English Proficiency and Language Help

Before being admitted to the University international students must provide proof of their English language proficiency.  However, it is not uncommon for students to face challenges as they adjust to an English speaking classroom and culture.  The resources below provide additional assistance for writing, speaking and reading in English. 

Please select the title to view additional information.

  • There are numerous quality online grammar editors, free and for pay versions. This review offers a checklist comparing the most popular sites, including the free Grammarly editor. You can use the basic service of this online tool for free. It functions like a spell checker and will check your writing for grammatical mistakes, word choice, and plagiarism.
  • The Intensive English Language Program or the IELP (Science Library G40) offers 4 and 8 week-long intensive ESL training focused on academic reading, writing, speaking and listening as well as academic vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. IELP also provides English for Specific Purpose (ESP) instruction in areas like business and engineering English, and also provides a 4-day intensive Academic & Language Skills Boot Camp before each semester, a 4-week intensive summer program called Learn to Thrive (in the university classroom), and supplemental English, including for the occasional concurrent enrollment of degree seeking students.
  • ETAP 487 (2 credits): Academic Discussion for English as a Second Language, International Undergraduate Students—this course assists students in small groups (3-5 students) to develop their skills in grammar, vocabulary, speaking or writing. Please note that while it is listed as a 400 level course it is an appropriate course for first year students.
  • ETAP 500 (3 credits): Academic Writing for English as a Second Language, Graduate Students—this course is highly recommended for international graduate students. Students will learn about the expectations and conventions of doctoral and masters level academic writing in English. It is designed to improve students’ writing skills through classroom practice and teacher and peer feedback.
  • UUNI 100U (3 credits): The Freshman Year Experience-- look for the sections of this course that are intended for international students only. The purpose of this course is to help you become a more effective student. During the course of the semester, you will learn about the college experience—experiences unique to first year students, transitional stages that you may undergo, and coping strategies that can help you pass through this phase of college life. You will learn how to use and locate important campus resources. You will learn about who you are and how that information helps you choose a major and a career. Finally, you will learn how to increase your chances of succeeding at the University at Albany as your transition through this most critical first year.
  • UUNI 110 (3 credits): Writing and Critical Inquiry (Undergraduate) --look for the sections of this course that are intended for international students only.  It is required for all incoming first-year students.  This course is designed to improve your writing and critical thinking skills as you embark on your academic career at UAlbany.
  • University Library Workshops: The University Libraries hosts a series of workshops each semester to help with research, writing, and citation.  Students can also meet with librarians to learn more about research and writing aides.
  • Rules and Guidelines for Writing Assignments: By Dr. Gilbert Valverde, Ph.D., Interim Vice-Provost for Global Strategy and Dean of International Education.  This guide provides insight into what makes for good graduate level writing, including academic integrity requirements.
  • The Writing Center: The writing center provides one-on-one tutoring, typically as a 60 minute appointment.  The Writing Center also has trained, international student tutors.  To schedule an appointment with one, please call 518-442-4061 or visit the Writing Center in Humanities 140. 
  • "There are Two Languages in my Head":  Strategies to navigate English Academic writing for International Students (Watch Recording): As an international student you have more than one language in your mind. How do you write well and communicate your ideas fluently?  This workshop from PhD student Mary Dinh explores the role bilingualism plays in writing and how it is a strength for students.
  • Basics of Writing in an American Classroom Workshop (Watch Recording): This workshop is offered each semester as part of ISSS Orientation programming.  Please attend for an overview on how to write for American professors.
  • Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab): Purdue, a research University in the mid-western United States, has put together a wide range of online resources and tips for student writers.  This includes general writing tips, such as tips for grammar and mechanics; tips for international student writers originating from outside North America; and common citation styles (including examples).
  • BibMe: another free online writing resource that can help you with citation, grammar, avoiding plagiarism and creating a bibliography.