Wilkes University

English Language Center

The Wilkes University English Language Center offers an assortment of programs to meet the varying needs of adult English-language learners.

Our Mission

The Wilkes University English Language Center provides English for academic and professional programming which supports the core Wilkes values of mentorship, scholarship, diversity, innovation and community.

Our Goals

  • Supply state-of-the-art, individualized English language instruction to meet learners’ language, cultural and professional goals.
  • Empower students to successfully function in English in a multicultural and diverse world.
  • Serve Wilkes University faculty and departments, by providing programs which meet the needs of their English learning students.
  • Provide highly qualified faculty who encourage academic success and provide leadership in the areas of intercultural understanding and cooperation.

Our Programs

Intensive English Program 


The mission of Intensive English Program (IEP) at Wilkes is to provide quality instruction in English as a second language (ESL) to English language learning students planning to pursue university studies in America. To this end, the program provides students with curricula, classroom materials, and teaching methods well-grounded in the latest theory, research, and practice of second language learning and teaching.

We aim to:

  • Provide high quality English language instruction;
  • Prepare students for further academic study in the U.S. through a well-articulated curricula;
  • Provide English language instruction for personal growth;
  • Provide students with the guidance they need to successfully reach their academic or professional goals;
  • Provide highly qualified faculty who encourage academic success and provide leadership in the areas of intercultural understanding and cooperation;
  • Provide learner-centered instruction to meet student academic needs;
  • Provide services relating to admission, counseling, academic

The IEP's classes are divided into six levels: beginning, low intermediate, intermediate, high intermediate, advanced, and high advanced. Across the six levels, all students are required to take reading, writing, listening/speaking, grammar, and computer lab. Other courses offered at certain levels include conversation skills, vocabulary, and IELTS or TOEFL test prep. Students enjoy small classes and individual attention from certified ESL instructors.

Reading - The intensive reading curriculum is divided into six levels: beginner, high beginner, intermediate, high intermediate, advanced, and high advanced. At the beginning levels, students develop their ability to read and write words, phrases, and sentences. They also learn basic skills and strategies designed to improve decoding, vocabulary acquisition, and reading comprehension. The intermediate levels build upon these skills and focus more on developing literal comprehension, fluency, vocabulary development, and critical thinking skills. At the advanced levels, students become proficient in the skills required for academic studies with a continued emphasis on vocabulary development and analytical comprehension. Literature and critical analysis of readings also serve as sources for refining and expanding students' critical and academic reading skills.

Writing- Students undergo intensive courses in writing. Throughout the six levels, the focus remains on the academic language skills needed for entrance into English 101 and for university studies. The courses focus on academic writing, beginning at the sentence level in level one and expanding to the writing of expository and argumentative essays, summaries of academic readings and current events, critical analysis of readings in literature, research and documentation in the advanced levels.

Listening and Speaking- These courses provide instruction in listening and speaking for all levels. Thematic topics relevant to university students formulate the basis for intellectually stimulating listening, speaking and critical thinking tasks. The courses aim to prepare students for successful receptive and productive communication in social and academic environments. Students begin by learning basic survival vocabulary and simple conversational strategies and progress to extrapolating key points from lectures and readings to prepare presentations, debates, conversations and other activities that demonstrate understanding of material covered and preparedness for university studies.

Grammar - These courses provide students with a thorough and systematic review of grammatical structures and their use in authentic language situations. The emphasis in the beginning and intermediate levels is on the basic mechanics of the language and the correct formation of complete sentences. This is taught primarily via a communicative approach. The beginner level uses a multimedia program and a variety of interactive tools to engage students in learning. Intermediate levels use a variety of pair and group work, media clips, and exercises to learn and reinforce grammar rules through oral and written language production. Advanced levels focus more on the structures necessary for academic English writing and speaking, including more complex sentence and verb structures. The objectives for these classes are needs-based and are driven by the grammar errors common among our student population.

Vocabulary 1-2

Students will take academic vocabulary courses. All classes focus on the University Word List (UWL) and utilize tasks to assist students in acquisition of these words. A skills based approach is utilized to learn vocabulary while reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

IELTS/TOEFL - We also offer IELTS and TOEFL iBT preparation depending on student needs. These classes are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays and Tuesdays and Thursdays and are available only to level 3, 4, 5 and 6 students.

University Preparatory Program 

The mission of the University Preparatory Program (UPP) is to provide international students with the necessary skills and strategies required to effectively transition to and succeed in an academic, collegiate environment. The program offers participating students the ability to expand upon and refine their core set of academic skills, while fostering an appreciation of educational growth and diversity, necessary to contribute to the global, learning community. Students earn 12 credits towards their undergraduate degree while obtaining the English language skills needed to succeed at University.

Academic Component Program Outcomes:
1. Students will demonstrate critical thinking and analysis in written and oral communication.
2. Students will demonstrate understanding of academic vocabulary and content.
3. Students will produce advanced grammatical structures in spoken and written academic discourse.
4. Students will demonstrate ability to properly format academic writing.
5. Students will effectively analyze, paraphrase and synthesize information.
6. Students will formulate ideas, proposals, solutions, or arguments, independently and collaboratively.

ESL-100 Reading and Writing
3 Credits
This course focuses on the connection between critical thinking and academic reading and writing skills necessary to analyze academic texts and produce collegiate level compositions. It emphasizes the utilization of reading comprehension strategies and writing process skills to respond to various readings and to develop vocabulary expansion. This course also requires a research paper which utilizes the basic formatting and referencing of sources using MLA style documentation.

ESL-102 Listening and Speaking
3 Credits
This course is a cohesive, integrated, and structured approach, to developing and expanding upon key listening and speaking skills of transitioning, English language learners (ELLs), as to ensure successful matriculation to a collegiate, academic environment. Therein, students will address defined, critical abilities, as a way in which to increase their capacities to engage in academic processes that include and demand superior listening and speaking skills within higher educational institutions and curricula.

ESL-103 Test Prep
3 Credits
This course has been designed to serve as an integrated and structured approach to providing and expanding upon critical test preparation strategies and study skills for transitioning, English language learners (ELLs), as to ensure successful matriculation to a collegiate, academic environment. Utilizing a multifaceted configuration of classroom instruction and independent, online study, students will be provided with extensive practice of the most key academic skills and methodologies, as a way in which to increase their capacities to engage in academic processes that include and demand a superior skill set within higher educational institutions and curricula.

FYF-101 First-Year Foundations
Credits: 3
The mission of the First-Year Foundations Program is to provide rigorous learning experiences that challenge first-year students to develop the strategies essential for a successful transition into the Wilkes campus community. Each section of FYF is unique in content and constitutes a special topics course in which faculty members are encouraged to explore topics that are of special interest to them. All sections of FYF, regardless of specific topic, share a common core of objectives that facilitate significant learning experiences (inside and beyond the classroom) by which first-year students develop self-knowledge as learners and members of an academic community, intellectual curiosity, openness to diversity, and a capacity for lifelong learning and civic responsibility. Activities designed to foster and develop effective writing, critical thinking, and information literacy skills are integral components of all FYF courses. In addition, the FYF Program connects students to a wide variety of University resources, including the advising and tutoring services of University College, the extensive holdings and services of the Farley Library, and the rich array of cultural events sponsored by the University.

Au-Pair English 

Au Pair Program Options
The Wilkes University English Language Center offers you different opportunities to obtain the 60 hours or 72 hours/6 credits au pairs need. You may take courses in either our Intensive English Program, University Preparatory Program or audit undergraduate classes. The path you enroll in depends upon your English proficiency.

Beginner to High Intermediate Path
Take two classes in our Intensive English Program.

Advanced Path
Take two classes in our University Preparatory Program.

High Advanced Path
Take one University Preparatory Program class and audit an undergraduate class of your choosing.

Au-pairs will also join in the IEP cultural activities, and have access to American conversation partners.

Special Programs 

Special programs are designed and tailored towards groups of students with specific English language learning goals. These programs combine cultural activities with specialized language learning. Programs can coordinate with academic departments on campus and enabling participants to work with professors who specialize in their discipline while simultaneously taking courses to improve language skills.

Students enrolled in special programs have the opportunity to interact with American professionals in their fields, and to experience the culture and study how it impacts their profession or learning interest.