Image courtesy of library.upei.ca
Image courtesy of library.upei.ca

By: Jing Zhao

The English Academic Preparation Program, abbreviated to EAP, is an intensive language program at UPEI. Incoming students who do not meet UPEI’s language requirements with conditional admission, must take classes in the EAP degree program to upgrade their English skills. EAP courses aim to enhance English skills in academic writing, critical reading, listening comprehension, and oral communication for both undergraduate and graduate studies. If students do well in the EAP program and they pass the test, they can graduate from EAP. However, students can show they meet UPEI’s language requirements by showing a certificate of the successful completion of several English

In this upcoming academic year, the EAP program has instituted some changes. There are no longer any division into full time and part time students. Instead, the program’s structure will change to incorporate different study levels, from level 1 to level 7. Students in level 1 to level 5 can only take EAP courses, while students in levels 6 and 7 can choose some university credit based courses.

Students in level 1 to 5 will take ESL courses, which put emphasis on the communication, in the form of speaking, reading, and listening. The students in levels 1 to 5 must now enroll in two consecutive 8-week EAP courses at the start of each semester. At the end of each 8-week course, the student’s English will be tested, with the opportunity to move up a level in the next set of courses. This is a change from previous years where one EAP course occupied the whole semester, with only a chance of advancement to the next level at the end of the semester. In an interview with EAP Coordinator Christina Perry, Perry explains that the impetus for this change was to both help facilitate students’ progression through the program through more opportunities for advancement, as well as to accomodate students who arrive to take EAP courses throughout the year.

The new course dates; as listed under the EAP section of the UPEI website, are as follows:

September 8 to October 30

November 2 to December 22

Christmas Holidays: Closed December 23 to January 1

January 4 to February 26

February 29 to April 22

April 25 to June 17

June 20 to Aug 12(these dates include holidays, end of session exam and one administrative turnaround day.)

In levels 6 and 7, students will be able to take a limited number of for-credit academic courses along with their EAP courses. As students in levels 6 and 7 are at a high intermediate level of English, they can take some university credit based courses. Level 6 and 7 need 12-week courses, and students have two choices of study. Choice A is Learning Community and Choice B is General Study.

As the EAP website states, “The Learning Community is comprised of 5 credit-based foundation courses offered over 2 consecutive semesters beginning in September. Students take 3 courses in the fall semester and 2 courses in the winter semester, namely Modern Languages 209A – Writing Skills for ESL Learners, University 100A – Introduction to University Studies, and Business 285 – Canadian Business Culture in the fall semester; as well as Modern Languages 209B – Writing Skills for ESL Learners and University 100B – Introduction to University Studies in winter semester.”

Similarily, the website explains, “The General Study is for students who are currently studying in EAP Level 7 and eligible to take 1-3 credit courses (for example, Math 111, Math 191, EC 101/102) depending on current language scores and course marks.” Levels 6 and 7 is meant to act as a bridging program for the students to get familiar with university level courses.

It should be noted that this might not be the only change coming to the EAP Program. A new Student Union policy, presented by Vice President Academic and External John Rix, was ratified at the council meeting last Sunday entitled “Providing Credit for the Completion of the English Academic Preparation Program.” The ratification of that policy now means the SU will begin to lobby the University to “begin to grant credit to International students for the completion of English Academic Preparation.” The Policy argues that such a policy change would help incentivize students to focus on the completion of their EAP courses as well as provide a recruiting tool for the University as providing credit for EAP would be unique to UPEI. Whether this policy will be adopted by the University remains to be seen, but the Cadre will be reporting on any developments.