Northern's English Language Institute



    As of August 1, 2013, the ESL program at Northern Michigan University has been redesigned.

    We are now NELI - Northern's English Language Institute.

    We are located at 163 Whitman Hall, which is on the corner of Norway and Fair Avenues (see campus map ).


    Additionally, you may find the Student Handbook - online - here, with access to Google Translator.

    NELI Brochure - Please download for full view:

    Additionally, you may view the brochure content here and translate it using the Google Translate button on the page.


    NELI offers English language courses for international students who do not meet the university entrance requirements for TOEFL, IELTS, and MELAB. The following are the minimum scores required by NMU for admission and approval to take credit-bearing courses at Northern Michigan University (NMU):

    • TOEFL Internet-based (iBT) test: 61
    • TOEFL computer-based test: 173
    • TOEFL paper-based test: 500
    • IELTS: 6.0
    • MELAB: 69

    All students entering the NELI Program will take the ACT Compass Test for ESL students the week before beginning classes.

    NELI Mission Statement

    The mission of the English Language Institute at Northern Michigan University is to assist non-native speakers of English in acquiring sufficient language proficiency and independent learning strategies to become successful participants in the Northern Michigan University community, their personal lives, and their chosen occupations via proven instructional methodologies in reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, and language applications and via monitored social activities and intercultural experiences.

    NELI Overview

    • Our Total Immersion courses focus on the following Core Components: Reading and Writing, Listening and Speaking, Grammar and Language Applications
    • We offer six levels to accommodate all levels of English proficiency. We also offer half-semester sessions, or Blocks, , which allow students who need to re-take a session to spend only seven or eight weeks on the level instead of a full semester.
      • Early Beginner: 1A
      • Beginner: 1B
      • Early Intermediate: 2A
      • Intermediate: 2B
      • Early Advanced: 3A
      • Advanced: 3B
    • We also offer the following additional courses:
      • Dual-Enrollment Course - (2 credit hours per week): For students that do not earn a high-enough score to matriculate into Northern Michigan University, we offer a transition program that allows some students to begin taking credit-bearing courses - while they continue their work in the NELI program by taking this 2-credit Bridge Course.
      • Advanced University classes
      • Pre-beginner course
      • Tutoring classes
    • Students can enroll at one of five times during the year. Here are the enrollment dates for the 2013/2014 academic year:
      • January 7, 2014
      • March 7, 2014
      • May 13, 2014
      • August 19, 2014
      • October 7, 2014
      • Students receive a minimum of 21.5 contact hours per week.
    • Students (intermediate and advanced levels) take a one-week elective course between each seven-week session. Examples of Electives are How to take the TOEFL, American Cultural History, American Academic Culture, How to Read a Novel, How to Write a Resume, How to Write a Cover Letter, Understanding/Writing Business English, etc. All Intermediate and Advanced students may take an elective course.
    • In addition to 18 hours of face-to-face class time with an instructor, each student receives from 4 to 6 hours per week of additional one-on-one time with insructors or tutors - at no additional cost to the students.
    • All courses, except early beginner courses, offer MELAB preparation for matriculation into Northern Michigan University. MELAB is the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery - MELAB.












    • Our instructors are TESOL certified, have earned a Masters Degree in TESOL, TFL, or Linguistics, and/or have earned a PhD in ESL or an ESL-related field.
    • Our classes are face-to-face classes only.
    • Our class size is no larger than 10 students.


    NELI provides the following resources:

    • One-on-one time in our excellent Language Lab using American Speech Sounds Professional where students work with trained tutors
    • Conversation Mentors: Our NELI students meet with an NMU or community volunteer once every two weeks for two hours
    • Accent Reduction Sessions: Each NELI student meets with a trained Speech Pathology/Audiology tutor for 30 minutes twice a week
    • Game Time: NELI students meet up with other NMU students and a Speech Pathology/Audiology tutor to play board games for one hour (minimum) per week
    • Language Partners: Each students is assigned a U.S. NMU student who spends time with them: going out for coffee, going shopping, going to the movies, talking, going for walks, etc.
    • Academic Partner: Each student is assigned a U.S. NMU student who meets with the NELI student once a week for one hour in Whitman Hall. The Academic Partner helps the NELI student to understand his/her homework.
    • On-campus classrooms throughout our beautiful and wired campus
    • Individualized Instruction Time with a NELI instructor
    • Access to over 300 student clubs, including the Chinese Club, Falun Dafa Club, International Dancer's Club, Spanish Club, German Club, and French Club.
    • A prayer room in NMU's University Center
    • Socializing activities, such as pizza parties, dinners at the Director's house, birthday parties, etc.

    For more information please contact:

    Dr. Jo Doran, NELI Coordinator
    163 Whitman Hall
    Northern Michigan University
    Marquette, MI 49855
    Telephone: 1+906.227.2594

    About Our City

    Northern Michigan University (NMU), founded in 1899, is located on a 320-acre campus on the beautiful southern shore of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, in the safe, friendly city of Marquette. The population of Marquette is approximately 21,355, not counting university students. The residents of Marquette are kind and open minded, and our previous students state that they have been very pleased with their interaction with members of the community. NMU has 8,451 undergraduate students and 647 graduate students; of these, over 110 are international students. This includes students enrolled in both credit-bearing and non-credit bearing courses. NMU has over 180 undergraduate and graduate degrees to fit your interests. NMU offers over 200 student organizations, offers WiMAX with Internet coverage not only within the entire city of Marquette - but also outlying areas, offers the nationally renowned Student Leader Fellowship Program, and has an extremely professional and active Academic Service Learning Program.