Intensive English program

For those seriously interested in improving their English and academic skills and preparing for university study in a relatively short period of time, the ELI provides the services and benefits of the only intensive English language program in metropolitan Detroit. This intensive program consists of up to 18 class hours per week of beginning-level through advanced-level instruction. Beginning and intermediate classes teach communicative skills and integrate listening, speaking, and pronunciation in one module; writing and grammar in a second module; and reading and vocabulary in a third module. Advanced classes continue to reinforce communication skills while emphasizing academic skills. These include: 

  • Listening to academic lectures, note-taking, giving formal presentations, and debating
  • Developing academic vocabulary and responding to readings
  • Writing academic essays
  • Citing sources, paraphrasing, and summarizing
  • Evaluating print and digital media related to American culture

Academic Calendar

The ELI follows the University calendar with three semesters per year.  During the Spring/Summer term, ELI class hours are lengthened so that the total number of in-class hours remains constant year round.

Semester Calendar Length of Instruction Hours of Instruction
Fall September-December 14 weeks 18 hours per week
Winter January-April 14 weeks 18 hours per week
Spring/Summer May-August 13 weeks 20 hours per week

The week before classes begin is devoted to orientation for new students followed by registration for new and returning students.  Student-teacher conferences and pickup of final grades occur the week after classes end.

Each semester, students who enroll in the ELI full time will receive the following:

  • approximately 250 teacher contact hours
  • a minimum of 25 hours in the language laboratory
  • three hours of orientation
  • two hours devoted to placement testing
  • approximately one hour of personal advising/counseling
  • the opportunity to participate in social and/or educational field trips hosted by the ELI and Office of International Programs, ranging in length from one hour to all day, at least 1-2 times per week

Please note that the ELI observes the same holidays and closures as Wayne State University but may have different starting, ending, and testing dates.  Students will receive a copy of the ELI student calendar at registration.

Courses and Levels

The intensive program in the ELI has five levels with three to four courses in each level.  All courses focus on English for Academic Purposes to prepare students to study at the University.

The oral and written integrated courses are 6 class hours each and meet 4 days per week for 90 minutes each day in the fall and winter semesters and 100 minutes in the spring/summer semester.  All courses scheduled in the afternoon are 3 class hours each and meet 2 days per week for 90 minutes each day in the fall and winter semesters and 100 minutes in the spring/summer semester. The chart below shows a detailed schedule for the intensive program. 

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5)

Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5) Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5) Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5)
10:30-12:00 Written Integrated (Levels 1-5) Written Integrated (Levels 1-5) Written Integrated (Levels 1-5) Written Integrated (Levels 1-5)

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1)

Communicative Grammar (Level 2)

Extensive Reading (Levels 3-4)

Research Skills (Level 5)

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1)

Intensive Reading and Vocabulary (Levels 2-4)

Media and Culture (Level 5)

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1)

Communicative Grammar (Level 2)

Extensive Reading (Levels 3-4)

Reseach Skills (Level 5)

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1)

Intensive Reading and Vocabulary (Levels 2-4)

Media and Culture (Level 5)

The ELI levels correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) global scale, published by the Council of Europe.  The CEFR describes what language learners have to learn to do to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop to be able to act effectively.  The CEFR defines six levels of proficiency (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2) from an initial division of three broad levels: A (Basic User), B (Independent User), and C (Proficient User).

Wayne State University accepts standardized test scores equivalent to a B-2 CEFR level as proof of English language proficency for admission.  Therefore, the levels of the ELI Intensive Program correspond to the CEFR as follows:

ELI Level 1 - CEFR A1

ELI Level 2 - CEFR A2

ELI Level 3 - CEFR B1

ELI Level 4 - CEFR B1-B2

ELI Level 5 - CEFR B2-C1

Study Online

These students may choose to take ELI courses in the intensive program online:

  • U.S. residents
  • Students in their native countries

According to immigration regulations, students on F and J visas who are studying in intensive English programs are required to attend all classes in person, so online classes are not an option for them.  

Most classes run asynchronously, which means that there are no specific starting and ending times for the class each day.  Students are generally given a weekly schedule with specific activities and assignments to complete online.  Students who choose this option can study from anywhere on their schedules.  Teachers are available for virtual office hours, so students are able to speak with their teachers.  In addition, some classes offer occasional synchronous sessions where the teacher and the students meet together virutally on a specific date and time.

Students enrolled in online courses at the ELI are also provided with online placement testing, virtual orientation and advising sessions, and virtual ELI workshops.

Students choosing the online option can expect to devote a minimum of 6 hours per week for Oral Integrated classes, 6 hours per week for Written Integrated classes, and 3 hours per week for Intensive Reading and Vocabulary, Communicative Grammar, Media and Culture, and Research Skills classes. Extra time may be required to complete assigments.  Activities and assignments are delived on Canvas, which is the course management system used by Wayne State University.  

Students who study online must have a reliable and stable internet connection.  The use of visual and audio recording equipment is required, so a headet, microphone, and/or webcam may be required if these features are not built in to the computer.  The use of a destop or laptop computer is strongly encouraged over mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.  For some classes, students are required to post videos of themselves to the course site on Canvas for both teacher and peer viewing, and students are also required to show their faces during live, synchronous course meetings.

Program Length

The duration of study in the English Language Institute for individual students varies depending on such factors as proficiency level and motivation.  Students can expect to spend as little as one semester in the ELI for advanced-level students, anywhere from two to four semesters for intermediate-level students, and up to five semesters for beginning-level students.


Click here to view the curriculum for the intensive program.

Placement Chart

Click here to view the ELI Placement Chart for the intensive program.

Achievement Scale

Click here to view the ELI Achievement Scale for the intensive program.

Progression through the Program

At the end of each semester, all students are evaluated for placement for the following term based on course grades.

Course grades of C+ (78%) or higher are required to pass ELI courses.  Passing the course moves the student to the next level.

Students' performance is evaluated separately for each course.  In other words, promotion in written integrated classes, for example, does not guarantee promotion in oral or afternoon classes. Students must get passing grades in each course.

Completion of Program

Students in Level 5 will satisfy Wayne State University's general English proficiency requirement for admission when they pass all four Level 5 classes with grades of C+ or higher.  In other words, standardized test scores, such as TOEFL and IELTS, are not required to move on to Wayne State University.

After final grades are submitted, the ELI Director will certify a student's completion of the intensive program by submitting a memo to the admissions office and removing the English language proficiency hold from the student's record.  The student will also receive a Certificate of Completion from the ELI.

Accredited Status

The English Language Institute at Wayne State University is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) for the period August 2019 to August 2024 and agrees to uphold the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions. CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. For further information about this accreditation, please contact the Commission on English Language Program Accreditiation, 1001 N. Fairfax St., Suite 630, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 665-3400,

To review the CEA standards that the English Language Institute meets: 

CEA Standards:

To provide input should there be any questions about whether the English Language Institute continues to meet the standards:

CEA Complaint Policy: