Intensive English Program (IEP)

The St. Mary’s University Intensive English Program (IEP) currently offers four (4) progressive levels of intensive English.

Our IEP follows the St. Mary’s University calendar and our courses are 14-16 weeks long . During the academic year, we also offer the higher level students extra classes that are fun courses that not only support IEP students to prepare and succeed as university students but also help them communicate with other students on campus and enjoy all the activities here in San Antonio.

Overview

Coursework for the four levels is divided into four sets of classes. The levels are: Foundations 1, Foundations 2, Core 1, and Core 2. Listed below are the details of the four classes per level.

  • Instructors expect that students put in a minimum of 3 hours of homework time per class per week (a total of 12 hours of homework/study) for all classes.
  • There are between 18-24 hours of classes every week. There will be times when there is more and times when there is less. This is an estimate of how students should plan to manage their academic life.
  • Class participation, being prepared for all classes, being organized and being an active participant in all classes is very important for your grades.
  • Our grading system follows St. Mary’s policy:

    • 90-100 A = passing
    • 80-89 B = passing
    • 70-79 C = passing
    • 60-69 D = not passing
    • Below 60 F = not passing

Levels

  • Foundations 1

    Reading Fundamentals
    Students will strengthen their English reading  and comprehend directions, work on building their vocabulary. The instructors will emphasize reading comprehension, as well as brainstorming, and group or pair work. Students will begin to read for comprehension as well as for enjoyment as a way to prepare them for the rigors of academic reading. The readings begin with shorter readings and progressively get longer for this purpose.

    Writing Fundamentals
    Students will strengthen their English writing. They will write simple paragraphs using basic verb tenses and start to increase vocabulary. The instructors emphasize strong sentence structure, brainstorming, group or pair work. Students will work on refining their sentence and paragraph structures and write not only on paper, but online. The assignments will begin with shorter writings and work up to progressively longer writings.

    Survival English
    Students will understand and become familiar with everyday expressions in English. Students will be able to ask and answer questions regarding basic personal and family information; describing things, environment and geography; moods and emotions. Students will learn small talk, directions, English for everyday events. They will also learn about pronunciation, body language, and how to get on the path for fluency.

    Grammar Fundamentals
    In Grammar Fun students will learn to correctly use and identify parts of speech, plurals, negative verb forms, possessive pronouns, prepositions of time and frequency, etc.

    Additionally, students are expected to use simple punctuation and capitalization, and learn to use an English dictionary and Thesaurus.

  • Foundations 2

    Overview of U.S. Cultures 1
    Students in this level will learn about the different groups of people that make up the United States. They will continue to build their vocabulary, but now they will begin to develop more academic vocabulary. Students will attend a once a week lecture class designed especially for them to learn what lecture classes in the United States are like. They will learn to take notes and be tested on the lectures and the chapters on the topics. Some of the topics include: Diversity and Immigration, Native Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and American Values to name a few. There will be reading and some writing in this level.

    Integrated English Skills 1
    In this class, students continue to improve their English writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills. Students will be introduced to writing a short research paper and how to avoid plagiarism. They will get step by step help from their instructors and will give a short presentation near the end of the semester. They may watch all or part of a movie and accompanying dialogue or books for deeper understanding (all English, no subtitles), and continue to work on vocabulary building (academic and everyday) as well as listening for new words in English music. There will be short discussions about the movies as well as learn about any deep cultural point in the movie or music that the instructor chooses.

    Global Connections 1
    Students will become familiar with vocabulary that is related to global issues, continue to use all the English language skills to communicate, to think and develop their own ideas and opinions and ways of thinking. Students will also express their opinions and listen to the opinions of others, deepen their understanding of sustainability, put their new understanding of Critical Thinking to practical use, and learn about individuals who are working to help with global issues. Students will also learn about some of the big ideas of Sustainability.

    Employment Preparations 1
    Students will think about their goals for their future, learn how to write a resume in English, and participate in mock (practice) interviews for jobs so they are prepared for real job interviews. There will be opportunities to visit area businesses for field trips as well as the on-campus career center to help students prepare for after their university life.

  • Core 1

    Overview of U.S. Cultures 2
    Students in this level will learn about the different groups of people that make up the United States. They will continue to build their vocabulary, but now they will begin to develop more academic vocabulary. Students will attend a once a week lecture class designed especially for them to learn what lecture classes in the United States are like. They will learn to take notes and be tested on the lectures and the chapters on the topics. Some of the topics include: Diversity and Immigration, Native Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and American Values to name a few. There will be reading and some writing in this level. Although the topics are similar to that in Foundations 2, the requirements and vocabulary are more academic and rigorous.

    Integrated English Skills 2
    In this class, students continue to improve their English writing, speaking, listening, and reading skills. Students will be introduced to writing a short research paper and how to avoid plagiarism. They will get step by step help from their instructors and will give a short presentation near the end of the semester. They may watch all or part of a movie and accompanying dialogue or books for deeper understanding (all English, no subtitles), and continue to work on vocabulary building (academic and everyday) as well as listening for new words in English music. There will be short discussions about the movies as well as learn about any deep cultural point in the movie or music that the instructor chooses. Although the topics are similar to that in Foundations 2, the requirements and vocabulary are more academic and rigorous.

    Global Connections 2
    Students will become familiar with vocabulary that are related to global issues, continue to use all the English language skills to communicate, to think and develop their own ideas and opinions and ways of thinking. Students will also express their opinions and listen to the opinions of others, deepen their understanding of sustainability, put their new understanding of Critical Thinking to practical use, and learn about individuals who are working to help with global issues. Students will also learn about some of the big ideas of Sustainability. Although the topics are similar to that in Foundations 2, the requirements and vocabulary are more academic and rigorous.

    Employment Preparations 2
    Students will think about their goals for their future, learn how to write a resume in English, and participate in mock (practice) interviews for jobs so they are prepared for real job interviews. There will be opportunities to visit area businesses for field trips as well as the on-campus career center to help students prepare for after their university life. Although the topics are similar to that in Foundations 2, the requirements and vocabulary are more academic and rigorous.

  • Core 2

    Academic Reading
    Students in this level will be introduced to higher-level literature, short stories, poetry, and academic research papers. Students will look deeply at how sources are cited, and how academic reading is different than reading for fun. Short novels, discussion of the books, short stories, and poetry will also be integral to this class as well as speed reading to look for information. In this class, students will use authentic university-level reading to work on advanced reading skills including making inferences, drawing conclusions, and reading critically. This class is linked to the university lecture and Academic Communications will assist students with understanding their university class texts.

    Academic Writing
    Students in this class will be required to do a Research project with proper citation, as well as shorter writing assignments like: creative writing, poetry, and short stories. This class is meant to help students be academically prepared for the writing they will be required to do in university classes. Essays and reflective writing in the lower levels will have helped prepare students for this level.

    Academic Communications
    In this class, students will refine their short impromptu speeches and learn how to give longer, more structured presentations, ending with the presentation of  their Research project from Academic Writing. They will also listen and watch video clips from TEDTalks, and other online media. Students will listen and discuss about what they watch and help each other prepare for their Research Project Poster/PowerPoint presentation.

    Experience Class
    Students experience and take part in a real StMU university class with the help and support of an instructor. They will learn how to participate in a real American university class. They will take notes, quizzes, and tests, just like a real StMU students. There will be support classes to help with understanding how to better take notes, how to make short-cuts in note taking. Students will receive academic support in their Academic Reading and Academic Communications classes. This class is not for credit in the university, but rather helps students understand what skills are necessary for being a successful university student.

Contact

For more information on the Intensive English Program, email intensive_english@stmarytx.edu.

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