Undergraduate English Language Courses

English Language Services offers supplemental Proficiency of English as a Second Language (PESL) courses  for international undergraduate students through its English Language Program. These courses are for students who have been admitted to Illinois Tech but need additional language support to be successful in their major courses. Courses in academic reading, writing, listening, and speaking provide a linguistic bridge and help international students acculturate to academic and social life in Chicago. Qualified and experienced instructors deliver carefully designed lessons to help students learn, think, and express themselves in the English language.

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 into the program, allowing them to choose to take an English course based on their individual needs.


English language courses at Illinois Tech help students succeed in their academic work and learn the critical thinking and communication skills needed for internships and the global workforce. Our unique interdisciplinary classroom environments allow students to work across the campus with students from a variety of majors and backgrounds.

PESL courses help students gain:

  • An ability to effectively participate in class discussions
  • A greater understanding of expectations professors have of students
  • An easier adjustment to life in the United States
  • An increased ability to make friends
  • Confidence

Course Registration

Prior to arrival at Illinois Tech, international students who are required to take English language courses must register for an English Language Assessment. These are in-person, computer-based exams that will evaluate your English skill level. Based on the results of the assessments, you will be registered for up to two courses per semester until your English requirements have been met. Registration is automatic and will be completed for you by English Language Services and the Office of Registrar. You should check your schedule on MyIIT daily to find out which courses to attend.

Students who are not required to take courses but would like to opt in should take assessments as well in order to determine their course placement. If you are interested in taking English language courses, please email els@iit.edu.

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

English Language Assessment

English Language Program courses enable matriculated undergraduate and graduate students to receive the language support and instruction needed to position them for academic success and communicative proficiency in the global workforce. See below for more information on Illinois Tech’s English language courses and also, visit the university bulletin.

Listening Enhancement 

Listening Enhancement I (PESL 021) will enable students to comprehend main and supporting points and vocabulary, take notes, and apply information and listening strategies in academic discussions.

Listening Enhancement II (PESL 022) will enable students to understand and articulate key ideas, make connections, and apply critical thinking skills to listening passages. Students will further be able to apply information in a variety of academic contexts. 

Reading and Vocabulary Development

Reading and Vocabulary Development I (PESL 031) will enable students to demonstrate understanding of key ideas from a reading passage, annotate and summarize a text, and use academic vocabulary. 

Reading and Vocabulary Development II (PESL 032) will enable students to synthesize academic readings, present reading content in a poster presentation, and evaluate a text for validity and purpose.  

Academic Writing

Academic Writing I (PESL 041) will enable students to craft shorter texts with appropriate data and support from credible sources. Students will be able to quote, paraphrase, and write paragraph responses to exam questions based on an academic reading.  

Academic Writing II (PESL 042) will enable students to write an organized research paper that includes a clear thesis and well developed support.  Students will be able to engage in original process writing, apply appropriate citation methods, demonstrate the ability to summarize and paraphrase external sources for support.  

Effective Communication

Effective Communication I (PESL 061) will enable students to apply strategies in managing conversations, group discussions, active listening, and negotiation towards solving problems and reaching consensus.  Students will also be able to create a short presentation of comparison.

Effective Communication II (PESL 062) will enable students to use a variety of structures and strategies to initiate and maintain conversations and discussions, request information, give suggestions and advices. Students will also be able to participate in an interview in which they apply the STAR (situation, task, action, result) technique and answer and ask targeted questions. 


Note that PESL courses start one week later than other courses at Illinois Tech so that students have time to assess, talk to their adviser, and register for courses. We urge students to move through this process as quickly as possible because specific course sections fill up quickly.

As an undergraduate student, English language courses are covered by Illinois Tech’s tuition and any related policies.