English Language Institute (ELI)
For the non-native speaker of English, the University of Alabama English Language Institute (ELI), a part of Capstone International, offers two types of year-round English-language programs: The Intensive English Program is designed for individuals who are seeking intensive English study, while External Programs are designed for groups who desire highly specialized curricula. In addition, the ELI has two programs for matriculated students at The University of Alabama: the International Teaching Assistant Program, which trains and evaluates international graduate teaching assistants, and the Academic Support Program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students who may want or need additional English-language instruction.
The ELI Intensive English Program (IEP) is designed for individuals who need to learn English as a second language. The program focuses on preparing students for academic success, both in English-language proficiency and cultural awareness, for undergraduate and graduate study at The University of Alabama.
Six levels of study, from beginning to advanced, are available. Each level consists of 20 hours of core classes per week; additional optional classes are also available for students who wish to take them. Each level of study lasts approximately eight weeks and is available six times per year with sessions beginning in August, October, January, March, May, and June. Students may begin their English study at the beginning of any one of these sessions.
An ELI student wishing to enter an undergraduate degree program at The University of Alabama may meet UA’s English proficiency requirements either by obtaining the required TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score or by completing Level 6 with a GPA of 3.0 in Levels 4, 5, and 6. Undergraduates who meet certain conditions (minimum TOEFL score and GPA) become eligible to enroll in undergraduate courses while completing their ELI program of study. The number of UA courses that an eligible student may take is determined by the ELI. Students pursuing graduate study must complete Levels 4, 5, and 6 with a GPA of 3.5. In certain cases, the Graduate School, the ELI, and the student’s academic department may together grant permission for a student who has completed Level 4 or higher with a minimum GPA of 3.5 to enroll in one graduate course per semester while completing the ELI program of study. The specific course must be approved by the instructor and department prior to enrollment.
Students who apply for admission to UA and meet the academic and financial qualifications to enter the University but do not have TOEFL scores available or do not meet the TOEFL score requirement may be admitted conditionally or provisionally. Such students will not be eligible to begin an academic program and will be required to register for full-time study in ELI until they meet the TOEFL requirement or satisfactorily complete the ELI program as outlined above.
Structure: Levels 1 to 6. Structure courses provide students with the basic grammatical structures they will need to communicate effectively in English in four language skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Each structure course emphasizes communication—both comprehension (listening and reading) and production (speaking and writing). Structure courses meet 5 hours per week.
Speaking/Listening: Levels 1 to 6. ELI courses in Speaking/Listening English provide students with the opportunity to improve their listening and speaking skills and to gain confidence in using English to communicate orally. Students practice appropriate conversation management skills, receive instruction on problem areas of pronunciation, and learn useful vocabulary. These activities are carried on through a variety of classroom exercises that focus on the everyday situations students are likely to encounter while adjusting to life in the United States. Speaking/Listening courses meet 6 hours per week.
Reading/Writing: Levels 1 to 6. The Reading/Writing curriculum of the English Language Institute is designed to provide students with both the skills and the practice that are necessary for them to develop satisfactory reading and writing skills in English and eventually to function successfully in U.S. university courses where extensive academic reading and essay writing are required. Skill instruction and accessible, varied, and challenging tasks invite students to invest their time and energy in constructing meaning from written texts, responding to those texts, and producing writings of their own. Students will acquire new vocabulary and develop effective reading strategies for different types of tests. Working on closely related reading and writing assignments, students will develop proficiency in understanding what they read and in thinking, drafting, and revising their own ideas by working through the writing process with input from their classmates and teachers. Reading/Writing courses meet 9 hours per week.
Oral Communication. Oral Communication (OC) is designed to help students improve their skills and proficiency in both speaking and understanding oral English. Students’ oral proficiency in English will improve as a result of a variety of classroom tasks and activities. In addition, instructional activities will occasionally take place outside of the classroom in order to take advantage of opportunities in community settings. Oral Communication is divided into two separate eight-week sessions—OC I and OC II—each of which meets for 9 hours per week.
Optional Classes. The ELI offers several choices of optional courses. Some examples of optional courses are TOEFL Preparation, Pronunciation, American Culture, Current Events, Business English, English Through Current Events, and English Through Music. Optional classes typically meet 2-3 hours per week.
Culturally Speaking. Through the Culturally Speaking class, ELI students meet regularly with American students to converse in English in relaxed surroundings. Culturally Speaking provides a comfortable way for ELI students to form friendships with American students and to practice their English.
Culture and Language Exchange Program. The Culture and Language Exchange Program matches the ELI students with UA students who are studying the ELI student’s native language. Once matched, these pairs or groups of students then meet as often as they like for conversation practice in both English and in the particular foreign language.