Graduate Studies

English as a Second Language

ESL for AS&E Graduate Students

CAS 085 Academic English Communication and Accent Reduction

Who is eligible? How much does it cost?

This is a graduate-level course, but others outside of the University of Rochester may be eligible to enroll, space permitting. The cost for the entire semester is $625. Please contact me for more information or to enroll.

Instructor: Rebecca Allen

Course Description:

Specifically for International Graduate Students, this course emphasizes the acquisition of English cultural and linguistic skills needed for clear communication in the university and career environments. Primary areas covered will be accent reduction, pragmatics (culture’s role in language), nonverbal communication, public speaking, and academic and business writing.

When and Where:

This ESL class will take place 9/9/15 through 12/07/15 every Monday and Wednesday in Dewey 2110E. There are two sections. Section one (CRN 19057) will meet from 6:15-7:45 PM and Section 2 (CRN 19066) will meet from 7:50-9:20 PM. Please attend the section for which you have registered.

Note: there will be no classes on Monday, October 12 (Fall Break) and Wednesday, November 25 (the day before Thanksgiving), as these are university holidays.

Instructor Contact/Meetings:

Meetings outside of class hours are by appointment; please feel free to contact me to set up a time. Also, I am generally available after class for short, impromptu discussions. Please do not hesitate to talk to me with your questions or concerns; I am here to help you.

Phone - 1 (866) 338-7713 x 3
Email -
Skype - accentschool_rebecca

(please feel free to visit me virtually on Skype anytime)

Course Materials:

We will be using two texts for this course:

Clear Speech: Pronunciation and Listening Comprehension in North American English (4th Edition)
by Judy Gilbert
ISBN: 978-1107682955

Teaching American Students: A Guide for International Faculty and Teaching Assistants in Colleges and Universities (3rd Edition)
by Ellen Sarkisian
ISBN: 0-674-02141-x

These books are available in the bookstore.

These books are placed on reserve in the university library as well.

Many handouts will be given in class. Copies of these handouts are posted on the pages in the side menu of this page.

Course Grades:

This is a "pass or fail course". To receive a grade of "satisfactory" or “S” ("not fail") you must meet the following three requirements:

  1. Assignments: This course will have eight short assignments; approximately one assignment will be due each week. These assignments are not complex or long in nature; the goals of assigning many short assignments as opposed to fewer longer assignments is to foster frequent practice and instructor feedback. To pass this course you must complete 6 out of 8 assignments with a grade of "pass". Assignments cannot normally be accepted after their due dates, unless you were unable to complete the assignment due to a documented illness or other exceptional circumstances.
  2. Attendance/participation: Simply put, to improve your English, you must speak English. Hence, attending class is a very important part of the learning process. To pass this course, you must miss no more than three class meetings. Should you need to miss more than three class meetings, please contact the instructor before your absences (or as soon as possible after an unforeseen emergency) to get an exception from this requirement. Exceptions are granted as per the instructor's discretion. Possible reasons for an exception include personal/family emergencies, illnesses, official academic functions/conferences, etc.
  3. Final Exam: As the goal of this course is primarily to teach speaking, this course will have a "spoken" or oral final exam. To pass this course, you must receive a grade of "pass" on the final exam. A specific preparation guide will be given to help you prepared for this exam.