Welcome to LACC's Credit ESL Program!

Learn English as a Second Language

Watch this informative video to learn more about the Credit ESL Program at Los Angeles City College. Click on CC to read the captions as you view it.


About Our Program

The English & ESL Department offers a comprehensive Credit ESL Program for students whose native language is not English. Our program serves a variety of students from different language and cultural backgrounds. Our 6-level reading, writing, listening and speaking sequences prepare students for skills that are needed for both academic and professional work. We aim at providing quality instruction and supportive student services to help students meet their personal goals.

Our classes range from low-intermediate to high-advanced. Our highest level course (E.S.L. 110) is equivalent to first-year university-level English. We offer flexible morning and evening schedules. Students can attend classes both in-person on our campus and on-line via Zoom.


Students sitting on grass

Is Credit ESL for you?

Our Credit ESL Program emphasizes academic language instruction. It prepares students for:

  • Certificate and degree programs
  • Transfer to a 4-year university
  • Vocational certificates
  • Language skills needed to obtain a GED
  • Advancement in jobs or careers

Students may quality for financial aid and work study when taking LACC's Credit ESL classes.

Learn more about Financial Aid


Finding Your Level

If you are a new ESL student, the Guided Self-Placement (GSP) process will help you find the appropriate level within the Credit ESL course sequence (ESL 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 110) based on your English language proficiency. The GSP process consists of two parts:

  1. Guided Self-Placement Survey - You will answer a set of questions about your English language background and skills. (10-20 minutes)
  2. ESL Writing Assessment - You will have 45 minutes to write a composition based on a writing prompt.

Learn More About the Guided Self Placement Process for Credit ESL


Student writing a composition


Credit ESL Course Sequence

Required Courses Highly Recommended Courses
Level Writing and Grammar Reading and Vocabulary Listening and Speaking
Low-Intermediate ESL 3A ESL 3B ESL 3C
Intermediate ESL 4A ESL 4B ESL 4C
High-Intermediate ESL 5A ESL 5B ESL 5C
Low-Advanced ESL 6A ESL 6B ESL 6C
Advanced ESL 8    
Transfer ESL 110    

ESL Levels Offered at LACC

At this level, low-intermediate ESL students learn how to:

  • write paragraphs based on readings, class discussions, and familiar topics
  • use the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, and revising) to write better
  • improve their grammar through instruction on word order, sentence structure, parts of speech, and verb tenses.

This course is for students who speak, read, and understand some English and now want to develop their writing skills for college classes.

Reading Level – Students in this class read about 3-5 pages per week.

This is a sample of the reading in this class:

“Ben was born on January 26, 1992. For the first two years of his life, Ben was a happy and healthy baby. He had a normal life, living with his mother and two older brothers in California, but when Ben was two years old, his life changed. In 1994, he was taken to the hospital because he had problems with his eyes. The doctors looked at his eyes and told his mother the bad news—Ben had cancer. A few months, he had an operation to remove the cancer. The operation was successful, and Ben was fine. However, the doctors had to remove his eyes, and Ben became blind.” –Prism Reading 1

At this level, intermediate ESL students learn how to:

  • develop the writing skills needed to compose effective academic paragraphs and short essays
  • learn techniques for organizing and developing content as well as revising and editing for clarity
  • improve their ability to write well-formed sentences, use verb tenses accurately in context, and choose appropriate vocabulary to convey their ideas.

Reading Level – Students in this class read about 5-10 pages per week.

This is a sample of the reading in this class:

“When we dream about the future, many of us like to think that we will be able to exit our garages and take to the skies in our own personal flying car. The advantages are obvious. This technology would allow three-dimensional freedom of movement. We could fly at 480 kilometers per hour, avoiding traffic lights, busy roads, and speeding tickets. However, some people point to the disadvantages of flying cars. They claim that there are certain to be problems with traffic control. If the cars become popular, there is likely to be a problem with air traffic congestion. Another big problem is mechanical failure. What will happen if the cars break down? These are problems we must expect if flying cars become a reality.” – Prism Reading 2

At this level, high-intermediate ESL students learn how to:

  • write the standard academic essay
  • practice organizing, drafting, revising, and editing multi-paragraph compositions.
  • develop paraphrasing and summarizing skills, continue to build their mastery of sentence-level grammar, and expand their academic vocabulary to effectively and confidently express themselves in writing.

Reading Level – Students in this class read about 10-15 pages per week.

This is a sample of the reading in this class:

“Despite a hundred years of modern art, fine art is still regarded as a preserve of the wealthy. Hirst’s works, for example, sell for millions of dollars. Even so, we can see examples of art all around us that are not expensive. Many towns and cities have public art that can be enjoyed by all. Some museums, like the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., are free. Others are free for children and students. Street art is also popular in different neighborhoods around the world. One British artist, Banksy, has become world-famous for unauthorized 1 works of art painted on building walls. These can be viewed at no charge by anyone who knows where to look.” – Prism Reading 3

At this level, low-advanced ESL students learn to:

  • refine their writing skills by composing well-developed formal essays
  • develop critical reading skills and learn how to integrate the ideas of others in their own writing
  • use simple citation and basic bibliographic conventions as they practice paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting sources.

This course emphasizes the use of standard English, academic vocabulary, and self-editing, and it lays the foundation for future coursework in English and other academic subjects.

Reading Level – Students in this class read about 15-20 pages per week.

This is a sample of the reading in this class:

“Rebranding and new logo designs may be needed because a company has changed its focus. For example, Xerox, a company whose primary product was once photocopiers, wanted to call attention to the fact that it handles a much wider range of document technology now. Some companies may want to change their image because there have been some negative associations with their old one. For example, the logo for oil company British Petroleum (BP) looked like any sign you might see at a gas station. Customers often associate gasoline with climate change and a negative impact on the environment, so BP opted for a “greener” logo, one that resembles a sunflower. Kentucky Fried Chicken wanted to distance itself from unhealthy fried foods. When it redesigned the product’s logo, the word “fried” disappeared and only the initials KFC remained.” – Prism Reading 4

Advanced ESL students prepare for transfer-level composition (ESL 110 or English 101) as well as college-level work across the curriculum. Emphasis is placed on writing formal academic papers which summarize, analyze, and synthesize outside sources. Students learn how to effectively conduct library research and use MLA citation and bibliographic conventions in their own writing. Grammar instruction consists of a review of advanced topics with an emphasis on self-editing.

Reading Level – Students in this class read about 20-30 pages per week.

This is a sample of the reading in this class:

“No student of a foreign language needs to be told that grammar is complex. By changing word sequences and by adding a range of auxiliary verbs and suffixes, we are able to communicate tiny variations in meaning. We can turn a statement into a question, state whether an action has taken place or is soon to take place, and perform many other word tricks to convey subtle differences in meaning. Nor is this complexity inherent to the English language. All languages, even those of so-called 'primitive' tribes have clever grammatical components. The Cherokee pronoun system, for example, can distinguish between 'you and I', 'several other people and I' and 'you, another person and I'. In English, all these meanings are summed up in the one, crude pronoun 'we'. Grammar is universal and plays a part in every language, no matter how widespread it is. So the question which has baffled many linguists is - who created grammar? At first, it would appear that this question is impossible to answer. To find out how grammar is created, someone needs to be present at the time of a language's creation, documenting its emergence. Many historical linguists are able to trace modern complex languages back to earlier languages, but in order to answer the question of how complex languages are actually formed, the researcher needs to observe how languages are started from scratch. Amazingly, however, this is possible.” – TOEFL Reading Practice

This English composition transfer-level course is designed for non-native English speakers and emphasizes preparing students for the writing and critical reading demands across the disciplines by covering academic genres representative of the college at large. Students receive college-level instruction in expository and argumentative writing, appropriate and effective use of language, close reading, cogent thinking, and research strategies. An additional focus is integrated grammar and academic vocabulary instruction based on needs typical of second-language learners. 

ESL To English Sequence

After completing ESL 8, students may register for either ESL 110 (College Composition for Non-Native Speakers) or English 101 (College Reading and Comprehension I). Both ESL 110 and English 101 fulfill the requirements to obtain an AA-T or AS-T degree at Los Angeles City College.


The ESL Lab, located in Jefferson Hall room 318, provides individual tutoring and writing support for students in all ESL classes. Students can meet with a tutor both in-person and on Zoom, submit a paper for feedback from a tutor, attend faculty-led workshops, participate in a conversation club, brush up on grammar and writing skills with Achieve online software, check out books from the ESL Lab Reader Library, and use a computer station to complete assignments.

Go to the ESL Lab



Scholarship Opportunities

Each spring, the English & ESL Department awards several scholarships to deserving ESL students. The recipients are honored at our annual Awards Ceremony held in May. 

Learn more about English & ESL Department scholarships 

Have a Question About Credit ESL?

Please fill out this interest form for assistance

English & ESL Department

Office Hours and Location

Mondays to Thursdays: 8:00AM - 4:00PM
Fridays to Sundays: Closed

We are located on the 3rd floor of Jefferson Hall in room JH 301.


Jeffrey M. Nishimura, Department Chair
Email: nishimjm@lacitycollege.edu
Phone: (323) 953-4000 ext. 2700

The Chair usually attends meetings in the afternoon, so please call before you come.

Jasminee Haywood-Daley, Secretary
Email: haywooj@lacitycollege.edu
Phone: (323) 953-4000 ext. 2700