English as a Second Language (ESL)

The English as a Second Language (ESL) program at SUNY Buffalo State is designed to assist students whose first language is not English with the language skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking necessary to succeed in their academic programs. This non-degree, non-credit bearing program is particularly useful for students seeking conditional admission to Buffalo State as they prepare to enhance their language skills as measured by the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) and/or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Buffalo State offers three types of ESL:

ESL for Students Wanting ESL Only

Students wanting to study ESL only, without seeking admission to Buffalo State, may study for up to one (1) year as a full-time non-matriculated student. Consistent progress toward language proficiency is required.

ESL for Conditionally Admitted Students

Applicants who meet Buffalo State admissions requirements but do not meet the English Language Proficiency requirements will be considered for conditional admission. After enrolling in and successfully completing the ESL Program, those conditionally admitted may gain full admission to Buffalo State. During the conditional admission period, some credit- bearing academic coursework may be permitted upon recommendation of the ESL adviser.

ESL for Fully-Admitted Students

Admitted students who need some ESL study for English language improvement in reading, writing, listening, or speaking may register for non-credit bearing ESL courses. Discuss this with your academic adviser to select the correct courses.

Admission Requirements

The minimum scores for admission to undergraduate degree-granting programs are:
  • Score of at least 61 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)


    Band score of at least 5.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)


The minimum scores for admission to graduate degree granting programs are:
  • Score of at least 79 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)


    Band score of at least 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Graduate Admission


    Score of at least 6: 450 on the College English Test (CET)


ESL helps students with varying levels of English proficiency through coursework, interaction with native speakers of English, and individualized language practice. The program consists of six levels of English language study, each offered during our fall, spring, and summer terms. Each level has 20 hours of class time per week, plus an additional 3 hours of small conversation group practice. Students may study up to 1 year in the ESL program. ESL courses do not provide college credit.



Tuition (per semester): $3,950

Medical Insurance: $478

Comprehensive Fee: $ 562

Textbooks/Supplies: $ 225

Institutional TOEFL: $ 30

Standard Double Room: $3,296

Freedom 19 Meal Plan: $ 2,300

Estimated Total Costs: $10,841



1. Download, print, complete, and return the ESL application (PDF, 158KB).

2. Complete the required International Student supplemental form FSA-2 (Autobiographical Essay Form) (PDF, 293KB).

3. Complete the required International Student Supplemental form FSA-4 (Student Financial Statement) (PDF, 240KB). A separate bank statement on bank letterhead should be submitted along with the FSA-4 form.

4. Submit your official high school transcripts. If you have earned any college or university credit please submit these official transcripts as well.

5. Submit a copy of your passport bio page.

6. The non-refundable application fee is $50. Your check should be made payable to"Buffalo State". Please do not send cash.


To be considered for the ESL program, please submit your completed application, the application fee, and all of the documents noted above no later than July 1 for fall admission. Forward all of your application documents to:

Margaret A. Shaw-Burnett
SUNY Buffalo State
Cleveland Hall 210
Continuing Professional Studies
1300 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14222
(716) 878-5907

If you have any questions about Buffalo State or are interested in learning more about admission to one of our many degree granting programs, please e-mail Margaret A. Shaw-Burnett.

The International Student Affairs Office helps students make a successful transition to Buffalo State and the United States. To learn more about services for our international students, visit their web site or call (716) 878-5331.


Monday–Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Undergraduate Admissions

Buffalo State •  1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Moot Hall 110
Buffalo, NY 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-4017  •  Fax: (716) 878-6100
E-mail: admissions@buffalostate.edu  •  Staff Directory
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