English as a Second Language

WPI's ESL Program offers courses that prepare international students to communicate in the technology field of their choice. The aim is to help students learn the technical terminology and concepts they need to survive in a highly competitive academic environment. All courses are based on such concepts as

  • development of individual learning and critical thinking strategies
  • the relatedness of skills to tasks
  • theme-based learning linked to task-based instruction
  • authentic materials used as input
  • ongoing self-assessment

The ESL Summer Institute is an intensive, five-week program designed for international students planning to study engineering or science in the United States. Classroom instruction integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, and pays special attention to the everyday use of spoken English in a technological academic setting. Students learn technical writing, oral presentation skills and computer programs necessary to perform in a technical environment.

Conditional admission to a WPI degree program is an option for students in the ESL Summer Institute. Any student who has graduated from secondary school is eligible to be considered for this program, but students with high intermediate and advanced levels of English language proficiency typically perform best. The ESL Summer Institute is open to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as non-matriculating students.

The ESL Seminar, a tutorial providing ESL instruction beyond the Summer Institute, is for students who need additional ESL training during the regular academic year. Students may concentrate on particular problems they might have in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Classes are small, so students receive individual attention.

In addition to the ESL programs, the Humanities and Arts Department offers the following courses for international students, all of which count toward the humanities and arts project degree requirement:

  • Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English
  • Speech for Non-Native Speakers of English