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 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

Semester Calendar months 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 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. 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. 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.

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
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.


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
8:30-10:00 a.m. Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5) Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5) Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5) Oral Integrated (Levels 1-5)
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Written Integrated (Levels 1-5) Written Integrated (Levels 1-5) Written Integrated (Levels 1-5) Written Integrated (Levels 1-5)
1:00-2:30 p.m.

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1), Intensive Reading and Vocabulary (Levels 2-4), Research Skills (Level 5)

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1), Communicative Grammar (Level 2), Extensive Reading (Levels 3-4), Media and Culture (Level 5)

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1), Intensive Reading and Vocabulary (Levels 2-4), Research Skills (Level 5)

Reading and Vocabulary (Level 1) , Communicative Grammar (Level 2) , Extensive Reading (Levels 3-4) , Media and Culture (Level 5)

View the curriculum, achievement scale, and placement chart for more information about the Intensive English program.

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. You can also review the CEA standards or provide input should there be any questions about whether WSU's ELI continues to meet the standards.