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English Language and Culture Institute

The foundations of a successful college career start here! English Language and Culture Institute classes and activities are designed for international students who are preparing to enter a university or graduate program in the U.S., not just pass a test:

  • Focus on academic standards in writing, reading and listening.
  • Help you understand best practices for being successful in a university.
  • Classes are interactive and allowing you to develop language skills while practicing English in real situations.
  • The class size is under 15 on average.

As a program, our ESL team works together with various University departments and academic services to provide added communication and support between all areas of the campus. We accomplish this by creating added communications to support all three aspects of student learning: Language development, Academic Course work and University Support systems. The result is a deepened understanding of how to succeed at SDSU. Get your English proficiency at a University where your coursework is designed with University integration in mind.




1. Beginner to Intermediate Levels

These courses are part of the English Language and Culture Institute’s (ELCI) Intensive English Program.
Level I

  • Exploring World Perspectives (reading, writing)
  • American Culture and Diversity
  • Communicating Meaning (listening, speaking)
  • Communication Workshop

Level II

  • Writing for College and Beyond (reading, writing)
  • International Civic Engagement
  • Communicating with Academic Audiences (listening, speaking)
  • Communication Workshop
2. Global Foundations

The Global Foundations Program is a rigorous course of English language study that replaces that advanced level of ELCI. The Global Foundations Program creates a pathway to success, allowing students to gain additional experience with Academic English while earning 9 credits toward their desired undergraduate or graduate degree program.

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses:

  • 6–9 credits toward your degree General Education Requirements: course options will be reviewed with ELCI staff

English Language Support Courses:

  • ESL 190: Special Topics in American Universities (3 hrs per week)
  • Integrated Skills in Academic English (ISAE course; 6 hrs per week) – Intensive course designed to accelerate your English skills and support your academic learning
  • Academic Success Coaching (up to 2 hours per week)
  • English in Practice/”WholeStudent”: community-based activities (2-3 hrs per week)

Successful Completion: Students who earn a B grade or higher in the Global foundations ISAE class and academic course work will gain full admission to SDSU Undergraduate School for degree students. Students will not need to re-take a standardized test of English language proficiency to progress to degree study.

3. Program Dates

Fall: Full semester start = end of August
Spring: Full semester start = early January
Summer = middle of May

Please note: we can also accommodate 8-week sessions and on-demand sessions for groups of students. If you’re interested in a custom or on-demand program, or for shorter 8-week programs, please send an email to

Your language journey starts here. TM 

Improve academic and professional English proficiency in the Intensive ESL Program.

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