MELP Information and Policies

Download as PDF

Introduction to MELP Courses

The University of Minnesota has been offering English as a Second Language courses and programs since 1968. Since then, we have helped thousands of students from across the globe achieve academic success, advance their careers, and develop international networks of friends. Program highlights include: small classes; friendly, highly skilled teachers; advising and support services geared to meet the needs of international students; access to University resources and facilities; and academic classes available for advanced ESL students.

MELP teachers are dedicated and experienced professionals. They have advanced training in methods of teaching ESL and have lived and taught in countries all over the world. Curriculum is designed to give each student a rich, integrated experience.

MELP Registration Requirements

Students are required to register for courses through the Registration Form for Intensive English Students, which is available on the Student Handbook site. During New Student Orientation and Test Results & Registration Day, new and returning students receive their list of required courses and are provided with registration assistance from instructors and administrative staff.  Students must pay their tuition and fees by set deadlines for each semester that align with the University of Minnesota tuition & payment timeline.  If students choose to cancel their registration, they must contact the International Student Advisor and fill out a Course Change Request Form. If students cannot fill out the form in person, the International Student Advisor requires a written email request for the course cancellation.  

It is the responsibility of all MELP students to check the University of Minnesota's website for the payment due dates and payment options, and for cancel/add and refund deadlines.

Placement Test

During new student orientation week at MELP, new students take MELP’s English Placement Test (EPT). The EPT is a 60-minute test of listening, grammar, vocabulary, and reading, and a 30-minute writing test. Find more information about the EPT here. 

MELP uses test scores to place students into one of four levels. 

  • Level 1 - High-beginning
  • Level 2 - Intermediate
  • Level 3 - Advanced
  • Level 4 – High-Advanced

Levels in MELP are not the same as levels in other English programs. MELP begins at a higher level than some programs.  

Diagnostic Testing

During the first two weeks of classes, teachers test students to understand what students know and don’t know in specific skills. On a diagnostic test, some questions will be easy and some will be difficult. Diagnostic test scores help teachers know that students are in the right level.    

Level Change Request

If the class level is too easy during the first week, a student can ask to move to a higher level.  Teachers will evaluate the student’s test scores and language skills to decide if the student can be successful in a higher level. Students who ask to move to a higher level must show they have the language skills to be successful at the next level. 

If the class level is too difficult during the first week, a student can ask to move down. Teachers will talk with the student to decide if the student should move down.    

Grades and End of Term Assessment (ETA)

See Information about Grades and the ETA for an explanation of how grades are determined and how the End of Term Assessment is used. 

Level Advancement

See the IEP Level Advancement Policy for more information about moving from one level to another in the program.

The IEP Achievement Scale and Descriptors can help you understand what you should be able to do at the end of each course and level of study (See SIEP Achievement Scale and Descriptors for summer term). 

Program Completion

MELP students complete the program by demonstrating achievement of student learning outcomes (SLOs) in all their Level 4 classes by achieving a grade of 70% or higher and achieving an ETA score of 550 or higher.

Completion of the program does not give students admission to the University of Minnesota.  Students must apply to the University of Minnesota and be accepted to start degree programs.

Attendance Policy

See the IEP Attendance Policy for attendance requirements and information about absences and consequences for low attendance.

Homework Policy

Important information about the IEP Homework Policy at an American university and at the Minnesota English Language Program.

Probation Policy

See the PDF icon IEP Probation Policy for information about the probation process and reasons for probation.

Student Complaint Process

Complaints & Resolutions

A complaint is a statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable, and needs more immediate attention. Complaints can be about student learning, progress, instruction, and curriculum at MELP. A resolution is an action or decision that is made to solve a problem. Complaints and resolutions can either be informal (addressed and resolved between the student and instructor/MELP International Student Advisor) or formal (addressed by the program, MELP Complaint Committee determines next steps for resolution).

IEP Student Complaint Process

The goal of the IEP Student Complaint Process is to provide a simple and fair procedure for both informal and formal resolution of complaints. A resolution may include working with the Student Conflict Resolution Center or similar support services. If you have a complaint about an instructor, a class, or the program, here are the steps you can take:

  • STEP #1 (Informal Complaint & Resolution): Talk to the instructor (or MELP International Student Advisor) directly about your complaint. Most complaints are resolved informally.
  • STEP #2 (Formal Complaint & Resolution): Ask the program to address your complaint. Very few complaints require formal resolution.

See the IEP Student Complaint Process for detailed information.


Standards of Academic Conduct

Standards of academic conduct are topics which involve academic dishonesty, cheating and plagiarism, using the citing sources appropriately. U.S. standards of academic conduct might differ from those in your country, so it is very important that you understand what is expected and required. If you don't meet these standards you may be accused of academic dishonesty, which is a serious offense and might result in getting you expelled, or rejected from the University. You might even have to give up your plans to study in the U.S.

At the University of Minnesota, academic dishonesty means misrepresenting your work or violating the rights of another student in academic work, which includes:

  • Cheating on assignments and examinations
  • Plagiarizing (using another person's ideas without saying where the ideas came from)
  • Using the same work (or similar work) for more than one class without instructor approval
  • Interfering with another student's work

See the Office for Community Standards website for detailed information.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Classes

  • Participate fully in class. Ask questions! Teachers in the U.S. expect you to ask questions and discuss ideas freely. Respect other students--do not judge other people's ideas, cultures, religions and behavior. Listen to your classmates attentively without interrupting them; respond appropriately.
  • Use English as much as possible and be ready to try new things. In and out of class, practice English, including the grammar you are studying. Follow the news on the radio and in the newspaper, even if you don't understand it well. Become involved in U.S. culture--take an interest in new things, and make friends who don't speak your language.
  • Be responsible for learning English successfully. As a student, it is your responsibility to learn.
  • Attend class every day. Attendance is especially important in English classes. Absences make it difficult for everyone to benefit from class activities. If you have to be absent, call, e-mail, or speak to your instructor before class. After class, speak to your classmates or teachers for information. You are responsible for missed work.
  • Take homework assignments seriously. Do all assignments, and hand them in on time. When you get an assignment back, study it to learn from your mistakes. Keep your assignments for further study and to track your progress.
  • Develop a system for organizing your class materials. For most classes, you will have a textbook and other important material in the form of handouts. Organize your materials and bring your text, notebooks and binders to class. Instructors expect you to bring these things to class and be organized.
  • Talk to your instructor if you have a question or problem. If you don't understand something or if you need extra help, talk to your instructor. If you have a problem that is preventing you from doing your best in class, ask your instructor for help.
  • Work independently to improve your weak points in English. For listening help, practice listening in the Multimedia Lab (Jones 135). For speaking help, practice with other students and with native speakers. For reading help, ask your instructor for recommendations about books. For writing help, consult your instructor, or contact the Student Writing Center, located in 15 Nicholson Hall, 612-625-1893. For grammar help, you can study independently under the guidance of your instructor. Remember that it is your responsibility to ask for help. 

Gift Giving Guidelines

In U.S. culture, university-level teachers don’t expect gifts from students. In fact, at some institutions, faculty are not allowed to accept gifts of any kind. If you would like to show appreciation to any of your teachers at the university a way to do this would be to write them a nice note (on a card or an email) at the end of the semester. Words are often more meaningful than things.