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English as a Second Language (ESL)

Students from non-English-speaking countries are expected to read, write, comprehend, and speak English in order to be admitted for graduate study. Applicants whose first or native language is not English are required to take a test of English proficiency as part of the application procedure. Caltech recognizes scores from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) www.toefl.org, Pearson's Test of English Academic (PTE) www.pearsonvue.com/pte, and from the Cambridge Examinations and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) www.ielts.org. Applicants who take the TOEFL exam are also strongly encouraged to take the Test of Written English (TWE) and the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and to submit these scores as part of their application.  It is strongly recommended that students who do not achieve a high score on these tests or who have had little opportunity to communicate in English make arrangements for intensive work during the summer preceding their registration.  All international students are screened to determine oral competence upon arrival at Caltech.  Students will be required to take non-credit ESL courses if found to be deficient in their ability to communicate in English. 

It is required that all candidates for a doctoral degree demonstrate competence in oral and written English.  Students may demonstrate competence in written English by scoring 5 or above on the Test of Written English (TWE) examination or by having their final thesis accepted by the faculty.  To determine oral competence in English, students must pass the screening or enroll in ESL 101 during the fall  and/or winter quarter and pass the subsequent National Testing Service SPEAK test with a score of 50 or above.  The Graduate Studies Office maintains a record of test scores and a student may track his or her status within the Graduate Degree Progress section of REGIS.   

ESL instruction at Caltech is intended for students enrolled in a degree program (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.), but visitors, post-doctoral scholars, staff, and dependents of community members can attend classes on an audit basis, space permitting. Due to the small class size, Caltech does not offer English as a Second Language (ESL) to the general public.

Course Offerings

Fall Term 2016-17

ESL 101a - Oral Communication and Pronunciation

3 units

Communication and pronunciation in spoken English.  Development of pronunciation, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and accuracy and fluency in speaking.  Aspects of American culture will be discussed.  ESL 101a or ESL 101b may be required for first-year international students designated by the ESL screening process.  Passing the class is based on attendance and effort.  Graded pass/fail.  Instructor: Geasland. 

ESL 101a meets Monday and Wednesday, 5:00 - 6:30pm in 125 Baxter.

Winter Term 2014-15

ESL 101b - Oral Communication and Pronunciation

3 units

Communication and pronunciation in spoken English.  Development of pronunciation, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and accuracy in fluency and speaking.  Aspects of American culture will be discussed. ESL 101a or ESL 101b may be required for first-year international students designated by the ESL screening process.  Passing the class is based on attendance and effort.  Graded pass/fail.  Instructor: Geasland.

ESL 101b meets Monday and Wednesday, 5:00 - 6:30pm in 125 Baxter.

Spring Term 2016-17

ESL 107 - Introductory Writing and Oral Presentation

Noncredit 

The exploration of ideas in both oral and written English is critical in a variety of academic settings.  Whether writing a thesis or term paper, undertaking an oral exam, or presenting at a conference or seminar, the organization of ideas is central, of course, but the details of formatting, grammar, logic, word choice and delivery are a close second.  This course includes frequent in-class oral presentations by students based on their current research interests, followed by detailed critiques of pronunciation and style and ample opportunity for practice to develop both English confidence and delivery skills.   The writing portion of the course includes classroom exercises and editing practice will be based on student writing samples.  Here, also, the emphasis will be on content, logic, formatting and grammar, word choices, as well as punctuation.  The goals of the course include improvement of confidence and presentation skills, and the ability to communicate clearly and concisely in both oral and written English.  Enrollment is limited with priority given to graduate students.  Instructor: Geasland     

To enroll for ESL courses, please complete a registration card or email regis@caltech.edu.  Space is limited, with priority registration for graduate students.  Courses are free for Caltech-affiliated, non-students, but you must enroll on a non-credit, audit basis through the Registrar's Office.

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