permission to audit a class, please send an email to Sara Hosegera.
Who teaches the Academic English/ ESL Courses?
Our courses are taught by ESL lecturers and experienced UCLA graduate students. All instructors have training in teaching English as a second language; most have extensive national and international teaching experiences.
What teaching methodology is used in the Academic English-ESL Courses?
The purpose of the Academic English-ESL courses is to teach academic English skills. The curriculum therefore emphasizes English for academic purposes. Required Academic English-ESL courses are content-based and use materials (e.g. authentic academic readings and lectures) from various academic disciplines as a basis of instruction. Elective ESL courses are skills based and are designed around the needs of students at the university.
Published: Friday, October 07, 2005