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Intercultural Communication Center Academic Culture and Communication
Intercultural Communication Center Academic Culture and Communication
Developing Linguistic and Cultural Readiness for CMU Graduate Programs
An intensive five-week summer program designed for nonnative English speakers entering Carnegie Mellon University graduate programs each fall.
Summer Program
Program Overview
Admission and Registration
Class Descriptions
Program Costs and Housing
Attendance and Certification
Outside Activities
Contact Us


Warner Hall 308
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890
Office: (412) 268-4979

  Program Overview:

2016 Summer Program Dates:
July 5 to August 5, 2016

The Program
Academic Culture and Communication (ACC) prepares and trains incoming graduate students (both Master and PhD) for the demanding programs at Carnegie Mellon and helps students strengthen the language and cultural skills expected of them in the US classroom. Our program is designed to strengthen students' chances for success at CMU by enhancing their skills in the areas of academic speaking, listening, reading, and writing. By honing these skills before the fall semester begins, students are better prepared to engage in academic work and take their place in the community.

ACC also provides students the opportunity to become familiar with other students, faculty, the Carnegie Mellon campus, and Pittsburgh before the regular school year begins.

What can students realistically expect from a summer intensive program?
Language learning requires repeated practice over time, so five weeks is a short time to significantly increase language proficiency. Instead, we focus on the strategies and techniques that can help students more effectively use the language they already have. As such, ACC is aimed at students who have gaps in their academic fluency and yet have the foundation with English (as per their TOEFL scores) to benefit from this intensive program.

To determine if students are appropriate for ACC, refer to Admission and Registration.

In ACC students learn and practice the strategies and techniques that can help students more effectively use the language they already have. By the end of ACC students can realistically expect that they will:

  • Better understand US classroom culture and the expectations placed on graduate students in the US
  • Be more comfortable using English for academic speaking (e.g., expressing opinions in group discussion, asking questions)
  • Be familiar with basic techniques required to give academic presentations in the US
  • Understand and apply general principles for academic writing in the US (e.g., audience, organization, flow)
  • Recognize and begin to use crucial techniques needed for more comprehensible pronunciation
  • Become aware of their own language gaps, and begin to develop strategies both to compensate and to continue to improve language mastery throughout the coming semesters.

How ACC is different from a traditional ESL summer program
ACC addresses an audience not served by traditional ESL programs. Most intensive ESL programs are designed for students with English fluency well below the threshold needed for academic work; unlike ACC, they cannot provide the level of instruction that would best help incoming Carnegie Mellon students prepare for the demands of graduate programs.