The Specialized English Language Programs (SELP) Unit
The Specialized English Language Programs (SELP) Unit is the English and communication support network at SGU. We offer many different programs and services tailored to the needs of the SGU community including students, faculty, and staff. Our main programs include the English for Medicine Pathway (EMP), Medical Academic Communication (MAC), Professional Communication Program (PCP), and Graduate Writing Support Services (GWSS). See below for a description of these programs. SELP also teaches the Communication for the Health Professions courses for the Preclinical Sciences and offers a Medical Spanish Selective. In addition to our programs and courses, SELP offers individualized language and communication support through workshops and tutoring. Any member of SGU can request assistance in developing their language and communication skills. SELP also manages an inhouse English language assessment that prospective students may be asked to take.
English for Medicine Pathway (EMP)
Developed by the School of Medicine and SELP, EMP is designed to instill the academic and medical English communication skills necessary for success as SGU students and future health professionals. These skills include the development of macro language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) as well as micro communication skills, academic literacy skills, critical thinking, and cultural awareness. These skills will be utilized throughout a student’s medical education and lifelong learning as a healthcare professional – leading to success in medical school and ultimately, allowing students to develop into culturally competent clinical practitioners.
EMP integrates additional English and communication courses into the Preclinical Sciences curriculum to allow simultaneous Preclinical Science and English skill progression with only one additional semester. Students from the 5-year, 6-year, or 7-year MD program are accepted into the EMP program on entry and remain in the program for their first three semesters at SGU. There is a standalone one- or two-term EMP program for the 4-year MD students who will enter the SOM upon completion of the EMP program.
Medical Academic Communication (MAC)
MAC is a unique program at SGU that aims to enrich the learning experience of students through weekly 50-minute sessions. MAC supports the development of the communication skills, cultural competencies, and critical thinking skills that are necessary for preclinical, medical, and veterinary student success. Sessions are tailored to meet students’ communication needs, both individual and program specific. In sessions, students might work on medical terminology, decoding MCQs, pronunciation, participating in group discussions, argument development for writing, or clinical communication.
Professional Communication Program (PCP): CV and Personal Statement Review
PCP provides support in polishing professional documents such as CVs and personal statements for residency applications. We offer feedback, workshops, tailored resources, and individual consultations to help students and faculty present their best professional self.
Graduate Writing Support Services (GWSS)
GWSS helps SGU graduate students develop as academic writers. We offer resources, one-on-one consultations, and workshops for students who seek ongoing support at all stages of the writing process (brainstorming, prewriting, drafting, and revising).
Communication for the Health Professions I and II (PCLN 302, PCLN 303)
These courses are reading and writing intensive programs for preclinical and preveterinary students.
- Communication for the Health Professions 1 develops students’ ability to read, understand, and evaluate research studies; to summarize, paraphrase, and synthesize published work; and to practice organizing and expressing ideas clearly and concisely.
- Communication for the Health Professions 2 develops students’ skills in critical thinking and professional communication, and helps students gain strategies for evaluating and constructing arguments.
Medical Spanish Selective (SCSK 513)
This selective is designed to provide integrated skills practice to medical students who anticipate working with Spanish-speaking patients. The course focuses on:
- basic grammar and sentence structure
- medical terminology
- patient interaction practice
- cultural sensitivity awareness
SELP offers several workshops to students and faculty at SGU, included but not limited to the following:
- Decoding multiple choice questions
- APA style and formatting
- Scholarly writing
- West Indian language and academic English
- Writing a literature review and reference management
- Presentation skills
- Writing a CV and personal statement for residency application
- Team Building
- Building Your Brand
- Linguistic Diversity
We are available to create custom workshops to suit the communication needs of any course or program.
Assistance from SELP instructors is always available. We will meet individually with any student, faculty, or staff member to work on any English language or communication skill. We will customize individual tutoring to suit your needs.
English Language Assessment
The Academic Language Test (ALT) is an assessment which Admissions may require students to take to determine whether they need language and communication support through SELP. The ALT is designed to assess reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills which are essential for student success in medical school.
This assessment comprises two parts:
- An online video interview (approximately 20 minutes)
- A timed online assessment that measures students’ academic reading, writing, and listening skills (approximately 70 minutes)
The first part of the assessment evaluates the student’s listening and speaking ability for professional and academic purposes and is done online through Zoom.
This second part of the assessment comprises reading, listening, and writing sections.
Section 1: 3 short recordings with a question each (5 minutes)
Section 2: A longer recording with 6 questions (10 minutes)
Section 3: Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary with 10 questions (20 minutes)
Section 4: Essay Writing (35 minutes)
Each section of the assessment will end automatically after the allotted time. In addition to being force timed, this assessment does not allow backtracking. This means once you have progressed through a section, you cannot go back.
Although it is not possible to study for this assessment, prospective students are encouraged to approach this as they would any other mandatory admissions assessment. Based on their scores, students can either be exempt from receiving language and communication support or mandated into the English for Medicine Pathway (EMP) or the Medical Academic Communication (MAC) program. See below for descriptions of these programs.
Overview of the English for Medicine Pathways (EMP) program
The EMP program is designed to instill the academic and medical English communication skills necessary for success as SGU students and future health professionals. EMP integrates additional English courses into the preclinical curriculum to allow simultaneous preclinical and English skill progression with only one additional semester. Students from the 5-year, 6-year, or 7-year MD/DVM program are accepted into the EMP program on entry and remain in the program for their first three semesters at SGU. There is a standalone one- or two-term EMP program for 4-year MD/DVM students who will enter the SOM/SVM upon completion of the EMP program.
Overview of the Medical Academic Communications (MAC) program
MAC is a unique program at SGU that aims to enrich the learning experience of students through weekly 50-minute sessions that are done as an addition to a student’s program. MAC supports the development of the communication skills, cultural competencies, and critical thinking skills that are necessary for preclinical, medical, and veterinary student success. Sessions are tailored to meet students’ communication needs, both individual and program specific. In sessions, students might work on medical terminology, decoding MCQs, pronunciation, group discussions, argument development for writing, or clinical communication.
Speaking (from your interview) and writing performances are evaluated by multiple raters, using IELTS speaking and writing rubrics. Reading is evaluated by the total number of correct responses. Listening is evaluated by the total number of correct responses and from the interview and you will be marked as needs development, meets expectations, or exceeds expectations.