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ELP Foundations

Northwestern University brings students and scholars from around the world to engage in research, graduate studies and intellectual exchange. For over 20 years, The Graduate School has offered programming to ease the transition to life at Northwestern for international graduate students. In Summer 2019, TGS piloted the newest version of this programming: ELP Foundations. 

ELP Foundations is a hybrid course for pre-matriculating international students. The program pairs a five-week online summer orientation course with in-person experiences in Evanston and Chicago, typically in September (2021 events will be scheduled based on considerations for COVID). 

The summer course, Foundations of American English and Academic Culture, provides linguistic, emotional, academic and practical support to new students. Topics include:

Our staff of linguists and speech-language pathologists will help identify individual strengths and areas for improvement for enrolled students, and students will also have access to online software for practicing pronunciation, word stress, grammar and fluency.  

ELP Foundations students will begin to build their new support network over the summer through online discussion with current international and domestic students (Online Peer Mentors). Students who complete the online course will meet their cohort in person, attending social events and exploring Evanston and Chicago together with English Language Programs staff and current students who will serve as Event Guides.  

Tuition for ELP Foundations is completely covered by The Graduate School: there are no fees for either students or their departments. Students are selected for ELP Foundations through nomination by their admitting department between February and May.  

Nominated for ELP Foundations 2021? View our 2021 Factbook using the password you received in your offer letter.

PhD and MFA students who have an admission offer for Fall 2021 can contact their department admissions officer to request that they be nominated to the program. 

Faculty and admissions officers who wish to nominate students who will enter in Fall 2021 should contact Program Coordinator Brian Hampson at for more information on dates and deadlines for 2021. The deadline to nominate students is May 14th, 2021.

Current PhD and MFA students, please consider becoming Online Peer Mentor for ELP Foundations 2021.  The deadline to apply is May 14th, 2021. Here's more information from one of our 2019 & 2020 Peer Mentors: