English Language Institute

Our Mission

Through academic, professional, and intercultural programming, the English Language Institute supports individuals for whom English is an additional language at the University of Chicago.

Our Programs

Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program

Academic Year Courses


Writing Tutor

The ELI Impact

The English Language Institute at the University of Chicago serves the linguistic and cultural needs of multilingual students and scholars, empowering them to raise their confidence and English proficiency to new levels.

We serve individuals from all facets of the university—from undergraduates to postdoctoral scholars—in every school and division. As part of the Chicago Language Center, we work closely with UChicagoGRAD and the Writing Program to ensure that curricula are relevant, challenging, and tailored to the unique needs of our students.

We actively participate in university initiatives with the goal of ensuring equal opportunity for the multilingual community. We foster an open and interactive environment in which students acquire communicative tools and intercultural knowledge to navigate their lives at the University of Chicago and beyond.

Meet the ELI

Our language pedagogy specialists have decades of experience teaching English across the globe with diverse populations in academic and professional settings. Their deep knowledge and understanding of Applied Linguistics and intercultural communication allows instructors to provide immediate, individualized feedback to students. 


Singular 'they': A User's Guide

Singular 'they': A user's guide

Part of studying and learning a language is studying the rules of that language; the fixed guidelines for how the language operates. A second part of studying and learning a language is knowing about how the language works in practice; how people actually use the language to express their ideas, preferences and emotions.

stop the hate

The ELI's Response to Attacks against the Asian (American) and Pacific Islander Communities

It’s hard to know what to say when tragic events occur in rapid succession and the commentary surrounding them is constantly evolving; still, we must address the recent attacks targeting people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, and the general discrimination against these communities that has been increasing since the pandemic started.

graphic with keywords from blog, like EAL and comprehensibility

ESL vs EAL: What’s in a name?


In the English Language Institute (ELI), we employ various terms denoting an individual’s language status.

In this post, we will define each one and explain why the ELI has opted to (not) use them.

“I attended Conversation Hour in the Spring, which gave me ample opportunities to practice English. The ELI plays a key role in making UChicago an inclusive community that values multicultural and multidisciplinary backgrounds. I would like all the future participants to know and be proud of the fact that their attendance itself is an enriching factor to the university”


Masters Student

“I took the Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program: Speaking because I was worried about my English before coming to UChicago. And I definitely made the right decision! My English was improved not only by gaining more language learning skills, but also by being more confident and more willing to express myself and learning from others. My instructor was always patient and open to all my questions and suggestions. I also want to say ‘thank you’ for my dearest classmates for always supporting me and encouraging me for everything. We are now very close friends and I know they will be always with me.”



“I took the Written Communication: Crafting Varied and Impactful Sentences course because I wanted to improve my academic writing. This course has helped me to identify some frequent grammatical errors I tend to make. It provided me tools to make better word choices, to manage information flow within a sentence, and to tighten and clarify long sentences. I recommend this course to all international students who want to improve their English writing and editing skills.”


PhD student

“I was always nervous about talking in English especially in those situations requiring unplanned speech. Now after taking Spoken Communication: Fluency Building, I feel much more confident by the skills learnt in this class. In this course, all levels of English speakers are engaged because of the professional guidance as well as the relaxed atmosphere. So it is quite a helpful class!”


Non-degree visiting scholar

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