English Language Institute

Intensive English Program

Important Notice: 

The University of Pittsburgh and the ELI will offer hybrid course options for the Spring 2021 semester. A hybrid teaching model includes remote instruction with an in-person option when health, safety, and other conditions allow for it. Students should plan to take the courses in real-time in order to increase their opportunities for interacting with the instructor and classmate. While the ELI will offer an in-person option for students when conditions allow for it, it is possible that the instructor may be participating remotely during these classes. 

During periods of remote instruction, the ELI will offer courses and curricula that build the same skills as our in-person instruction. Teachers will present learning material, answer questions, lead discussions, provide feedback, and encourage students to actively participate in the class as well as in pair and/or group work.  

Full-time and part-time classes are available. Full-time study is required for students on F-1 visas. Students may study from their homes in Pittsburgh or from anywhere in the world, but they must be able to attend classes via video between 9 am and 4 pm EST. All course materials are shared with registered students via Canvas, the University’s online learning management systemFor this reason, students must have access to audio- and video-capable technology (preferably a computer or laptop), and a basic (1.5 Mbps) DSL Internet/WiFi connection or a cellular/satellite connection. A cable or fiber Internet service will further enhance your learning experience, but it is not required. 

Please visit the University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Response website for the most updated information at the University. 

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*  
  • Low intermediate
  • Intermediate  
  • High intermediate
  • Low advanced   

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

All students take a placement test upon arrival. There are no classes for students who place below the high beginning level. The number of levels offered in Summer 2020 and Fall 2021 will depend on enrollments. Students on F-1 visas who place into levels that are not being run must transfer to another program within 30 days of entry into the U.S. to maintain visa status.   

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. 

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.  

Class Schedule 

Full-time students receive 20 hours of intensive English instruction each week per academic term.  Classes meet on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Each class lasts 45 minutes to allow students a sufficient break 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 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 

Tuition for full-time study for one term is $4860 ($1020/course for part-time study), plus the application fee and required University fees. Detailed information about tuition and fees can be found on the Tuition and Fees page. 

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, students should submit a completed application and 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. 

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 TOEFL/IELTS proficiency waivers that are available to ELI students, visit our Application page. 

Contact us for more information about the Intensive English Program.