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English as a Second Language

Viterbo University recognizes that English language proficiency is an important component of academic success for international students whose native language is not English. Students who do not meet the TOEFL or IELTS requirements may be eligible to enroll in one of Viterbo’s English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. The ESL courses are designed to improve students’ experiences at Viterbo by enhancing their conversation, reading, writing, and listening skills, and overall academic performance. Some of the topics the courses will cover include:

  • Improved reading fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Paragraph and writing conventions
  • Academic skills in the classroom
  • Listening comprehension
  • Conversational proficiency
  • Comprehending lectures in English
  • Making oneself understood in class

English as a Second Language Policy

Viterbo University recognizes that English language proficiency is an important component of academic success for international students whose native language is not English. Accepted undergraduate students who receive a TOEFL score above 500 on the Paper-based test, above 61 on the Internet-based test, or an IELTS score above 5.5, may enroll in regular undergraduate programs. Accepted graduate-level students who receive a TOEFL score above 550 on the Paper-based test, above 79 on the Internet-based test, or an IELTS score above 6.5, may enroll in regular graduate programs.  

Students who do not achieve the scores listed above will be placed in the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program according to these policies:

  • Upon arrival, a student will take the Viterbo ESL placement test and enroll in ESL courses. The course level will be determined by the student's performance on the placement test used by Viterbo University. Courses must begin during the student's first regular semester.
  • A student must achieve at least a B grade in the highest level of ESL classes to complete the ESL program. ESL classes may be repeated one time. A student who does not achieve this grade after his or her second attempt will be dismissed from the program.
  • After successfully completing the ESL program, a student may register for regular courses in his or her major.