Program Description

  • 12.01.2015


GCU’s ESOL program consists of four 8-week terms and one 9-week summer term each academic year. Classes meet four days a week, Monday through Thursday, from 9:00AM to 2:00PM, for a total of 20 hours of classroom instruction.

Our classes range in size up to a maximum of 12 students. We limit classes to 12 students to ensure each student receives quality instruction in order to maximize the learning experience.

The program consists of the following:

1. Core courses: organized into 6 levels of proficiency, and containing separate classes for Grammar, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Reading.

2. English for specific purposes: containing Academic Writing, Speaking and Pronunciation for Academic Study, American Culture, Cross-cultural communication, Critical Reading and Writing, American Fiction, and English for Business courses.

3. Summer courses: including Everyday Conversation and Current Events.

4. Elective Courses: In addition to core courses, specific purpose courses, and summer courses, students can register for Elective classes in standardized test preparation for TOEFL. Learn more about the TOEFL preparation courses



Upon registration, new and transfer students are administered a placement test to determine the level at which they will begin. The placement test includes Listening Comprehension, Grammar, and Vocabulary. Testing takes approximately 60 minutes.

Students must contact the ESOL Office to schedule their placement test. The ESOL Office can be reached at 770-220-7908 or at  



All new and transfer students are required to attend the New Student Orientation prior to the beginning of the session. After completion of a tour of the university, students will receive an ESOL Catalog and an Orientation Checklist, which they will initial and sign as the ESOL administrator covers the University and ESOL program policies and procedures.

NSO occurs on the first day of each academic session. Attending NSO is mandatory for all new and transfer students.



The main purpose of this first part of the program is to develop students' fluency in English by taking them from a low level of proficiency to a high level. Core courses focus on the development of grammar, reading, speaking, listening, and writing. All skills are taught in order of difficulty, allowing students to develop the necessary skills in sequence. 

Grammar Courses

These courses are based on the idea that students learn more, remember more, and use language more effectively when they learn grammar in context. Grammar is presented in interesting contexts that are relevant to students’ lives. Additionally, the courses make sure to point out the obvious connections between grammar and writing, demonstrated through writing models and enhanced by editing practice for relevant application of target points. Students gain knowledge in both grammatical structures and a diverse array of topic areas. They learn how to use English grammar structures accurately in both speaking and writing.

Writing Courses

In these courses, students are provided with clear explanations and extensive practical activities to help them write sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Each course contains a wide variety of writing models in carefully selected rhetorical styles that provide practice in working with the writing process to develop a final piece of writing. Students perform structured activities that help them to quickly master writing tasks. The courses provide student writing models to help students focus on specific writing skills and multiple rhetorical structures. Students also engage in timed writing activities that prepare them for success on standardized tests like the TOEFL.

Speaking and Listening Courses

The purpose of these courses is to help students develop the language skills needed to achieve academic success. Students will develop academic literacy skills by connecting to the real world through content, images, and video from National Geographic Digital Media. In these courses, students learn to become more active and informed listeners in lectures and conversations, as the courses include short controlled passages at the beginning levels and authentic lectures and video segments at the more advanced levels. Communication skills are taught and practiced through realistic contexts that model the academic classroom. Students also learn to participate more confidently in conversations and group discussions and to give both formal and informal presentations by learning presentation skills including organization, preparation, and delivery techniques. Instruction and feedback on pronunciation is also provided.

Reading courses

Reading courses provide the essential reading skills and vocabulary development for maximum academic readiness. The readings tap into students' curiosity about the world, naturally encouraging inquiry and opportunities to synthesize information. They cover a wide range of real-world topics related to travel, natural history, wildlife, food, technology, science, culture, etc. Students learn essential reading skills by performing comprehension activities that cover question types commonly found on standardized tests. A comprehensive, three-part vocabulary development program builds student confidence as they encounter new or unfamiliar words in academic texts.

Extensive Reading

Students engage in independent reading outside of class. The goal is to get students to read as much as possible, for their own pleasure, at a difficulty level at which they can read smoothly and quickly without looking up words or translating to English as they go. In other words, instead of spending a lot of time decoding a tiny part of one book, they read many simpler books that are at or slightly below the level at which they read fluently. This lets them get used to reading more complex sentences with ease, reinforces the words they already know, and helps them learn new words from context. 



Specific Purposes Track Courses were designed for students at a high level of proficiency in English, who wish to strengthen or polish their English skills in order to better prepare for academic studies. In order to enroll in these courses, students will need to successfully complete ESOL 600 or obtain a minimum score of 70 on their placement test.

Academic Writing Courses

These courses aim to develop or refine the writing skills that students will need to function within an academic community. They cover the basic structures of term papers and other types of academic writing, with focus on establishing the rationale and purpose of an academic paper. Since academic writing is dependent on the research of others, the courses emphasize the importance of finding, evaluating and referring to relevant literature. In addition, they provide students with writing and language techniques that are useful in writing a clear, coherent, logical text.

Speaking and Pronunciation for Academic Study Courses

These courses combine the important academic skill of speaking with the study of pronunciation, on the basis that both are essential components of communicating clearly and effectively in an academic environment. Students will develop or refine the skills that they need to participate in academic classes and discussions, and will develop good presentation skills. They will also develop their pronunciation in English to a level that will enable the listener to understand them with ease. 

American Culture Courses

These courses are based on content taught in American history, culture, and sociology courses in high schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. They are designed to prepare students for further academic study in English. Students focus on their reading, writing, note-taking, vocabulary, critical thinking, listening, speaking, discussion, vocabulary, and test taking skills while learning about American history and culture.

Cross-Cultural Communication Course

This course is based on the idea that the cultural use of English and an understanding of cultural values and attitudes should be incorporated into language programs designed to teach language competence. The purpose of the course is to help students understand and adapt to American culture and to cultural differences affecting their communication with speakers of American English.

Critical Reading and Writing Course

The purpose of this integrated reading and writing course is based on the premise that improving critical reading skills will also greatly improve second-language writing skills. With those two goals in mind, this course has been expertly designed to offer comprehensive and engaging reading and writing passages and prompts in order to develop second language writer identity. Students will improve their critical thinking abilities through individualized and cooperative lessons focusing on pre-reading and predicting activities, vocabulary, reading comprehension/critical thinking questions, and writing organizational tasks.

American Fiction Course

In order to include the culture prevalent in America combined with reinforcing grammar and vocabulary building skills, this course offers a study of American short stories to advanced level English language learners. Students will read, analyze, discuss, and write about the short stories presented in class.

English for Business Course

Students learn the language and life skills necessary for doing business in English. They develop confidence and fluency in key communication business-related contexts. The course covers everyday business speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, through a range of guided practice, exercises, and case studies. The aim to is enable students to find out how they can use English within a given theme, and then to help them develop these skills.  



The Summer Track Courses provide students with the opportunity to spend the summer improving their English language skills while exploring and learning about life in the U.S. Students are immersed in the language through exciting classroom and extracurricular activities that create an unmatched cultural experience.

Everyday Conversation Courses

These courses provide students with the tools they need in order to participate comfortably and excel in English speaking environments. Emphasis is placed on everyday expressions and verbal strategies practiced during role-plays, oral presentations, discussions, and real-life activities. Emphasis is also placed on pronunciation by eliminating speech elements that impede communication.

Current Events Courses

The goal of these courses is to develop students' communication and critical thinking skills through open discussions of current events and social issues. Discussions are supplemented by readings, audio, and videos, and focus on authentic news and controversial issues in the U.S. and around the world. Grammar, writing, and vocabulary skills are also developed.