Dakota English Language Institute (DELI)

OFFICE OF RECORD: International Programs
ISSUED BY: Coordinator of International Programs
EFFECTIVE DATE: 9/24/93 (Last Revised 05/23/13)
APPROVED BY:  David B. Borofsky, Pres                                                   03-18-00



The Dakota English Language Institute (DELI) at Dakota State University was formed with the primary goal of providing English language training to non-native speakers through a structured English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The DELI is an essential component in attracting international students by providing the language skills necessary for university study in the US, while increasing university and community cultural diversity. The DELI can also provide language training to assist faculty, staff, and members of the community in their efforts to increase international markets for education, business, and industry.



The DELI, its TESOL Education Specialist, and its staff are part of the International Programs Office at Dakota State University and are under the supervision of the Coordinator for International Programs, who reports to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.


International student application files are maintained in the University’s records system and all immigration documents and files are housed in the International Programs Office. The DELI’s financial records are maintained in the University’s Business Office. All students applying to the DELI must pay the application fee, semester-based International Student Fee, and fee for service, all of which are set by the South Dakota Board of Regents, DSU’s governing board.


Students can apply to the DELI using the University’s online application or a downloadable application from the DELI website. Proof of satisfactory/successful completion of secondary school is required for admission.

Admission to DELI only:

Students who seek admission to the DELI will be accepted based on their previous academic history. Accepted applicants will be placed in one of five proficiency levels in the program, as determined by results on the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (MTELP), the Michigan English Language Institute College English Test – Listening (MELICET-L), and the COMPASS ESL exam. ESL coursework is required until minimum proficiency is demonstrated. The individualized ESL instruction sequence designed by the DELI is not negotiable.

Students who attain Level Four in the DELI may be allowed to take a limited number of specified courses outside of the DELI at the discretion of the TESOL Education Specialist.  Those courses may include one or a combination of: CSC 105, GS 100, LART 110, MATH 021, MATH 101, MUEN 100, WEL 100, and WEL 100L. After successful completion of the DELI, students will be enrolled in ENGL 033.

Admission as a DSU Degree-seeking Student:

Non-native speakers of English applying directly to the University for admission (whether as a transfer or as a first-year student) must have an official documented TOEFL score of 79, IELTS score of 6.5, or PTE-Academic score of 53 or greater, and must meet all University admission requirements to be admitted as a full-time degree-seeking student.

Applicants whose scores do not meet the proficiency requirements listed above, or who have not taken one of the aforementioned proficiency examinations, but who meet other admission standards, will be admitted to the DELI and issued an I-20 for Language Learning. These students will be tested using the MTELP and MELICET-L upon arrival to determine the level of instruction necessary for success. Students who can prove proficiency in English will be registered in academic coursework; students without English proficiency will move through the levels in the DELI. Students with some English language skills may take a combination of ESL and academic coursework. If ESL courses are necessary, the students must register for them as part of their course work starting in their first semester of registration.  ESL coursework is then required until minimum proficiency is demonstrated.  The individualized ESL instruction sequence designed by the DELI is not negotiable. After successful completion of the DELI, students will be enrolled in ENGL 033. 

Students who have achieved the required TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE-Academic scores, have met all University admission requirements, and have been accepted as a “regular admit” to the University, but who fail to achieve the appropriate scores on the University’s placement tests will, depending on the scores, be required upon initial enrollment to take and successfully complete the indicated academic skills classes listed below.

COMPASS Scores Course(s)
Writing 1-32 Full-time ESL
Writing 33-48 2 ESL courses, ENGL 033, LART 110, Rosetta Stone
Writing 49-73 2 ESL courses, ENGL 033, LART 110, 1 academic course
Writing 74-99 ENGL 101
Reading 1-39 Full-time ESL
Reading 40-75 LART 110


DELI Course Completion

At the end of each semester, students’ grades will be reported to the University’s registrar and their coursework will appear on their Dakota State University transcript.  The DELI courses are included in the total number of credit hours attempted, but grades are not calculated in the students’ cumulative GPA. Students successfully completing Level Five of the DELI will receive a certificate of completion.  After being certified by the DELI, a student may apply to DSU as a degree-seeking student.

Last Updated: 6/4/13