Carnegie Mellon University

Robust Academic Fluency

To be fully functional and successful in the Carnegie Mellon University academic environment, both graduate and undergraduate students who are nonnative speakers of English need to develop robust academic fluency that will enable them to:

  • Put knowledge into words so that they can participate as equals in class discussions or research groups, talk to advisors or research funders, or interact with students.
  • Talk to a variety of audiences about their field.
  • Use technical and non-technical language easily.
  • Use the language of their field.
  • Reword terms and concepts.
  • Define key terms clearly and simply.
  • Give examples that illustrate technical and theoretical concepts.
  • Coherently connect concepts and ideas through appropriate use of transitional language.
  • Participate in small talk about their field and general academic topics.
  • Master material presented in English in either spoken or written form.
  • Write in the expected style for U.S. academic papers.
  • Interact with administrators and staff.
  • Understand English as it is spoken in the U.S. academy including the underlying meanings and connotations.
  • Respond to unexpected questions and comments