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

Students who place into lower-level courses are required to complete them in their first year of study:

  • GS 720: Academic Writing I
  • GS 721: Oral Communication
  • GS 740: Pronunciation

Students who place into higher-level courses are required to complete them in their first two years of study. However, we highly recommend that these courses be completed as early as possible in a student’s program for maximum benefit:

  • GS 730: Academic Writing II
  • GS 731: Academic Presentations

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

Writing Courses

In Academic Writing I, 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 and vocabulary skills. Specific skills such as how to recognize and avoid plagiarism are taught through paraphrasing and source citation.

Specifically designed for students in the social sciences and humanities. In this course, students will prepare a Definition paper, a Literature Review paper, and an individual Final Project paper.

Specifically designed for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. In this course, students will prepare a Problem-Solution paper, a Data Visualization and Interpretation paper, and an individual Final Project paper.

This course concentrates on developing advanced skills in a variety of written academic genres. Students analyze and produce both general and discipline-specific text forms and improve control over grammatical, syntactic, and rhetorical structures of academic writing. Through individualized instructor attention and peer review, students improve awareness of their individual writing strengths and weaknesses. They gain experience revising their texts and become familiar with online and other academic resources, which facilitate continued, self-directed learning.

The writing texts assigned include Problem-Solution Paper, Literature Review, and Final Research Paper. In the Final Research Paper, students work with the research paper sections specific to their field. Additionally, some course topics include professional correspondence, field-specific style, audience awareness, flow, and source synthesis.

This course is specifically designed for advanced Ph.D. students who are writing a dissertation, publication, or other major research project. Students work on their own major writing project in the course throughout the semester. Students develop advanced academic writing skills by analyzing and producing a discipline-specific text form and improving control over grammatical, syntactic, and rhetorical structures. Through individualized instructor attention, peer review, and field specific feedback, students improve awareness of their individual writing strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, they gain experience revising their texts and become familiar with online and other academic resources, facilitating continued self-directed learning.

Additional course topics include: effective writing strategies using time management, goal setting and reflection; communicating with colleagues about writing projects; source use integration; the publication process and responding to reviewer comments.

Speaking Courses

In this active, practical course, students improve their ability to communicate effectively and confidently in academic and professional settings. Multiple opportunities for recorded practice in and out of class allow students to reflect on their own performance and use both peer and instructor feedback to develop strategies for improving future interactions. Course topics include the following: small talk; participating in and leading discussions; self-introductions; networking; interviewing structure and language; elements of clear(er) speech based on student needs; pragmatics; and self-analysis and reflection. Ultimately, by the end of this course, students will more successfully and confidently negotiate academic and professional situations and participate more fully in academic and professional communities.

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, pace, and by participating in question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions. Students enhance their language skills, including pronunciation and word choice, through classroom instruction and practice and by receiving feedback on presentation content and delivery.

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, rhythm and intonation. Students learn to use volume, vocal energy and pacing to enhance clarity and meaning. They also work on increasing their awareness and accuracy of grammatical items particularly important for fluency, such as contractions, singular/plural, present-tense endings and past-tense endings.