Roles of Gender and Academic Discipline in English for Specific Purposes

Author: Olusiji Adebola Lasekan, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Chile
Published: June 1, 2024

Citation: Lasekan, O. A. (2024). Roles of Gender and Academic Discipline in English for Specific Purposes. IAFOR Journal of Education12(1).


Acknowledging the critical role of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in shaping professional and academic success across various fields, the research delves into the nuanced interplay between gender and academic discipline in shaping the ESP needs of higher education students. The investigation investigates the impact of gender and academic discipline on Chilean dentistry and business administration students’ perceived lack, want, and need for English for Specific Purposes (ESP). Drawing on sociocultural theory and self-determination theory, a mixed-methods model that involved data collected from 94 dentistry and 121 business administration students was adopted. Findings revealed significant gender differences: males reported greater perceived lack, whereas females exhibited higher want and need for English, suggesting gender influences ESP perception and necessitates customized learning strategies. Contrarily, academic discipline did not significantly affect ESP perceptions, challenging assumptions that ESP needs are strictly discipline-dependent and highlighting a generalized demand for English proficiency across fields. The findings demonstrate the importance of gender-sensitive and flexible ESP programs that cater to diverse learner needs while considering broader educational and individual factors. The study implies that educational practitioners should develop ESP curricula that not only address specific professional terminologies and situations but also reflect an understanding of the roles gender and discipline play in language learning. This approach could foster more effective and inclusive language education tailored to the varied aspirations and requirements of students in different fields.


English for specific purposes, gender differences, academic discipline, Chilean students, mixed-methods, curriculum development