ESLI Program Overview and Application

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Classes within the English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI) are offered at the University of the Arts campus in Philadelphia and meet five days a week for five hours daily. The program provides instruction in English grammar, conversation and college-level reading and writing, with a focus on art, design and the performing arts.

Weekly studio art and music classes will prepare students for their degree programs at UArts, including practice in communication strategies for studio and performance environments, critiques and juries.

Field trips, social activities and participation in UArts' cultural events will immerse students in the contemporary arts culture at the University and in Philadelphia.

If you have been admitted to the University of the Arts conditionally, completing Level 9 in our ESL Institute will fulfill your UArts ESL requirement for matriculation as a degree candidate. Placement in the most appropriate English level is determined by TOEFL scores submitted with UArts application and/or by placement testing upon arrival to the UArts ESL Institute.

The table below represents an ESL Institute student's typical progression through the curriculum:

 ESL Institute Level  TOEFL Equivalent (pb)   Length of Study to
 Complete Level 9
 1-3 Beginner       450 and below  3 semesters
 4-6 Intermediate    450-500     2 semesters
 7-9 High Intermediate    500-550     1 semester

The number of semesters needed to complete Level 9 may vary depending on the individual English language learning levels and needs of each student. Some students may require more than three semesters to complete Level 9.

Please note well:
Graduate-level students in the ESL Institute do not earn U.S. college credits. Undergraduate students who successfully complete the UArts ESL Institute, earning a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA, and matriculate into a UArts undergraduate degree program will be awarded 3.0 UArts elective credits for their ESLI coursework. 

Students who successfully complete the UArts ESL Institute and enter the University of the Arts as undergraduate degree candidates, like all other undergraduates at UArts, will be required to complete the First-Year Writing course sequence, which may include an additional semester of academic ESL, as part of their degree requirements.


Students who are conditionally accepted to UArts with a requirement of completing ESLI will receive in their acceptance packet an ESLI Registration Form, instructions for submitting a Tuition Deposit and, if on-campus housing is desired, Housing Deposit, and a list of documents required to issue an I-20. Please submit your ESLI Registration Form, deposit(s), and all required documents to UArts.

Email Director of International Programs Dr. Mara Flamm at to receive an ESLI application.