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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. Tuition


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.


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

The English for Academics and Professionals (EAP) program offers one tuition-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 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. We can then help you determine whether a tuition fee is required.

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 for a tuition fee.


What is the tuition for the EAP programs at the ELC?

See the ELC’s current Tuition Schedule.


For information regarding assessment and enrollment, please contact:

Adam Steffanick, Assistant Director
Tel: +1 615-322-2277

For information regarding eligibility, please contact:

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