Special Academic Programs

This section lists a number of programs and services that are available and may be of interest or use to graduate, professional and transfer students in any Detroit Mercy school or college.

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    American Language and Culture Program

    Program Manager: Catherine Franklin
    Office: Engineering and Science Bldg, Room 270A
    McNichols Campus
    Phone: 313-993-3320
    Fax: 313-993-1192
    Email: franklca1@udmercy.edu

    Through assessment, placement, and instruction, the American Language and Culture Program equips students with language skills and cultural understanding necessary for them to meet their educational and professional goals in an American university setting. This pathway program collaborates with University partners, providing English language evaluation, consultation and intercultural exchange to foster a diverse international community.


    Assessment of language skills is made during the week prior to the first official class day.


    After assessment testing, students are placed in one of the following courses of study:

    • Intensive English - 21 hours of instruction per week.
    • Intermediate English - 3-9 hours of instruction per week.
    • Academic Writing and Culture Seminar - 3 hours of instruction per week.
    • Full-time degree-directed study - not taking classes with ALCP.


    Regular Detroit Mercy students are provided instruction on the McNichols Campus. The regular University academic calendar has three 15-week terms beginning the first week of September, January, and May.

    Course Offerings




    International Services

    Director: Lily Swan
    Office: Engineering and Science Bldg, Room 268
    McNichols Campus
    Phone: (313) 993-3323
    Fax: (313) 993-1192
    Email: swanls@udmercy.edu

    ISO reserves the exclusive authority to provide lawful immigration advising to F-1 visa holders.  Any outside entities who are not Primary/Designated School Officials (P/DSO) are unauthorized to provide this service.  F-1 visa holders should only seek assistance from a P/DSO. 

    F-1 visa holders are required to maintain their own status per immigration regulation.  They are required to know, understand and comply with them.  Failure to follow the regulations will jeopardize your F-1 status.  Any questions regarding the following ought to be directed to ISO. 


    Full-Time Enrollment 

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you enroll and complete the correct number of credit hours each Fall and Spring term. 

    • Graduate: 9 credits 
    • Summer enrollment is optional unless it is your first semester at Detroit Mercy.  Full-time enrollment is the same as previously stated. 
    • Limitation on online courses: only 3 credits or one online course per semester can count towards the full-time enrollment minimum.   
    • If you are considering to drop below less than full-time you are required to speak with ISO before you take action.  You must complete the Reduced Course Load form and be authorized by ISO before you drop your class(es). 
    • Acceptable grades to receive: A, B, C, D, and F.  Incompletes and audits will not count towards maintaining your status. 
    • For incompletes, you must submit a written agreement between you and the faculty member to ISO for documentation purposes. 

    Keep Immigration Documents Valid At All Times 

    • Passport must be valid for six months into the future. 
    • I-20 must have accurate program info and valid dates. 
    • I-94 must be valid for Duration of Status (D/S). 
    • The visa sticker in your passport may expire while you reside in the U.S. and is to be used for travel purposes only.  It is more important to maintain your status (following the rules, keep your I-20 and passport valid) than the sticker.  If you choose/need to travel outside of the U.S., you will have to renew it in order to re-enter the U.S.  This can only be done outside of the U.S. 
      • Canadian students are exempt from acquiring a visa. 

    Attend the School That is On Your I-20 

    • Only attend the school listed on your current I-20.  You must obtain permission from ISO in order to take class(es) at another institution (Concurrent Enrollment).  If you are admitted to another school and would like to transfer to that school, please contact ISO. 

    I-20 Extension 

    • If you are unable to complete your degree program in the time allotted on your I-20, then you must complete and submit an I-20 Extension Form.  You and your academic advisor must complete it with an updated degree plan attached before submitting it to ISO.  
    •  Any student who comes after their I-20 expiry date must apply for reinstatement. 

    Reduced Course Load 

    There are limited reasons to allow an F-1 visa holder to request a Reduced Course Load.  If authorized, it is only valid for one semester.  Please contact ISO for more information. 

    Reporting Requirements 

    Immigration regulations state that you must report the following to ISO in order to maintain status: 

    Change of Address 

    • 10 days to report your move. 

    Change in Level of Education Level or Degree Program 

    • For example, from Bachelor to Master; Biology to Psychology.  Your I-20 must be accurate. 

    Completing Your Program 

    Upon program completion, you must do one of the following within the 60 Day Grace Period.  This must be done even if your I-20 expires months into the future. 

    • Depart the U.S.  A copy of your flight itinerary must be submitted to complete your request. 
    • Transfer out and receive an I-20 for a new degree program to a different institution. 
    • Complete a change of visa status. 
    • Apply for OPT – available to degree recipients only. 




    F-1 Students may apply for work on-campus as soon as their first semester at Detroit Mercy.  Limitations are as follows: 

    • No more than 20 hours/week while school is in session; no more than 35 hours/week during school breaks. 
    • Approval from ISO is not required in order to work on campus.  However, you must be enrolled full-time for the semester and registered for a full course load before you may begin working. 



    There are two different kinds of off-campus employment: Curricular and Optional Practical Training.  Per immigration regulations, you must have completed at least one academic year in your status and must be directly related to your degree program.  Once you are eligible, you are required to obtain authorization from ISO or USCIS before you start work.  Even one day of unauthorized work is considered to be a direct violation of your status. 



    CPT is temporary employment for F-1 students that is directly related to his or her major area of study and is an integral part of the established curriculum. The employment must be a degree requirement; or you must earn academic credit(s) from the employment as an internship/clinical/field study/practicum or similar course that requires practical training. 

    Students need to apply for CPT for any applicable practical training whether or not they will receive any form of compensation. A student authorized for CPT may only be employed for specific dates and employer as approved by the International Services Office (ISO).  Any changes in the employment require a new CPT application.  The student must resubmit a new application to ISO and wait for a newly issued I-20 in order to continue employment.  

    To apply for CPT, each student will need to submit and complete the following: 

    • Completed CPT Request with the required verification and signature from academic department 
    • An official letter from the prospective employer (waived if the internship/employment is assigned by academic department). The letter MUST be on original company letterhead and include: 
    • A job title and detailed description of your duties 
    • Whether it’s paid/unpaid employment 
    • The start and end dates of your employment 
    • Direct supervisor’s name, title, address, and phone number 
    • State the number of hours/week 
    • Register for CPT affiliated course.  This is done through your academic department. 
    • Pick up CPT I-20 with a letter for a Social Security Number (if applicable) from ISO before you start working.  

    Even though you may approval from your academic department and have a job offer you should not begin working until you have completed all the paperwork with ISO and have received your updated I-20 with your CPT on the second page.  Failure to comply with these regulations is grounds for termination of your F-1 status.  You may visit the ISO for more information. 



    OPT is “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study” authorized by USCIS.  Students should apply no more than 90 days before the end of the semester.  Please see ISO for more details. 



    Detroit Mercy’s policy requires international students on an F-1 visa are required to have valid health insurance while they reside in the U.S.   



    Director: Lara Wasner, M.A., MATESOL
    Office: Reno Hall, Room 40
    McNichols Campus
    Phone: (313) 993-1191
    Email: wasnerle@udmercy.edu

    Through its offerings in more than 10 languages and ESL, the Language and Cultural Training Department seeks to imbue students with linguistic and cultural knowledge of modern foreign countries. Because today's students live in a multicultural and multilingual world, the curriculum provides the tools, competence, and cultural orientation to enable them to do so successfully. Certificates in Language Studies are available at two levels: Certificate I (Introductory - Intermediate) includes four semesters of study in the target language: 1100, 1110, 1120 or 1150, 2100. Certificate II (Intermediate - Advanced) consists of four more courses in the target language: 2110, 2120, 3100, and 3110 or higher. Placement test determines entry. However, no placement test is required to take introductory-level coursework at the 1100 level. Coursework is available in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and more.

    University of Detroit Mercy's language courses are also available for dual high school and college credit. Please visit Detroit Mercy's High School Dual Enrollment page for more information.


    Study Abroad Programs

    Director: Lara Wasner, M.A., MATESOL
    Office: Reno Hall, Room 40
    McNichols Campus
    Phone: (313) 993-1191
    Email: wasnerle@udmercy.edu

    University of Detroit Mercy provides students with opportunities to gain global perspective and experience by encouraging them to study abroad. Through its various schools and colleges, the University expands its curricula through study programs in other parts of the world. Interested students should consult with the departments sponsoring the programs for more information. Please refer to the University's Study Abroad Program page for the many opportunities available as semester-study and short-term programs.