English Language Institute

Intensive English Program

General Overview 

The English Language Institute (ELI) at the University of Pittsburgh offers a CEA-accredited Intensive English Program (IEP) with classes at five proficiency levels. The number of levels offered depends on enrollments.

  • High beginning* (contact us to confirm availability)
  • Low intermediate
  • Intermediate  
  • High intermediate
  • Low advanced

*High beginning is approximately equivalent to 24 on the Internet-based TOEFL.

All students take a pre-arrival entrance exam to determine their placement and level in the IEP. Complete information about studying in the IEP 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 

The program focuses on developing language skills for academic, professional and personal needs.


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 authentic audio and video 

  • increasing comprehension of conversational English  


  • developing vocabulary  

  • increasing reading fluency  

  • improving reading comprehension  


  • learning to understand grammar in listening and reading

  • using appropriate grammar 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. All students receive a final grade report. Students who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate of attendance. 

Students should be prepared to use their own laptop or device for 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.

Class Schedule 

Full-time students receive 20 class hours of intensive English instruction each week per academic term.  Each class meets two days a week for two class hours. Classes are scheduled between 8 am and 5 pm. 

Student Visas 

Students who need an F-1 visa to study full time in the IEP can apply for an I-20 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. 

Part-time Study 

Part-time study is when a student studies for four or fewer classes. 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 

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. 


Housing options for students in the Intensive English Program include homestays, apartments near the university, and student residence halls in downtown Pittsburgh.  During the summer term, University dorms might be available for IEP students.    

Application Process and Deadlines 

  1. Submit a completed application and pay the required entrance exam fee by the appropriate deadline.
  2. The ELI will contact the applicant to schedule an entrance exam. 
  3. The applicant completes the entrance exam.
  4. The ELI contacts the applicant with the results of the entrance exam and provides instructions for how to pay the application fee. 
  5. After the application fee is paid, the applicant will receive an acceptance letter to the IEP and an I-20 if applicable. 

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 or if you have questions about the application process. 

For more information about the ELI's accreditation, visit: