Intensive Academic English Program

Students Walking outside

Mercer English Language Institute is an Intensive English Program (IEP) which prepares students to effectively use English in personal, social, professional, and academic contexts.


Students in the ELI must:

1) be at least 18 years old

2) have a high school diploma

3) meet the language standards for placement into an ELI program level. In order to qualify, students provide either a) transcripts for a non-English apeaking institution OR b) internationally recognized English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) demonstrating proficiency levels  below the equivalent of C1 on the CEFR.


IEP curriculum is divided into four levels: 1) beginner;  2) elementary;  3) intermediate; and 4) academic. In each level, different uses of English are developed.

  • Levels 1 and 2 develop English for social and personal purposes.
  • Level 3 develops English for professional and academic purposes.
  • Level 4 focuses on developing English for academic and research purposes.


The Levels of Mercer’s ELI correspond with the levels of the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR), a tool used around the world for teaching languages. All of the assignments, tests, and activities in ELI’s courses are chosen specifically to help students progress from one level of the CEFR to the next.


Our courses consist of integrated skills-based courses and are organized into Core Courses and Elective Courses.  The amount of time allotted for each course per week corresponds with the amount of time necessary to develop proficiency in each skill. These courses are the same for every level.

 Grammar/Writing 8
 Reading/Vocabulary 6
 Listening/Speaking 4
 Elective 2
 Beginner Vocabulary Development 1 A
 Beginner Fluency 1 B
 Expressive Language 2 A
 Intermediate Fluency 2 B
 Academic Skills 3 A
Extended Reading 3 B
Advanced Fluency and Debate 4 A
Humanities 4 B


Our curriculum is delivered over two semesters per year (Fall and Spring). Each level is offered during each semester.  Students who test into our Level 1, as Beginners, will need 4 consecutive semesters, or 16 months, to complete our ELI program.  Students who elect to take a break during the summer will need longer, and students who test into higher levels will need less time to complete the program.


Placement tests are administered to new, incoming students at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters during orientation to determin in which level they will be placed.


All ELI classes meet between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, every weekday Monday through Thursday,  and on Fridays between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.* 

There is a lunch break each day for all students. 


ELI daily schedule

*Summer schedules may differ slightly.


For a detailed table of the learning outcomes for each of our courses through the four levels of the program, click here.


Students in Level 4 can take the program exit test at the end of their semester. The ELI holds a recognition ceremony on the last day of the Fall and Spring semesters to honor graduating students. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend.

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

  • Passed Level 4  Grammar/Writing with at least a C+

  • Passed Level 4  Listening/Speaking with at least a C+

  • Passed Level 4 Reading/Vocabulary with at least a C+

  • Received an overall score of B2 equivalent or higher on the ITEP