An ELT Glossary : EAP - English for Academic Purposes
EAP (English for Academic purposes) is a branch of ESP, and describes courses which aim to prepare learners to study or work within (usually) the context of higher education. Typical EAP learners might be students applying for or about to start an undergraduate or postgraduate course at an English medium university. They would need to improve their ability to understand lectures, read academic texts, participate in seminars, write academic essays etc, and probably also to gain certification such as IELTS to show that their competence in academic English is at the required level to enable them to complete the course successfully.
Many institutions run IELTS preparation courses, and universities often offer their own pre-sessional EAP courses to meet the needs of these students, who form a large potential market.