The principal aim of this study is to explore university students’ learning transfer from two English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) courses into a variety of non-EGAP courses. The current study examines near and far transfer based on three dimensions of Barnett and Ceci’s (2002) transfer taxonomy. It investigates (a) the writing samples of undergraduate students from different majors, with a special focus on the transfer of five learning outcomes (LOs) namely: Sentence Structure, Essay Structure, Cohesion, Coherence, and Language Errors, (b) the impact of their majors on transfer, (c) their perceived transfer, and (d) their perceptions of the EGAP courses and writing performance. This study adopts a mixed method approach and utilizes two instruments, which are students’ EGAP and non-EGAP writing samples and a questionnaire, to answer the research questions. While a quantitative analysis is run on 41 questionnaire responses, a qualitative analysis is performed on 76 writing samples that are gathered from 38 students. Results reveal that successful transfer is found in the LOs of Sentence Structure, Cohesion, and Coherence while unsuccessful transfer is observed in the remaining LOs. On the contrary, when examining the same LOs across seven semesters, the successful transfer is mainly detected in far transfer contexts, specifically Cohesion in the 3rd semester and Sentence Structure in the 6th semester. As for the influence of majors on transfer, students could transfer more LOs in social science courses (near transfer) than in science courses (far transfer). Besides, there are some discrepancies between their perceived transfer, reported in the questionnaire, and their actual transfer, examined in writing samples. They think that their essay structure skills are better than their sentence structure strategies, yet the opposite is observed in their writing samples. Furthermore, they state that EGAP courses swing between helpful to somewhat helpful in sharpening their language skills. Finally, they believe their writing performance is very good in most of the examined LOs. These results imply that integrating more reviewing and proofreading sessions in the EGAP courses could improve students’ transfer. Also, raising EAP educators’ awareness of the influence of majors on learning transfer can lead to modifying their teaching strategies. Strengthening the collaboration between EGAP and discipline-specific instructors to enable students to draw associations between the two contexts is encouraged, as well.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date

Summer 6-15-2024

Submission Date


First Advisor

Nihal Nagi

Committee Member 1

Nadia Shalaby

Committee Member 2

Sarah Benjamin


139 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item