Academic Year Courses

Our courses are non-credit and mainly designed for matriculated UChicago degree-seeking students and postdoctoral scholars. They assist UChicago affiliates in continuing to build their academic English proficiency.

The courses meet 3 hours a week for 8 weeks and generally begin the second week of the quarter.


Course Registration and Fees

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Annual Course Schedule

(subject to change)

Course Type Course Name Autumn Quarter Winter Quarter Spring Quarter
Spoken Communication Fluency Building X X X
Spoken Communication General American Pronunciation X X X
Spoken Communication Professional English X X X
Spoken Communication Conversation in Context   X  
Spoken Communication Academic Presentations X    
Spoken Communication Intensive Academic English Fundamentals X X X
Spoken Communication Partners and Spouses     X
Spoken Communication Graduate Students in Teaching Positions by demand only by demand only by demand only
Written Communication Crafting Varied and Impactful Sentences X X  
Written Communication Standards and Conventions in North America X X  
Language Pedagogy Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL)     X


Course Descriptions and Sample Syllabi

Spoken Communication

Fluency Building

Fluency Building focuses on improving basic language skills in both academic and non-academic contexts. Students in this course will practice common expressions, gain high-frequency vocabulary and grammatical items used when speaking, and understand how to participate actively in classrooms and daily life using English.


General American Pronunciation prioritizes speaker intelligibility and seeks to professionalize students’ spoken English by focusing on word stress, stress-timing in phrases, the prominence of keywords in strings of speech, and phonemic accuracy and intonation patterns within the General American dialect.

Professional English

Professional English focuses on increasing awareness of cultural norms and improving English fluency for use in the North American workplace. Students in this course will practice expressions, vocabulary and grammatical items used in contexts ranging from small talk to negotiations using English.

Conversation in Context

Conversation in Context  focuses on the linguistic, pragmatic, and conversational strategies needed to contribute ideas and opinions to conversations in a culturally appropriate way along with effectively interacting with others in campus classrooms and in daily life. Students who enroll in this class typically have some experience using English extensively in their daily life.

Academic Presentations

Academic Presentations focuses on helping international students organize and deliver short and extended presentations confidently in a wide variety of contexts and subjects. The class will have a specific focus on producing English sentences from memory with appropriate vocabulary, grammar, rhythm, register, and articulation that are comprehensible to North American listeners.

Partners and Spouses

Partners and Spouses is an intermediate course in which students learn the speaking skills and conversational strategies needed to ask culturally and linguistically appropriate questions and to communicate effectively in a range of authentic contexts. Students participate in real-life scenarios, group discussions, and outings. 

Intensive Academic English Fundamentals

Spoken Communication: Intensive Academic English Fundamentals is an intensive 4 week course that focuses on improving fluency in academic and some non-academic contexts. Fundamental level English will be reviewed and practiced in areas such as grammar, sentence length, and fluency. Students will improve speaking skills through guided activities both in and out of class.

Graduate Students Teaching

Graduate Students in Teaching Positions is designed for international graduate students who are currently teaching or planning to teach in the near future. In the course, students will improve their English proficiency with a focus on the linguistic and intercultural communication skills needed to succeed as an instructor, TA, or other teaching position at UChicago.


Written Communication


Crafting Varied and Impactful Sentences reviews the fundamentals of English sentence grammar within a cohesive form/function framework. Students also learn to manipulate sentence structure to improve information flow, increase variety, and hone focus.

Standards and Conventions

Standards and Conventions in North America features lessons on word choice and sentence variety, independent editing, organization and coherence, and the proper integration of sources. Students will examine documents from their field as well as on general, academic topics and will produce and edit documents themselves. 

Language Pedagogy


Teaching English as an Additional Language is a practical introduction to the field of TEAL. Students gain an understanding of language pedagogy while exploring best practices for teaching English to all level of students both in the United States and abroad. This course is highly recommended for any student who is applying for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award, TAPIF, JET, or DAAD. It will also fulfill the Reflecting on Teaching requirement for both the College Teaching Certificate and the CTC in Second Language Pedagogy, and will count towards the Global Honors distinction.

I took Spoken Communication: General American Pronunciation because I think proper pronunciation helps others to understand you more clearly. I learned a wide range of basic skills of pronunciation, and realized the importance of knowing my voice quality objectively through group work and voice recordings. These were quite useful to improve my pronunciation and even listening skills. Pronunciation would constitute a definitely important aspect of communication in terms of speaking and listening, and international students should take this class for better communication.”



“I was always nervous about talking in English especially in those situations requiring unplanned speech. Now after taking Spoken Communication: Fluency Building, I feel much more confident by the skills learnt in this class. In this course, all levels of English speakers are engaged because of the professional guidance as well as the relaxed atmosphere. So it is quite a helpful class!”


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