For Students

Scroll down or click on a topic below to learn about ELSP policies, assessment requirements, and ELSP courses. We understand that you may have questions about some of this information. To get answers to commonly asked questions, see frequently asked questions, posted at right.


Academic Policies

Students who need two ELSP courses in one term will be expected to reduce their discipline-specific loads to accommodate the academic requirements of English support classes. Experience indicates that students who take the time to improve their English skills early in their graduate studies are better able to keep up with their program requirements in later years.

Grading Policy

ELSP courses are credit courses entered on a student's transcript; however, the credits do not count toward degree requirements. Students are expected to complete each course satisfactorily in order to fulfill all ELSP course requirements during their first year at Emory.

Graduate courses are graded as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Upon completion of ELSP 516: Communication Skills for Intermediate Speakers III, students will take the Emory Post Oral Assessment. Scores and recommendations for teaching will be mailed to students and to the Director of Graduate Studies in their programs.

Students are encouraged to perform well in each ELSP course in order to meet the language proficiency requirements for participating successfully in an academic program.

Attendance Policy

ELSP courses are developed around a very tight schedule making attendance in each class important for the student's full language development. In order to meet the English language requirements of the ELSP in the Laney Graduate School, students are expected to participate actively in all ELSP classes.

If a student misses three classes in a 4-credit course or two classes in a 2-credit course, the Instructor will notify the Director of the ELSP in writing. The ELSP Instructor, in consultation with the student, and the ELSP Director will determine if s/he will be able to complete the class satisfactorily.

Assessment Requirements

All degree-seeking students, regardless of citizenship status or educational background, whose first language is other than English must take the Laney Graduate School English Language Proficiency Test or receive an exemption from the ELSP testing director before registering for degree classes or participating in TATTO. This assessment is not used in the admissions process, but for teaching recommendations and placement of students who need English language support.

What to Expect

The Initial Speaking Assessment consists of a thirty-minute recorded conversation between a trained interviewer and a student. The speech sample is scored by two raters and measures patterns of strengths and weaknesses establishing the student’s level of consistent functional ability. A ranking system of Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior with low, mid, and high sub-categories within each level (except Superior) is used to describe the student's oral proficiency. Based on the score, a graduate student may be required to take ELSP support courses and will receive recommendations for participating in TATTO, if needed. Upon completion of required speaking course sequence, students take the Post Speaking Assessment. The Post Assessment is similar to the Initial Assessment and shows proficiency in spoken skills after the required coursework has been completed.

The Writing Assessment requires the student to complete a one-hour essay on a designated academic topic. The essay measures writing competence and is evaluated and scored by two trained raters. A ranking system of Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior is used to describe the student’s writing proficiency with low, mid, and high sub-categories within each level (except Superior). A student who scores Superior, Advanced High or Advanced Mid has no ELSP writing course requirements. A student who scores Advanced Low is recommended to take one course in the fall (ELSP 510). A student who scores Intermediate, High, Mid, or Low is required to complete a two-course sequence (ELSP 510, ELSP 511).

Our Courses

Intermediate Speaking Track

This track designed to improve the communication skills of intermediate students. Intermediate speakers can handle many of the speaking exchanges of routine life and work; however, they typically require a sympathetic listener accustomed to non-native speakers. Intermediate speakers may have difficulty sequencing and/or linking ideas into paragraph-length discourse, maintaining appropriate past, present, and future time frames, sustaining fluency, and/or being readily comprehensible. Courses include:

  • ELSP 505: Communication Skills for Intermediate Speakers I (3 credits)
  • ELSP 515: Communication Skills for Intermediate Speakers II (3 credits)
  • ELSP 516: Communication Skills for Intermediate Speakers III (2 credits)

Advanced Speaking Track

This track is designed to improve the communication skills of advanced (OPI level 3) students. Advanced speakers can narrate and describe in the past, present, and future time frames in paragraph-length discourse. Although they may have varying degrees of fluency and accuracy, advanced speakers typically can convey their message without confusion and be understood by listeners not accustomed to non-native speakers. However, they may lack the language to discuss topics extensively, participate in formal and professional conversations, and consistently provide a structured argument in extended discourse. Courses include:

  • ELSP 517: Communication Skills for Advanced Speakers I (3 credits)
  • ELSP 518: Communication Skills for Advanced Speakers II (2 credits)

Intermediate Writing Courses

Graduate writing track is designed to address the needs of intermediate writers. Writers at this level contain some of the qualities of clear and purposeful academic writing; address the topic but may slight parts of the task; can adequately organize and develop; possibly inconsistent facility with syntax and vocabulary. Errors may distract reader from the message or obscure the meaning. In general, students at this level need direct instruction and consistent writing practice. Courses include:

  • ELSP 510: Fundamentals of Graduate Writing I (3 credits)
  • ELSP 511: Fundamentals of Graduate Writing II (2 credits)

ELSP Elective Courses

  • ELSP 502: Fluency Building I (2 credits - Spring)
  • ELSP 503: Fluency Building II (2 credits - Summer)
  • ELSP 520: Seminar in Professional Communication (3 credits - Fall)
  • ELSP 597: Laboratory in Professional Communication (2 credits - Spring)

Need Help?

Contact ELSP at 404-727-2183