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English as a Second Language Overview

The ESL Program at San José City College serves students who identify themselves as learners of English as a second language

Attending ESL Classes

Our program helps students of all ages and backgrounds achieve their education, employment, and lifelong-learning goals by providing them with instruction in English as a second language.

To take credit classes, complete the CCCApply form.

  1. Complete the Noncredit Application Form.
  2. Bring it to the Student Center, 1st Floor or send it to

    For more information, email
    • If you are coming from a local Adult Education Program, you can contact the Transition Specialist for your Adult Education Program or
    • Email the Transition Specialist at San José City College, Ana Camacho at

Department Contacts


At San José City College, we provide self-guided ESL placement to students who can benefit from English language acquisition courses. Students complete our placement process to decide which level might be the most appropriate for them, and, in the process, they can receive guidance from ESL faculty and counselors.
The results are only used for course placement and never to prohibit any student from enrolling or attending our college. 
All incoming credit ESL students should complete the self-guided ESL process. The student can skip the self-guided placement process, beginning with low-intermediate, non-credit classes.
Our self-guided placement includes models of reading, writing, grammar, and listening & speaking for each level offered in our course sequence. Students will see models and compare them to their skills to place themselves in the most beneficial courses.

ESL Guided Self-Placement tool 

Noncredit (low-intermediate level) no ESL Self-Guided Placement Tool needed. For this case, you should fill out the non-credit application, wait for your student ID, and then register for classes.


Program Description

The English as a Second Language Department offers a total of seven (7) core credit courses, three (3) elective credit lecture courses, and ten (13) FREE non-credit lecture courses that span 5 levels of language proficiency, from low-intermediate to advanced, to teach the English language skills of writing and rhetoric, reading, listening, speaking, grammar, and pronunciation.

Students can earn the state-approved ESL in Career & College Certificate by completing 3 specified non-credit low-intermediate level classes. Please access the ESL Program Chart for more information.
Courses are each offered twice a week, Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday, in day or night sessions.  Each credit course has a number of set 'units', ranging from 3 to 6 units.  Each unit represents the number of hours in class time each week throughout a 16-week semester.

For example, a 4-unit course meets for 2 hours twice a week.  One to two sections of ESL 302 or 99 are offered as hybrid online classes each semester, and most ESL courses are web-enhanced by instructors who use Canvas. Two sections of lecture courses are usually offered offsite at the Milpitas Extension campus, which has free parking.

In addition to 17 lecture classes, ESL offers two required 0.5-unit lab courses (24 hours over a 16-week semester) that are linked to parent courses ESL 322 and ESL 312, as well as a recommended 0-unit free lab course.

Students have access to a fully-equipped multimedia ESL laboratory where they can fulfill their lab requirements.  Students can access the ESL lab course materials and numerous other links at when the on-campus lab is closed.

Lab Information

The ESL Lab is in the Library/LRC Building in L-120, and the online ESL Lab is on Canvas and

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Student Learning Outcomes

  • Use English for a variety of educational, social, and  occupational purposes.
  • Recognize multiple perspectives and values inherent in our culturally diverse society.
  • Apply critical thinking and analytical skills to expand learning.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use information technology.