Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Center For English Language Education (CELE)

Program Director Li Lowry
Assistant Director Kristin Webster
Programs Supported English as a Second Language (ESL)

The Center for English Language Education (CELE) was established at Northwest University to facilitate the University’s commitment to global exchange through providing academic and general ESL training for international students and to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and friendship among Northwest University’s diverse student body.  CELE is a division of the International Education Department, which serves the greater international student population at Northwest University.

University Service

Serving a university community of scholars and learners, the Center for English Language Education proposes to develop and maintain programs of instruction, research, and professional services which provide opportunities to:

  • facilitate language acquisition and cross-cultural communication;
  • advise the NU community on issues of cultural diversity and facilitate interpersonal adjustments needed for cross-cultural living and service; and to
  • form network relationships with international agencies, schools, and students in order to expedite cross-cultural interactions.

International Partnerships

As a representative of Northwest University, CELE has entered into partner relationships with top universities in Korea and Japan: Ewha Womans University, Soongsil University, Gachon University, Hansei University, Handong Global University, Kanagawa University, and Toyo University.

CELE continues to seek beneficial international partnerships.

The partnerships include:

  • tuition exchange agreements for NU and Korean and Japanese exchange students for 1-2 semesters of study;
  • visiting professor exchanges;
  • research partnerships opportunities.

English as a Second Language

The ESL program enables international students to develop the necessary skill in academic and general English to succeed outside the classroom in America and to gain admission into university baccalaureate and graduate degree programs. It also provides opportunity for students who want a semester abroad experience at Northwest University to develop their English skills and experience American culture while studying ESL in a Christian academic environment.

Students will:

  • become more proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
  • gain a broader understanding of American culture and make friends with American Christian students and professors.
  • develop study skills necessary for success in an American university.
  • enjoy numerous cultural fieldtrips and events to enhance their academic experience.
  • be conditionally admitted into Northwest University once they graduate CELE.

ESL students are enrolled in a full-time program of study that involves 12-18 credit hours of ESL study, focusing on the following English language skills: writing, speaking, reading, listening, grammar, and pronunciation and vocabulary.

Course Sequence

The following tracks of study are advised. Students test into level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 (Bridge) upon arrival using the iTEP (International Test of English Proficiency). Advancing to the next course level is based on demonstrating competency through exit exams and earning an average grade of 80% in the current semester classes.


  • LANG 0123 - Grammar I
  • LANG 0143 - Reading and Vocabulary I
  • LANG 0196 - Comprehensive English I


  • LANG 0223 - Grammar II
  • LANG 0243 - Reading and Vocabulary II
  • LANG 0296 - Comprehensive English II


  • LANG 0323 - Grammar III
  • LANG 0343 - Reading and Vocabulary III
  • LANG 0396 - Comprehensive English III


  • LANG 0423 - Grammar IV
  • LANG 0443 - Reading and Vocabulary IV
  • LANG 0496 - Comprehensive English IV


  • LANG 0523 - Grammar V
  • LANG 0533 - Writing V: Academic Writing Elective
  • LANG 0543 - Reading and Vocabulary V
  • LANG 0596 - Comprehensive English IV


  • LANG 0633 - Writing VI: Bridge (Prerequisite LANG 0533 Writing V: Academic Writing Elective or instructor permission. Must be taken concurrently with ENGL 1013.)
  • LANG 0663 - Speaking VI: Bridge
  • ENGL 1013 - Composition I: Expository Writing
  • plus ONE selected NU undergraduate course


iTEP Level Placement

The iTEP test is CELE’s in-house English proficiency test. CELE uses the iTEP to assess students’ entry and exit English skills, readiness for matriculation into a specific program, and to place students in an appropriate level of courses. Below are the corresponding iTEP level scores and how they relate to specific CELE levels.

  • Level 1: True Beginner — Cumulative iTEP Level 0-1.0
  • Level 2: High Beginner — Cumulative iTEP Level 1.1-1.9
  • Level 3: Elementary — Cumulative iTEP Level 2.0-2.2
  • Level 4: Low Intermediate — Cumulative iTEP Level 2.3-2.6
  • Level 5: High Intermediate — Cumulative iTEP level 2.7-3.4
  • Level 6 (Bridge): Advanced — Cumulative iTEP Level 3.5-4.4+

Exit Requirements: Undergraduate Matriculation

  • Pass Bridge Level
  • Cumulative iTEP Score > iTEP Level 3.44
  • CELE Grades > 80%
  • NU GPA > 2.5

Exit Requirements: Graduate Matriculation

  • Pass Bridge Level
  • Cumulative iTEP Score > iTEP Level 3.99
  • CELE Grades > 85%
  • NU GPA > 3.0

Testing Policies

Who Takes the iTEP: In general, all newly admitted CELE students must take the iTEP test during Welcome Week. Prospective Exchange students in the CELE program do not need to take the iTEP and are expected to apply to CELE with a reputable English test, such as TOEFL, Duolingo, IELTS, or TOEIC. Exchange students who score lower than the minimum standard can take the iTEP during the Welcome Week to see if they can test higher. In addition, prospective international undergraduate and graduate students can take the iTEP test instead of another English proficiency test, but this should be arranged with the respective enrollment counselors. Please see the test waiver section below for students not wishing to take the iTEP.

Waivers: Exchange students who are studying abroad at NU from a partner university, who arrive with a TOEFL score of 80+ or a similar score from another English placement test, are not required to take the iTEP for placement. In addition, students who have earned significant college credit from a university in the United States can waive the iTEP test. Students who have earned a high school diploma in the United States or another native-English speaking nation can also waive the testing requirement.

Advancing: When levels 1-5 students demonstrate competency through earning an average grade of 80% in the current semester classes, they can advance to the next level of classes without retesting. Students may opt to take the iTEP if they wish to skip a level. If they take the iTEP and score in the advancing level range, they may skip a level. 

Repeating: If students earn an average grade of 70-79%, they must take the iTEP at the end of the semester to determine if they advance to the next level of classes by scoring in the advancing level range. If students have an average grade below 69%, they must repeat the level.

Exiting: Level 6 Bridge students must take the iTEP at the end of the semester and meet the iTEP and GPA exit requirements to matriculate to either undergraduate or graduate programs. Undergraduate students must also demonstrate that they meet the Christian lifestyle standards of NU as demonstrated through a statement of faith.

Exceptions to an iTEP Score: In case of one English skill unfairly skewing the cumulative average on an iTEP test, the CELE program may remove that one score and re-average the iTEP cumulative score. Also, if a matriculating student has a strong NU GPA but a non-passing iTEP score, the CELE program may still allow the CELE student to matriculate based on the following requirements:

  • Prospective undergraduate students – a cumulative NU GPA of 3.0+ and all iTEP skill scores in a 3.0-3.4 range.
  • Prospective graduate students – a cumulative NU GPA of 3.5+ and all iTEP skill scores in a 3.5-4.0 range. 

Other iTEP Rules: Students wishing to retake the iTEP must wait a minimum of two weeks before retesting. Every time a student takes the test, they are required to pay the iTEP testing fee.