The ESL Program
English Language Requirements
- All applicants to the Madrid Campus whose native language is not English must provide evidence of their English level prior to being considered for admission to the University’s degree programs.
- The university accepts both the TOEFL and IELTS, although A-level, SAT, ACT or IB scores may also be accepted as proof of English level. For more information, or for test score equivalencies, see ESL Placement.
- The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program prepares students whose native language is not English to reach the level of proficiency needed to succeed in any of Saint Louis University’s degree programs. Students must have a high enough level of English to be able to compete as academic equals with native English speakers.
- Students in the ESL program must take the number of ESL credits that corresponds to their TOEFL score (see ESL Placement).
- The Institutional paper-based TOEFL is used for internal placement purposes, and offered four or five times each year at the Madrid Campus.
- Once students have achieved both a minimum score of 550 on TOEFL PBT and a minimum of 4.0 on the TWE (or equivalent), they are eligible for ENGL 150 and require no further ESL courses.
ESL 080/ 090: These classes form part of the full-time English and academic preparation program and focus on basic study skills, culture, and language. These classes are only offered if there are sufficient students of this level.
ESL 091/101/111: These Integrated skills classes are obligatory for all students in the ESL program (unless they are in the full-time program) and provide specific preparation for the TOEFL exam.
ESL 092/102/112: These Written Expression courses are obligatory for all students in the ESL program (unless they are in the full-time program) and provide specific preparation for the TWE essay.
ESL 100: These focus classes are aimed to provide specific skills for ESL students and may be subject-based (English through Nature, English through Business and Communications etc.) or skill-based (Intensive Grammar, English through reading etc.).
- Full-time English and Academic Preparation Program (ESL 080/ 090)
This is a special program intended for students with TOEFL PBT scores below 440.
It is only offered if we have more than 12 students.
It consists of over 20 hours per week of ESL, academic skill, and US culture classes. Students may take no university courses other than those that form part of the Full-time program.
It is more or less equivalent to the A2 level as defined by the European Framework of Languages.
- Intermediate TOEFL/TWE Preparation (ESL-091/101)
This level of class is for students with TOEFL PBT scores between 440 and 500.
Students are required to take ESL 091/101 M01 and ESL 092/102 M01, and between 2 and 4 focus classes depending on their level.
Students with TOEFL PBT scores below 480 (or equivalent) may only take ESL classes.
At this level, students may only take non-ESL courses that are not language-based (for example, MATH-120, ITM-200, and CMM-255), unless they are Spanish speakers, in which case they may choose to take one of the courses that we offer in that language.
The ESL 091/ 101 level is more or less equivalent to a high A2 or low B1 level as defined by the European Framework of Languages.
- Advanced TOEFL/TWE Preparation (ESL-111)
This level of class is for students with TOEFL PBT scores of over 500.
Students are required to take ESL 111 M01 and ESL 112 M01, and between 0 and 2 focus classes depending on their level.
Students must speak to their advisor to see what non-ESL courses they may take.
The ESL 111 level is more or less equivalent to a high B1 or low B2 level as defined by the European Framework of Languages.
Grading and Academic Status
The ESL classes are graded Pass (P) or No Pass (NP); the grade of P is based on attendance, class work, and in-class tests and exams.
If students receive the grade of NP in more than 50% of their ESL classes, and/ or fail to improve their TOEFL or TWE scores by the required minimum of 30 points and 0.5 points, respectively, they will be placed on ESL probation.
If students on probation fail to achieve the minimums required of them in the probation letter that they have received, they may face ESL expulsion. However, if students achieve these minimums, the probation is automatically cancelled.
Students that attend less than 50% of their ESL classes during a semester may face direct ESL expulsion without first passing through probation.
Students expelled from the ESL Program must reapply for admission to Saint Louis University - Madrid Campus. Their applications will only be considered if they can present a TOEFL score of 550 and a TWE of 4.0 (or equivalent – see ESL Placement), and thus enroll in degree-credit courses only.
The TOEFL PBT and the TWE are given equal importance: in order to leave the ESL program, both minimum requirements (550 and 4.0, respectively) must be achieved.
Students with a minimum TOEFL score of 550 and a TWE score of 4.0 have fulfilled all language prerequisites for any course taught in English offered by Saint Louis University.