The ESL Academy at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is designed not only to prepare students in English language fluency, but also to help them succeed as a CU Denver student upon completion of the ESL Academy program.

As an ESL Academy student reaches level 4, the student may elect to enroll in one or two “main campus” credit-bearing ​courses at CU Denver as a non-degree student. Concurrently enrolling in a main campus course while completing the program at the ESL Academy provides students with an opportunity to get a head-start on integrating into the university classroom, to learn American academic cultural standards first-hand, and to build social ties to the main campus, among many other benefits – and all while continuing to receive support from the ESL Academy staff. While these benefits are important, it is critical for each student to consider​ carefully how they will manage being a full-time ESL Academy student (20 hours per week) and studying in a main campus credit-bearing course.

Because concurrent enrollment is academically challenging and because grades earned in credit-bearing courses will be part of a student’s official transcript, these steps must be followed.

  • Discuss this option with the faculty before applying. Students will need a letter from the ESL Academy in order to be accepted for concurrent enrollment.
  • Be aware that enrollment in a graduate program is at the discretion of the graduate schools.
  • Enroll in one or two classes.
  • Complete level 5 at the ESL Academy. Students who participate in concurrent enrollment cannot take the TOEFL or IELTS to enter the university early. 
  • Speak with an Academic Advisor.
  • Meet with our International Services Specialist.
  • Be in level 4 at the ESL Academy.
  • Choose a class in his/her major
  • The student chooses classes that meet in the evening or otherwise during times when there are no ESL Academy classes scheduled.

Following these important guidelines will help to ensure a student’s success.

In order to pursue concurrent enrollment on main campus while being enrolled full-time at the ESL Academy, a student must make an application to the university as a non-degree student. The application instructions are outlined below.

Non-Degree Undergraduate Application Instructions

International applicants must file the international undergraduate non-degree online application, which provides detailed instructions on how to make your application complete unless an exception is noted that applies to you. Here is a brief summary of what is detailed in our online application instructions. To make your application complete, you need to submit:

  • Online application (
  • Your original or certified secondary academic records from grades 9-11 (if you are still enrolled in secondary school) or grades 9-12 (if you have graduated), including certified translations if they are not in English.
  • Transfer students and freshmen who have taken university credits should also submit official post-secondary records, including certified translations if they are not in English.
  • $75 application fee (Fee is waived for ESL Academy graduates).