The Freshman Second Language Program (FSL) at Suffolk University leads to a bachelor's degree and provides students with the opportunity to earn academic credit in a supportive environment.

The goal of the FSL program is to enable students to think, write and study independently while taking their core freshman year requirements. Students must maintain a grade of a C- or higher in order to pass the program and move onto their sophomore year. Intensive advising and academic support are offered.

In addition, the FSL Program Coordinator works with each student to choose courses in their major program of study. While each class in the FSL Program is offered for credit, the way in which the credits apply toward a degree will depend on the student's chosen major.

For specific questions about the FSL Program, please contact Ruth Collins, Academic Advisor at (617) 573-8270.

  • Is this program a full year?

     Yes, the FSL program is two semesters long and runs from September-May.  There is no January start date.

  • Is this program an extra year?

     No.  All courses within the FSL program count for credit.  The way in which the credits filter depends upon major.  As long as students remain enrolled full-time and do not deviate from their “track” they should graduate in four years with the FSL program being the first of four.

  • Can I test out mid year?

     No.  The program is a full year.  Since all courses count for credit and it is a full Freshman year, there is no testing out mid-year.

  • Why was I placed in the FSL program?

    Admissions places students.  We only teach and advise.  Admissions considers all parts of an applicant’s portfolio. If you have questions regarding your placement, please contact UG admissions at 73 Tremont, 6th floor or 617-573-8460 or

  • Am I eligible for financial aid/scholarships?

    Yes.  FSL students are fully matriculated and eligible for everything that any other Suffolk student is eligible for.

  • Important Contacts


    1. Questions about financial aid: 617-573-8470
    2. Questions about tuition: 617-573-8407
    3. Questions about University-sponsored housing/dorms: 617-305-2500
    4. Questions about email/MySuffolk: 617-557-2000
    5. Questions about I-20/Visa: 617-573-8154



Admissions Requirements

  • An application for undergraduate admission
  • Proof of an advanced level of English proficiency demonstrated by one of the following:
    • A TOEFL score of 500+ (paper), 173+ (computer), 61+ (IBT)
    • A SAT Verbal score of 350+
  • An official high school transcript for grades 9 through 12
  • A letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or counselor
  • (For permanent residents) A photocopy (front and back) of your alien registration card
  • (For visa candidates) A completed declaration of finance and/or proof of ability to pay

For more information and an application for admission, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission at (617) 573-8460 or


ESL Reading/Writing (ENG 098-099)

Utilizing a freshman level English text book and materials from the content courses, these courses furnish students with active reading strategies and the conventions of academic writing which will be applicable to their collegiate course work. Students will develop analytical skills necessary to academic success by producing in-class and take home essays, participating in debates and giving oral presentations. Students will be required to work with a course management program and to utilize technology effectively in their writing. The skills obtained in these courses will allow students to participate comfortably in their mainstream college courses.

Students receiving B's and higher AND passing a portfolio review by the English department may use ENG 099 to waive the WRI 101 requirement.

Empires and Globalization in World History II (HST 150)

This course provides and overview and integration of major events in world history and their contributions to modern business and globalization. Themes of geography, global issues, and cultural diversity will be emphasized.

Creativity and Innovation: Revising Reality (CI 113)

Reality and perception have been debated and discussed for millennia.  Humans see and experience their world in different ways.  How do humans determine what is true and good and what advancements are necessary? In this course, students will creatively explore these big questions and revisit knowledge using new and sometimes divergent perspectives. Students will participate in “dirty and courageous learning” by crafting products, creating visual projects, and coming into original thought via trial and error.  Students will also develop their analytical and critical thinking skills, while learning to communicate effectively and honestly.

Seminar for Freshmen: Malevolent or Misunderstood?: Mythology and Cryptozoology (SF 1138) (CAS students only)

This course will critically engage with folk and pop-cultural representations of “monsters.”  Students read from diverse areas relating to the topic, including psychology, anthropology, history and cultural studies.  This course will explore the changes in monster figures from early history to the internet age. The main purpose of this course is to teach students to write academically and to think critically. This course aims to give students the tools to engage in academic inquiry, to think beyond what they believe they already know and to question. This course will give students the freedom to develop their own ideas about the subjects discussed. 

Social Change (P.AD 201) (SBS students only)

This course examines social change in the U.S. and abroad.  The course also examines the role of business, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector in addressing social problems.  Topics studied may include the Civil Rights Movement, environmental issues, education reform, and health policy.

Course Credit Information

The FSL Program is comprised of three courses for the fall semester; two courses for the spring semester. Credit distribution depends on the student's major, but typically*:

ENG 098/099: CAS and SBS students receive 8 free elective credits.  Students receiving B's or higher and passing a portfolio assessment may use ENG 099 to waive WRI 101.

HST 150: CAS students receive 4 credits for the Cultural Diversity Group B requirement; SBS students receive 4 credits for the Globalization requirement (in some cases, CAS students also receive another 4 credits for the Humanities and History requirement)

CI 113: SBS and CAS students receive 3 credits CI requirement

SF 1138: CAS students receive 4 credits SF requirement

P.AD 201: SBS students receive 3 credits Social Change requirement

*Certain majors may differ from this formula

Completing the FSL Program

You must pass your FSL program courses in order to begin your second year of study at Suffolk University. If you do not pass your FSL courses, you will be recommended for dismissal from Suffolk University.

Your language proficiency will be measured at the end of the year to determine your correct English placement for your sophomore year. Most students completing the FSL program take WRI 101 the following fall. Some students may be able to waive WRI 101 by receiving a B or higher in ENG 099 and passing a writing portfolio submitted to the English department.

Costs and Financial Aid


FSL Program students pay the regular full-time undergraduate tuition for their program. Students in this program are eligible to apply for financial aid.

Financial Aid

To apply for financial aid at Suffolk University you must submit:

  • A Suffolk University application for financial aid
  • A Massachusetts Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The preferred filling date for fall enrollment is March 1. For more information and a financial aid application, call the Office of Financial Aid at (617) 573-8470.

Please note: if you are studying in the United States with an F-1 Visa, you are not eligible for Federal financial aid, but may apply for institutional aid.


There is limited housing available in the University’s dormitories. In addition, Suffolk’s University-sponsored Housing Office maintains lists of area apartments, homestay, and roommate opportunities.

Support Services

The FSL program classes are small and participants receive a great deal of individual attention. In addition, a number of support services are available to help in their academic endeavors, including one-to-one and small group tutoring, study groups, workshops, career exploration and counseling services, and personal counseling and guidance.