English Language Institute: ELI

Frequently Asked Questions


The following is a list of questions frequently asked by International Students. Throughout this document, Northern Michigan University is referred to by its initials, NMU.

Does NMU have an ESL program? – Yes. Northern Michigan University's English Language Institute, ELI, accommodates all levels of English proficiency and runs during the summer, fall and winter semesters.

What are the costs of the program? Click here to go to the Program Cost page.

What are the 2014 ELI program dates?

The following are the enrollment dates for 2014:

  • January 7, 2014
  • March 7, 2014
  • May 13, 2014
  • August 19, 2014
  • October 7, 2014

Each semester, ELI offers two Blocks. The first Block consists of seven weeks of core-component classes. The second Block is eight weeks long: one week of elective classes and seven weeks of core-component classes. Additionally ELI offers one seven week Block in the summer.

Can I enroll in any of these sessions and begin where I need to - or do I need to enroll during a specific session? You may enroll during any of the five enrollment times.

What is the goal of the ELI program? – The program helps non-native English speakers to gain confidence and fluency using the English language for conversational purposes and to prepare for advanced academic studies. ELI uses the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery, MELAB, for matriculation into NMU. Students take courses and participate in activities designed to improve their understanding of the English language used in daily situations, classroom environments, and social contexts. This total immersion program focuses on the skills of reading and writing, listening and speaking, and grammar and language applications.

Can you tell me a little bit about the ELI program courses?

Certainly! We offer three core component classes: Reading and Writing, Listening and Speaking, and Grammar and Language Applications. Students attend each class every day, five days a week. Each component is divided into six levels:

  • Early Begginer: 1A
  • Beginner: 1B
  • Early Intermediate: 2A
  • Intermediate: 2B
  • Early Advanced: 3A
  • Advanced: 3B

Additionally, we offer the following courses:

  • ELI 050: Pre-Beginner course (Phonetics)
  • ELI 090A and ELI 090B: University Reading and Advanced Grammar/Vocabulary
  • ELI 091A and ELI 091B: University Writing and Advanced Grammar/Vocabulary
  • ELI 092A and ELI 092B: Studying for the MELAB
  • ELI 093A and ELI 093B: Volunteer Experience and/or Matriculation Preparation
  • ELI 094: Oral Presentations: Advanced Listening, Speaking, and Presentation Skills
  • ELI 095: Dual-Enrollment Course
  • ELI 055: One-on-One tutoring Course

You can find detailed information about the courses (Course Descriptions), here.

Can you describe the courses to me? Yes! Here is a link to a description of the levels - and a description of each course.

What if I want to learn how to take the TOEFL exam? Plans can be made to work specifically on the TOEFL during the final, advanced course session.

What other electives do you offer? We offer one-week elective course twice a year. Examples of Electives may include such electives as American Culture, How to Read a Novel, How to Write a Resume, How to Write a Cover Letter, Understanding/Writing Business English, and How to take the TOEFL, etc.

Are all of your courses offered with a real instructor? Yes. All of our classes are face to face, and our instructors offer excellent individualized instruction.

What kinds of resources do you have for international students? We have several resources in the ELI program. Here are a few:

  • Conversation Partners: Students meet with a conversation partner every other week, at least, for two hours.
  • Language-Lab Classes: Our Beginning Listening and Speaking course is situated within our Language Lab, where each student receives individualized and/or group instruction with a trained tutor.
  • Language-Lab Access for Advanced Work: Our Language Lab offers walk-in appointments for all students, including our ELI students, for additional help during the academic week, Monday - Thursday (all day).
  • Game Time (Board Games): Our Language Lab tutors, instructors, and some international students are available to play games to help ELI students improve their language skills - while having fun! Game times are set at regular times in 158 Whitman and the Commons Area in Whitman, but ELI students may also visit the Language Lab to play games at any available time at the lab.
  • Individualized Instruction: Students meet with an instructor for one hour per week to work on specific academic needs.
  • Accent Reduction Sessions: NMU's Speech Pathology and Audiology Department's tutors work with the ELI students one-on-one during the week and in Game Time once a week.
  • Social Events to meet and socialize with other international students at NMU and with the community and campus individuals: The ELI Coordinator plans regular get togethers for ELI students with instructors, International Program Office members, other instructors across campus, heads of the university, and/or other international students throughout the academic year. These social events usually take place once a month.
  • Team Teaching Friday Afternoons in context with academic and community activities: In order to increase learning advantages for our ELI students, every other Friday includes two hours of team teaching by ELI instructors. Team teaching may include group work, watching a movie for learning purposes, taking the bus to a local store to learn how to exchange currency, visiting the local library to check out books for reports, etc.

Does NMU administer the MELAB test? – Yes. NMU is an authorized MELAB Test Administration Site. Angela Maki, of the International Program Office, organizes and implements these exams once a month. ELI students may take this exam every other month.

What are the ELI program costs?This page offers information of costs based on the 2013/2014 fees.

Is NMU a public or private school? – NMU is a publicly funded state university.

Is NMU a safe campus? – Yes, NMU offers a very secure environment. Being a medium sized campus, located in a city of only 23,000 people in a rural part of Michigan, the crime rate is low.

Do I need a car to attend NMU? - No, NMU is an easily navigable, compact campus in a small city; many students do not have cars. Students have access to the local bus system or the Wildcat Shuttle, which offers students, faculty and staff free, reliable bus transportation. For more information, go to http://www.nmu.edu/publicsafety/node/226.

How many students are at NMU? – Approximately 9,300 students attend NMU.

Are the International Students at NMU active? – Yes, the International Students at NMU have an active organization on campus called the All Nations Club. The club organizes an International Food Festival as well as other fun cultural activities. Additionally, students have created their own clubs.

Are there other clubs I can join? Yes! There are over 300 student clubs at NMU. Additionally, you - or you and your friends - may create a new club. Please see the ELI Coordinator, Dr. Jo Doran in 163 Whitman, if you wish to create a new organization.

Where is NMU located? – NMU is located in the northern mid-west region of the U.S.A. Marquette is a small city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Three major airline hubs serve Marquette: Detroit, Michigan - 750 km; Chicago, Illinois - 640 km; and Minneapolis, Minnesota - 645 km.

Is it cold that far north? – NMU is located in the northern part of the U.S.A., so winters have cold weather and snow. The average winter temperature is approximately 18 degrees F (- 7.8 degrees C). However, the NMU campus has many covered walkways that allow students to move between many buildings without going outside. The winter months also provide opportunities for fun activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Can I work while attending NMU? – You may be able to work for the university for up to twenty hours per week during the fall and winter semesters, and 40 hours per week during the summer. Pay rates may vary, but expect to earn approximately US$7.40 per hour (graduate assistant pay rates and hours differ). Visa restrictions prohibit International Students from working for an employer other than the university.

Does NMU have adequate housing for students? – NMU has adequate housing on campus for all students. All students under the age of twenty-one must live on campus for two years (four semesters) or live with a host family; however, prior approval is required.

Where can I find information on immigration at NMU? Click on this link to obtain immigration information.

Where can I find information on housing at NMU? Click on this link to obtain housing information.

Are there places to walk in Marquette? Certainly! Marquette has an extensive network of hiking trails and biking/walking paths throughout the city. The city has been gradually expanding the paths and has been promoting itself as a walkable and livable community. Cross Country ski trails are also located at Presque Isle Park and the Fit Strip. Additionally, Marquette has beautiful beaches within walking distance of campus where you can walk.

Who should I contact for the ELI program? To contact the NELI Program Office, e-mail cdoran@nmu.edu or call 1+906-227-2594

Who should I contact for immigration and/or international information? To contact the International Program Office, call 1+906-227-2510, e-mail ipo@nmu.edu, or fax 906-227-2533.