ELSP Language Assessment

ELSP Mission

The mission of the English Language Support Program (ELSP) is to support and enrich the experience of international students who use English as an Additional Language (EAL). In line with Laney Graduate School’s mission to support the success of all students through the fostering of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we aim to offer high-quality language instruction that advances the communicative skills of our EAL graduate students. We work with diverse scholars in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences, helping them succeed in their fields, communicate across disciplines, and connect to their local and global communities. 

ELSP Support Offerings

The ELSP recognizes that students enter Emory’s Laney Graduate School (LGS) with multifaceted language and cultural backgrounds.

For users of English as an Additional Language (EALs), we provide coursework, workshop series, and individual consultations. Knowing your current functional proficiency can help us find the level of support that is right for you.

For students new to the US culture, regardless of language background, some offerings include workshops “Small Talk in the US Context” and “Serving as Teaching Assistant in the US Context”.

Assessment of Incoming Students

ELSP language assessment is not used in the admissions process; instead, it is used to determine students’ functional proficiencies in English and identify offerings that may help them thrive in graduate school.

ELSP language assessments are conducted online unless a student prefers an in-person experience. The assessment consists of a 20-25 minute interview with a trained examiner. The student’s speech sample is scored by two raters who assess patterns of strengths and weaknesses, thereby 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) is used to describe the student's oral proficiency.

ELSP Assessment Timeline for new LGS students (Fall 2024)

  • ELSP language assessments are conducted online unless a student prefers an in-person experience.
  • Some programs will refer international students who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) for assessment. The results of the assessment will be used to recommend coursework.
  • All other EALs can request an assessment and then, if desired, elect to enroll in ELSP coursework to further advance their English communication skills.
  • Students will receive program-specific information about assessment from the ELSP by no later than July 1.
  • The main assessment dates are August 2-7. Students who wish to complete their assessments prior to August will have the opportunity to do so in early July.
  • If you are interested in assessment/English language support but do not receive an email, or if you have questions for the ESLP, please contact us (see below).

Current International Students

If you are a current international student seeking English language support, please see the For Graduate Students section of the ELSP website.


Heather Boldt, ELSP Director, hboldt@emory.edu