The English Language Institute (ELI) is a division of the School of Professional Studies at the College of Charleston, offering pre-credit and non-credit English study programs.
All programs offered at the ELI are designed specifically for non-native speakers, who wish to pursue English language study for academic, professional or personal development.
The College of Charleston is a mid-sized public liberal arts and sciences university, offering 66 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s degree programs. The College of Charleston’s unique combination of contemporary facilities, cutting-edge programs, and picturesque campus attracts students from across the U.S. and around the world.
The English Language Institute is located in the Robert Scott Small Building, on the College of Charleston’s historic main campus.
The College of Charleston is located in Charleston, South Carolina – a picturesque city of approximately 130,000 residents. The oldest city in the state, Charleston is known for its unique architecture, vibrant cultural scene and authentic Southern cuisine. Charleston is a major U.S. tourist destination – with over 4.5 million visitors annually – and is currently the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina.
The ELI currently offers three programs: Intensive English, Semester Abroad in the South, and Rainbow Studies.
The Intensive English program is designed for non-native speakers of varying proficiency levels, who wish to pursue full-time English language study. Our comprehensive curriculum combines the fundamentals of ESL instruction, with the study of literature, U.S. culture and other enrichment topics. A detailed program description may be found on the Intensive English page.
Semester Abroad in the South (SAS) is an immersion program that allows university students the opportunity to study English in a different cultural setting.
Further information about the Semester Abroad in the South may found in the SAS FAQ.
Rainbow Studies is a custom program offered to groups of 10 or more. In this one-to-four week program, students engage in lessons designed to increase English proficiency and cultural literacy, spending time both in the classroom and on cultural outings.
Further information about Rainbow Studies may be found under Group Programs.
The ELI follows the College of Charleston’s semester system: Fall, Spring, and Summer.
Our Intensive English program sessions are eight weeks in duration, generally with a week-long break between sessions. Two sessions are offered in the Fall, two sessions in the Spring, and one session in the Summer.
The Intensive English program calendar may be located in the Dates and Schedules section of our website.
While we recommend that students begin their Intensive English study on a listed start date, we offer rolling admissions. Students may begin the program at any time during a given session.
Groups wishing to apply to Semester Abroad in the South or Rainbow Studies should contact the ELI for additional information.
International students who will be pursuing full-time study at the ELI are required to obtain an F-1 or J-1 student visa.
Prospective students who are planning to visit the United States on a tourist visa, or who are currently in the US on an alternate visa status may attend the ELI as part-time students.
The ELI can custom design a program for tourists, au pairs, or any other non-native English speaker staying in the Charleston area.
Please see our tuition breakdown for part-time enrollment, or contact the ELI for additional information.
While enrolled in the Intensive English Program, students may be recommended for the “hybrid” option. Hybrid students take a percentage of their classes from the ELI and a percentage from the credit program. This option requires approval from the ELI Academic Coordinator and is only available to students at the Advanced level.
The TOEFL requirement may be waived for students who have been accepted to a College of Charleston degree program, have completed the advanced level of the Intensive English program, and have received a letter of recommendation from the ELI director.
The ELI does not require applicants to submit TOEFL scores.
To enroll in any ELI program, prospective students must hold at least a Beginner level of English proficiency. Typically, students will have studied English in their home country throughout their school years. The ELI does not accept Pre-Beginners.
Prior to the first day of classes, Intensive English students will be required to take oral and written placement exams. These exams allow the ELI to place students in a course level that will best meet their needs and study goals.
ELI classes are typically composed of 5-15 students.
The average ELI student is between 18-30 years of age and represents one of over 30-40 different nations.
The length of time required to develop English proficiency depends on the current level of proficiency and the desired level of proficiency – as well as factors such as personal motivation and frequency of exposure to native English speakers.
Intensive English students typically study at the ELI for one to two semesters (2-4 sessions).
The ELI issues a certificate of attendance to all students who attend courses in the Intensive English program.
Students who complete a full course of study (1 or more full-time sessions) will be awarded a certificate of completion.
Intensive English students who are studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa may not engage in any kind of employment in the United States.
Once a student is enrolled in a College of Charleston credit program, he/she may work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week.
The ELI assists eligible students in securing on-campus housing at the College of Charleston. Students who are not eligible, or those who do not wish to live on-campus, will be assisted in locating suitable off-campus housing.
Additional information about housing policies and procedures may be accessed in the Housing section of our website.