There are six levels of ELI. Each level can be completed in one semester, but students who do not make adequate progress may repeat a level when needed. Please note: not all levels are offered each semester.

  • Beginner (ELI 02)
  • Low Intermediate (ELI 03)
  • High Intermediate (ELI 04)
  • Low Advanced (ELI 05)
  • High Advanced (ELI 06)
  • Special Advanced (ELI 07)

Full-time students attend 20 hours of instruction per week. Permanent residents of the United States may choose to study on a part-time basis.

  • Why ELI?

    Small classes, personalized attention:

    Instructors tailor the class to students’ needs and develop programs that will strengthen their English skills.

    Our instructors:

    Highly trained and experienced faculty with professional degrees in teaching English as a second language understand the special challenges non-native speakers face in the college classroom and know how to prepare them for success.

    Content-based courses:

    ELI’s curriculum reflects the assignments learners will encounter in regular graduate and undergraduate courses.

    Many levels for different learners:

    Classes include academic writing, reading, grammar, speaking, pronunciation, and presentation workshops.

  • Application Requirements

    • A completed ELI application [PDF] 
    • Proof of a minimum level of English proficiency, demonstrated by one of the following:
      • A TOEFL score of 430+ (paper), 40+ (iBT) for undergraduate students 
      • A SAT Verbal score of 250+  
    • (For undergraduate students) An official high school transcript for grades 9 through 12, or some other proof of graduation from high school
    • (For permanent residents) A photocopy (front and back) of your alien registration card 
    • (For visa candidates) A completed declaration of finances [PDF] and/or proof of ability to pay 
    • Healthcare form and immunization history [PDF] 
    • $50 application fee 
  • Classes

    At each level, students enroll in courses that cover the following skills:

    Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation 

    Students take part in debates, interviews, presentations, academic lectures, and dictations. The emphasis is on improving listening comprehension and note-taking skills, fluency in speaking, and accent reduction.

    Reading, Writing, and Grammar 

    Students read and discuss academic texts, as well as newspaper, magazine, and online articles. The emphasis is on comprehension and well-written responses to texts, development of vocabulary, academic literacy, and fluency.

    American Culture Lab 

    Students focus on American culture, values, and institutions via literature, music, guest lectures, film, and visits to local museums and theaters. This gives students a content-driven opportunity to practice the English language skills introduced in other ELI courses.

    Academic Skills Lab 

    Academic Skills is designed to ensure a successful transition to university studies. Through class discussions, readings, and engaging assignments, student will discuss a variety of topics, including academic success strategies, personal goals, and self-awareness. Students will develop the skills and attitudes necessary for becoming a successful university student.

    Research Skills Lab 

    Students focus on the research skills needed to be a successful student at an American college.



  • Costs


    Get more information about costs from the Office of the Bursar. Part-time study options are available to students who are permanent residents of the United States. Financial aid is not available for this program. 


    There is limited University-sponsored housing available. In addition, Suffolk’s Off-Campus Housing Office maintains lists of area apartments, homestays, and roommate opportunities. 

  • FAQS

    What if I need extra help? 

    Free one-on-one tutoring and workshops are offered year-round in TOEFL preparation, graduate- and undergraduate-level writing and presentations, conversation practice, and pronunciation skills.

    Will I be part of the University? 

    Yes. ELI students receive full Suffolk University student status. That means registrants will have complete access to the libraries, gymnasium, computer labs, and cafeterias. In addition, ELI participants can join clubs, participate in intramural sports, and attend the many social and cultural events on campus. 

    What happens after ELI? 

    Qualified applicants may be accepted into a degree program. 

    Can I take the TOEFL in the ELI program? 

    Yes, at the end of the semester, ELI students take an Institutional TOEFL exam (at an additional charge). Undergraduates who score 525 or above and who have successfully completed the ELI program by attending classes and completing their coursework at a proficient level may be eligible to enter into a full-time degree program at the University.

    What about my student visa? 

    International Student Services assists students in preparing and maintaining an I-20 certificate/F-1 visa.