Curriculum & Academic Information

Curriculum & Academic Information

Curriculum & Academic Information

The following highlights key elements of the ELI Curriculum

Our goal related to writing skills is for our students to be able to write a relevant, comprehensible, and convincing text by understanding that writing is a process composed of series of steps. By breaking down the process into manageable stages, we are hoping that students will approach a writing task with more confidence and that the end product will be well-structured. We understand that in order to be successful, academics students need to be able to find and interact with outside sources in their field and incorporate them in their writing. We are striving to strike a balance between writing accuracy and fluency so that our students are able to write correctly and efficiently.

ELI students need to able to communicate orally with confidence. First of all, they need to be able to participate in classroom discussions, but also to talk to other students in a more informal way. They will also benefit greatly from learning how to give a presentation in front of audiences in both their academic and professional careers.

It’s crucial for our students to be able to comprehend an academic text in an efficient way so that they do not get overwhelmed with the amount of detail, and at the same time are able to extract relevant content.

Listening skills are at the core of students’ success in academic and professional communication. Not only do they need to be able to understand a lecture or presentation but they also need to be able to understand their peers in more informal context.

In terms of grammar we are striving for accuracy and variety of structures.

  • To be able to produce language with fair amount of correctness. Our students need to able to create language structures that are appropriate for a language situation and have correct forms.
  • To draw on a variety of grammar structures. Students need to be able to create complex language in order to produce language that is exact and professional.

Vocabulary is an essential part in all the areas of language as it carries the meaning of language units. ELI is recognizing this and that is why vocabulary focus is integrated in our reading and listening classes.

Placement, Promotion & Completion

Before students start our program they take Versant test that will determine their placement in the correct level. The Academic Coordinator may allow students to change their level in the first two weeks of the semester, if this is recommended by their instructors and if the additional testing also supports this transition.

Level Descriptions

The ELI has six levels represented in the table below, referencing CEFR and to Versant test scores.

  •  Levels 1&2 are beginner levels and the focus is on developing general English. Students learn to communicate about familiar topics and to use the language in everyday situations. The emphasis is on writing on a sentence level, and on reading and listening to shorter passages on general topics. The other goal include building their foundations of grammar and vocabulary.
  • Level 3, 4 and 5 are intermediate levels and the focus is on developing academic skills. Students learn to construct paragraphs and essays, practice reading and listening to more academic material, and practice communication in a classroom. Students also expand their grammar and vocabulary range.
  • Level 6 is an advanced level and it serves to prepare students for graduate classes. Students practice research skills, editing writing, giving presentations, and reading and listening longer more complex academic passages.

Versant Test




Level 1


Level 2 A1


Level 3 A2 36-46 4.0-4.5
Level 4 B1 47-51 5.0
Level 5 B1 52-57 5.5
Level 6 Exit B2 58-68 6.0-6.5

Level Placement

Repeating a Level
Students are expected to make progress in their study of English. A student may not take a level in the program for more than two semesters.

ELI Students must earn a minimum of a C- average in each course to pass from one level to the next. Students in levels 4 through 6 will have the opportunity to take undergraduate courses concurrently as a part of their ELI electives.

Level Skipping:
All students must take level 4. Otherwise, skipping a level is possible if testing, class performance and instructor recommendations support such a change. The following steps would be taken to confirm skipping over a level.

  • Student must achieve a 95% grade and test score at the next level benchmark required to move to that higher level.
  • Student must submit an essay, which includes a rationale and case for skipping to the next level.
  • Student must have a speaking evaluation, to be determined by the Academic Coordinator and ELI staff.

Level Completion
Students must earn a minimum of a B- average at level 5 (undergraduate) or level 6 (graduate) to matriculate to their full-time academic major. Students must work with the respective Admissions Office to be admitted to an academic program. For more information regarding being admitted to MU’s academic programs, visit our International Admissions page, found at:

Important Note: Applicants must meet all other Millersville University admission requirements, including program-specific requirements.

Length of Study

The amount of time it takes to learn a new language depends on the individual. Students who begin the ELI program in levels 1 or 2 should expect to study for at least 12 months prior to taking full-time courses in their academic programs. Students in levels 3 or 4 should expect to study for at least 8 months prior to taking full-time courses in their academic programs. Students beginning in levels 5 or 6 should expect to study at least 4 months prior to taking full-time courses in their academic programs.

ELI Curriculum

The English Language Institute (ELI) provides six levels of intensive English instruction designed to meet the academic needs of international students attending Millersville University. Full-time ELI students receive a minimum of 18 hours of English instruction and 4 hours of supervised language lab work per week, depending on the program.

Core Courses
Each level is made up of courses focusing on key areas, which are:

  • Academic Reading – Students will develop the skills needed to be successful readers of academic material with increased fluency and understanding.
  • Academic Writing – Students will learn to write academic essays and practice skills necessary to write a research paper.
  • Academic Listening – Students will practice comprehending lectures and effective notetaking strategies.
  • Academic Speaking – Students will learn to conduct a presentation and engage in academic conversations in a classroom.
  • Grammar – Students will learn to compose grammatically correct structures in oral and written communication.
  • Vocabulary – Students will expand their academic and general vocabulary to enable communication on a wide range of topics.

Each core course has a laboratory period for additional practice, with tutors and staff available for assistance.

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6

Reading & Writing 1

Listening & Speaking 1

Reading & Writing 2

Listening & Speaking 2

Academic Reading & Vocabulary 3

Academic Listening and Speaking 3

Academic Reading & Vocabulary 4

Academic Listening and Speaking 4

Academic Reading & Vocabulary 5

Academic Listening and Speaking 5

Advanced Reading & Research 6

Advanced Communication and Listening Skills 6

Foundations 1 Foundations 2

Academic Writing 3

Grammar & Communication 3

Academic Writing 4

Grammar & Communication 4

Academic Writing 5

Grammar & Communication 5

Advanced Grammar for Writers 6

Click here for sample schedules. 

Elective Courses

In addition to core courses, the ELI offers specialized classes that students may choose based on interest and availability; not every course is offered every semester and will vary per level.

Community and Self
ELI students have the opportunity to learn more about the community around them through civic engagement. Students will engage in a variety of programs in the city of Lancaster through service or experiential learning. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences through blogging, and journal writing.

Language Lab

The ELI’s Language Lab provides opportunities for students to practice a variety of language skills, such as grammar, listening, punctuation, reading, writing and vocabulary, in simulated and real-life contexts. Software and materials used are customized to the learner’s need.

Program Schedule

Classes are held Monday through Friday and hours range between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. depending on a student’s level.