English Language Institute

Intensive English Program

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General Overview 

The English Language Institute (ELI) at the University of Pittsburgh offers a CEA-accredited Intensive English program with classes at five proficiency levels: 

  • High beginning*  (not available Summer 2022)
  • Low intermediate**
  • Intermediate  
  • High intermediate
  • Low advanced

*High beginning is approximately equivalent to 24 on the Internet-based TOEFL.
**The number of levels offered in Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 will depend on enrollments.

All students take a placement test to determine their level in the ELI. Complete information about studying in the ELI's Intensive Program can be found in the ELI Student Handbook on the Application page.  

Dates and Deadlines 

The Intensive English Program term lasts 13 weeks. Programs begin in September, January, and May. Click here for the complete academic calendar.  If you do not need an I-20 for an F1 student visa and cannot start your classes on the start date, please contact us to discuss options. 

Classes and Skills Developed 

Our Intensive English Program is a 13-week program with classes meeting for five class periods per day, four days per week. The program focuses on developing language skills for academic, professional and personal needs. Students taking a full-time program will study the following classes:


Language Skills 


  • developing and giving presentations  

  • building speaking fluency  

  • improving pronunciation  

  • enhancing conversational abilities  


  • improving organization and accuracy  

  • writing essays and research papers  


  • developing comprehension skills for understanding lectures  

  • understanding radio and TV programs  

  • increasing comprehension of conversational English  


  • developing vocabulary  

  • increasing reading fluency  

  • improving reading comprehension  


  • learning to understand and use appropriate grammar in order to communicate effectively in speaking and in writing 


The first week of the program includes several orientation sessions; the last week of the program includes final exams and a closing ceremony. Students who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate of attendance and a grade report at the end of each term. 

Students should be prepared to use their own laptop or device for some online assessments completed during class and for final exams. A limited number of laptops may be available for students to borrow for an 8-hour period from the University Library System and Pitt IT

Class Schedule 

Full-time students receive 20 class hours of intensive English instruction each week per academic term.  Classes currently meet on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, but this schedule may vary.  The class schedule allows students a sufficient break of 10 to 15 minutes between classes. Students will be assigned a schedule based on their level as determined by the ELI IEP placement test. 

Student Visas 

An F-1 student visa is not needed for students studying entirely remotely/online. Students who want to study full-time in the U.S. can apply for an F-1 student visa through the ELI, depending on availability and visa policies at the time. Learn more about Requirements for a Student Visa, How to Get Your Student Visa, and Requirements for Current ELI Students. Students entering the U.S. for the first time on an F-1 student visa must enroll full-time in the ELI hybrid model option of study and take some courses in-person.   

Part-time Study 

Part-time study is when a student studies for four or fewer class periods per day, four day per week. Students who are not on an F-1 student visa can study part-time. 

Tuition and Fees 

Detailed information about tuition and fees can be found on the Tuition and Fees page.

University of Pittsburgh employee education benefits may be available for eligible faculty, staff, librarians, research associates, and post-doctoral research associates and scholars, as well as their spouse/domestic partner and dependent child(ren).

Campus Life 

ELI students in the Intensive English Program are part of the University of Pittsburgh community and receive a University of Pittsburgh student ID card. With the Pitt ID, students have access to all librariesrecreational/sports facilitiesand computer labs on campus. Students also have access to free and discounted cultural activities throughout the city. Please note that physical access to aspects of University and city life may be limited due to health and safety restrictions, but the University and other city attractions are working to provide students with safe, modified activities or remote activities.   


Housing options for students in the Intensive English Program of the ELI include homestays, apartments near the university, and student residence halls in downtown Pittsburgh.  During the summer term, ELI students can also live in the university dorms.    

Application Process and Deadlines 

To apply for admission to the ELI, applicants should submit a completed application, including proof of high graduation or enrollment in a university degree program and a copy of a current, valid passport. Applicants also must pay the necessary fees by the appropriate deadline.  Applications may be accepted after the deadline if space is available;  however, submitting an application after the deadline may not allow enough time to obtain a visa in the applicant's country. For a complete list of important dates and deadlines, see the Academic Calendar. 

All applicants must take an entrance exam before full admission to the ELI is given. The ELI will contact applicants after their application is complete and will schedule the entrance exam with the applicant.

Please note that admission to the ELI does not include admission to a degree program at the University of Pittsburgh. For information about conditional admission and language proficiency waivers that are available to ELI students, visit our Application page. 

Contact us for more information about the Intensive English Program.