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English as a Second Language (ESL)

Pima Community College’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program, also known as Intensive Academic English, is for non-native speakers who want to improve general, professional, or academic skills in English communication, reading and writing.

Completing the ESL sequence will prepare you for college-level English writing and reading courses and serve as a first step toward any degree or certificate program.

Pima's Intensive Academic English for Non-Native Speakers program offers courses in Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Classes are 14 weeks in Fall and Spring terms and 8 weeks in the Summer term.

Contact Information

For information about taking Intensive Academic English (ESL) courses, please contact: [email protected]

For information about taking free Adult Education ESOL classes, please contact [email protected] or call 520-206-7330. 
Se habla español.

How to Apply

International Students

For all advising and student service needs, please visit the Center for International Education

Domestic (US) Students

Step 1: Explore the ESL program

  • Use our flow chart to learn about the program. In the chart, you can learn about:

    • Program courses
    • How to go from High Beginner to Advanced levels
    • Writing (WRT) and Reading (REA) courses you will be prepared to take after completing your Intensive Academic English studies
    flowchart thumbnail

    Open our flow chart

  • The total cost of the ESL program will depend on the level that you place into. Core courses are 4 credits. Electives are 2 credits. This program is eligible for federal financial aid for students who qualify.

    In-state tuition(Fall, Spring, Summer):

    One class (4 credits): $405
    Two classes (8 credits): $795
    Three classes (12 credits*): $1,185
    Pronunciation Electives (2 credits): $200

    *Note: Full-time student status is 12+ credits.

    Lifelong Learners are eligible for a 50% reduction of the general in-state tuition for credit courses. See Lifelong Learner Discount.

    Out-of-state tuition(Fall, Spring):

    One class (4 credits): $1,291
    Two classes (8 credits): $2,567
    Three classes (12 credits*): $3,843
    Pronunciation Electives (2 credits): $200

    Out-of-state tuition(Summer): One class (4 credits): $1,007

    *Note: Full-time student status is 12+ credits.

 Step 2: Apply to Pima Community College

  • Complete the PCC Application process and get your Pima ID number. 
  • If you have any problems, contact Admissions IT Support at 520.206.4900.

 Step 3: Take ESL Accuplacer (free test)

  • Make an appointment to take the ESL Accuplacer placement test. This computerized test will help us determine the level of ESL courses that will best meet your English reading, writing and speaking needs.
  • To make an appointment, you will:
    • Go to the Testing Centers webpage.
    • Scroll down to the campus where you want to take the test (example: "Downtown Campus Scheduling").
    • On the next page, scroll down to the orange boxes.
    • Choose a type of exam: Placement Testing.
    • Choose an exam: Accuplacer ESL.
    • Choose the date and time that works for you to take the test in person.

 Step 4: Find the ESL classes right for you

  1. Go to the Schedule of Classes.
  2. Select the current semester for the “Term”.
  3. Select “English as a Second Language” for the “Subject Code”.
  4. Click “Search” at the bottom of the page.

 Step 5: Speak to an ESL Advisor for More Information

  • Sign up to talk to an advisor.
  • When you sign up:
    • Enter your name. 
    • Enter your cell phone number
    • Enter your student ID number and your program (ESL) 
    • Select the Express option.

Academic English (ESL) Courses

Pima offers four levels of Academic English courses:

  • High Beginning
  • Intermediate
  • High Intermediate
  • Advanced

Each level is made up of three classes focusing on these core skills:

  • Writing and Grammar
  • Reading and Vocabulary
  • Oral Communication

Learn more about the required classes for each level of Academic English courses: 

ESL Core Courses:

  • ESL060 WG: Writing and Grammar (4 credits)
  • ESL060 RV: Reading and Vocabulary (4 credits)
  • ESL060 CM: Oral Communication (4 credits)

ESL Core Courses:

  • ESL070 WG: Writing and Grammar (4 credits)
  • ESL070 RV: Reading and Vocabulary (4 credits)
  • ESL070 CM: Oral Communication (4 credits)


  • ESL070 PR: Intermediate Pronunciation (2 credits)

ESL Core Courses:

  • ESL080 WG: Writing and Grammar (4 credits)
  • ESL080 RV: Reading and Vocabulary (4 credits)
  • ESL080 CM: Oral Communication (4 credits)


  • ESL080 PR: Advanced Pronunciation (2 credits)

ESL Core Courses:

  • ESL088 WG: Writing and Grammar (4 credits)
  • ESL088 RV: Reading and Vocabulary (4 credits)
  • ESL088 CM: Oral Communication (4 credits) 

The ESL courses listed above prepare students for College-level courses:

  • WRT090: English Composition Fundamentals
  • WRT101: English Composition
  • WRT101S/SE: English Composition Integrated Studies
  • REA091: Reading Improvement II
  • REA112: Critical Reading
  • Courses for Academic Programs, Degrees, and Occupational Certificates

Hear From our ESL Students!

Herendida Ruiz Lagarda


  "Enjoy and learn from all the little moments in your ESL classes because after finishing the program, you will miss being part of this family. And remember, having confidence in yourself gives you new opportunities." ~ Herendida Ruiz Lagarda, Mexico

Hoang Nguyen


"Taking ESL classes at Pima gave me great experiences, as I have not only developed my four English skills but also made friends from around the world. ESL classes helped move me from beginner to advanced level and helped me build up my vocabulary. I am thankful to all the professors and employees of the ESL department." ~ Hoang Nguyen, Vietnam  

Wassim Khawam


  "I am one year away from graduating with a mechanical engineering degree, but when I first started at Pima, I did not understand a word of English. ESL classes definitely accelerated my process of learning the language and helped me in my personal life by offering me the environment and community of like people who just started their life in this country." ~ Wassim Khawam, Syria

Ariane Higuera Pierre Noel


"I have studied in the ESL program at Pima Community College for two years, and I have to say that it is one of the better experiences of my life. I learned a lot, not just about English, but also about other cultures around the world. I recommend the ESL program to any person who wants to learn English in a deep way." ~ Ariane Higuera Pierre Noel, Mexico  

Nazli Guvenc


  "The instructors in the Pima ESL program are fantastic! They always put your learning first. They try to help you in everything they can. After I complete the ESL program, I want to start my degree in Supply Chain Management. I wish you the best luck in the Pima ESL program." ~ Nazli Guvenc, Turkey

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