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EIS Courses

The EIS program offers courses in oral communication, academic writing, pronunciation, and college teaching for international teaching assistants. More than 300 international graduate students from many departments and countries take EIS courses each semester. Most students enroll in EIS courses as a result of the placement exams; however, we welcome all international graduate students who want to improve their English skills.

You can register for EIS classes in the same way you register for your other classes, through DukeHub. EIS classes carry three credits and are graded on a credit/no credit basis.

Current Courses

GS 720: Academic Writing I (3 credits)

In Academic Writing 1, students improve their writing skills by writing multiple drafts of some of the standard graduate-level text forms. Peer review and instructor feedback are offered to help students advance to the highest level of proficiency. In the process of writing papers, students also develop an awareness of text purpose and audience expectation while improving grammar, vocabulary, and reading skills. Specific skills such as how to recognize and avoid plagiarism are taught through paraphrasing and source citation.


This section of GS 720 is specifically designed for students in the humanities. In this course, students improve their writing skills by producing multiple drafts of field-specific graduate-level texts. 


This section of GS 720 is specifically designed for students in the social sciences. In this course, students improve their writing skills by producing multiple drafts of field-specific graduate-level texts. 


This section of GS 720 is specifically designed for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. In this course, students improve their writing skills by producing multiple drafts of field-specific graduate-level texts.

GS 721: Oral Communication (3 credits)

In this active practical course, students improve their ability to communicate in academic and professional settings. Through drills, repetition, and feedback, students improve their pronunciation, specifically the clarity of field-specific words. Using podcasts and film clips, students strengthen their listening skills. In every class, students have the opportunity to practice short spontaneous speeches, prepared speeches, and to lead discussions. Immediate and targeted feedback following these speech opportunities directs students to their strengths and weaknesses. In mock interviews, students practice self-introductions and learn how to tailor their descriptions to suit an audience. Students use case studies to better understand how to negotiate in certain academic and professional settings. Finally, students learn how to make academic and professional connections.

GS 730: Academic Writing II (3 credits)

In this course, students increase their expertise in recognizing and producing the elements of a research paper and related genres in their field as well as develop advanced skills in a variety of written academic genres centered on writing in their disciplines. They also improve control over the advanced grammatical, syntactic, and rhetorical structures of academic writing while building vocabulary and learning appropriate word usage through the regular use of online academic-vocabulary resources. Throughout the course, students acquire skills and strategies to avoid plagiarism through accurate citation and appropriate paraphrasing and develop improved awareness of their individual strengths and weaknesses in academic writing.

GS 730: Academic writing ii (Special topic: Advanced academic writing for ph.d. students) (3 CREDITS)

This course is specifically designed for advanced Ph.D. students who are writing a dissertation, publication, or other major research project. By permission only. 

GS 731: Academic Presentations (3 credits)

In this course, students develop their presentation and language skills by making presentations of increasing length and complexity. Students learn how to develop presentations that are appropriate for their audience and time limit, that have clear organization and transitions, and that include effective visuals. They also practice presenting effectively by paying attention to eye contact, body language, and pace, and by participating in question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions. Students enhance their language skills, including pronunciation, grammar, and word choice, through classroom instruction and practice and by receiving feedback on presentation content and delivery.

GS 740: Pronunciation (3 credits)  

This course focuses on increasing students' intelligibility (ability to be understood) through recognition and production of basic sounds and patterns in spoken U.S. English, awareness of student-specific challenges, and development of self-practice strategies. Topics include the articulation and perception of U.S. English vowel and consonant sounds, syllable and word stress, and rhythm and intonation. Students progress from sounds to words and then to connected speech. Students also work on increasing their awareness and accuracy of grammatical items particularly important for fluency, such as contractions, singular/plural, and past-tense endings.

GS 745: College Teaching for International Teaching Assistants (3 credits)

This course is designed for non-native English-speaking students who will serve as International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) at Duke and/or who plan to teach in English in the future. Students learn the components of clear speech and effective classroom communication skills in a variety of instructional settings, with an emphasis on highly intelligible pronunciation of field-specific terminology as well as lecture content. Other course topics include effective learning activities, teaching methodology, instructional technology, and grading criteria, as well as personal and academic campus resources. This course covers the learning objectives of GS 750 (Fundamentals of College Teaching) and thus satisfies one of the coursework requirements for Duke’s Certificate in College Teaching (CCT) program. In addition, language objectives needed for effective oral English communication as an ITA will be addressed.

English grammar workshop (no credit)

In this 4-week, 16-hour workshop, students develop awareness of specific aspects of English grammar and practice/apply these skills to academic writing. With the instructor’s guidance, students identify their individual weaknesses, analyze errors in context, and produce and revise short texts paying particular attention to the use of appropriate grammatical structures. Students also become familiar with online and other academic resources that can facilitate continued self-directed learning. Offered during the first summer session by permission only. Students who complete the entire workshop receive a letter of completion.