MELP Information and Policies

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. MELP offers students many benefits: full-time classes (typically 25 hours per week); friendly, experienced teachers; advising and support services tailored to international students; cultural and social activities designed for program participants; access to the University's many resources and facilities; and an urban campus in a beautiful, safe, and culturally diverse city with lots to do and explore.

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.

For a complete list of MELP course descriptions with goals and objectives for each course, click here.

MELP Registration Requirements

Students are required to register for courses through the MELP Registration Form. 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 the University of Minnesota payment due date.  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 One Stop Student Services website for the payment due dates and payment options, and for cancel/add and refund deadlines.

MELP Technology Recommendations

For MELP technology recommendations, please refer to this document.

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.

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

  • * Level Intro – Beginning
  • 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. In the event that levels meet together in the same class due to low enrollment, students will still be assessed separately according to the level in which they placed. 

* Level Intro is offered based on sufficient enrollment; if MELP determines that we do not have sufficient enrollment, students who test into this level may be referred to another English program. 

Diagnostic Testing

During the first week 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 confirm that students are in the right level.    

Level Change Request

If the class level is too easy during the first week, new students can ask their teachers 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. Returning students are placed into levels based on their previous semester’s grades and ETA scores and generally are not moved to a higher level.

If the class level is too difficult during the first week, a student can ask to move to a lower level. 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. 

MELP can make English proficiency recommendations to the University of Minnesota admissions office and other colleges and Universities with whom we have an agreement. 

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 with a grade of 70% or higher and achieving an ETA score of 550 or higher.

Students must apply to the University of Minnesota and be accepted to start a degree program. See Information about Grades and the ETA and the "How to Apply" section on the IEP website (under “Admission to Degree Programs after MELP”) for more information.

Attendance Policy

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

Homework Policy

See the IEP Homework Policy for information about homework expectations at a U.S. university and at the Minnesota English Language Program.

Probation Policy

See the 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 by the student talking to their instructor and/or the 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 and citing sources appropriately, and following the instructor’s guidelines about using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other online assignment help tools. 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 suspended or expelled, or could negatively impact your admission to the University of Minnesota.

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
  • Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT or using other online assignment help tools without the teacher’s permission

See the Office for Community Standards website for detailed information.

MELP Diversity Statement

The University of Minnesota and MELP have a commitment to “establish and nurture an environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors that actively acknowledges and values equity and diversity and is free from racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice, intolerance, or harassment” (Board of Regents, “Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action”).  MELP values students’ right to freedom of speech as described in the Student Conduct Code, and it encourages students to think about how the ideas they express in class and in their course assignments affect the environment for their classmates, their instructor, and other members of the University community.  MELP encourages students to be open to learning more about equity and diversity, and it expects students to take responsibility for their words and actions.  

See the Board of Regents Policy: Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action and the Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code 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 or 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. Read or listen to the news, even if you don't understand it well. Become involved in U.S. culture, and make friends who are from a variety of countries, cultures, and language backgrounds. Take advantage of the language practice opportunities all around you!
  • 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. If you have to be absent, notify your instructor as soon as possible. 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 materials in the form of handouts and resources posted on the course Canvas site. Instructors expect you to bring your textbook and other materials 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, visit your instructor's office hours, email your instructor, or speak to them before or after class. 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, MELP instructors are not allowed to accept expensive gifts from students. 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 in an email) at the end of the semester, or submit a short thank you note through the U of M's Thank a Teacher Program.” Your teachers will appreciate your kind words!