Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is EAP? How is it different from ESL?

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) refers to English language programs specifically focused on helping international students acquire the advanced competencies in academic English that will be necessary for them to complete their degree program. In addition to polishing their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, EAP courses teach students the conventions of research, composition, and documentation necessary to produce rigorous academic and professional work. While many of the structures used in academic writing are common in academic discourse throughout the world, some of the conventions and stylistic patterns may be specific to the U.S. or English-speaking academic community.

EAP is not the same as English as a Second Language (ESL) in that EAP courses do not teach a student how to speak English. EAP courses assume a fairly advanced level of English proficiency (most EAP students apply to their GWU degree programs with a TOEFL score between 80 and 99 on the internet-based test). Because the purpose of the EAP program is to help students develop specific academic language skills, the courses are not suitable for beginner-level English students. GWU does not currently have an ESL program specifically designed for non-degree students.

Q. I am a non-GWU/non-degree student with some background in English. Would EAP be helpful for me, or should I look for an ESL program instead?

If your purpose in learning English is simply to interact with English speakers in everyday situations, other programs would be more useful to you. If you’re preparing to enter a formal course of academic study in the U.S. or another English speaking country, the EAP courses may be useful, especially if you’re primarily focused on improving your academic writing and research skills. Information for registering as a non-degree student can be found here: http://www.gwu.edu/non-degree.

Q: Can I obtain a visa through the GWU EAP program?

GWU does not have a separate ESL program that can sponsor visas for students who wish to come to a U.S. university solely to study English. Nearly all students who take an EAP course are students who have already been admitted to GWU as full-time students. These students attend other classes in their majors while they take their EAP courses. In some cases, a student may take an EAP courses as a non-degree student, but this student must already have visa sponsorship or some other legal residency status in the U.S. The GWU EAP program does not sponsor F1 visas for students.

Q. Does GWU offer individualized educational programs for international students?

In rare circumstances, the EAP program offers tutorials for GW students with specific needs. If you feel that you need such a program, please contact Professor Siczek at msiczek@gwu.edu

Q. Does GWU have conditional acceptance for international students?

At this point, GWU does not have a policy of admitting students on the condition that they complete a separate program of English study at GWU. For specific policies, please contact the school to which you’re applying.

Q. My TOEFL score is just below my school’s minimum requirement, and they have informed me that I am required to take an EAP course. Is there any way to waive this requirement? If I take the TOEFL again and get a higher score, would that be enough to waive the requirement?

At the undergraduate level, the EAP requirement is set by GW's Office of Undergraduate Admissions based on the TOEFL score the student submitted when applying to the university. Re-taking the TOEFL does not change the requirement. At the graduate level, whether or not an admitted student has to take EAP is something that their respective school within the university decides. Each school has its own criteria for making this decision, and only a student’s specific school has the authority to waive it. The EAP program cannot waive this requirement for individual students.

Q. When should I take my EAP course? Before my program starts?

Admitted GWU students generally take EAP alongside their regular courses, usually during their first semester. We strongly encorgage admitted international students to consider the Summer EAP program, which allows them to take EAP courses and get accclimated to the campus environment before they start their program of study in the fall. For more information, visit our Summer EAP website

Q. How many EAP courses do I have to take?

In nearly all cases, one EAP course is enough to fulfill the requirement. If you do not pass this course, you must retake the course to fulfill the requirement. Consult your school for more details. For students who want to continue developing their academic English skills, we recommend taking additional EAP courses. Our current course offerings are listed here.

Q. Do EAP courses count towards my degree?

For undergraduate students, EAP 1015 and EAP 1010 count as elective credit toward the 120 credits needed to graduate, but these courses do not fulfill general education or major/minor requirements.

For graduate students, the credits may count partially toward a degree. In most cases, the courses only count toward fulfilling the EAP requirement. However, the courses do count toward the total number of credits for the purposes of determining full or part-time student status and for visa requirements.

Q. Will my grade in EAP be factored into my GPA?

For undergraduate students, EAP courses carry credit and this count toward the overall GPA and can have an impact on academic standing. For graduate students, EAP grades are factored into a student’s overall GPA, but are generally NOT factored into their major or program GPA.

Q. How many EAP courses are offered for graduate students?

There are three courses offered for graduate students.

EAP 6110 focuses on the academic writing skills needed at the graduate level. The coursework is concentrated on three topics: basic concepts underlying academic discourse, academic writing structures, and the basic skill sets (academic vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, rhetorical structure) required to understand and write graduate-­level academic papers. EAP 6110 is a 3-­credit, 3-­contact-­hour course. The tuition is charged at the rate of a 3-­credit-­hour course. To meet federal visa requirements for full-­time status, graduate students in EAP 6110 must enroll in six (6) credit hours of academic coursework in addition to EAP 6110.

EAP 6111 focuses on advanced writing skills needed to write long academic papers and conduct research at the graduate level. Students learn how the general features and concerns of academic discourse and research are realized in basic types of academic coursework. EAP 6111 is a 3-­credit, 3-­contact-­hour course. To meet federal visa requirements for full-­time status, graduate students in EAP 6111 must enroll in six (6) additional credit hours of academic coursework.

EAP 6000 is designed to acclimate international students to the communicative expectations of graduate school through developing listening and note-taking skills, expanding communicative vocabulary, leading and participating in class discussions, and preparing and delivering informal and formal presentations. EAP 6000 is a 3-­credit, 3-­contact-­hour course. To meet federal visa requirements for full-­time status, graduate students in EAP 6000 must enroll in six (6) additional credit hours of academic coursework.

Q. Does GW offer any additional support for international students?

This is a list of resources across campus that help support international students and provide opportunities to get involved in campus life: http://libguides.gwu.edu/GWCampusResources