The purpose of the study is to explore English as a foreign language (EFL) college students' needs in English for General Purposes (EGP) and English for Specific/Academic Purposes (ESP/EAP) courses in terms of their perceptions of three subcategories of needs-necessities, wants, and lacks-and reasons for students' course enrollment. A questionnaire was administered to 972 EFL college students from six universities in Taiwan. The results showed that students had different perceptions of necessities, wants, and lacks in the different language skills taught in EGP and ESP/EAP courses. The findings also demonstrated discrepancies between the students' perceptions of needs and the actual courses they took, thereby highlighting the importance of understanding needs as a complex, multiple, and conflicting concept. Finally, factors that determined students' enrollment in EGP courses included necessities, short-term, and long-term goals while enrollment in ESP/EAP courses depended more on job relevancy. Implications for language instructors and curriculum designers are discussed.
- English for Academic Purposes
- English for General Purposes
- English for Specific Purposes
- Needs analysis
- Wants vs. needs