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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about English for Academics and Professionals (EAP) at the Vanderbilt University English Language Center (ELC).

Frequently Asked Questions Index

  1. Application
  2. Programs
  3. Eligibility
  4. Cost


I applied for enrollment on the ELC website. Now what?

  • We process all our applications for enrollment before the assessment period starts. We will contact you if we have questions about your application and/or to answer any questions you may have asked on your application, so be sure to look for emails from
  • You will be emailed with a reminder for your scheduled assessment and again to confirm your status in the course (enrolled or on a waitlist).
  • If you have questions about your application for enrollment, do not fill out a new application. Instead, email us at and we can help you.

How do the language assessments work?

When you sign up for one of our EAP classes, you will also be prompted to sign up for an assessment time. This semester, assessments will be conducted online in the Brightspace learning management system. Here are the steps to completing your assessment:

  1. You will receive an email the day before your assessment window with instructions for how to log in.
  2. Once your assessment period begins, you will have 24 hours to upload your completed assessment.
  3. After you complete your assessment, you will receive an upload confirmation email at your Vanderbilt email address. You will now have completed all the steps to be enrolled in the class.
  4. Your instructor will contact you a few days before the first class meeting to confirm your placement in the class and share more course information (e.g. textbook). In case you are on the waitlist for a class, you will also be contacted by a member of our team.
  5. Once classes have begun, your instructor will talk to you about the results of your language assessment during your first individual meeting.

How can I prepare for my assessment?

We ask that you do not prepare for your assessment. The purpose of the assessment is for your instructor to see you produce English writing or speech without any outside help so that we can see your current proficiency level. Studying or accepting outside help could distort your results, giving your instructor an inaccurate picture of your needs in the class.

If you are new to the Vanderbilt community, you can complete some steps to ensure access to the Brightspace learning management system:

  1. Have you activated your VUNetID yet? If not, activate your VUNetID.
  2. Have you logged into your Vanderbilt email address? We recommend that you check your Vanderbilt email every day, as all communications from Vanderbilt programs, professors, and staff will be sent to that address once the semester begins. Access your Vanderbilt email.

Note: If you are a VUMC employee, contact us at for further instructions.


What is the English for Academics and Professionals (EAP) program at the ELC?

The English for Academics and Professionals (EAP) program offers one cost-free English-language course each Fall and Spring semester to Vanderbilt individuals who use English as an additional language who are undergraduate, graduate, and professional students or VU faculty, staff, and scholars. These courses are Academic Writing, Academic Speaking, and Pronunciation. Students meet both as a group and individually with an instructor to work on their specific language needs.

Academic Writing:

  • The activities in the Academic Writing course are tailored to your individual writing needs and goals. We work throughout the semester to analyze the organization, style, and language of published writing in your field to help you discover and exemplify the expectations you will likely meet in your graduate program.
  • We work to improve your writing style by focusing on sentence, paragraph, and text level accuracy, clear communication of content, reducing wordiness, emphasizing main points, and summarizing.
  • Activities include gathering and citing sources, quoting, paraphrasing, synthesizing information, writing an abstract, introduction, data commentary, and literature review (not all in the same semester).

Academic Speaking:

  • Academic Speaking is designed to strengthen all aspects of speaking ability, especially in academic contexts such as participating in and leading class discussions, visiting and holding office hours, and giving panel, group, and individual academic presentations.
  • Activities include developing discussion skills, preparing for conference presentations, introducing a speaker, leading a panel, and giving a 3-minute thesis presentation. We work to improve your pronunciation, public-speaking skills, preparation and use of visual aids, and intelligibility, fluency, and accuracy of your speech.


  • The Pronunciation course focuses on the fundamentals of North American English production. The purpose of this course is to help students modify their speech patterns to improve their speaking comprehensibility.
  • The focus of the course is identifying and approximating the sounds or group of sounds and the stress and intonation patterns in extended discourse to increase intelligibility, fluency, and accuracy. Activities include classroom instruction and practice, digitally recorded assignments with individualized feedback, focusing on individual, problematic sounds, and focusing on stress and intonation patterns for various speech functions.

How many hours do the EAP classes meet per week? How much homework is required?

Our classes typically meet twice per week for 90 minutes, totaling 3 hours of class per week. You can expect up to 1 to 2 hours of homework per week.

What is the difference between Academic Speaking and Pronunciation?

The Academic Speaking course focuses on a wide variety of speaking skills, including improving your pronunciation, public-speaking skills, preparation and use of visual aids, and intelligibility, fluency, and accuracy of your speech. Feedback and practice with pronunciation is a part of the broader course. On the other hand, in Pronunciation, the sole focus of the class is to improve pronunciation, and other speaking skills will not be addressed.

We suggest you prioritize your English language needs when choosing a class. If you struggle to produce a few sounds in English, but others seem to comprehend your speech, then Academic Speaking will likely offer enough support. However, if you struggle with multiple problematic sounds, and stress and intonation patterns for various speech functions so that others have difficulty understanding your speech, a whole pronunciation course may be more useful for you. Remember, you can always take one class in the fall and another course in the spring, and you can ask for advice in person when you come to the ELC for your speaking assessment.

What is the difference between Academic Writing and writeELC?

The ELC offers two different writing courses: writeELC is a course for undergraduates and Academic Writing is for graduate/professional students, faculty, staff, and scholars.

We have found that graduate/professional and undergraduate writers encounter differing academic writing needs, challenges, and tasks, so we designed these two writing courses to address those differences.

Both courses are designed for individuals who need and/or would like to improve their writing and are tailored to individual writing needs and goals. Additionally, all of our writing students receive feedback on assignments in class and in individual writing conferences with the instructor.

If you would like more detailed descriptions of what types of skills and tasks are often addressed in these two courses, please visit their particular program sites below:

What is the difference between the EAP fall and spring courses?

Our EAP courses are not sequential, which means that you can take them in any order. However, the courses are a little different in the fall and spring, so you can use the information below to help you plan your studies with us. Remember that we adjust course content based on the needs of the students each semester, so the courses and assignments change regularly.

Academic Writing:

Both semesters cover overall stylistic and organizational aspects of writing, including academic tone (register), flow (cohesion), and general to specific and specific to general organization patterns. The main difference is in the genres that the assignments cover. The fall semester content is more focused on writing for coursework, while in the spring, many students are working on capstone and thesis projects, so the focus is more on research-based writing. All assignments can be adjusted for relevance across students’ disciplines.

Academic Speaking:

Both semesters cover overall aspects (discussions, group and individual activities, and presentations) of Academic Speaking. However, the Fall Semester helps prepare students for the academic classroom, enhance individual speaking skills, and introduce presentation-style activities. The Spring Semester adds more presentation-style activities and continues to work on participating more fully in the academic classroom.


Both semesters cover all aspects of pronunciation but use different textbooks, so you will have fresh chances and techniques to improve pronunciation in the fall and spring.


How do I know if I am a VUMC employee?

It can be difficult to check whether your funding is through Vanderbilt University or the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). If you are not sure, ask your supervisor or email us at with the contact information for your supervisor and your appointment letter.

What ELC services are available to me if I am a VUMC employee?

If you are a VUMC employee, you are welcome to take any of our EAP courses (Academic Speaking, Pronunciation, Academic Writing).


What is the cost of the EAP programs at the ELC?

See the ELC’s current Course Costs.


For information regarding assessment and enrollment, please contact:

Jim Cracraft, Associate Director
Tel: +1 (615) 322-0247

For information regarding eligibility, please contact:

Susan M. Barone, Director
Tel: +1 615-322-2277