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 six 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 three phases: 1) beginner;  2) intermediate; and 3) advanced. 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.

Six Level Image

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 a variety of elective courses students can add to their schedule. We often develop classes or seminars to meet student needs as well, including TOEFL & IELTS Preparation, test-taking strategies, pronunciation, and university preparation.


Phase 1: Beginner    Beginner Verbal Fluency
     Vocabulary Development
     Expressive Language
Phase 2: Intermediate    Intermediate Verbal Fluency
     Intermediate Extended Reading
     Intermediate Presentation Skills
     Intermediate Academic Skills
Phase 3: Advanced    Advanced Verbal Fluency & Debate
     Advanced Academic Writing
     Culture Through Film









SAMPLE CLASS SCHEDULEClass Sample Schedule*Summer schedules may differ slightly in time.


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

  • Passed the highest Advanced level in Grammar/Writing with at least a C

  • Passed the highest Advanced level in Listening/Speaking with at least a C

  • Passed the highest Advanced level in Reading/Vocabulary with at least a C

  • Passed at least two electives in Phase III (unless tested into the highest level)

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

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 session.

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.