Undergraduate English Communication Courses

English Language Services offers English communication courses for international undergraduate students called CAPS—Communication for Academic and Professional Success. These courses are for students who have been admitted to Illinois Tech, but need additional language and cross-cultural support to be successful in their programs.


English communication courses help multilingual students achieve academic success and meet core curriculum requirements by providing scaffolded instruction and support in communication and critical thinking. Courses offered each semester help students develop their listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in content-driven classes taught by qualified and experienced Illinois Tech faculty.  

CAPS courses help students gain:

  • Language skills and strategies to be successful in major coursework
  • An ability to effectively participate in class discussions
  • A greater understanding of professors’ expectations of students
  • Understanding of cultural and communication norms 
  • An easier adjustment to life in the United States


See below for more information on Illinois Tech’s English language courses, and visit the University Bulletin (catalog) for course descriptions.

Core Curriculum

Starting Fall 2024, undergraduate students with English language requirements can take CAPS courses as part of their undergraduate core curriculum requirements. 

Writing in the University for Multilingual Speakers of English (COM 111) will enable students to read, discuss, and write a variety of texts on key academic topics (linguistics, engineering, business ethics), apply the writing process to academic work, and develop critical thinking and writing proficiency. Fulfills the Basic Writing Proficiency requirement; equivalent to COM 101. 

 Chicago Voices (COM 112) will enable students to engage with academic lectures and authentic listening material, lead and participate in discussions, and give formal presentations on life in Chicago. Can be applied to the Human Sciences Module or free electives.

Global Issues Through Literature (HUM 200-E) will enable students to read, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize texts to explore human experience, formulate questions, and produce original academic or creative writing. Prerequisite: COM 101/111 or placement based on TOEFL/IELTS scores. Can fulfill the HUM 200 requirement. Note: *Students who are admitted with English language requirements must take Global Issues Through Literature (section E01 or E02). Other HUM 200 courses do not apply to this requirement.

Telling Your Story: Advanced Language Skills for Academics and Work (COM 212) will enable students to apply advanced language skills in describing their background, culture, and accomplishments, as well as in presenting and discussing disciplinary/major-related topics and technical information to general audiences. Prerequisite: COM 112 or placement based on TOEFL/IELTS scores. Can be applied to the Human Sciences Module or free electives.

Advanced Communication for Multilingual Speakers (CAPS 039) will enable students to develop advanced communication strategies to discuss problems, negotiate solutions, and incorporate data and evidence in both academic and professional situations. Note: CAPS 039 is currently a non-credit course and does not fulfill core curriculum requirements.

Undergraduate students who are not required to take courses but wish to improve their English fluency, listening and reading comprehension, or academic writing can also opt in to courses, allowing them to choose English communication courses based on their individual needs. Note: Subject to departmental approval. Email els@iit.edu for more information. 

Prior to arrival at Illinois Tech, international students who are required to take English language courses will be informed of their course placements based on their English proficiency test scores submitted at the time of admission. Students required to take these courses must take at least two courses each semester, starting with their first semester at Illinois Tech, until they have completed their requirements.

Students who are not required to take courses but would like to opt in should email els@iit.edu. Note: Subject to departmental approval. 

For more information on Illinois Tech’s English language proficiency requirements, please review Illinois Tech's admission requirements for international undergraduate students.

English communication courses are offered to full-time undergraduate students at no additional charge. They are otherwise billed at the standard tuition rate per credit hour. Please visit the Office of Student Accounting’s website for more information on tuition per credit hour.

Am I Required to Take English Communication Courses?

If you are an international student and do not meet Illinois Tech’s English Proficiency Requirement, you must enroll in our English communication courses. Please view the admission requirements page and view the International Student English Proficiency Requirement (TOEFL Requirements) entry or email els@iit.edu for more information.

I Am a Transfer Student. Do I Need to Take English Courses?

Policies differ for international students transferring to Illinois Tech from other United States institutions. Please visit the admission requirements page and view the International Student English Proficiency Requirement (TOEFL Requirements) entry for more information.

Which English Courses Do I Need to Take?

Required courses are based on your submitted English proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS) scores and will be communicated with you in advance so that you may register for them alongside your other university courses. Undergraduate students must register for two of their required courses each term.

Can I Opt into English Courses?

If you are not required to enroll in our English communication courses but are interested in doing so, please email els@iit.edu for more information so we can determine the courses that will most benefit you.

Can I Submit New Higher TOEFL/IELTS Scores to Waive the English Language Courses?

Any test scores submitted after your admittance must be submitted by July 15 to be considered for the fall semester or December 1 for the spring semester.