Program Design

Girne American University is an English Medium higher institution and Foundation English School (FES) is a unit within the academic structure of the Girne American University. The main aim of Foundation English School is to provide General English Language and English for Academic Purposes courses to newly admitted GAU students who are not at the required English language proficiency levels to start Faculty degree courses.


The medium of instruction at Girne American University is English language. The students who are admitted to the institution are required to be at B1 level in order to be able to follow the Faculty courses. English language courses provided at FES help students build a strong English language foundation for their future success at the Faculty. To this end, General English language and Study Skills courses are delivered to newly admitted students who are not at the required English language proficiency level. The class sizes vary between 35-40 students. Students who successfully complete Foundation English School Education guarantees their future academic success. Last but not least, each student who completes Foundation English School language program successfully is provided with an English Language Pearson EDEXCEL certificate which is internationally recognized

New Students

Registration Process 

Route to FES Graduation


Level A

Level B


Program Design

FES offers an intensive English Language and study skills program to enable students to cope with the demands of the undergraduate and graduate studies. The intensive English language courses at FES is designed to help students achieve B1 Level of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) proficiency in English language. The program has three levels of instruction, correlated with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), and focuses on developing students’ language skills in general through an integrated skill curriculum, which fosters active and independent learning. Each level consists of a total of 244 hours (One Semester) face-to-face English language instruction. It is also essential for the students to allocate one hour for online activites, two hours for self-study and two hours for assignments and homework each week. The class sizes vary between 35-40 stuents.

FES English language program ranges from A1 to B1 English Language proficiency levels correlated with the CEFRL scale. FES students are placed into three English language levels as A1/A2 (Breakthrough Waysstage), A2 (Waysstage), and B1 (threshold) in line with their placement exam scores. The length of each course is one semester. The students must complete each level successfully in order to be able to proceed to the next level. At the end of B1 level, students have to pass an English proficiency test in order to proceed to Faculty.




All the English language learning, teaching, and assessment procedures at FES are guided by a high standard curriculum which has been mapped  to Common European Framework of Reference to Languages (CEFR).  CEFR provides an international, high quality framework for teaching foreign languages and it is a guideline in each step of language teaching and learning, syllabus design, textbooks, as well as assessment processes.   CEFRL provides a comprehensive, transparent and coherent framework for all the English learning, teaching and assessment processes at FES and accordingly FES has adopted a learner-centered and action oriented approach to language learning and teaching. 


  1. Academic Accreditation

FES is the first and the only Foundation English School in Cyprus to be accredited by the Evaluation and Accreditation of Quality in Language Services (EAQUALS).FES underwent a thorough and rigorous inspection by EAQUALS inspectors in April 2013 and received 4-year EAQUALS accreditation.

EAQUALS ( is an international association of institutions involved in language education. It promotes excellence by inspecting and accrediting language schools and providing a way for people in the profession to share ideas and develop expertise. At an EAQUALS-accredited center, you can be sure that every aspect of your language learning experience will meet your highest expectations. 


In an EAQUALS accredited center you can expect:

  • Well-qualified teachers
  • Effective and enjoyable teaching
  • A clearly defined learning programme
  • Accurate and meaningful assessment
  • Suitable premises and resources
  • Efficient arrangements for student welfare and out-of-class services
  • Clear, accurate and complete information about the services on offer.

As an EAQUALS accredited institution, FES possess these qualities to provide high quality English language education.


In addition to EAQUALS Accreditation, FES was granted Pearson EDEXCEL ( accreditation, as a second international accreditation to approve the high quality, internationally oriented English language education practices as a whole at FES.

Pearson EDEXCEL is one of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s examination boards. In November 2013, FES underwent a second rigorous inspection to be granted EDEXCEL accreditation. Each student who completes Foundation English School English language program successfully is provided with an English Language Pearson EDEXCEL certificate which is internationally recognized.                                                                                       

The Proficiency Test

Foundation English School Exemption Criteria

New students who are admitted to English language medium departments are required to take Foundation English School (FES) English Proficiency Examination. However, students who confirm their English language proficiency levels with one of the valid certificates indicated in Table 1 can be exempted from the Foundation English School program.  Additionally, students who successfully complete the Foundation English School program at a university and Master students who pursue their  undergraduate studies in an English medium program are also exempted from FES examination and program.  However, all the valid documents indicating students’ English language proficiency levels have to be submitted to Student Services and Foundation English School administration before the student sits FES proficiency exam and commences FES English language program.  Please note that the referred certificates are not accepted after the students take the exam and enrol FES program.

All the newly admitted GAU students who do not have an English language certificate are required to take FES proficiency examination and they are placed into A1, A2, B1, and B2 English language levels in consideration with the grades they obtain from the exam. 

 Table 1:  Exemptions from Foundation English School Program

Faculty and Departments requiring minimum 60/100 on the GAU FES English Proficiency Exam (All English medium departments except for the Faculty and Departments indicated in the second column)

Faculty and Departments requiring minimum 80/100 on the GAU FES English Proficiency Exam

(Faculty of Pharmacy, English Literature , Translation and Interpretation and English Language Teaching Departments & Master Students).

IELTS (minimum 5.0).


(Not valid for students from Turkey)

IELTS (Minimum 5.5)


(Not valid for students from Turkey)

TOEFL IBT (minimum 60)

TOEFL IBT (minimum 65)

TOEFL CBT (minimum 170)

TOEFL CBT (minimum 183)

TOEFL PBT (minimum 497)

TOEFL PBT (minimum 513)

GCE/IGCSE (Minimum C)

GCE/IGCSE (Minimum B)

FCE (Minimum C)

FCE (Minimum B)

CPE/CAE (Minimum C)

CPE/CAE (Minimum B)

SAT : Writing:Minimum 340

         Reading: Minimum 400

         Total: Minimum 740

SAT : Writing:Minimum 350

         Reading: Minimum 410

         Total: Minimum 760

PTE:Minimum 40

PTE:Minimum 46


IELTS: International English Language Testing System

TOEFL IBT: Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language.

TOEFL PBT: Paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language.

TOEFL CBT: Computer-based Test of English as a Foreign Language.

GCE: General Certificate of Education

IGCSE: International General Certificate of Secondary Education

FCE: First Certificate in English

CAE: Certificate in Advanced English

CPE: Certificate of  Proficiency in English

SAT: The SAT Reasoning Test (Formerly Scholastic Aptitude Test)

PTE: Pearson Test of English

Assessment and Evaluation

With respect to the assessment and evaluation, learners are assessed by means of both formal and informal continuous assessment methods and techniques which include written examinations, oral presentations, written course work assessment, language proficiency tests, portfolios, self-assessment and tests.

The students at A1/A2, A2, and B1 are assessed twice in one semester. The mid-term exam is administered after 7 weeks of instruction and the final examination is administered after 15 weeks of the commencement of the English language instruction. A1/A2 and A2 students who achieve a pass mark of 60% or above procede to Level B1. B1 students who achieve a pass mark of 60% or above are eligible to sit the Proficiency Exam in order to be able proceed to their faculty of their choice. The Proficiency Exam is given at the end of each semester to students whose final exam results indicate that theyhave a reasonable chance of achieving a high enough grade to move to the Faculty. The pass grade for English medium department students is 60% or above whereas the pass grade for some specific departments such as Department of Pharmacy, English Language Teaching, Translation and Interpretation, English Literature Bachelor’s degree or Master Programme students is 80% or above. Students who do not sit or do not pass the Proficiency exam at the end of the semester will remain in FES. FES students can appeal to any of their test results by writing a petition to FES Administrative Coordinator. Forms can be obtained from FES Secretary.

 Assessment Handbook and Sample Examination Paper



A2 Answer Key

A2 Track


B1/B2 Answer Key

B1/B2 Track


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions by FES students:

  • Why do I have to take English?

All students at GAU are required to demonstrate a basic competency in the English language. The University requires this for several reasons:

Many University courses are taught using English language textbooks.

Many of the University's lecturers and teachers speak English and lecture in English.

English is the most internationally recognized language and is used the world over for business, academia, travel and in media.

  • Why do I have to take 22 hours of English each week?

The University believes it is important that students achieve a working level of English in a short time, so that they may succeed in using the English language textbooks required for their studies. For this reason, it is felt that 22 hours a week is the right amount to help students achieve their full potential, as they move on to their main field in the faculty. This intensive schedule is in use at most language schools around the world.

  • If I miss the first week, or other classes, will it affect my English grade?

Definitely! If students miss more than six days of class they may exceed the University limit on absences, and be denied admission to the final exam. Arriving on time is very important for students, if they wish to pass the exam. Each semester lasts about fourteen weeks, so any missed time will be very difficult to catch up. Regular attendance is vital for students to maximize their learning opportunities at FES. Being a university student brings great benefits and leads to many future opportunities. Along with these benefits and opportunities comes increased personal responsibility. Regular attendance and active participation in learning are the responsibility of the student, and must be taken very seriously to ensure success.

  • How can I know my semester points of the different exams?

Students can view their points on the university website and FES notice board. Final grades are officially recorded in the University e-learning.

  • Can I contest my grade for any exam?

Yes. If you believe you have received unfair or erroneous points in any exam, you can file a complaint with the coordinator, who will take necessary steps to rectify the problem, if needed.

  • What instructional style is used at FES?

FES instructors use a combination of the best available teaching methodologies to develop communicative competence. A clear, systematic and effective syllabus is naturally presented to encourage students to use the language as much as possible in real-life situations. Intensive work is done on all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Emphasis is placed on personalized speaking and understanding of spoken language. The language is presented and practiced in as interesting and enjoyable a manner as possible. 

  • What happens to me if I fail to fulfill the English requirement?

Students who do not manage to pass an English module are required to retake it. There is a maximum of two semesters, and the summer school. 

  • I've missed an exam. What should I do?

There is never a good excuse for missing an exam unless there is an extreme emergency, including the death, or the impending death, of a parent or a member of one’s immediate family, detention by authorities, or admission to hospital. Students with documented excuses for missing an exam should submit them to the Academic Affairs Units on their campuses within four working days from the initial administration of the exam. All excuses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students should contact the coordinator for a decision within three days of submitting their excuses.

It is solely the responsibility of students to attend all FES exams on time. Students know well in advance when their exams are scheduled, so there is no excuse for not leaving enough time to arrange for other commitments or appointments.

Any other questions should be directed to the FES coordinators.