Special Topics

Customize Your English Learning

Special Topics classes are specialized English classes that focus on specific vocabulary and skills. Most Special Topics classes focus on speaking, vocabulary building, and discussion, but there are also some options that focus on reading, writing, and test preparation.

With Special Topics classes, you take a variety of different classes each session to explore and master different topics and skills in English.

A different selection of Special Topics classes is available every session. The Special Topics classes available to you every session depend on your level and your English goals.

Special Topics classes are a great way to enhance your English in combination with our 2-period general English class, Intensive Speaking & Listening.

Course Details

  • 1 period daily, M-Th
    • 1 ALPS period = 50 minutes + a 10-minute break
    • Special Topics classes do not meet on Fridays
  • Each ALPS session is 4 weeks long – Take 1 or more sessions
  • Small class size guarantee – 3-8 students per class, 8 students maximum.

Class Descriptions: Speaking, Discussion, and Vocabulary Building

Discussing the News

Level: Low Intermediate – Advanced

Discuss and debate current issues from contemporary news sources. Upgrade your vocabulary, improve group discussion and research skills, and learn about the events and people that influence our world.

Presentation Skills 

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Prepare to present your ideas confidently in English! Develop presentation strategies and vocabulary, and give dynamic presentations in a variety of formats.

English Conversation

Level: All

General English discussion class focusing on everyday topics. Improve oral communication skills and increase your confidence in expressing feelings, ideas and opinions.


Level: All

Vocabulary class focused on useful phrases, slang, and idioms for everyday communication.


Level: All

Speak and understand English more clearly: improve fluency and expression by learning how native speakers connect, reduce, and nuance their speech.


Level: All

Learn new grammar structures and improve your speaking and writing accuracy. Use the grammar you learn in interactive discussions on many topics.

Academic Listening and Discussion

Level: Advanced

Focus your listening practice by learning the structures and signaling vocabulary of an academic lecture. Students will practice active listening strategies for longer texts and develop their note-taking and discussion skills. Recommended for students wishing to attend university classes in the USA or improve their listening skills for professional purposes.


Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Develop your knowledge of U.S. history and culture by learning about the systems and structures of the United States government. This all-skills class includes discussion, reading, listening, and vocabulary expansion activities.

Seattle on Film

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Increase your vocabulary, listening, and speaking skills as you watch movies and TV shows set in Seattle. Participate in class discussions focused on theme, genre, and critiques.

Class Descriptions: Professional and Business English

Business English

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Build knowledge, confidence, and cultural competence in a wide range of professional situations.

Professional English: Job Interview Skills

Level: Intermediate – Advanced 

Engage in intensive vocabulary and speaking practice as you prepare to demonstrate your skills confidently in an English-language job interview.

Professional English: Resume and Cover Letter Skills

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Learn the content and format of a competitive resume in English. Your resume will be professional, grammatically correct, and ready to use.

Professional English: Job Preparation

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

This class combines resume and cover letter writing with job interview skills. Improve your confidence and prepare for every stage of your job search.

Customer Service English

Level: High Intermediate – Advanced

Explore connections between customer service and culture as you learn what defines American customer service. Expand your vocabulary and practice polite/formal grammatical structures that will enable you to provide excellent customer service in English.

Class Descriptions: Reading, Writing, and Test Prep

Beginning Reading and Writing 

Level: Beginner – Low Intermediate

Learn the basics of English sentence structure as you improve your overall grammar and develop your vocabulary. 

Intermediate Reading and Writing – Academic or Creative Option

Level: Low Intermediate – High Intermediate 

Improve your understanding of English grammar, learn new vocabulary, and improve your ability to express yourself in writing. The Academic Option will teach you the basics of English essay structure, and the Creative Option will help you find your “writer’s voice” as you experiment with fiction, poetry, and script writing formats.

IELTS Preparation

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Increase your IELTS* scores in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking by learning specific tips, skills, and test-taking strategies that will improve your writing, vocabulary, and overall ability to structure and express your ideas in English.

TOEFL Writing and Speaking 

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Increase your TOEFL scores in Writing and Speaking by learning specific strategies and skills that will improve your writing, vocabulary, and overall ability to structure and express your ideas in English.

Included in:

Tuition: $340 per 4-week session

  • One-time application fee – $150 for F-1 visa students, $50 for all other visa types
  • Facility & Activity fee – $35 per 4-week session


Ask a friendly ALPS advisor about courses, visas, start dates, and more.