Purpose: The aim of this research study is to examine the most dominant EFL Students' approach in acquiring English vocabulary employed by the first-year students of English Department at Muhammadiyah University of Makassar. The study also investigates whether there is any difference in approach preference between male and female students in acquiring English vocabulary by first-year students at English Department, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Muhammadiyah University of Makassar, Indonesia Approach/Methodology/Design: A descriptive quantitative research method is employed in data analysis. Twenty four first-year undergraduate students (42% male & 58 female) were selected as a sample for the study based on purposive sampling technique. These students chose English major at Muhammadiyah University of Makassar and were enrolled in the acedmic year 2018-2019. The instruments used were a Two-Factor Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F) and Likert Scale to assess the research participants' approach preference. Findings: The findings of this research study reveal that the first-year students of English Department at Muhammadiyah University of Makassar dominantly adopt surface approach compared to deep approach in acquiring English vocabulary. The statistical analysis shows that the mean score for Surface is 35.12 and the mean score for Deep Approach is 34.66. The findings also indicate a difference in approach preference between male and female. Practical Implications: The study will contribute positively to the understanding of the students' adopted approaches for acquiring vocabulary, assisting instructors to improve their teaching strategies. Originality/value: The study provides an avenue for exploring students' learning processes. Male students preferred Surface approach to deep approach. Male students scored high (38.10) on surface approach compared to deep approach (36.60). Meanwhile, female students got slightly higher score (33.28) on deep approach than surface approach (33.00).