English as a Second Language


SVU offers ESL classes to foreign students who need to improve their proficiency in English or waive an official test score. The purpose of the ESL program is to provide students with the opportunity to increase English language mastery in order to perform successfully in degree classes. During the first week of each trimester, students are required to take the English Placement Exam offered at SVU.  Based on the exam results, students will be placed in the levels accordingly. Students at SVU are allowed to take degree classes concurrently with the ESL classes; depending on the level, students can take either one degree class (ESL200), two degree classes (ESL300), or three degree classes (ESL400). Successful completion of the ESL program is based on a passing TOEFL score or passing the English Placement Test at SVU. Students with inadequate comprehension of English must continue taking ESL for the following trimester until the requirements are met.

The core objectives of the ESL program are to:

  • Prepare students with proficient English ability in order to communicate effectively in professional, business, and personal settings
  • Prepare students to perform successfully in degree classes
  • Empower students to improve English speaking skills by using English in authentic settings

The program consists of 3 levels and each level has Listening and Speaking, Conversation and Pronunciation, and Reading and Writing:

The course numbers for each level are listed as:

(a) Beginning Level
(1)ESL200 – ESL204
(2)ESL250 – ESL254
(b) Intermediate Level
(1)ESL300 – ESL304
(2)ESL350 – ESL354
(c) Advanced Level
(1)ESL400 – ESL404
(2)ESL450 – ESL454

The numbers of hours of instruction per week is as follows:

ESL150 – ESL154: 20 hours per week
ESL200 – ESL204: 20 hours per week
ESL250 – ESL254: 20 hours per week
ESL300 – ESL304: 20 hours per week
ESL350 – ESL354: 20 hours per week
ESL400 – ESL404: 20 hours per week
ESL450 – ESL454: 20 hours per week

Students who are placed in ESL 400 (Advanced level) must take and pass the Institutional TOEFL® that represents the exit exam for the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. ESL 400 students who do not pass the exit exam (score less than 500 on Institutional TOEFL®) are required to repeat the ESL 400 level course until the student achieves passing marks on the exit exam. Students who are placed in ESL 200 (Beginning level) or ESL 300 (Intermediate level) must take and pass the final exam administered by the course instructor at the end of the trimester as the exit exam. Students who do not pass the exit exam in ESL 200 and ESL 300 are required to repeat the same level the following trimester.

Students who successfully complete the requirements for each course and achieve the minimum passing score on the exit examinations for each course can request a Certificate of Competency in English. Students who fail to achieve any of the requirements needed to earn the Certificate of Competency can instead request a certificate indicating the total number of completed hours of instruction received in ESL.  Minor deviations from the above guidelines can be approved by consultations between the ESL instructor(s) and the student advisor.


20/Hours per week
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