Intensive Academic English Program

Students Walking outside

The ELI operates six (6) sessions a year focused on preparing students for academic study at an English-speaking university. There are four phases and eight levels of instruction and students can be promoted to the next level after each session. All sessions are approximately 8 weeks.


Our program consists of four phases: 1) beginner;  2) intermediate;  3) advanced; and 4) academic. Within each phase, there are two levels. Students take a placement test during orientation to determine in which level they will be placed. It should take about 12 months for a student to complete our entire ELI program if they test into the first level.

ELI Levels

All ELI classes meet Monday – Thursday between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, and on Fridays between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm*. Full-time students must enroll in 18 to 22 hours of instruction per week. There is a lunch break in the middle of the day for all students.

All students must take the core courses of Grammar/Writing, Listening/Speaking, and Reading/Vocabulary. In addition, there are two elective courses assigned to each level.


Phase 1:  Beginner    1A - Beginner Vocabulary Development
     1B - Beginner Fluency
Phase 2:  Intermediate    2A - Expressive Language
     2B - Intermediate Fluency
Phase 3:  Advanced    3A - Academic Skills
     3B - Extended Reading
Phase 4:  Academic    4A - Advanced Fluency and Debate
     4B - Humanities








Sample Schedule

*Summer schedules may differ slightly.


In order to receive a Certificate of Completion from the Mercer ELI Program, you must have successfully:

  • Passed Phase 4 (Academic) Grammar/Writing with at least a C

  • Passed Phase 4 (Academic) Listening/Speaking with at least a C

  • Passed Phase 4 (Academic) Reading/Vocabulary with at least a C

  • Passed the Exit Writing Test and the Mercer ELI Exit Test (MTELP - Michigan Test of English Proficiency) or the TOEFL ITP.

Students who pass the highest Advanced level with at least a C in all of their courses but who fail to pass the Exit Writing Test and/or MTELP Exit Test will receive a Certificate of Attendance and be given the opportunity to reenroll in the highest Advanced level and take the exit tests again at the end of the next semester.

The ELI holds a completion ceremony on the last day of the Fall II, Spring II, and Summer II sessions in order to honor the graduating Advanced students and outstanding students from each season. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend.