Niagara University's English as a Second Language (ESL) program is open to non-native speakers of English who are interested in participating in a challenging program that will quickly improve their language skills. Placement in the program is based upon a comprehensive language proficiency assessment. We offer four levels of ESL; level 4 is our Bridge to University, it is designed to prepare those students intending on continuing their university education in the United States. Niagara University does offer a conditional acceptance to our undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Conditional acceptance occurs when your credentials are evaluated and all of our criteria for acceptance except English language proficiency is met. When conditional acceptance is awarded, full acceptance is automatic upon completion of Level 4 in the ESL program.  No other language testing will be required.

Coursework includes direct integrative teaching for skill development, independent study and practice, and lab work. International students have an opportunity to work and engage with other Niagara University students throughout their studies.


Start Date: Late August
End of Classes: Mid December

Start Date: Late January
End of Classes: Mid May

Tuition and Fees

Tuition per semester: $3600
Student fee per semester: $890


You  arrive on campus, In the first week of each program, students get an  orientation to the Brennan Center and the Niagara University, take a  tour and learn about facilities and services available. They also get a  tour of Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

Special Activities and Field Trips

Activities  are in addition to a tour of Niagara Falls and Buffalo during student’s  orientation. Special weekly activities are organized to immerse  students in American culture. Students will enjoy a visit with a local  family, have an opportunity to watch a professional sporting event,  visit a local farm, shop at the fashion outlets, attend a concert and so  much more.

University Facilities

Students  have access to all Niagara University student services. These include  library, computer laboratories; athletic, entertainment and recreation  facilities available to other Niagara University students.


Students  who attend classes regularly, receive satisfactory progress reports,  and fulfill program requirements, receive an official final progress  report and attendance certificate. Outstanding students receive special  recognition on their certificates.

Course Information

  • There are four levels in our ESL program. Students are evaluated and placed at the appropriate level. Many of our University-bound students enter at level 3 or level 4. Each level typically takes one semester to complete.
  • Three semesters are offered per year: spring, summer, and fall. Classes meet Monday through Thursday, approximately 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and Fridays from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m .
  • Classes average 8-15 students and allow participants a maximum amount of individual attention and an opportunity to develop conversational skills.

ESL (English as a Second Language) instructors are caring, experienced teachers with advanced degrees who utilize an integrative-skills approach in teaching and focus on listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar components.

Academic Information

Students may receive Academic Dismissal from the ESL if they do not pass a class after repeating it for the second time.

Important: Being dismissed can negatively affect a student's visa status.

You must attend a minimum of 80% of each of your classes each session If your final attendance in a class is less than 80%, but at least 70%, you will be placed on Attendance Probation for the next session.

Warning: If your attendance is lower than 70% in a class, you will be dismissed from the ESL at the end of that session.

If you are on Attendance Probation, you must attend at least 80% of each of your classes. If you have at least 80% attendance in each class, you will be removed from Attendance Probation for the next session; however, if you have less than 80% attendance in one or more of your classes, you will be dismissed from the ESL at the end of that session. (See "Attendance Dismissal") Students who are placed on Attendance Probation for a second time will remain on Attendance Probation until they leave the ESL.

You will be dismissed from ESL for poor attendance if: (1) You do not attend at least 70% of each of your classes, or (2) You are on Attendance Probation and you do not attend at least 80% of each of your classes.

Important: Being dismissed can negatively affect a student's visa status.

Students who enter the US on F-1 (student) visas are required to be full-time students and maintain "full-time status" while they are in the country. For ESL students, this means "full-time" registration 20 hours per week.