English Language for Internationals (ELI) is a non-degree, intensive English language program that prepares undergraduate and graduate students for the academic demands of an American university. Students learn useful and practical skills-from note-taking and skimming to writing and giving presentations-that will give them the edge they need to succeed in the classroom.

There are six levels of ELI. Each level can be completed in one 14-week semester, but students who do not make adequate progress may repeat a level when needed.

  • 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.

For specific questions about the ELI program, please contact:
Carrie Baldassari Oliva, ELI Program Coordinator
Suffolk University
73 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617.994.4215
Fax: 617.305.1757


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 graduate presentation workshops
  • Advanced ELI classes - specifically designed for students planning to enter graduate study in the U.S.


  • 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 TOEFL score of 450+ (paper), 45+ (iBT) for graduate students
    • A SAT Verbal score of 250+
  • Proof of Graduation translated into English
  • An official high school transcript for grades 9 through 12, or some other proof of graduation from high school for undergraduate students
  • A translated, official college transcript or proof of graduation from a university for graduate students
  • (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 & immunization history [PDF]
  • $50 application fee

For more information and an application for undergraduate admission, please contact:

Office of Undergraduate Admission
Phone: 617-573-8460
Email: admission@suffolk.edu

For more information and an application for graduate admission, please contact:

Office of Graduate Admission 
Phone: 617-573-8302
Email: gradadmission@suffolk.edu


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

Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation

ELI 021, 031, 041, 051, 061, 071 (6 hours)

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

ELI 022, 032, 042, 052, 062, 072 (6 hours)

Students read and discuss academic texts, as well as newspapers, 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

ELI 023, 033, 043, 053, 063 (5 hours)

Students focus 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 the other ELI courses.

Academic Skills Lab

ELI 024, 034, 044, 054, 064 (5 hours)

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



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 on-campus housing available. In addition, Suffolk’s Off-Campus Housing Office maintains lists of area apartments, homestays, and roommate opportunities.


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 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.