English Programs


English Language Support Office--Writing and Speaking Support for International Graduate and Professional Students

The English Language Support Office (ELSO) is a collaborative effort between the Graduate School and the Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines. This program’s mission is to offer comprehensive writing and speaking support for Cornell’s international graduate and professional students. ELSO offers courses, tutoring and a conversation program. These programs are free for matriculated degree-seeking graduate students. To learn more, explore the ELSO website. Questions may be directed to ELSO Director Dr. Michelle Cox (michelle.cox@cornell.edu).

Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines

The Knight Institute supports writing seminars and writing intensive courses in a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and at all levels of undergraduate education; it also provides tutorial writing classes and tutoring services for faculty, staff, and graduate students. Students can schedule appointments with trained tutors online via the Knight Institute website or by contacting the Director of the Writing Walk-in Service, Kate Navickas. Students who are interested in multilingual, language support in writing can schedule tutorials and mentorship online or by contacting Jessica Sands, Multilingual Writing Specialist. For more information, please visit the Institute's website.

Community ESL at Cornell

The Community ESL program is sponsored by the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) which organizes daytime and evening non-credit English classes led by local community volunteers. These conversation classes are open to all members of the Cornell community, but are especially geared towards spouses of students and visiting academic staff. There is no registration fee and individuals can sign up online for up to two classes per week. Classes begin at the start of fall and spring semester. The schedule and link to online registration form are available on the Community ESL at Cornell website


The Language Expansion Program (formerly known as the Language Pairing Program

Operated by the Cornell Public Service Center, this program provides conversation partners for anyone interested in learning or teaching a language. If you are interested, you may check out their website.

Cornell-Affliated English Courses

English for International Students and Scholars (EISS)

Refer to the EISS Program web page for official course descriptions and class times. For more information, please contact cusp@cornell.edu or Mary K. Redmond, program director, at 254-6502 or mkr4@cornell.edu.

The School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions offers non-credit courses for visiting scholars, students, spouses, and others seeking improvement in various English skills. The courses prepare students and scholars for working and studying in the academic environment of a university in the United States or for using English professionally. Field trips and conversational activities provide opportunities for discussion with native English speakers and insight into American culture and history.

Summer: I-20s are administered for full-time study only during the 6-week summer program. Classes meet Monday-Friday for eighteen instructional hours and special activities take place afternoons or evenings. This program helps you:

  • improve your ability to use English accurately in speaking and writing
  • develop the skills of communicating in culturally appropriate ways
  • prepare for study or work at a US university
  • develop the language skills required to achieve your professional, academic, and personal goals
  • practice academic reading, note-taking, listening to lectures and giving oral presentations
  • use English in daily communication with instructors and classmates.

Please check the website above for tuition rates.

Fall/Spring: This course is principally for visiting scholars, though others are welcome. There is a special emphasis on proficiency in spoken English that includes conversational activities, interactive presentations, and discussions to practice speaking, pronunciation, and listening skills. Please check the website above for tuition rates.

Non-Cornell English Courses

BOCES Adult Education

Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES offers beginning, intermediate and advance level English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to adults living in the Ithaca area. Morning, afternoon and evening courses are all available at our downtown Ithaca location. Classes are free; a registration fee may apply. 

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3)

Credit-bearing ESL classes are available year-round. Tompkins Cortland Community College is a 20- minute drive from Ithaca and is accessible by TCAT bus. Credit-bearing ESL courses are designed to prepare students for college-level study in the US. Courses are available in the fall, spring and summer terms. Easy admission, small classes, high-quality instruction and affordability are what makes Tompkins Cortland unique. To enroll, students must take the Accuplacer tests of English or provide a TOEFL or IELTS score to the Admissions Office. An I-20 is available for those engaging in full-time study. Contact the Admissions Office at (607) 844-6580 or toll-free (888) 567-8211 for more information. Review website for more details about TC3's ESL programs or email global@tompkinscortland.edu.”

Non-credit summer Intensive English Program (IEP). TC3 offers a quality, affordable and academically-focused Intensive English Program each summer. It’s open to all who are over 18 and who meet minimum proficiency requirements and includes over 20 hours per week of instruction, “U.S. Culture Fridays” and field trips to familiarize students with the region. It’s ideal for incoming students, scholars, spouses and their dependents -- anyone who needs to improve their written and spoken academic English and to better understand U.S. culture in order to succeed in an academic setting. An affordable non-residential option is available for those who already have local housing. IEP at TC3 is a good choice for new incoming students and anyone who would like to take advantage of the summer to improve their English in a fun, challenging and supportive setting. An I-20 is available if appropriate. Review website for more details about TC3's Intensive English Program or email IEP@tompkinscortland.edu.

Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan in Ithaca is located at 414 College Avenue in Collegetown.

Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca - Accent Modification Program

Cayuga Medical Center offers an Accent Modification Program to help both native and non-native speakers of English refine their pronunciation to enhance their business, professional, and social skills; improve speech clarity; increase self confidence for oral presentations; and achieve a significant change in accent. A greater than 50% change is possible with diligent class attendance and outside practice. Program length depends on the learner’s individual analysis. Both 7- and 13-week programs are offered. For more information, call Cayuga Medical Center’s Speech-Language Pathology, (607) 274-4504.

Tompkins County Public Library, ESL Resources

Tompkins County Public Library has many resources to offer for both learning English (MANGO Language Learning database), Rosetta Stone, ESL DVDs, audiobooks, ebooks, films and more. Explore their ESL Programs

The Fluency Network

The Fluency Network are English tutors, culture advisors and fun community activities in one.