Credit English as Second Language (Credit ESL)

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Credit English as a Second Language courses (Credit ESL) are for graduate and undergraduate students who have met the minimum language requirements for full admission to the university but still need additional support in certain skill areas in order to excel in their academic studies.  

Many non-native English-speaking undergraduate students will begin their academic careers at Nebraska by taking one or more of these required Credit ESL courses along with courses in their regular programs of study.  These classes are considered official university courses at the 100-level and are accepted by some colleges at the university for elective credit towards degrees. Undergraduate students may need to take Credit ESL courses before they are allowed to take first-year writing courses (ENGL 150, ENGL 151) in the Department of English.

Fully-admitted, non-native English speaking students are required to take Credit ESL courses if they meet the following criteria :

  • Undergraduate students with English proficiency scores in the following ranges should plan on taking between one and three Credit ESL courses during their first year of full-time study:
    • TOEFL iBT writing sub-scores 20-23
    • Paper-based TOEFL scores 523-549
    • IELTS writing sub-scores 5.5- 6.0
    • ELT scores 74-79
    • SAT reading scores 25-28
    • ACT English scores 15-19
  • Graduate students with English proficiency writing subscores below 25 for the iBT TOEFL and below 7.0 for the IELTS must take the ELT writing test upon arrival at UNL. Those who receive an ELT writing test score below 85 must take one Credit ESL course (ENGL 887).