English for Academic Purposes Program: EAP

Upon entering AIU, students first learn academic English in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program. Students gain the necessary competence in English to be able to further their learning by attending and understanding lectures at AIU, as well as the overseas university where they will study, voice their ideas, and write essays.

Message from the Head

Welcome to the EAP Program of Akita International University

The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program is the first phase of a young scholar’s experience at Akita International University. As all degree-related classes are taught in English at AIU, a high level of fluency in English is necessary for our young scholars to thrive. The goals of the EAP program are (1) to encourage mastery of the spoken and written forms of academic English to enable our young scholars to study liberal arts at the university level, and (2) to help inculcate a global perspective in our scholars that will allow them to succeed within the multi-cultural dynamic of AIU.

In the pursuit of these ambitious goals, young scholars work with an international team of EAP instructors. In their EAP courses they write academic papers, make presentations, and read and analyze university level texts. They learn to function as linguistically and culturally competent members of an international community of scholars. They will celebrate their experience with the EAP program as being a significant stage in the process of their success at Akita International University.

Dr. Malcolm SIM,
Head of EAP and Foreign Language Education / Assistant Professor

Feature 1: Placement Based on Student English Proficiency and Skills

Not all students have the same level of English ability at the time of enrollment. Accordingly, new students take a test (TOEFL-ITP®) to gauge their level of competence in academic English (TOEFL-ITP®) before starting classes. EAP is divided into three levels on the basis of the results of this placement test. Students will make more effective progress by learning at the appropriate competence level.

In addition, new students with a higher level of English proficiency are exempt from courses in EAP 3 (in this case, students must satisfy certain requirements, such as a long-term experience of being educated in English). These students learn college-level study skills in a “Bridge Course,” an introductory study course which serves as a bridge from high school to college education. In addition, they will study subjects in the Basic Education program.

Students’ advancement through the EAP levels and completion of the EAP program depend on their meeting certain requirements, such as class attendance and grade points as well as their TOEFL score.

Feature 2: Learning English for “Learning in English”

Classes at all levels are structured around Writing, Reading, Listening, and Speaking. Students develop these four skills on various topics under the instruction of faculty members, many of whom are non-Japanese. The learning is practical and content focused, with reading comprehension and composition on a wide range of topics in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, as well as presentations and discussions on current topics, using English media such as news broadcasting and newspaper articles. Students in EAP 2 and 3 are allowed to take 1-2 Basic Education subjects as well as EAP; thus, they are able to gradually work toward the “Learning in English” stage while studying EAP.

When students complete the EAP program, they should have the English competence necessary to study at university, such as attending lectures, taking notes, understanding and thinking about what they have learned, expressing their thoughts, engaging in discussions, and writing reports and essays. In EAP, therefore, students are prepared for “Learning in English,” and then move on to the next stage of “Basic Education.”

Feature 3: “Independent Language Learning” to Work Toward Self-Set Goals

The EAP curriculum includes “Independent Language Study” as a supplement to classroom learning. Students are required to prepare materials for discussion, and to read extensively in English more than 3 hours per week outside the classroom. In order to support proactive engagement in these challenges, the LDIC provides materials and resources necessary for students to learn actively and at their own pace. Through an “independent study project” carried out as part of this class, students also acquire the ability to take responsibility for their own studies. This allows students to improve their English skills while gaining a more in-depth understanding of language learning. This experience in the LDIC helps students become “proactive and autonomous language learners” who are capable of effectively learning the foreign languages they many choose as part of Basic Education, or the language they will be using while studying abroad.