Department of Linguistics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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ESL Advanced Electives

The ESL Writing Program offers two free, 8-week, graduate-level, advanced electives designed to give students field-specific, individual feedback:ESL 502 and 503. Both courses are tailored to meet the needs of the students. The classes and individual conferences with the instructor are meant to support students’ work in their other coursework and professional pursuits.

Note: These courses are not sequential (i.e. you can take 503 first, or just take one of the two courses).

CONTACT HOURS:These courses are 0-credit, pass/fail courses. Each 8-week session is worth 2 contact hours (counts as credit hours for your visa status).

ESL 502 Advanced Academic Writing I: Dissertation and Research Article Writing

Students will learn the conventions of academic writing in their own fields through self-directed learning with support of the ESL instructor.

  • Contract Learning: Students will set goals and design their own assignments, such as working on writing for their other courses, conferences, and/or dissertations.
  • Field-Specific Conventions: Lessons in genre analysis will enable students to derive field-specific patterns in writing and apply them to their own writing.

Link to ESL 502 in Course Catalog

ESL 503 Advanced Academic Writing II:Presentation Skills

Students will improve their skills in speaking and presenting research in academic settings. Students will practice orally explaining their research, asking questions, writing conference proposals, and giving and receiving feedback with the aim of creating and delivering compelling, professional presentations. Regular individual conferences with the instructor will supplement peer feedback.

Link to ESL 503 in Course Catalog

Eligibility and Registration:

All international graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scholars who have taken the English Placement Test (EPT) are eligible. For more information on the EPT,click here. If you have already taken the EPT, continue reading to learn about registration.

  • Graduate students: Either pass ESL 501 or proficiency from 501 via the EPT exam. Enroll online on Banner/Enterprise.
  • Postdocs and Visiting scholars: All are eligible. Enroll with an Auditor’s permit, although you will be participating fully in the course.
  • Waiting List: If enrollment is full, please contact the instructor to be put on a waiting list. We often have late openings in the course. You may also come to the first day without being enrolled, but there is no guarantee that you will get a seat. The instructor will determine if it is possible to accommodate additional students.

Attendance Policy: Although these courses are 0-credit, students must commit to attend and participate throughout the duration of the course.


Supervisor – Susan Faivre Ahmed
Coordinator, ESL Service Courses
Department of Linguistics, 3047 FLB