English Language Institute

The English Language Institute (ELI) offers programs for non-native speakers who wish to pursue English language study for academic, professional or personal development. Our students will enjoy small class sizes, highly-qualified instructors and customized programs.

The ELI is located in Charleston, SC, a city known for its historic buildings, beautiful scenery, and vibrant cultural scene. Our students have access to a wide variety of campus-based and community activities, as well as many opportunities for practicing English.

The English Language Institute offers several programs for students at every level. We have opportunities for individuals, groups and the local community. We also have a summer program (coming soon!).

The Intensive English Program is designed for students who are non-native speakers who wish to pursue full-time English language study.

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Admission Information for the Intensive English Program

students touring one80 placeRequirements:

– Applicants must be at least 16 years of age

– Applicants must have achieved pre-beginner English literacy in all areas

Standardized Exam:

Students applying to the Intensive English Program are not required to submit test scores. Once enrolled in the program, students will take an oral and written placement exam.

How to Apply:

You can access the application online or email eli@cofc.edu for other options.

Once you complete the application, you will be asked for a $75 non-refundable application fee. It may be paid by cashier’s check, money order, credit card, or wire transfer.

Make sure you apply for the correct term. Our upcoming terms are Fall I (August 19-October 11), Fall II (October 21-December 13), Spring I, Spring II, and Summer.

Conditional Acceptance

If you are interested in attending the College of Charleston as an undergraduate or graduate student and meet all application requirements except proficient English language skills, you may be granted conditional acceptance to the College of Charleston pending the successful completion of the Intensive English Program.

Learn more about undergraduate admission criteria and graduate admission criteria on the main campus website.

If you are offered, and accept, conditional acceptance, the admissions department will notify the English Language Institute, who will contact you to complete the admissions process. You will need to provide the international student documentation (I-20).

Learn more about the College of Charleston and which undergraduate programs and graduate programs it offers by visiting the main campus website.

For additional information or questions about conditional acceptance, please contact eli@cofc.edu.


ELI welcome lunchInternational students must fully understand and adhere to U.S. immigration regulations and are responsible for maintaining legal status with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

You will need the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Certificate of Finances
  • Official Bank Statement
  • Certificate of Eligibility
  • Visa

Applying for your visa

A student visa is a document issued through a U.S. embassy or consulate in the student’s home country. The visa sticker is placed inside of the passport and permits students to apply for admission into the United States.

Once admitted, students will need the certificate of eligibility to apply for an F-1 Non-Immigrant Student visa or J-1 Non-Immigrant Student visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Steps to Applying for your visa
  1. Pay the Student/Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) processing fee
  2. Make an appointment for a visa interview
  3. Visa interview (Questions about the interview process? Read this.)

View our documentation webpage for more detailed information.

English Language Institute program information

ELI student walking on campus The ELI offers the Intensive English Program five times each year: Fall I, Fall II, Spring I, Spring II and Summer. Each session is 8 weeks in duration, with full-time students attending classes for 18-20 hours per week. View our full schedule here.

The Intensive English Program consists of several courses like listening and speaking, grammar and writing, reading and vocabulary, novel studies, and enrichment courses.

Students can attend on either a part-time or full-time basis, though most students will need to attend full time to comply with their F-1 visa.

The current tuition for full-time students in the Intensive English Program is $1995 plus applicable fees. We have a breakdown of all of the College of Charleston’s tuition and fees located on this webpage.

If you wish to attend the Intensive English Program on a part-time basis, the tuition breakdown for individual courses ranges from $360-$720 per 8-week session and can be found on this webpage.

For more information about part-time enrollment, please contact eli@cofc.edu.

Once you’re admitted to the program, you’ll want to know more about campus life. Read the welcome from the program director here, and explore the campus virtually.

Are you looking for something else? Here is information on Group Programs, English for Business, and TOEFL Prep.

You can always email eli@cofc.edu with questions.