It is required that all candidates for a doctoral degree are proficient in oral and written English. To demonstrate oral competence in English, students must pass a language screening conducted before the fall term begins or enroll in an English as a Second Language course during the fall and/or winter terms. Students may track their status within the Graduate Degree Progress section of REGIS.
ESL instruction at Caltech is intended for students enrolled in a graduate degree program, but visitors, post-doctoral scholars, staff, and dependents of community members may attend ESL 101ab on an audit basis, space permitting. To enroll for ESL courses, please enroll online or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the small class size, Caltech does not offer English as a Second Language (ESL) to the general public.
ESL 101 ab
Oral Communication and Presentation
3 units (3-0-0) | first, second terms
This course focuses on preparing non-native speakers of English with the communication skills necessary to organize, present or exchange information in a clear, concise manner to a variety of audiences. ESL 101 a will provide instruction on the development of pronunciation, intonation patterns and stress, grammar and verb tense, listening comprehension, and fluency in speaking. Aspects of American culture as well as come current events will be discussed. ESL 101 b is a continuation of ESL 101 a, and covers a variety of oral presentation skills. Students will be asked to paraphrase, summarize, and synthesize information from a journal article or in-class discussions and communicate ideas to the class. The class will discuss information from readings and other media sources in small groups to collect and organize ideas for discussion. ESL 101 ab is open to all first-year graduate students and may be required for some students designated by the ESL interview process during Orientation. A passing grade will satisfy the Institute English proficiency requirement for candidacy. Graded pass/fail. Open to international graduate students only.
Fundamentals of Scientific Writing
6 units (3-0-3) | third term
This course provides guided instruction in academic writing in STEM fields. More specifically, it teaches graduate students about composing texts in scientific English for expert audiences. It helps familiarize writers with academic STEM discourse, and it teaches writers about the style and genres of U.S. academic STEM writing, helping them learn to locate, read, and write about the work of others in their field. From here, students learn to review the literature in their fields and situate their own research goals within that context. Students are encouraged to take ESL/Wr 107 in the first or second year of graduate school. This course is designed for non-native speakers of English, but it covers topics that are relevant to native English speakers. Open to international graduate students only.
Intermediate Graduate Writing Seminar
6 units (3-0-3) | summer term
This course focuses on strategies for composing an academic journal article in a STEM field. The rhetorical purpose and form of each section of the journal article will be considered in depth. The course is intended for graduate students who are prepared to be a lead author on a manuscript. While the course will cover strategies for collaborative writing, students will be asked to draft sections of an original journal article based upon their own research. The course will also provide instruction on selecting a target journal, preparing a manuscript for submission, and responding to feedback from peer reviewers. Clarity in scientific writing and creating effective figures will also be discussed. This course is designed for non-native speakers of English, but it covers topics that are relevant to native English speakers. Course enrollment is limited to 15 students. Open to international graduate students only.