The Department of Rhetoric and Composition values language diversity and recognizes English as a global language, one that people from all over the world use and adapt. Our aim is to assist students from all backgrounds to work within a wealth of contexts, to adapt for and address a wide range of audiences and purposes.

Oberlin College offers several resources specifically designed for students who are speakers of other languages.

To best advise international students when they arrive on campus, we ask them to take a placement test to help understand their previous experiences with writing in English for the American academic context. We then use the results of this test to advise students about what might be the best next steps for them in language study. 

ESOL Placement Information


The following courses are regularly offered:

An intensive course designed for new students who are non-native speakers of English and whose experience with the English language is limited.

The four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) are taught simultaneously with special emphasis on the acquisition of grammar.

To be taken concurrently with ESOL 110, this course will focus on speaking and listening skills within the context of American academic culture.

An intensive course designed to build upon skills developed in ESOL Level 1 and to increase mastery of the basic English language skills at the intermediate and upper-intermediate levels.

An intensive course designed for students who are non-native speakers of English to increase fluency, build rich vocabulary, and practice the use and understanding of idiomatic English.

This course will focus on the use of English for academic purposes and academic writing.

This course is designed for English speakers of other languages and international students interested in exploring American academic conventions by learning to observe the influence of rhetorical structures and read critically, construct and support an argument, and explore and develop research skills.

Assignments are designed to involve academic reading, writing, and research that will serve them during their education at Oberlin College and in their professional lives. The course will also help to prepare students for writing about music in academic contexts such as history and theory.

This class will meet as a writing community in which students read and discuss their work and the work of classmates.

This course is designed for multilingual and international students interested in exploring the writing process in English, with focuson American academic conventions and expectations of inquiry, argument, and attribution of sources.

The class will serve as a writing community in which students read and discuss the work of classmates.

Students will write often, reflect on their individual writing process, and meet regularly with the instructor to discuss progress.

The various courses in this sequence all focus on developing writing skills for college and beyond.