English, Undergraduate Course Offerings

English as a Second Language (ESLG) Program

The English as a Second Language Program prepares international students who need to strengthen their English skills for academic work at Webster University.

Students who successfully complete the ESLG program will be able to:

  • understand and critically read university-level material
  • employ a range of listening, note-taking, and oral comprehension strategies
  • write, edit and revise texts according to the conventions of academic English
  • orally communicate information and ideas in a clear, grammatically correct manner

In order to exit the ESLG program, students placed in ESLG must:

  • receive a passing grade (C- or better) in each of their ESLG courses
  • pass the Exit Essay (The essay is evaluated by at least three instructors.)

Intermediate Level

ESLG 3170 Advanced Discussion Skills (3 credits)

The course teaches students to express ideas orally with clarity and logic; gives practice in the arts of persuasion and presentations. Activities include: discussions, role play, negotiations, presentations, and debate.

Advanced Level

ESLG3070 Advanced Intensive English (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to improve students’ grasp and use of English grammar in speaking and writing contexts on an advanced level. In addition to reviewing grammar with which they are already familiar, students are expected to learn and to study advanced structures that are assigned as homework and independent activities, and reinforced and practiced in class. Students are given writing exercises and projects to improve their written English.

ESLG 3310 Advanced Language Skills (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to develop students’ elementary writing skills by using authentic passages from a selection of readings based around a common theme. These passages are intended to provide the stimulation and necessary vocabulary for students' formulation of their own ideas. There are periodic grammar reviews and vocabulary tests. By the end of the course, students should be proficient in concise paragraph and essay writing. They should have expanded their vocabulary and enhanced their general knowledge.

ESLG 3500 Topics: Crime and Punishment (3 credits)

The purpose of this challenging course is to improve students’ reading comprehension and writing skills, as well as to expand their English vocabulary. It is designed to expose the student to a range of writing styles in an absorbing and socially relevant way. For this purpose students examine a series of stories, essays and articles, as well as watch the occasional documentary.  They examine the age-old topic of crime in its various forms and discuss what may be perceived as appropriate punishment. Readings range from extracts of Dostoevsky and short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to general interest articles about crime. While much of modern entertainment culture thrives on feeding us with crime-related narratives, what are the true stories behind the glamorous TV series and the sensationalist novels and headlines?

ESLG 3500 Topics: Profiles in Courage (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to improve students’ reading comprehension and writing skills, as well as to extend their English vocabulary. For this purpose students examine a series of essays, as well as occasional documentaries. They examine the relation between a particular culture and the “heroes” that it produces or the notion of a hero that it creates and maintains.  How do generation, culture, era, gender, geographical location, politics, and history flow into creating “heroes”?  What needs and aspirations of the “people” flow into popular heroic figures? Also, how is the notion of a hero changing? Can we still speak of heroes as such?

Writing Courses

WRIT 1010 Composition

This course emphasizes basic skills in composition:  sentence structure, paragraph development, and essay writing in various rhetorical patterns.  Assignments stress writing, revising and editing papers.

Content Covered and Skills Learned:

  • Writing effective introductions which attract the readers’ interest
  • Formulating clear focused thesis statements or thesis questions
  • Developing well structured, well supported coherent body paragraphs
  • Understanding the difference between concrete and abstract
  • Connecting ideas through the use of appropriate transition words/methods
  • Writing clear conclusions which follow logically from the body of the essay
  • Writing essays in the following rhetorical structures: Comparison/Contrast, Definition, Cause and Effect, and Classification
  • Addressing essays to a specific readership and writing the essays with a specific purpose/goal in mind

WRIT 2000 Advanced Composition

Int his course students learn to write persuasively, to do library and electronic research, to analyze, synthesize, and summarize data, and to write a research paper.

Content Covered and Skills Learned:

  • Making a Case in Writing  (Persuasive Essay)
  • Recognizing fallacious reasoning
  • Choosing and narrowing a topic for a research paper
  • Formulating a thesis for a research paper
  • Finding sources in traditional libraries as well as doing research on-line
  • Documenting papers properly (MLA & APA documentation style are covered) Note: students should be able to apply other documentation styles such as the Chicago Style by following manuals.
  • Evaluating the reliability of sources and evidence
  • Summarizing and paraphrasing
  • Distinguishing between a plagiarized and a paraphrased text

Literature Courses

ENGL 2110 Perspectives: Love in Western Literature (3 credits)

Does the depiction of love in literature reflect our own experience? To answer this question, the course investigates the many ways in which writers from classical antiquity to the twentieth century have described, analyzed, and judged love.  It explores Platonic, courtly, Christian, romantic, and sexual love.

Ethical Perspectives in Literature and Philosophy (3 credits)

This course introduces students to various perspectives regarding ethical issues and values discussed in literature and philosophy.  The course explores the nature of good and evil, the social dimensions of morality, utilitarianism, deontological ethics, ethical relativism, law, and virtue ethics.  It addresses such questions as: How could a good God permit evil?Is morality universally valid or only relative to individual choice and culture? Why should we be moral? What sort of person should one become?

Business in Literature (3 credits)

Today’s mass consumer society began to develop in 18th century England.  At that time the English began to believe in improvement instead of tradition.

Through the analysis of relevant literary and philosophical pieces, this course examines how this development has affected the human condition – how values, beliefs, attitudes and daily life have been influenced by business and vice versa. It examines to what extent business – selling and buying – has shaped people’s personal and social identity and poses the question whether consumerism is the religion of our time, as some would argue.

Existentialism (3 credits)

This course surveys the general characteristics of existentialism, expressed both in philosophical and literary works.  The course examines how existentialists view and portray the tension between thought and experience.  It addresses such existentialist questions as: “Would living forever add meaning to life?  Do humans need their pain? Did man create God to have a reason to live? Does society make men and women different, or do we choose our roles?“

The Romantic Imagination (3 credits)

The romantic writer “continues the idealistic tradition that sees a meaningfulness in nature“ and that “considers the pursuit of love worthier than any other interest“. (Singer)   Distinguishing the romantic writer from earlier writers is the extraordinary importance that he gives to feeling rather than reason.This course explores the various 19th century concepts of romanticism in British, French, and German literature.  The course addresses the question to what extent romanticism is still alive today.

African Literature (3 credits)

20th century African literature is characterized primarily by an exploration of the struggle for political power, the breakup of traditional values, and a reassessment of African culture.  This course examines how North African, Central African, and South African writers explore these themes in their works.  The course explores to what extent the political and social change in 20th century Africa is unique to the “dark continent“ and to what extent it reflects a universal change.