UMass Boston

The English as a Second Language program at the UMass Boston facilitates and fosters the academic and social acculturation of multilingual students to their new university community. The course sequence promotes students’ development as effective communicators, writers, and critical thinkers across disciplinary, professional, and community contexts.

Our work is founded on the knowledge that cultural, linguistic, and rhetorical composing processes work together when multilingual students produce writing. In support of and those of TESOL’s organization, the ESL program is committed to racial equity, diversity, inclusiveness, multilingualism, multiculturalism, and individuals’ language rights. We believe that our students’ multilingual and multicultural repertoires are invaluable assets that promote and enrich the linguistic landscape of the institution and the sociocultural development of all our student body.

English as a Second Language Courses

All the courses we offer are credit-bearing. Based upon writing placement test results, students enroll in one of the academic reading and writing courses in the sequence, and they continue in the sequence until they satisfy the freshman writing requirements.

Course Sequence Catalogue #
ESL - Speaking & Listening I 100A
ESL - Speaking & Listening II 100F
ESL - Academic Reading & Writing 100B & 100C
ESL -  Academic Reading & Writing 100D & 100E
FYS 125G, 126G, 127G

Course Descriptions

ESL 100 A - Speaking & Listening I (4 Credits)

This course focuses on developing speaking and listening skills that will help students meet the demands of their academic courses across the curriculum. Through films, documentaries, and podcasts, students participate their listening skills and collaborate in small-group work to deliver oral presentations for an academic audience.

ESL 100 F - Speaking & Listening II (4 Credits)

This course centers on developing speaking and listening proficiency to guide students to expand their repertoire of various genres of academic literacies. Students practice note-taking, listen to academic lectures, and report on first-hand research projects through oral presentations.

ESL 100 B & 100 C (8 Credits)

This course focuses on developing reading comprehension skills for college-level texts. Students are introduced to a range of texts from a variety of genres. Over the course of the semester, students develop and apply new reading strategies through guided and scaffolded class discussions and written assignments based on the texts they read. Journal writing, discussing students’ papers in class, thorough revising (grammar, style, and content), and peer reviewing are integral components of the class.

ESL 100 D & 100 E (8 Credits)

This course emphasizes advanced critical thinking and builds students' knowledge about the writing process. This course focuses on developing facility with longer, more complex academic readings on a variety of genres as well as longer writing assignments that require students to analyze and synthesize different types of evidence from source texts. Students are evaluated based on a portfolio of written work developed throughout the semester (journal writing, formal essays, peer review, etc.).

ENG101E (3 Credits)

Composition I is an introductory course on writing theory and practice that helps undergraduate students develop critical, flexible strategies for writing and reading across various contexts, communities, and disciplines. Through the study of writing principles, students in Composition I gain knowledge of core key concepts, including audience, purpose, and genre, which help them understand writing as a rhetorical meaning-making activity that responds to situations and generates new perspectives. Through cycles of writing, feedback, revision, and reflection, students advance their ability to develop informed, critical perspectives and articulate claims in dialogue with complex texts. Students gain rhetorical awareness by composing texts that account for audience expectations for language and genre and reflecting on their own writing and learning. The flexible, adaptable writing knowledge and practices developed in Composition I are designed to facilitate students’ self-reflective writing in other contexts.

ENG102E (3 Credits)

Composition II is an introductory course on writing theory and practice that reinforces and extends the foundational knowledge and practices introduced in Composition I. While students in Composition I focus primarily on writing to make meaning, students in Composition II learn how writing produces knowledge. Students come to understand writing as a knowledge-producing activity through carefully sequenced and scaffolded assignments that encourage them to develop, sustain, and reflect on their own academic inquiry and research processes. Assignments ask students to develop original research questions, locate and evaluate primary and secondary sources, select evidence from multiple complex texts, synthesize evidence-based arguments that use sources to address their inquiry, and reflect on their own learning and development. In conjunction with Composition I, students in Composition II continue to develop the ability to generate and articulate their own claims in dialogue with source texts and to develop rhetorical awareness and knowledge of academic discourse conventions. The flexible, adaptable writing knowledge and practices developed across Composition I and Composition II are designed to facilitate students’ ability to write self-reflectively in other contexts, which includes intermediate seminars, upper-level courses, and the Writing Proficiency Requirement.

FYS 125G Defining Freedom (4 Credits)

By examining the issues of race, class, and gender, participants look at what freedom has meant to different people in the United States. They are also asked to reflect on and write about their personal definitions of freedom and to broaden and deepen the understanding they bring to their own historical situations. *Enrollment by Placement.

FYS 126G Aging & Wisdom (4 Credits)

We will examine varied historical, cross-cultural, and literary views on aging and wisdom. Through a wide range of texts and genres, a visit to a nursing home, and an interview with an octogenarian, we will take an in-depth look at the way individuals, societies and families deal with and view the elderly, death, and dying. We will analyze the causes and effects of these attitudes and how they relate to social and political expectations, policies, and changes. *Enrollment by Placement.

FYS 127G (4 Credits)

Why does food matter? In this class we will explore our relationship to food and the role we play in the complex food system. We will read a selection of texts from a variety of genres as we examine different views on the meaning of food, food consumption, production, and sustainability. With the help of the readings and class materials, we will reconsider the ways in which we think about food and the associations we have with food, and we will carefully reflect on the implications of our food choices and our responsibilities as consumers in the complex food system. We also conduct research, both using the Library resources and firsthand field research.

Contact Us

For questions about our program, our courses, or any other inquiry, please email

Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Campus Center, 1st Floor, Room 1300.08
Phone: 617.287.7925