College of Liberal Arts

English language center

Student group at ELC Towson MarylandCourse Descriptions

The ELC offers a program of multilevel instruction for you. Following placement tests given during Orientation, you will be assigned to courses appropriate to your level of English proficiency. ELC classes require your active participation and the faculty will ask you to become involved in a wide range of activities that will help you learn quickly and effectively.  (See below for our new Graduate Track Level 5)

Core courses include:

Listening (Levels 1-4)

In these classes, students improve their abilities to understand English in a variety of situations. Students develop the vocabulary to function confidently in daily situations, learn how to ask and answer questions, and give explanations as they participate in social conversations. Students also listen to mini lectures about a variety of interesting subjects, and they will develop note-taking skills as they listen to material addressing academic topics commonly discussed in university classes.

Speaking (Levels 1-4)

During these classes, students develop their confidence to speak in a variety of situations. Students learn how to participate in social conversation, request information from others, explain their ideas and give opinions about subjects of interest to them, and give presentations discussing information that they have read or researched.

Reading (Levels 1-4)

Vocabulary development and increased reading comprehension are important goals of ELC reading courses. Students develop basic reading skills including identifying ideas and details, comprehending charts and graphs, determining fact from opinion, and inferring point of view as they read a variety of authentic materials. Course texts include newspapers, magazines, novels, and textbooks.

Writing (Levels 1-4)

Learning to communicate ideas effectively is a major goal of ELC writing classes. Students learn methods to develop content, including comparison, description, and persuasion, as they create paragraphs and essays. Effective use of grammar elements, learned in grammar class, is emphasized in producing these writings. Students also learn the process for writing research papers that is required in many university courses.

Grammar (Levels 1-4)

ELC grammar classes are designed to help students develop their abilities to use grammatical structures to express their ideas in writing and speaking. Emphasis is given to learning appropriate tense usage, punctuation forms, and sentence formation patterns.

English Applications

In addition to the skill classes, all full-time ELC students enroll in a sixth class that helps bring their skills together. These courses focus on a specific aspect of language learning or on an area of special interest. Courses alternate from semester to semester so that students always have something new to enjoy.  Students are placed in a class depending on their general English level.  Here is just a sample of what we offer:

  • Online Newsletter - Learn how to put together an online newsletter through writing, digital photography, interviewing, and using the Web. This is designed for intermediate to advanced level students. This year we will be working on the ELC Facebook site.
  • American Travel Adventure - plan your next vacation by studying the United States and its most popular scenic, historic, and recreational destinations. Students will read brochures, surf the Web, listen to travel videos, learn idioms and other vocabulary, and write about American vacation hotspots. Designed for intermediate to high intermediate students.
  • Pronunciation through Music - Do you like to sing?  Here is a course for you even if you have a terrible voice! The work will address individual and group needs of pronunciation as well as stress and intonation. Proper pronunciation will be practiced through songs which students will practice, sing and discuss. No solos necessary. Beginning to Intermediate.
  • Vocabulary Development through Film - Watch scenes from popular films to learn vocabulary - idioms, slang, and common words.  Practice using these words in your own dialogues and sentences.
  • Advanced University Skills - This course acquaints students with the culture of the American classroom. Students will learn to budget their time, acquire strategies for listening and reading and techniques for making presentations, as well as receive important information about American university life and the expectations of professors. Guest lecturers will address the class to provide authentic listening and note-taking experiences.
  • Culture Through the Media: Through this course students learn about the many facets of American culture. Films, television programs, newspapers and magazine are used to explore various features of American culture.

Graduate Track Level 5 - This can be a full time or part time program depending on the visa requirements of the student.

The courses in this track are designed for students who are in the process of applying to graduate school and need to achieve at least  550(PBT) or 79(iBT) on the TOEFL.  These courses are also suitable for students who are already in graduate programs but need additional language support, or for students who are interested in enhancing their skills for graduate level work.   This is also an option for ELC students who are completing their Level 5 classes but do not feel confident enough to enroll in university classes.  In addition, ELC students who do not intend to study in an American university but wish to maintain their full-time status after completing some of their Level 5 classes can enroll in one or more of these advanced courses.

 Listening and Speaking

In this class, students will focus on developing highly proficient note-taking skills through intense practice listening to academic lectures and on improving their confidence in conversations with peers and teachers.  Students will practice speaking skills necessary to participate in class discussion and debates and in conversations with classmates, advisers, and teachers.  Students will also practice presentation skills. 

Reading, Writing, and Grammar

This is an integrated class in which students will work on advanced reading, writing, and grammar skills.  Students will read a large quantity and variety of materials selected to suit the specific needs and interests of the students in the class.  Students will demonstrate comprehension through writing and in-class discussion and debate.  Students will practice the conventions of writing for academic purposes and will be given feedback on their ability to present and support a thesis as well as use appropriate rhetorical structures.

Accent Modification

Each student will be given an individual assessment of their pronunciation.  Based on this assessment, each student will receive a detailed plan of what sounds and pronunciation patterns they need to work on in order to be more easily understood. 

Independent Study  

Students will use this course to conduct research in their majors in an area of particular interest and usefulness to them.  Students will receive an orientation to the university library and will be assisted in arranging class observations or field visits if necessary.  Teachers will be available to advise students throughout the process. 



As I always think and believe, the first steps are easier to remember, especially if they were fun. You made the fun part and I followed the steps. After 5 years, going back and remembering my ELC experience is the warmth that I'll always keep in me, and it helps to enjoy my life at the US even today. ) Engin (Turkey)


New Graduate Track Level 5!

New IELTS Preparation Course beginning summer 2013.  Contact the ELC Office for information.



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