If you are a second language speaker thinking about attending a graduate program in the United States but would like to polish your language skills before you start, consider the Pre-Graduate English Language for Internationals (ELI) program. This program is a non-credit, intensive English language program that is tailored to the academic needs of graduate students. Classes mirror actual graduate-level courses and the curriculum incorporates many of the same assignments and projects that graduate students will encounter at an American University.

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.

  • Why Pre-Graduate ELI?

    By participating in the pre-graduate ELI program, you will gain the winning edge that will make your graduate experience a memorable and positive one. Students will:

    • Experience the challenges and expectations of a graduate-level class
    • Get acquainted with the case study method and read authentic materials
    • Learn important skills like writing reports and analyses as well as conducting research
    • Practice the language of business
    • Participate in mock business meetings, debates, and interviews
    • Learn how to deliver a top-notch PowerPoint presentation
  • Application Requirements

    • A completed ELI application
    • Proof of a minimum level of English proficiency, demonstrated by one of the following:
      • A TOEFL score of 450+ (paper), 45+ (iBT) for graduate students  
    • A translated, official college transcript or proof of graduation.
    • (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 and immunization history [PDF] 
    • $50 application fee 

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

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

  • Classes

    Most pre-graduate students are placed in a high advanced (06) or special advanced (07 level).

    Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation

    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

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

    Students focus on 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 other ELI courses.

    Research Skills Lab

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

    Introduction to Graduate Studies

    This lab will introduce student to graduate school concepts, expectations and types of course assignments.  Students will learn about tools and develop skills needed to succeed in graduate classes. 

  • Costs

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


  • FAQS

    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 an additional charge). Graduates who score 550 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. Some graduate programs allow students to take up to two graduate classes and two English classes.

    What about my student visa?

    International Student Services assists students in preparing and maintaining an I-20 certificate/F-1 visa.