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ESL Institute/Office of Global Engagement

O'Dowd Hall, Room 326
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4482
(location map)
Phone: (248) 364-8803
Fax: (248) 370-3587

A woman writing on a white board with a blue marker.

Future Students

Do you have the desire to improve your skills in English? The ESL Institute offers classes for language learners of all skill levels. We want to help you to read, write, speak and listen in English with confidence.

ESL Institute
  • Full-time and part-time programs available
  • Courses offered in reading, writing, and speaking/listening.
  • Students do NOT receive academic credit for these courses; however, students may receive a certificate of completion for all ESL coursework completed.
  • Most visa holders are eligible for admission (contact esl@oakland.edu for eligibility questions).

Full-time ESL Students

  • Students enroll in three courses each 8-week term.
  • Students attend four 8-week terms before eligible for a vacation semester.  

Part-time ESL Students

  • Students may take one, two or three ESL courses per 8-week term depending on regulations of visa type.
  • Students may take vacation semesters when needed.

Visitor Visas (B-1/B-2)

  • Students may take one ESL course per term.
  • The end date of the visa must be after the last day of the final exam of the term of attendance.

Classes and PlacementHow to ApplyCostsDue Dates and Deadlines


Are you ready to start studying for an academic degree? The Global Achievement Pathway Program (GAPP) is for undergraduate applicants who meet all academic requirements for full admission but who have slightly lower English proficiency test scores. In GAPP, a combination of ESL courses and academic courses will be taken.

GAPP for Undergrads

Global Achievement Pathways Program for One Semester (GAPP - 1)

The first semester of attendance, students will take 12 academic credits and two level 7 ESL classes. Students must earn a B- or higher in their level 7 classes; the student will take only academic classes in subsequent semesters.

Applicants can qualify for the one semester program with the following English proficiency test scores:

  • TOEFLiBT: 69 – 78 (minimum section score 16)
  • IELTS: 6.0 (minimum section score 5.5)
  • PTE Academic: 48-52
  • Duolingo English Test: 95 out of 160 after July 15, 2019 (38-47 out of 100)

Global Achievement Pathways Program for Two Semesters (GAPP - 2)

The first semester of attendance, student will take 4 academic credits and four ESL classes at levels 6 and 7. Students must earn a B- or higher in their level 6 and 7 classes.  The second semester in GAPP, the student will take 12 academic credits and two ESL classes at level 7.  Students must earn a B- or higher in their level 7 classes; the student will take only academic classes in subsequent semesters.

Applicants will qualify with the following English proficiency test scores:

  • TOEFLiBT: 62 - 68
  • IELTS: 6.0
  • PTE Academic: 44 - 47
  • Duolingo English Test: 90 out of 160 after July 15, 2019 (30 – 37 out of 100)
To apply, go to Future Undergraduate Students
  1. Apply to Oakland University for an undergraduate degree.
  2. Submit all required documents including English proficiency test information.
  3. If eligible, applicant will be accepted as a GAPP student.

Enhance your education and expand your learning opportunities by spending one or two semesters at Oakland University.  The American Semester Abroad Program (ASAP) is for international graduate and undergraduate students who wish to standout while studying abroad for credit at Oakland University and experiencing all OU has to offer you.

Benefits of ASAP
  • Enroll full time--12 credits at the undergraduate level or 8 credits at the graduate level
  • Receive an official transcript and certificate of completion
  • Option to be a part of a team of student-entrepreneurs through Oakland University's Ideas to Business (I2B) program
  • Learn about future academic and career possibilities in the United States
  • Make connections with faculty and mentors in your field
  • Access to all university amenities – recreation center, library, student activities, lectures, sports and more
  • Explore the Metro Detroit area and Canada
  • Visit international Fortune 500 companies
  • Enjoy planned excursions for shopping and sightseeing
Take Classes in:
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Business
  • Health Sciences
  • Education
  • Undergraduate students should hold at least sophomore standing at their home university and be in good academic standing.
  • Graduate students must have completed a bachelor’s degree.
  • All students must meet university English proficiency standards to take academic classes only; otherwise, they will take two ESL courses in addition to either 12 credits at the undergraduate level or 8 credits at the graduate level.
    • To take all academic courses:
      • TOEFL iBT: 79 minimum
      • IELTS: 6.5 minimum
      • PTE Academic: 53 minimum
      • Duolingo English Test: 100 (undergraduate students only)
    • To take academic courses with ESL support courses:
      • TOEFL iBT: 69 - 78
      • IELTS: 6.0 (no section score below 5.5)
      • PTE Academic: 48 - 52
      • Duolingo English Test: 95 (undergraduate students only)

To apply, go to the undergraduate admissions application and select "I wish to pursue other undergraduate work (second degree, teacher certification, post-bachelor, additional major/minor, American Semester Abroad Program (ASAP), etc.)."

To apply, go to the graduate admissions application and select "I am interested as an ASAP Non-Degree seeking student."

J-1 Students and Scholars

Non-matriculating J-1 exchange students have the option of taking up to three courses (4 CEUs each) in speaking and listening comprehension, reading and vocabulary development, and writing and sentence structure with other international students.

  • A maximum of twelve OU credits per term can be earned.
  • ESL courses are 8-week terms.
  • Students must take the ESL online placement test before registering for English language classes. Please, email esl@oakland.edu for access to the test.
  • Free workshops are offered to ESL students on a variety of topics to enhance students' learning.
Academic Students

Do you want to improve your confidence using English in an academic setting?  Reading, writing, speaking and listening in another language at the university level requires students to have have a high level of proficiency.  If you find yourself spending a lot longer completing assignments than the domestic students in your class, or if you just want to continue to build your English proficiency skills for success in an academic setting, take an ESL class or two or three!

For undergraduate students, we would recommend the following courses:

ESL 0077N - Level 7 - Listening and Speaking for Academics:  For non-native speakers only. Guides students toward mastery of the skills necessary to succeed in the academic setting. Focus is on student demonstration of their ability to communicate and understand English effectively in a variety of academic situations such that they are prepared for integration into general education courses.

ESL 0078N - Level 7 - Reading and Vocabulary Development:  For non-native speakers only. Designed to help students refine reading skills and strategies for academic purposes. Emphasizes critical analysis and close reading skills.

ESL 0079N - Level 7 - Academic Writing:  For non-native speakers only. Practice in the development of advanced computer literacy, typing, and writing skills utilizing technology. Combines extensive practice in process writing for a variety of audiences and purposes (e.g., lab reports, essays and research reports) with an emphasis on developing fluency.

For graduate students, we would recommend the following courses:

ESL 0087N - Level 8 - Listening and Speaking: English for Academic Success:  For non-native speakers of English. Emphasis on improving presentation skills, particularly pronunciation, and on addressing issues relevant to graduate student success.

ESL 088N - Level 8 - Reading and Vocabulary for Research:  For non-native speakers only. Designed to aid graduate students with the tasks of reading and comprehending substantive research papers or theses. Emphasis will be on critical thinking skills and vocabulary development. 

ESL 0089N - Level 8 - Academic Writing for Research Purposes:  For non-native speakers only. Designed to aid graduate students with the tasks of writing substantive research papers or thesis.

If interested, contact:
Kathy Gnau, ESL Program Coordinator
Office of Global Engagement
326 O'Dowd Hall
(248) 364-8803