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Intensive English Programs


Intensive English Program

Gail KellerbergerThe ELI Intensive Program at the University of Houston-Downtown has prepared students in the English language since 1974. We offer a 7-level Intensive English Program (IEP) for students and professionals wishing to improve their language skills for university study or professional use. Thousands of ELI graduates have entered academic classes, both as undergraduate and graduate students at the UHD and all over the United States. Other ELI graduates have returned to their countries to better jobs and stronger professional lives. We have the experience and success to help you meet your English language goals.


Quick Summary
  • Lower levels quickly develop vocabulary and conversational skills.
  • Intermediate and advanced levels focus on academic skills and content.
  • Extensive software, videos, activities, fieldtrips, orientations, and free classes help students progress quickly.
  • ELI graduates statistically do better than other students at the University because of their excellent preparation.
Program Description

The Intensive English Program offers: ELI classes

  • Modern program design, teaching technique, equipment, and materials
  • Courses that prepare students for academic life in U.S. universities
  • 20 hours of in-class instruction and 20 hours of computer lab every week
  • Six sessions per year
  • Computer labs for language study
  • Instructional classrooms with digital projection
  • Eight levels of instruction with rapid advancement
  • Initital level placement test to avoid lost time

Testing, Promotion, Graduation

  • New students are assigned a level based on placement test scores.
  • Promotion to a new level is possible every session.
  • ELI graduates enter the university without a TOEFL score
  • ELI graduates receive three hours of academic credit
  • Students receive Certificates of Completion and Certificates of Graduation.
Special Benefits

    • ELI graduates receive an ELI Certificate of Graduation and three hours of academic credit for ELI English study after finishing 12 university credit hours.
    • Graduates may compete for scholarships in their credit classes.
    • ELI students also receive benefits from the University.
    • ELI students may compete for a small performance scholarship each semester.
    • ELI students have the opportunity to attend four hours of free pronunciation and conversation each week.


    With interesting and fast-paced classes, the ELI curriculum helps students learn English quickly. Instructors teach language rules and provide practice through tasks and exercises and train students in the four language skills through presentation, practice and task-based instruction.

    Lower level courses

    • focus on basic language learning
    • train students to communicate with each other and with native English speakers
    • teach students grammar, vocabulary and reading, listening and speaking, and participation in writing clinics

    Intermediate level courses

    • develop basic skills toward an academic application
    • rehearse language in alternate structures
    • develop English skills through the study of grammar, listening and speaking, reading and participation in writing clinics

    Advanced level courses

      • improve language proficiency
      • provide instruction in academic note-taking, study methods, presentation techniques and library research
      • provide the necessary transition from language study to university study
      • develop English skills through the study of grammar, listening and speaking, and participation in writing and reading clinics


      FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
      Who can attend the ELI Intensive English Program?

      Anyone with academic or professional objectives who has graduated from high school can attend. Students from the U.S. and other countries are also welcome to attend.

      What is the program of study in the IEP?

      Seven levels of English; the program teaches grammar, reading, writing, listening and speaking.

      Who are the instructors?

      Highly trained English instructors that hold master’s degrees and have years of professional experience in the field of language education.

      What level do I start at in the IEP?

      All students are tested. You are placed into the level indicated by your test results.

      How can an international student attend the IEP?

      Complete and submit our application and send the requested materials. We will send you an I-20; you will receive an F-1 Visa for the American Embassy in your country.

      What if I only want to come to the IEP for one session?

      If you want to complete only one session, you must still get an F-1 Visa.

      What do I do if I want to attend UHD after I finish the IEP?

      Apply for an I-20 that covers both English study and academic study. The application has a place where you can mark this.

      What do ELI Intensive English Program classes cost?

      For a breakdown of costs, visit the Tuition page.

      How can I get an ELI application?

      Please visit our Application webpage.

      What if I have a problem on the application?

      If you have questions and need assistance with your application, call 713-223-7477 or email


      Important Information


      For additional information, please call 713-221-8047 or email us at




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      Last updated or reviewed on 2/25/15

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