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
Future Students

Future Students

ESL Institute

The ESL Institute is for students who are interested in improving their skills in English. This program offers ESL courses which are designed to meet the educational needs of eligible full-time and part-time ESL students (visa restrictions apply).

  • Four English proficiency levels:  foundations, beginning, intermediate and advanced
  • All ESL students must complete the ESL Online Placement test prior to the beginning of their first semester of attendance.  It may be completed only one time.
  • During the fall and winter semesters the classes are 16 weeks long. 
  • During the summer, there are two sessions that are each 8 weeks long.
  • Free workshops and tutoring available
  • Courses offered in reading, writing, speaking/listening, academic communications, grammar, and test prep
  • Final exams are given at the end of each semester following the Oakland University final exam schedule.
  • Students do NOT receive academic credit for these courses; however, students may receive a certificate of completion if enrolled full-time and complete all courses satisfactorily (4 courses per semester).


Full-time ESL Students (F-1 Visa Holders)
  • Students who are admitted to the ESL Institute as full-time students must enroll in four ESL classes each fall and winter semester (16 week semesters) and three ESL classes each Summer I and Summer II semester (8-week partial term semesters).  
  • Students must follow their ESL Plan of Study for ESL course enrollment information. 
  • This intensive English program complies with English USA accreditation standards. 
Part-time ESL Students (eligible visa types other than F-1 visa holders)
  • Part-time ESL students may take one, two or three ESL courses.
  • Students should follow their ESL Plan of Study for ESL course enrollment information.

Please, note:

  • For students who wish to pursue an academic degree and fulfill all other requirements of admission other than satisfying the university English proficiency policy and have earned and reported a score of at least 69 - 78 (TOEFL iBT), 6.0 (IELTS) or 73 - 76 (MELAB), may apply directly to their preferred program of study.  They will be required to begin their course of study at OU with English as a Second Language classes only.  However, once all required advanced level ESL courses have been completed with a 2.5 GPA or higher, the student may matriculate into academic courses.     
Admitted Students
with ESL Conditions
F-1 students are not eligible for this admission status.
For students who want to earn an academic degree (bachelor's, master's, or doctoral) from Oakland University or another American college or university.  You may apply directly to the appropriate degree program.

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

IMPORTANT:  Students who must obtain an F-1 visa to study in the United States are not eligible for conditional admissions.  Please, refer to  SEVP Policy Guidance S13.1: Conditional Admission
Note: Students who do NOT want to pursue an academic degree and who want to take ONLY ESL classes to improve their ability to communicate in English should contact the ESL Institute.
Exchange Students

The Oakland University English as a Second Language Program is available to J-1 exchange students each semester. 

  • Non-matriculating exchange students have the option of taking up to three courses (4 credits 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.
  • Please note that students must take an online placement test before registering for English language classes. 
  • During the fall and winter terms, free workshops are offered to ESL students on a variety of topics to enhance students' learning.  
  • The ESL Center employs a graduate assistant who provides workshops, small group meetings, and one-on-one tutoring by appointment for free.
Corporate ESL
Corporations interested in providing English as a Second Language instruction to their employees are encouraged to contact the ESL Institute for further information.

Kathleen Gnau
Program Assistant
Accent Reduction

The ESL Center offers a customized Accent Reduction Program. The training program is ten weeks and can be designed to fit your employee's work schedule. The instructor for this training will be an ESL Center Instructor from Oakland University's Department of Linguistics ESL Center.

Accent Reduction Training is a customized accent-training course that has been developed specifically for busy professionals. This course will focus on each participant's accent reduction needs as well as on the sounds, stress patterns, rhythms and intonation patterns of American English.

The course objectives are:

  • To identify participants' difficulties with American English sounds, stress and intonation patterns.
  • To assist participants to hear and learn the differences between American English sounds.
  • To produce and practice the troubled sounds to improve participants' American accent.

Each student will receive weekly feedback and assessment of their pronunciation skills and improvement. Due to the customized nature of the course, each course will accommodate 10 students (maximum).

                  Training Schedule and Topics
                  Week 1: Participants take American Speech Inventory diagnostic
                  Week 2: International Phonetic Alphabet; English Sounds
                  Week 3: English Sounds
                  Week 4: Syllable Stress
                  Week 5: Vowel and Consonant Length
                  Week 6: Word Stress and Phrasing; Content Words and Function Words
                  Week 7: Intonation
                  Week 8: Using a Dictionary for Pronunciation
                  Week 9: Review and practice American speech problems common to the class
                  Week 10: Review and practice American speech problems common to the class            

The course will use a combination of instructor-prepared materials and the textbook Mastering the American Accent by Lisa Mojsin. The book includes CDs for students to use at home. These materials are included in the course fee.

The cost per employee at the Oakland University campus is $750.00.  This includes the cost of all materials, textbooks, software, use of the language laboratory, and instructor salary. 

For more information, contact:   248.364.8803