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English as a Second Language International

international students

English as a Second Language International

ESLI's mission is building a better global community by connecting people and cultures through international language study.

English as a Second Language International

English as a Second Language International (ESLI) is a program on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus for students who are interested in attending UMD, but need to improve their English.


UMD’s partnership with ESLI provides many benefits to international students in need of English language training:

  • Immersion in American culture and language while getting to know UMD and the surrounding area.
  • The opportunity to live on campus while studying English and preparing for academic study at UMD.
  • Beginning through advanced-level courses taught by qualified instructors with advanced degrees and training in teaching ESL. 
  • No TOEFL or IELTS is required. 
  • Students do not need to take GMAT or GRE exams at the time of application for acceptance into graduate programs. Instead, UMD allows students to take the exams at the end of the Pre-University level of the ESLI program.
  • ESLI students pay UMD student fees and have access to all University services and events. 
  • Upon successful completion of the highest-level ESLI course, conditionally admitted students who have fulfilled all requirements for final admission will be able to enroll in UMD credit-bearing courses and begin their degree program of study.


Conditionally accepted students will study English as a Second Language courses full-time (20 hours per week) until successful completion of the pre-University-level (4 ESLI courses).

The courses offered during the ESLI program are:

Listening: Using a variety of sources, students learn effective listening skills that they can implement both inside and outside the classroom.

Speaking / Pronunciation: Students gain confidence speaking in a variety of situations: casual conversations, formal dialogue, class presentations, etc.

Reading: Through in-class reading exercises and a personalized reading program, students learn to read for pleasure and for university studies. Exposure to a wide variety of texts provides students with opportunities to find and select their own materials as well as develop some personal preferences.

Composition: Through guided practice students learn writing skills from basic paragraphs through the process of researching, organizing, and composing research papers. Confidence in self and peer evaluation is encouraged. Students also learn word-processing skills to prepare for university writing assignments.

Vocabulary: Students develop a vocabulary base appropriate for everyday conversations and classroom situations. In addition, they learn methods for long-term building and retaining functional vocabulary.

Grammar: Students are encouraged to learn grammar through use. Grammar instruction is provided within the context of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA)

CEA Standards
CEA Complaints