Courses

Each week, you’ll take the six courses below, plus your selected elective (specialization) on Fridays.

Monday–Thursday Class Schedule:
9:00 a.m.–10:40 a.m. (5:00 p.m.–6:40 p.m. PDT online)
11:00 a.m.–12:40 p.m. (7:20 p.m.–9:00 p.m. PDT online)
1:40 p.m.–3:20 p.m. (9:20 p.m.–11:00 p.m. PDT online)

Friday Class Schedule:
9:00 a.m.–12 p.m. (5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. PDT online)

Download a sample class schedule.

Canadian Studies

Canadian Studies will help you focus on the cultural context of English by studying topics such as geography, history, government and social institutions, as well as engaging in discussions about current Canadian issues.

You will work both individually and in small groups, and you’ll respond to and analyze a variety of authentic texts, including articles, maps, charts, audio-visual presentations, TV, news and documentary clips. You will learn how to watch, interpret, discuss and respond to what Canadians are saying, and to receive the tools to analyze the cultural background of any country.

Composition

This course is designed to help you improve your English grammar skills and learn how to write to a Canadian audience. You will learn to organize your thoughts and express ideas so that Canadian readers will be able to understand what you’ve written. You may also experiment with creative writing genres.

Listening Practice

Many students struggle to understand popular TV, music, daily conversations and business negotiations. These courses will provide strategies to help you make sense of slang, idiomatic language and contextual clues. You will learn to understand not only what people are saying, but also how and why they choose their words and expressions.

News Media

The News Media course will help you to understand what people say and write. You will actively practise your English listening, reading and speaking skills through electronic and print media and learn strategies for making sense of language, images and attitudes presented in the news. This course will also introduce you to some topical issues that are currently of concern to Canadians.

Oral Skills

This class will focus on oral English enhancement. You will practise ways to improve your speech clarity and fluency through informal conversation and formal speaking tasks. You'll target various aspects of spoken mechanics, including the following:

  • Pronunciation
  • Rhythm
  • Stress
  • Volume
  • Projection
  • Intonation
  • Cadence
  • Linking

By focusing on these skills, you will build fluency and self-confidence in speaking English through several activities:

  • Body language
  • Spontaneous speaking
  • Role-playing
  • Debates
  • Interviewing Canadians
  • Speeches
  • Presentations

Reading Skills

The Reading Skills class combines reading comprehension and vocabulary building in a variety of formats. You will analyze how writers use language to stress and change meanings and develop an awareness of current events, Canadian social issues, and popular culture.

By questioning the language, images and attitudes presented in literature, newspapers, magazines, cartoons and advertising, you will develop an understanding of culture and international context.

 

Specializations

For three hours each week, students in the eight-week with specialization program study an elective (specialization) of their choice. You may choose one of the following:

Business Communications

This course will help you develop the social and communication skills you’ll need in a Canadian business environment. Specific activities will vary depending on your background and interests, but they will improve your spoken and written communication skills, as well as key business-related social skills.

Cultural Studies Through Film Analysis

In this course for advanced students, you will observe and discuss film critically, self-reflectively and interactively in small and large groups. Expect to develop the language skills and vocabulary you’ll need to talk about film and express your opinions and personal experiences in writing and in speech.

English and Global Citizenship

English and Global Citizenship is best suited for intermediate to advanced students who wish to develop their English language learning with opportunities to explore what it means to be an active citizen of the world. This course integrates language learning and critical thinking with local issues that are of global concern. As a result, students will develop an understanding of diverse perspectives and values. The use of authentic materials and tasks will connect language skills to activities in meaningful situations such as research, field trips and guest speakers.

Grammar Intensive

This course will help you build a foundation in grammar and writing skills, expand your vocabulary and increase your confidence. It is designed for students who need or want to pass a standardized language proficiency test (such as IELTS) but are not ready to write the test. Although we will spend some class time on IELTS preparation, we will focus on written and spoken grammar as well as vocabulary.

IELTS Preparation

In this course, you will develop test-taking strategies for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. We will focus on specific modules of the test (speaking, reading, listening and writing), and also develop other skills.
 

Academic Field Work

4-week immersion (suspended until in-person classes resume)

This course will provide you with an opportunity to go out into the community to interact directly with some aspect of Canadian culture. In the process, you will also practise your English communication skills in a context other than the classroom.

These trips are usually connected to course content and conducted by instructors during class time. To make the most of these experiences, we encourage you to ask lots of questions before, during and after the trips. Outings change from one program to another, but common examples include the following:

  • A visit to the BC law courts
  • A tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery
  • A visit to a local television station
  • A nature walk through Stanley Park
  • A scavenger hunt at Granville Island
     


Language levels

On your first day in the program, you will take a language placement test to determine which level of class you should take:

Foundations
Low Basic
Mid-Basic
High Basic
Low Intermediate
Mid-Intermediate
High Intermediate
Low Advanced

Admission into SFU
When you complete the Low Advanced level, you will meet the English language proficiency requirement for admission into SFU undergraduate programs. In this level, you will not only improve your English language skills but also gain the academic competencies you need to complete your university degree.

To be eligible for the Low Advanced level, you must either:

1. Take the ELC placement test at the start of the program and place in the Low Advanced level, or

2. Complete ELC’s High Intermediate level (B+ GPA and 85% attendance).

View course descriptions for the Low Advanced level.