ESL Courses for International Visiting Scholars, Faculty, and Staff

The ESL Program offers several courses that can be taken by international faculty, staff, and visiting scholars to support their participation in the academic contexts of teaching, research, writing, and conferences. See below for information on how to register and what courses we offer.

If you have any questions about the course content or registration, please contact the ESL Program at


In order to enroll in these courses, a student must be affiliated with the University of Illinois as a current student, faculty, staff, or visiting scholar. Please contact the ESL Program with questions about eligibility.

Family members do not qualify for these courses and should seek English learning support in the local community.

Registration Process

  1. Apply with CITL: To register for ESL courses, you must apply through CITL as a "non-degree-seeking student":
  2. Register to Request Specific Courses: Once your application is approved by CITL, you will log in to their system to request registration of specific courses: Non-degree students are eligible to take ESL 510, ESL 592, and ESL 593 (see course descriptions below). Once your registration for a specific course is received by CITL in the online system, CITL will contact ESL to request enrollment in the course.
  3. Wait for Approval of Enrollment: ESL will approve enrollments based on available seats and confirm with you by email. Seats are prioritized for degree-seeking students and are not guaranteed for non-degree-seeking students; enrollment in a course is not official until ESL confirms that there are available seats for non-degree-seeking students.

Three Course Options for Non-degree Students

See the Course Explorer for current offerings. Please note: Our other ESL courses are reserved for degree-seeking students, so non-degree students are limited to these three courses.

ESL 592: Academic Writing (8 weeks, August - October or January - March)

ESL 592 takes place during the first half of the semester and teaches students to identify the conventions of academic writing in their own discipline. Students will set individualized goals and design their own assignments, often working on writing their own journal articles and conference papers for publications.

ESL 593: Presentation Skills (7 weeks, October - December or March - May)

ESL 593 takes place during the second half of the semester and offers students the opportunity to practice presenting their research adapting to both a general audience and an expert discipline-specific audience. The course focuses on supporting growth in general presentation skills and raising awareness to cultural expectations that may be present in a conference or other U.S. professional presentation environment.

ESL 510: English Pronunciation and Oral Fluency for Academic Purposes (15 weeks, full semester)

Practical work on the vowels, consonants, rhythm, and melody of spoken English; awareness raising and strategy building related to oral fluency. This class will utilize oral work in class, oral and written homework assignments, and individual conferences. This is NOT a conversation class; however, improvement in this class will help you in all speaking situations.

Cost and Payment

All registration and payments are handled through the CITL registration system.

As of 12/2022, each 0-credit ESL course costs approximately $505. (Please note that CITL charges separate additional fees of approximately $392 per semester for non-degree student enrollment for administrative, facilities, and resource costs.)

If you are Illinois Faculty, Academic Professional, or Staff, then you may be able to take our courses for free. (Note: Generally, visiting scholars do not qualify for this fee waiver and must pay for ESL courses.) Detailed information about eligibility for tuition and fee waivers is included in the Student Code (Section 3-502) and Human Resources Benefits. Questions about how these rules apply to any individual situation may be addressed to the Office of Financial Aid at

Course Participation and Attendance Policy

Our courses are primarily offered to degree-seeking graduate students, and repeated absences and late arrivals are considered a disruption to the class. Therefore, all students, including non-degree students, are expected to attend all classes and arrive on time.

Non-degree students who plan to be absent for 5 or more class periods in a full-semester 15-week course (or 3 or more absences for an 8-week course) for any reason should consider taking the course another semester. The ESL Program reserves the right to reject student enrollment due to planned absences that exceed this policy, and an instructor can ask a student to discontinue the course (without guarantee of refund) if a student’s attendance issues exceed this policy and/or cause a disruption to the other students or instructor in any way.

**Please disclose your planned absences to your instructor before beginning the course.