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English Language Resources

Northwestern University brings students and scholars from around the world to engage in research, graduate studies and intellectual exchange. 

The special orientation programs for first-year graduate students focus on developing communicative and cultural competence in English for the US academic setting:

English Language Program (ELP) Foundations

ELP Foundations is a hybrid course that pairs online instruction in the summer before students arrive on campus with in-person experiences in Evanston and Chicago in September. ELP Foundations will provide linguistic, emotional, academic and practical support to entering Northwestern PhD and MFA students through online content on using American English and practical advice on integrating into an American university and the local culture. Students will begin to build their new support network over the summer online and then have the chance to meet their classmates in person in September to explore Chicago together.

International students who have been offered admission to a PhD or MFA program at Northwestern University for the upcoming academic year may be nominated to join ELP Foundations by their admitting departments.  Each department has its own process for making nominations decisions. Once a department has nominated a student, English Language Programs confirm eligibility and then will send an offer directly to the student on a rolling basis, based on availability. Preference is given to students who have never lived or studied in the United States before.  


Integrated Academic Skills (IAS)

IAS is a comprehensive curriculum specially designed for new PhD or MFA students who need extra support in developing their proficiency in spoken English.

This two-quarter sequence focuses on developing oral English skills for the academic context as students work toward fulfilling The Graduate School’s English proficiency requirement. Enrollment is based on students’ performance on their Versant placement test.


English Development through Guided Exploration (EDGE) is an extra-curricular program designed to provide international graduate students with an opportunity to practice their English conversation skills with international and American peers. Students in this program participate in outings led by fellow students (Graduate Leaders). Students can choose the outings that fit best with their interests and schedule. Visit the EDGE site for more details.

Questions about EDGE? Contact elp@northwestern.edufor more information.


Frequently Asked Questions about the English Language Program at Northwestern

Additional Online, Oncampus and Community Resources for English Learners