Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2018

Document Type

Thesis (699 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Linda Houts-Smith


Vocabulary, general education, curriculum, international students, non-native speakers of English


The purpose of this study sought to find out the key terms and concepts needed for international students to succeed in the general education courses in a four-year university in the United States. This study analyzed existing enrollment data across three academic year (2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017) to learn which general education course is most frequently taken by international students. One course in each LASC area was identified as the top one from the most frequent taken courses by international students. After identifying the top ten courses, answers on vocabulary needs were obtained by conducting semi-structured interviews with permanent faculty members at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) who teach these top ten general education courses. The findings show that international and NNSE students do not need any specific content terminology or concepts learning before taking general education courses, rather they need a basic level of vocabulary and English proficiency in order to achieve their academic goals in higher education.



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