ESAS for Postgraduate Students

In 2016, UNSW is piloting an academic communications initiative. The communications initiative is designed to help all students succeed in their Postgraduate studies at UNSW, providing opportunities and support for students who may need some assistance with their English language communication and research skills as they progress to a higher level in their academic study.

All students enrolling in the following degrees, regardless of their language background, residency status or what school they attended, will complete the initial screening and, depending on the outcome, may be asked to undertake a more comprehensive diagnostic:

  • 8404 Business School – Master of Commerce
  • 8417 Business School – Master of Commerce (Extension)
  • 8413 Business School – Master of Financial Analysis
  • 8409 Business School – Master of Professional Accounting
  • 8415 Business School – Master of Professional Accounting (Extension)

How does ESAS work?

1. ESAS Screening

All commencing students enrolled in the above degrees are required to complete a 30 minute online screening on campus. The screening is a quick 'health check' of your written language communication skills. It consists of vocabulary and timed reading tasks.

Your results

The results from the screening will be emailed to you and we will let your Faculty know if you have completed the screening and whether you have to undertake the more comprehensive diagnostic.

You may learn that:

  • Your academic written communication skills are appropriate for Postgraduate university study
  • Your academic written communication skills are satisfactory but would benefit from some support. You will be directed to appropriate support to improve them
  • You are required to complete the ESAS Diagnostic for a thorough check of your academic written communication and language skills.

The screening is not a test and does not count for marks towards your degree. Your screening results will not appear on your Academic Transcript.

2. ESAS Diagnostic

Depending on your screening results, you may be asked to undertake a follow-up two-hour diagnostic. There are three paper-based tasks to be completed in the diagnostic: Listening, Reading and Writing. About a week after your diagnostic, you will receive an email from the ESAS team. It may tell you that your language skills are satisfactory for university level, or you may be asked to make an appointment with a Learning Advisor at our Learning Centre. Your Learning Advisor will discuss with you the most appropriate support available.

Don't forget: The diagnostic is not a test and does not count for marks towards your degree. Your diagnostic results will not appear on your Academic Transcript.

3. ESAS Support

Depending on your results, the Learning Advisor will talk to you about the best way to improve your academic communication and language skills. This may be a referral to online resources or enrolment into a communication course within your faculty. Communication in Business and Economics for Effective Postgraduate Study is a discipline-specific communication course designed to enrich students’ academic English. Communication in Business and Economics for Effective Postgraduate Study is not a credit-bearing course and therefore will not be recorded on Academic Transcripts, however it is intended to provide additional support so you can gain the most from your studies at UNSW and succeed after graduation.

For further information about ESAS including example tasks for the screening and diagnostic you can read the ESAS Student Handbook (PDF, 4.3mb, 12 pages).

Book your screening

In order to complete the screening you need to attend an online screening session on campus, facilitated by the ESAS team. To do this you need to Book a Screening Time here.

Students enrolled in 8404 – MCom, 8417 - MCom Ext, 8413 – MFInAn, 8409 – MProfAcc and 8415 MProfAcc Ext are required to complete the screening by Thursday 28 July Week 1, Semester 1.

The ESAS screening will be available during O Week and Week 1. The screening takes only 30 minutes.

After the screening, if you are asked to complete the diagnostic you will be advised of the times available in an email.

Prepare for your screening

To prepare for the ESAS Screening you will need to do the following:

I have more questions

Q. A number of UNSW staff have told me I need to complete the screening. Does this mean I have to do it more than once?

A. No. You have to complete the screening only once.

Q. Does it cost me anything to do the screening and diagnostic? What about if I need any follow-up support?

A. No. The screening, diagnostic and academic support from the Learning Centre is a free service to students.

Q. I’ve already completed and scored well on the ELISE Quiz, so why do I have to complete the screening for ESAS?

A. The ELISE course and quiz is designed to help you prepare for study at UNSW. ESAS is designed to specifically assess your overall English communication skills and language proficiency and connect you with the most appropriate support if needed.

Q. What happens if I don’t want to do the screening and/or the diagnostic?

A. All commencing students in the identified programs must complete the screening, and diagnostic if required. It is an opportunity to help you identify and resolve any areas you may struggle with in future studies at UNSW.

Q. I have a disability and I am registered with the Student Equity and Disability service. Do I have to complete the screening?

A. If your disability or medical condition may impact you being able to do the screening, please contact us to discuss whether an exemption or adjustment might apply to you. If you do register with Disability Services, they will be able to advise you whether educational adjustments are required or if you will receive an exemption. They will also be able to provide you with ongoing support throughout your time at UNSW.

To register for disability support please visit the Disability Services page.

If you have already registered, please contact your Disability Adviser directly if you have any concerns.

Q. Are the results published anywhere and who has access to them?

A. The results from the screening and diagnostic are not published anywhere, which means they will not be included on your official Academic Transcript. They are used to identify what type of academic communication skill support you might need at UNSW and help the project office improve ESAS in the future. ESAS complies with the Student Privacy Code of Practice.


If you have some more questions you can email or visit the Learning Centre:

Lower Ground Floor, Chancellery Building

Phone: 02 9385 2060


Opening Hours

  • Monday to Thursday: 9am - 5pm
  • Friday: 9am - 2.30pm

Map of Learning Centre location