Skip to main content

ELP Foundations

ELP Foundations is a summer orientation course designed especially for incoming international PhD and MFA students. In Summer Quarter, students are enrolled in Foundations of American English and Academic Culture, a five-week, non-credit online course. Students who pass the course may participate in in-person social events in Evanston and Chicago when they arrive on campus. Tuition for ELP Foundations is completely covered by The Graduate School; there are no fees for either students or their departments. Students are selected for ELP Foundations through nomination by their admitting department between February and May.

Course Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify their pre-term level of communicative competence in English, using data from self-assessments, standardized assessments, and instructor feedback, including both strengths and areas for improvement.
  2. Present information and introduce themselves in academic contexts in English, both in oral and written formats.
  3. Apply strategies to successfully navigate the cultural and emotional impact of long-term study abroad, including strategies for handling first conversations in American English in the United States, and strategies for navigating differences between cultures.
  4. Develop strategies for the practical side of moving to the USA, including handling common service encounters in the USA, such as ordering a meal or purchasing groceries, and building awareness of issues related to housing, personal safety, and transportation.
  5. Explain how Northwestern’s policy on academic integrity applies to graduate students, and the resources available at Northwestern to learn best practices for citation and ethical conduct of research.
  6. Identify the key components of The Graduate School’s English proficiency requirement, the format of the tests used to assess proficiency at Northwestern, and the next steps they need to complete (if any) to fulfill the requirement.
  7. Develop interpersonal and academic skills for working with faculty, mentors and advisors (as a student) and as an instructor (with undergraduates).
  8. Develop relationships with other students in the course, through video introductions, presentations, synchronous meetings, and asynchronous discussions.    

Eligibility and participation