English Language & Culture Institute

Your language journey starts here. TM

Explore American culture, develop academic English proficiency, and learn to communicate with confidence at South Dakota State University. The SDSU English Language & Culture Institute (ELCI) prepares students for the rigors of post-secondary academics. Students are challenged to think beyond simply building language skills to embrace the attitude of learning.

Intensive ESL Program

Prepare to enter a college or university by improving your academic English reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Participate in events. Develop academic thinking skills. Engage in real-world problem solving. Become a more engaged global citizen.

The ELCI Intensive ESL Program is ideal for non-native English speakers seeking admission to a nationally accredited U.S. higher education institution. The program offers:

  • Student-centered teaching
  • Critical thinking curriculum
  • Focused instruction
  • Progressive levels
  • Limited class sizes
  • One undergraduate credit per term

Check out, download and share the virtual ELCI brochure.

Check out, download and share the virtual ELCI brochure.

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A Certificate of Completion will be awarded to all students who complete Level III and pass all exit exams.

ELCI Admission and TOEFL/IELTS Waiver

Language proficiency scores are not required for ELCI admission. Qualified undergraduate applicants will receive conditional admission to SDSU. Graduate applicants will prepare for the TOEFL/IELTS to meet the minimum language requirements for their specific programs.

The ELCI offers a high rate of acceptance for candidates who have completed secondary school. No application fee or advanced tuition deposit is required to receive an I-20.

Student Services and Advising

Students participate in a comprehensive orientation and assessment, and receive ongoing support, including advising before entering the desired course of study. The ELCI term price includes tutoring and conversation partners, cultural excursions and the same student events and services available to all SDSU students.

TOEFL Test Prep Brochure

Download the TOEFL® Test Prep Program brochure (PDF).


SDSU’s Intensive TOEFL® Test Prep Program is designed for students currently at an English proficiency level equivalent of 50+ on the TOEFL Test, 5.0 IELTS, Cambridge CAE 41, or SDSU ESL Level 2.


  • 20 hours per week of instruction
  • TOEFL Value Pack Plus Materials
  • TOEFL Test Registration Fee & Transportation on Test Day (Over a $200 value)
  • Wellness Center Access
  • Score 61 Undergraduate Admission Application eligibility**

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**Score 61 is for students who have applied for SDSU undergraduate admissions when selecting this program.

Those students will be eligible to begin an academic undergrad program in the fall of 2016 if a TOEFL score of 61 or higher is attained. Academic classes are available beginning July 26 (Summer Bridge "Jump into State Program.") 

Regular fall academic classes begin August 22.

TOEFL® is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service (ETS). This product is not endorsed or approved by ETS. 

ESL Composition

Increase your academic success.

International students attending South Dakota State University will be assessed and placed in the most appropriate English composition class based on proficiency. Please see the English Placement for International Students Policy for details.

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SDSU is the largest public university in the state of South Dakota and has students from more than 80 different countries. Choose from more than 175 fields of study and 217 student organizations. SDSU is ranked in the top 10 colleges with low-cost out-of-state tuition. Learn more.

About Brookings.

The SDSU campus is nestled in the heart of Brookings—ranked #5 nationwide in Livability's Best Small Towns—offering the safety of a small town with all the amenities of a big city. Learn more.