Course Descriptions

The Intensive English Program (IEP) at St. Mary’s University is divided into three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, and offers classes in listening/speaking, writing, reading/vocabulary, grammar, and critical thinking/study skills.

The listening/speaking classes are designed to help students enhance their listening and speaking skills through learning how to communicate in various situations.

The writing classes are designed to help students with writing academic compositions including essays, summaries and reflections.

The reading classes enable students to master reading strategies along with comprehending and later analyzing different kinds of texts.

The grammar classes assist students to learn and apply rules of English grammar and concepts necessary for academic success.

TOEFL preparation courses offer language test-taking strategies and provide support for students looking to progress to an undergraduate or graduate course of study.

IEP 0011 – Basic Listening and Speaking. This class in beginner listening and speaking helps students to learn how to communicate orally in different academic, social, and interpersonal settings. Speech patterns, delivery, and pronunciation are emphasized in this class. Activities include group discussions, individual conversations, and short presentations based on dialogues about opinions and experiences.

IEP 0012 – Basic Writing. This class in beginner writing is designed to enable students to improve upon their ability and skills to write academic paragraphs appropriate to college level writing. The course teaches prewriting techniques such as brainstorming, clustering, and drafting. The students also learn to write audience appropriate compositions.

IEP 0013 – Basic Reading. This class in beginner reading emphasizes the student’s reading comprehension and prepares them to read college level materials. This class focuses on reading skill development, vocabulary enhancement, higher order thinking skills, and distinguishing between written and oral texts. The course uses a variety of materials ranging from textbooks, internet, newspapers, and popular culture.

IEP 0014 – Basic Grammar. This class in beginner grammar instruction helps students with simple grammar lessons on the verb tense, parts of speech/word classes, articles, and comparative and superlative adjectives 

IEP 0021 Intermediate Listening and Speaking. This class in intermediate listening and speaking is designed to help students identify and understand facts and concepts in conversation, media, and society. Students will be able to converse fluently and participate in debates and improve pronunciation. The class uses note taking, interviews, and guest lecturers as part of the activities.

IEP 0022 – Intermediate Writing. This class in intermediate writing helps students understand and write thesis statements, topic sentences, and supporting details. The student will learn how to write brief responses for tests, detailed paragraphs with syntactically correct sentences for appropriate audiences. Student will use portfolio writing, different rhetorical modes such as description, narration, illustration, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, classification, process analysis, and definition. Students ultimately will be able to write short essays using a thesis statement, topic sentences, transitional expressions, and other writing components.

IEP 0023 – Intermediate Reading. This class in intermediate reading helps students read and comprehend a variety of texts. Students will answer multiple choice questions about the main ideas in a text, understand text structure, and be able to organize concepts as presented in the text using a graphic organizer, speak about the main ideas, and learn to analyze the texts for better understanding and application.

IEP 0024 – Intermediate Grammar. This class in intermediate grammar instruction enables students to learn about the verbs, wh-questions, capitalization, prepositions, transitional expressions, punctuation, modal auxiliaries, gerunds and infinitives, phrases, clauses, sentences, possessives, and thesis and topic sentences. 

IEP 0031 – Advanced Listening and Speaking.  This class in advanced listening and speaking is designed to help students enhance their listening and speaking skills. The students will identify and answer multiple-choice questions about the main idea of lectures or dialogues, take notes, identify and ask questions about speaker s purpose and attitude, listen for details, and paraphrase the speech or lecture. The course also encourages students to synthesize information, summarize, and write their own speeches for an audience. The students will have ample opportunities to improve upon their pronunciation. Connotation and denotation aspects are emphasized.

IEP 0032 – Advanced Writing. This class in advanced writing is designed to help students with writing academic essays, compose prose summaries of lecture or written passage, write an essay on a topic, and learn academic integrity. The students will learn library skills, generate an annotated bibliography, and write a research essay along with incorporating APA/MLA/Chicago styles of formatting. The students will also be able to organizing ideas from free writing, correct common errors in essay writing, learn to cite sources to avoid plagiarism, and document and cite the sources appropriately.

IEP 0033 – Advanced Reading. This class in advanced reading enables students to learn global comprehension to understand texts as a whole. The students will be able to summarize, interpret, paraphrase, and eventually write about the ideas in a passage or a text.

IEP 0034 – Advanced Grammar. This class in advanced grammar helps students develop advanced grammar concepts such as verb tense (review and expansion), coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, parallel construction/forms, phrasal verbs, adjective clauses, modals (review and expansion), conditionals, direct and indirect speech, instructions, questioning techniques, thesis and topic sentences. Special attention is paid to help students to learn to correct sentence level errors (comma splice, run-on, and fragments).  

This class is specifically designed to prepare students to pass the TOEFL/IELTS exams to facilitate admittance into an academic program in the United States.