English as a Second Language (ESL)

Build your English language skills at a university with global reach

Franklin University has a strong history of providing English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that are effective and convenient. Our program has helped thousands of students over the course of the past two decades build the skills necessary for academic success.

ESL for Academic Purposes 

Franklin’s ESL program was designed to help degree-seeking students master the language skills necessary for reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the classroom environment.

The ESL program is open to anyone who has completed secondary school (or the equivalent) and has received beginning-level training in English. Your course-level placement (Intermediate, High Intermediate, or Advanced) is based upon the results of oral and written Franklin University tests, in addition to your TOEFL or IELTS scores. You will also be assessed for placement into a two-course sequence in pronunciation.

College credit is available for Advanced-level courses, which meet the University’s requirements for College Writing and Speech Communication, or Interpersonal Communication - and upon completion of the courses; you can enroll directly into your degree program.

ESL for Professional Purposes

Franklin University is also proud to offer short-term, intensive English language programs designed to develop the language skills, business acumen, and cultural fluency of both international students and business professionals. These programs can range from 2-15 weeks and are offered in a face-to-face format. Participants reside in university housing and engage in both campus and community activities designed to promote interaction with native speakers, and to provide real-world reinforcement for their classroom learning experiences.

Learning Approach

The immersion program provides a three-dimensional learning experience that bridges the crucial gap between theory and practice. The program combines intensive language study with business-focused, project-based assignments designed as hands-on opportunities for students to apply newly acquired language and professional skills.  Throughout the program, students are exposed to subject matter experts and leaders addressing professional topics, which are then seen in the context of field visits and language immersion opportunities.

Program Objectives 

  1. This program is designed to enhance program participants’ ability to compete in a global job market by providing the opportunity to:
  2. Engage with American business professionals and industry experts through job shadowing, site tours, and on-campus lectures
  3. Experience American university life including attending business classes with native speakers
  4. Develop English language skills including area-specific vocabulary for business communications rooted in a strong foundation of cultural best practices
  5. Apply English language skills to develop and deliver formal team-based business presentations for American audiences
  6. Gain exposure to US customs and traditions by participating in extra-curricular campus activities and developing interpersonal relationships with a culturally diverse student body.
  7. Prepare for graduate level study by reviewing the US higher education structure, its policies, and opportunities

Benefits to Students

  1. Learn English-language skills designed specifically to support your academic success
  2. Experienced faculty create a professional classroom environment
  3. Small class sizes ensure personal attention
  4. Free placement testing, academic support, and tutoring
  5. Full-time study at Franklin’s Main Campus during the day allows for evening flexibility
  6. Earn college credit through Advanced-level ESL courses
  7. Enroll in your degree program upon completion of the ESL program

Courses & Curriculum

Level II: Intermediate (14 hours)
ESL 050 - Intermediate Reading & Writing (8-8)
Through discussion, peer editing, small group work and individual assignments, students will improve their ability to read academic prose and to produce coherent, unified and grammatically correct paragraphs and short essays. This course is graded on a Pass/No Credit basis and carries institutional credit but does not count toward degree requirements.
ESL 051 - Intermediate Listening & Speaking (4-4)
This course is designed to help intermediate-level ESL students improve their understanding of colloquial and formal English, and to increase their vocabulary. Classes will consist of student presentations, short lectures, discussions, role-playing and vocabulary building. This course is graded on a Pass/No Credit basis and carries institutional credit but does not count toward degree requirements.
This course is designed to address the pronunciation, articulation, intonation and fluency of ESL students identified through the placement process as having intermediate levels of these skills. The course will also address communication strategies to reinforce meaning. This course is graded on a Pass/No Credit basis and carries institutional credit but does not count toward degree requirements.
Level III: High-Intermediate (14 hours)
ESL 060 - High Intermediate Reading & Writing (8-8)
Students will improve reading comprehension of popular and academic writings; and pre-writing, writing and editing skills will be applied to multi-paragraph essays. To learn these skills, students will hear lectures, read student and professional essays, and participate in individual and group activities. This course is graded on a Pass/No Credit basis and carries institutional credit but does not count toward degree requirements.
ESL 061 - High Intermediate Listening & Speaking (4-4)
By listening to other classmates, tapes, guest speakers and media, students will improve listening comprehension and note-taking. Through group and individual activities, students will also work on presentation skills and vocabulary development. This course is graded on a Pass/No Credit basis and carries institutional credit but does not count toward degree requirements.
ESL 090 - Advanced Pronunciation (2-2)
This course is designed to address the pronunciation, articulation and fluency of ESL students identified through the placement process as having advanced levels of these skills. In addition, this course will emphasize rate, volume, stress and repair strategies. This course is graded on a Pass/No Credit basis and carries institutional credit but does not count toward degree requirements.
Level IV: Advanced (12 hours)
ESL 120 - Esl: Advanced Reading & Writing (6)
This course is equivalent to College Writing (ENG 120).This writing course is designed to help students improve their ability to successfully complete the work required in many college courses. Students learn how to read, respond to, and analyze various kinds of writing. They also study methods of gathering, synthesizing and documenting information. The course emphasizes elements of good writing such as unity, coherence, clarity and appropriate grammar and mechanics.
ESL 125 - Advanced Listening & Speaking (6)
A basic public speaking course intended to improve the student's ability to think critically, communicate orally and develop clear pronunciation. Theory and practice are provided in various speaking situations. Each student is required to speak before class members, but class work also involves reading, gathering and organizing information, writing, listening and participating in a group project.

ESL Program Admission Requirements

The ESL Program accepts students who have completed secondary school (or equivalent)
and have received beginning instruction in English. The following scores are required:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • 45 for internet-based
  • 133 for computer-based
  • 450 for paper-based


International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • 4.5 - 5.0

Students who enter with an intermediate level of proficiency should be aware that more than one trimester of English will be necessary to bring them to the college level. ESL courses may be required before other courses can be taken.

Placement is determined by Franklin’s written and oral tests, in addition to the TOEFL or
IELTS scores. For students transferring from other U.S. institutions, Franklin testing results
will be used for placement (no TOEFL or IELTS is required).

Program Leadership

Jenine Larrabee, M.A., Lead Faculty, English as a  Second Language & Global Issues

Jenine brings more than 20 years of international education and language experience to Franklin University. Throughout her career, she has designed, developed and delivered ESL programming and training worldwide, including Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Jenine holds an MA in French Literature with a focus on Second Language Acquisition Theory from The Ohio State University, and earned her TESOL certification from the Caledonian School in Prague, Czech Republic. She also completed language and critical theory programs at the Centre Parisien études critiques, La Sorbonne-Paris III and Paris VI. She has designed a proprietary ESL Train-the-Trainer program and is responsible for the design and implementation of the BlueHorizon ESL curriculum and immersion programming

Michael Klingler, M.A., Department Chair, Humanities & Communication Arts

Currently the Department Chair for Humanities and Communication Arts, Michael also serves as the Lead Faculty for Learning Strategies and English as a Second Language at Franklin. He earned an M.A. in TESOL from The Ohio State University, completing more than 60 hours in the study of second-languages acquisition, methodology, and ESL writing, research, and practice.

Phyllis Duryee, M.A., Adjunct Faculty, Global Issues

Phyllis has nearly 20 years of experience at Franklin University and serves as the Adjunct Faculty for Global Issues. Prior to coming to Franklin, she earned an M.A. in TESOL from The Ohio State University and was the Director of the English Language Institute at George Mason University. She serves on the boards of several international organizations and has traveled throughout the world.

Matthew Apperley, M.A., Experiential Learning Coordinator 

Matthew Apperley, MA, first began teaching English when he received his graduate level TEFL/ TESL certificate from the American Language Institute at San Diego State University in 2012. Since then he has taught Intensive English, English for Academic Purposes, and English Composition to students from across the globe. In addition to working in the United States, he has also taught English in Japan to traditional students, enthusiasts, and company employees. He has an M.A in Applied Linguistics and an advanced graduate level TEFL/ TESL certificate from San Diego State University. While teaching has been his focal point, Matthew has also worked with host families, foreign student housing, and student services. Currently, he works as the Experiential Learning Coordinator at Franklin's Urbana University division to develop strong relationships with employer organizations and to coordinate events to connect employers with students. Lastly, he serves as a vital link between the BlueHorizon ESL Language and Professional Programs and local professional organizations and businesses in Urbana, Ohio.