The College of New Jersey – The Institute for ESL & American Studies

The College of New Jersey’s (TCNJ) Institute for ESL & American Studies provides English-language instruction to international students bound for a US university. It combines comprehensive language instruction with background on American culture, ensuring that students are prepared with the academic skills, language proficiency and cultural understanding they need to excel at an American university.

The institute offers much more than in-class instruction. In the evenings, students take part in cultural programs – everything from film screening and seminars to barbecues and other gatherings. By the time they graduate from the program, students are primed and ready to undertake an American degree program.


Pic: Active learning at the Institute for ESL & American Studies.

The opportunity for experiential learning takes place off campus as well. TCNJ is located between New York City and Philadelphia, and several weekend outings to these cities are offered.

TCNJ provides summer intensive English courses as well as a full semester program:

Summer intensive courses

Undergraduate students

Those who are beginning an undergraduate, or are planning to apply for one, take two four-credit classes at TCNJ. One of these is in American Studies, and the other in English as a second language. These courses are linked, to the extent that a reading in one class will spark discussions and papers in the other. Pre- and post-program tests are also conducted to facilitate placement and to provide recommendations for further studies.

Along the way, students acquire stronger speaking, reading, writing and listening skills, while building competency in classroom discussions and the American academic environment.


Pic: TCNJ classroom instruction.

Graduate students

Graduate students are also enrolled in two four-credit classes. The curriculum and structure is similar to that for undergraduates; however, the overall coursework targets mature learners bound for graduate-level programs.

As many graduate students across the country also lead classes at their university, TCNJ follows up with an optional not-for-credit seminar about teaching American undergraduates. This is an essential tool in the international graduate student’s arsenal, as teaching helps graduate students offset the cost of education. This seminar ensures that students are prepared for the challenge of teaching at university.


Pic: Institute for ESL & American Studies students on an outing in New York City.

Full semester course

TCNJ also offers a full-semester option that consists of three, four-credit classes. This course caters for exchange students who are already enrolled at an international university. In addition to the American Studies and ESL blocs, the course also includes an additional course related to the student’s major or field of study. The ESL course includes time to work on projects for the elective course.

Connect with TCNJ’s Institute for ESL & American Studies on Facebook to learn more about its programs and course offerings.