Niagara University is offering a new pathway for international students who are interested in enrolling at colleges and universities in the United States but may not possess the requisite English language skills.

Presented by the Edward A. Brennan Center for Language, Culture and Leadership at Niagara University, the intensive English as a second language (ESL) program will serve students who place at the intermediate level of language or higher and who have evidence of high levels of academic achievement from their country of high school or university study.

The program will begin this fall and is currently accepting applications.

Students who are accepted into the intensive ESL program will receive instruction in academic grammar and writing, reading and speaking and listening, skills that prepare them for the English language demands of a college degree. Students will share their own culture while learning academic English and the pragmatics for higher education in the U.S., and will have opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills throughout the program.

Placement in the program is based upon a comprehensive language proficiency assessment and will determine the length of time needed to fulfill college entrance expectations for language proficiency. The completion of the intensive ESL program will therefore vary, but the program can be completed in one semester.

International students will have an opportunity to study and engage with other Niagara University students throughout the ESL program. They will also learn more about potential majors at the university through one-on-one meetings with experienced, highly credentialed faculty and have the opportunity to enroll in credit-bearing courses as applicable to bridge to degree enrollment.

The ESL program is offered through the Brennan Center, home to Niagara University’s ESL summer camps, executive training for leaders from across the globe and partnerships for the education and training of refugees and immigrants who are arriving in Western New York.

Established in January, the Brennan Center was created to meet the needs of international families and students, and serve English language learners within the global community. It also cultivates leadership opportunities among both students and professionals in addressing global needs and providing innovative experiences for those preparing to be teachers of English as a second language.

Recently, Niagara University hosted the annual conference of the New York State Association for Bilingual Education and shared its commitment to serving students who are learning English as a new language.

“Niagara’s vision includes the commitment to welcoming international students to the region, making our campus a learning laboratory for sharing ideas and perspectives,” commented Dr.  Debra Colley, NU’s executive vice president. “Our graduates enter a world that is complex; the ESL program is a component of our vision to educate citizens of the world.”

To learn more about the program, please contact Dr. Deborah T. Curtis at 716.286.8711 or ude.aragain@retnecnannerb. Online applications are available at

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