Program Information

 Program Overview

The English Language Program (ELP) is an academic, intensive English program that aims primarily at assisting international students in developing their English language proficiency to the level needed to pursue their education at Purdue University Calumet. The academic year for ELP students consists of four sessions: fall semester, spring semester, Maymester session, and summer session. The classes include 1) reading, 2) writing and grammar, 3) speaking and listening, and 4) an elective. Students are given placement tests and are enrolled in one of four levels:

  • Level 1 – Foundations
  • Level 2 – Low-Intermediate
  • Level 3 – High Intermediate
  • Level 4 – Advanced

Classes meet 4 days a week, Mondays through Thursdays. Fridays and some Saturdays are Field Trip Days organized by the Office of International Programs at no additional cost: students are taken on cultural and educational field trips to Chicago and the region. Several domestic students working as mentors accompany ELP students on these field trips in order to provide students with cultural insight and English practice.

  Fall (15 weeks)   Spring (15 weeks) Maymester (4 weeks)   Summer (8 weeks)  
Reading 6 hr/wk 6 hr/wk N/A 12 hr/wk
Grammar 6 hr/wk 6 hr/wk N/A 12 hr/wk
Speaking/Listening 6 hr/wk 6 hr/wk 24 hr/wk N/A
Elective 3 hr/wk 3 hr/wk N/A N/A

Placement Testing

Initial Placement Test

All new students are required to take a placement test. The placement testing procedure assesses students English language skills in areas of listening, reading, writing, and grammar. Oral interviews will be conducted by faculty to assess student speaking skills. After reviewing test results, the program director and/or faculty will place the student in the appropriate language level.

  • NOTE:There may be semesters (especially during the summer when enrollment is generally lower) when ELP is not able to offer a particular level if fewer than 8 students are placed in that level on the day of the Placement Exam.
  • Students placed in level 1 are not beginners; they generally have a low-intermediate proficiency level in English (a minimum of 400 on the Paper-Based TOEFL or 32 on the iBT).

Diagnostic Testing

During the first two weeks of instruction, students will be given diagnostic tests in each of their classes. The purpose of these tests is to ensure students have been placed in the appropriate courses.

Progressing Through ELP

Level Advancement

At the end of each session, if a student performs well in his/her classes and earns a 75% or higher in all four skill areas, he/she moves to the next level, or, in the case of a Level 4 student, moves to non-ELP, mainstream university classes at Purdue Calumet. Upon successful completion of the ELP, undergraduate students are automatically matriculated into degree programs after filling out a new undergraduate application and change-of-status paperwork. Graduate students, however, must obtain 80% in their classes and pass a special Exit Test to be able to start a graduate degree program at PUC.  The other option is to pass the IELTS with 6.5 or the TOEFL with a minimum total score of 77 in addition to the following sub-scores: Listening 14, Speaking 18, Reading 19, and Writing 18. 

Repeating Courses

At the end of a session, if a student fails his/her speaking and listening courses but passes his/her reading and writing courses for example, the student is permitted to advance to the next level in only the reading and writing courses. The student must repeat the speaking and listening courses the following semester. In this case, he/she will be a split-level student the following semester. There are some instances, for example, where a Level 4 student has failed only one course. This student is permitted to enroll in non-ELP (regular) university classes (up to 9 credit hours) but must repeat the final ELP class before fully exiting the ELP.
Note: failing a class twice may result in expulsion from the program; however, in very rare cases, the director and faculty reserve the right to allow a student to take a class up to three times.

Exiting the ELP & TOEFL / IELTS Information

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who have successfully completed all of their level 3 courses are eligible to apply to an undergraduate program at PUC. The TOEFL requirement for undergraduate students is waived for ELP students who have successfully completed their ELP courses.

Note:   Level 3 and 4 students who take the TOEFL or IELTS test during their semester of study and receive a passing score per PUC requirements must also complete and pass their current ELP classes in order to take non-ELP courses that are required for their major.  This policy does not apply to level 1 and level 2 students.

Graduate Students

In order to apply for graduate school, students must:

A.) Submit official IELTS or TOEFL scores. Students must score 6.5 on the IELTS or obtain a minimum combined score of 77 on the Internet-based test (iBT) as well as specific sub-scores: Writing 18; Speaking 18; Listening 14; Reading 19.


B.) A second option available to ELP graduate students is to take the Graduate Student Exit Test, which eliminates the need for TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Students must meet all other requirements for their graduate degree program/college, which may require higher TOEFL scores, and/or additional exam scores such as the GRE exam.  Students are encouraged to confirm the admissions requirements of their individual departments.

Graduate Student Exit Test

The TOEFL and IELTS are no longer required for admission to the Graduate School at Purdue University Calumet as long as ELP students are able to complete Level 4 and satisfy two other requirements:

  1. Obtain an average of 80% in ELP courses
  2. Pass the ELP Graduate Exit Test.  This test consists of:
  • a writing sample based on a reading passage
  • an oral assessment in the form of an interview

ELP graduate students who do not get the minimum of 80% in each class and/or do not pass the Graduate Exit Test can still take the TOEFL or IELTS test and submit it for admission.  In this case, students must score 6.5 overall on the IELTS or obtain a minimum combined score of 77 on the TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) as well as specific sub-scores: Writing 18, Speaking 18, Listening 14, Reading 19.

Immigration Policy/Information

Students studying in the PUC ELP Program with an F-1 visa must maintain full-time student status, or minimum of 18 hours of study, while enrolled at PUC.  This policy requires students to follow all ELP attendance and grade policies to avoid expulsion from their ELP courses. Students who are expelled from the ELP program will be subject to deportation and must leave the U.S. according to U.S. Federal Immigration guidelines. For questions about your visa and Department of Homeland Security regulations contact Marsha Gordon, ISS Director, in CLO 176.

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