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English Programs for Internationals

English for Foreign Students

English for Foreign Students (ENFS) is a comprehensive testing, academic advising, and instructional program which assists the university's foreign students who have language-related difficulties. EPI administers this program for the university. A student visa cannot be issued for only ENFS courses. ENFS courses are not available to EPI students.

All newly admitted graduate students who are non-native speakers of English are required to take an English language proficiency examination administered by EPI before registration. This examination, consisting of a writing test and an oral interview, is designed to identify those students who need additional work on written and/or spoken English. Shortly after the examination, EPI makes recommendations to the students and to their academic advisors regarding appropriate study loads and the need (if warranted) for supplementary English courses. (This examination is administered at the beginning of each Fall and Spring semester.)

Students who wish to fulfill the ITA requirement through the submission of evidence qualifying them for exemption must complete the online form at and upload relevant documentation. Simply completing the form does not automatically result in exemption from ENFS and/or ITA assessment. Rather, your request and supporting documentation will be reviewed and evaluated to determine if it fulfills the ENFS/ITA requirement and qualifies you for exemption from the ENFS Speaking Assessment, ENFS Writing Assessment, and/or ITA Assessment. Partial exemption, i.e., exemption from one test but not another, is possible. Note that you may not consider yourself to have fulfilled the requirement and qualified for exemption from testing until you have received written notice from the Asst. Director of ENFS/ITA informing you of exemption.

The Fall 2021 ENFS assessment will be conducted online. The assessment must be completed no later than August 9, 2021 and, therefore, incoming international graduate students will need to either complete the assessment by this date or demonstrate that they meet the criteria for exemption. Please review the handout below for exemption criteria.

There are three ENFS courses: Spoken Communication in English, Written Communication in English, and Oral English for International Teaching Assistants. USC students may enroll in these courses during normal university registration. The fee for taking an ENFS course is the standard per credit charge for USC students. (Non-USC students may also enroll in these courses. For information on enrolling in these courses as a non-USC student, please contact EPI at Below is a description of ENFS course offerings.

Course Descriptions

ENFS 072: Spoken Communication in English (offered Fall and Spring semesters)
This course is designed for international students at the university who require additional help with their listening and speaking skills in English as a second language. Special attention is given to English pronunciation, vocabulary, idioms, and conversational conventions used in academic and professional settings.

As part of the course, the students participate in such activities as guided discussions, debates, oral reports, and presentations. Students are also taught strategies for overcoming pronunciation and accent barriers.

ENFS 075: Oral English for Foreign Teaching Assistants (offered Fall semester only)
This course is designed to prepare international graduate students to communicate effectively with undergraduate students as teaching assistants. The course focuses on strategies for effective spoken communication in the USC undergraduate classroom, especially pronunciation.

ENFS 082: Written Communication in English (offered Fall and Spring semesters)
This course is designed for international students at the university who require additional help with their writing skills in English as a second language. The focus of the course is on strategies for writing appropriate American academic English at the graduate level.

The course includes work on sentence structure and practice in writing organized paragraphs, essays and papers for academic purposes. Students work on class assignments, articles, critiques, theses and/or dissertations.

Although the scope of the course varies a great deal, depending on the students who enroll in the course, the two main components of the course remain the same: 1) emphasis on recognizing differences in writing styles across cultures, and 2) individual conferences on the students' writing assignments from their other classes.

These courses are graded courses with an audit option. Grades in ENFS 072 and 082 are based on classroom participation and attendance. ENFS 075 includes an exit exam. Enrollment is through normal university registration. Students only receive grades and credit if they register through normal university registration. Class size is limited.

Information for Fall 2021
See embedded file below or download using the link at the bottom of the page.


PDF icon Fall2021_Handout.pdf