English for Academic Purposes (EAP) entails training students, usually in a Higher Education setting, to use language appropriately for study. It therefore is a challenging and multi-faceted area within the wider field of English language learning and teaching (ELT). In common with all language teaching, EAP tutors teach vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and the four language skills — reading, writing, speaking and listening, but try to tie these to the study needs of students.

In addition, EAP practitioners often find that, either directly or indirectly, they are teaching study skills and often having to tackle differences in educational culture. This trend has become more prominent as the numbers of Chinese students attending UK universities has increased over the last decade.

Sometimes EAP courses are intended to raise students' English levels so that they can enter university. In the UK, this often means endeavouring to help students get a score of 6 or above in the IELTS examination. In the US, this can mean helping students attain a score of 500 or greater on the Institutional TOEFL.