ESL Institute/Department of Linguistics
O'Dowd Hall, Room 326
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4482
Phone: (248) 364-8803
Fax: (248) 370-3587

About the ESL Institute

Are you interested in:

    • Improving your English language skills?
    • Improving your TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS score?
    • Obtaining admission to a U.S. college or university?

Mission Statement

The mission of the Oakland University ESL Institute is to offer instruction and programming that provide non-native speakers of English with the linguistic, academic, social and cultural tools required to successfully navigate both the American university system and professional environments for which English is the principal medium of communication.


  • Students come to Oakland University from many different countries around the world in order to improve their ability to communicate in English.
  • A student may apply directly to the ESL Institute or may apply as an graduate or undergraduate student.  
    • If the student fulfills all other requirements of admission other than satisfying the university English proficiency requirement, the student will be admitted for English language learning only.  
    • If applying to either graduate or undergraduate admissions without satisfying the English proficiency policy of the university, notification that you can begin studies via the OU ESL Institute will be emailed to the student.
    • The student must accept this offer via email in order to be admitted to the ESL Institute for ESL courses.
    • Once the student has earned a 2.5 in all advanced level courses or satisfies the Oakland University English Proficiency policy in some other way, may matriculate into academic courses.  
  • All students taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Oakland University will be attending classes as a student of the OU ESL Institute.
  • All ESL Institute students are required to take four courses during the fall and winter semesters and three courses during each 8-week partial semester in the summer if an F-1 visa holder.
  • Before the first semester of attendance, ESL Institute students will complete an online placement test to evaluate their English level. 
  • The student is placed in the appropriate ESL classes in order to improve his or her skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • All ESL students attend classes Monday through Friday (fall and winter semesters) or Monday through Thursday (summer semesters) at specific times.
  • ESL students can take advantage of various free workshops that are offered on many different topics, including conversation, American culture, pronunciation, etc.
  • Students are encouraged to become involved in campus activities.
  • Instructors are available to encourage, help and support student learning.
  • Free individual tutoring is also available.