For Students

How do I know I need ESL? Based on your high school or transfer transcripts, you will be “flagged” ESL when you apply to the college.

When and how do I test? You will receive an email from either the CUNY or the Hostos Testing Office that invites you to take the Accuplacer exam.

Which level of English will I take?

If you score less than a 105 on the Accuplacer, your test scores will be reviewed by the L&C Placement Committee and you will be placed in an ESL level.  This is a firm placement. Any reassessment of your level is determined by the chair or deputy chair of the L&C department.

These are the ESL levels:

Level 1 - CLIP
Level 2 - ESL 25 and ESL 26 or ESL 27
Level 3 - ESL  35 and ESL 36 or ESL 37
Level 4 - ESL 91 and ESL 92
or a combined Level 3 & 4 Intensive ESL Program

Once you have been identitfied as needing ESL help, the ESL R code is entered in CUNYfirst. This prevents students from incorrectly enrolling in ENG or other sections.


Your name and placement results will be forwarded to the Enrollment Management Office. They will invite you to an orientation at the college, either virtually or in person. Note: You are ready for advisement when you have been placed in a level in CUNYFirst and you have received your invitation to an orientation. You cannot register until you have met these requirements. The Student Success Coaching Unit will assist you with advisement. You can always contact the department of Language and Cognition for questions and guidance.

The ESL program develops students' English language skills within an interdisciplinary content-based instructional model. Students enrolled in the ESL program concurrently enroll in content courses to satisfy their general education requirements. Depending on their placement level and progress, ESL students take a sequence of courses to complete the requirements for the A.A. or A.S. degree. The number of credits they need to complete depends on their original level of placement and progress.

ESL Program Sequence

Level  1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4


ESL 25-26/27
9h 3 cr.

Learning Community:
ESL 25 – HUM 100

ESL 35-36/37
9h/ 3 cr.

Learning Community:
ESL 35- SOC 101

ESL 91-ESL 92
9h/ 4 cr.



Other selections:

Sociology 101
PSY 101 (SPA)
VPA 191
Math by level
VPA 191 Listening and Speaking
VPA 181

Other selections:

PSY 101
Math by level
VPA 191
LIN 101

Other selections:

by major:

VPA 192
PSY 101; SOC 101; EDU 100; BUS 100; ANT 100; HUM 100 etc.
FYS (obligatory for A.A. degree students.)
Selective WI sections (graduation requirement):
LIN 100, LIN 102, LIN 103, and LIN 105.

L&C Intensive program: Combined Levels 3 and 4.

ESL 86 Basic Academic Writing

Hybrid (in person and asynchronous)   6h 3cr

ESL 88 Reading and Conversation

Hybrid (in person and asynchronous) 6h 2cr

After successfully completing both ESL 86-88 students can enroll in ENG 110.

Who is eligible?

Incoming Freshmen Continuing Students

Students who score well in Accuplacer and have their exam materials positively reviewed by faculty will be offered a place in the Intensive Program. 

Students who complete ESL 25 and 26/27 with a B or better in both courses can be recommended to the Intensive Program by their instructors.


General Education and Learning Communities

Academic ESL programs do not only teach general English language skills, but also help develop important vocabulary, and reading and writing and skills that are needed to be successful in college. You study and practice English language skills by reading and writing about subject matters that you encounter in your college courses. Further, in American colleges it is important to understand the role of general education competencies and general education course requirements. Most Associate's degrees consist of 30 general education credits. This means, you study subjects such as Sociology, Psychology, Public Speaking and English composition regardless of which major you have chosen. Examples of general education competencies are analysis, problem-solving skills, the ability to synthesize information, read diagrams and analyze numbers etc. These are skills you need in all subjects and in all majors. We have therefore developed a curriculum that includes these important skills to ensure your success, not only in English, but also in your college career.

You should consider taking the general education courses needed in your major while you are in the ESL program.

Here is the link to the General Education competencies at Hostos.

ESL Learning Communities

To promote your experience in the general education courses and enhance your academic language skills, the ESL Program sometimes offers students the opportunity to enroll in Learning Communities. This means you enroll with the same group of students in your ESL course and one of the courses in the content areas that give you general education credit. Studying with your peers helps you practice your language skills in a sheltered, less stressful learning environment with a teacher who is supportive of your linguistic needs.

These are our ESL Learning Communities by level:

Level 2: ESL 25 - Humanities 100
Level 3: ESL 35 - Sociology 101

These courses help you boost your global knowledge about society, history and the world. To study in a community of students where you can share your ideas, experiences and challenges, is a very enriching experience and helps you build a sense of belonging in the college. Please check CUNYFirst to see if any Learning Communities are available this term.