The Catholic University of America (CUA), founded in 1887, is situated in the heart of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States, the seat of the government and of all the embassies. Minutes away on the Red Metro line from the finest monuments and museums a cosmopolitan city has to offer, the beautifully landscaped campus of the University is an oasis of learning for several thousand young men and women from all over the United States and the world.
The Intensive English Program (IEP) was established in 1983 for undergraduate and graduate international students whose application to an academic program requires the support of further training in English, the language of instruction. After their English as a Second Language studies, most of our students pursue an academic degree at CUA. In recognition of the challenges facing students working for a degree in a language other than their mother tongue, our Program places special emphasis on academic language skills and vocabulary enrichment.
The curriculum of the Program covers all language skills, oral and written, at various levels of proficiency. After admission to the Program, students take an in-home placement test, meant to measure the students’ proficiency level in speaking, listening, reading/vocabulary, and writing. The majority of our students place at or above the intermediate level of proficiency in English, which translates into a maximum of two semesters of full-time study in the Program.
Classes at each level cover all language skills, as well as American academic culture, literature, vocabulary development, listening to academic lectures, public speaking, study skills, etc. In addition, our students take advantage of co-curricular workshops and tutorials, as well as extracurricular activities, and all the services and activities offered on campus.
Students who are highly motivated to succeed at our University, have ample opportunities to make the necessary progress in their mastery of English as they are immersed in the language in and out of the classroom: they spend up to 20 contact hours a week in the classroom, have access to the library and computer labs for doing their homework, and have each semester extracurricular opportunities for practicing English. There is a strict attendance policy. Student progress is closely monitored, with frequent one-on-one conferences with their instructors. The classes are not for academic credit.
Under normal conditions of motivation and hard work, students who come to the program with a low-intermediate level of proficiency, do not spend more than two semesters and a summer session in the Program before they reach the requisite language skills that allow them to transition to a degree-granting program.
IEP follows the two-semester system of the University. Each semester lasts 15 weeks and starts approximately at the same time every year: the first semester starts at the end of August, and the second semester at the beginning of January. There is also a six-week summer session that starts at the end of May.
Instruction is for 18-20 hours a week, as required by holders of a student visa (F-1). Classes meet every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The average class size is small—12 students--which allows for a lot of instructional attention, frequent testing, and close monitoring of progress. Highly motivated students who work hard and consistently can have high expectations of success. Upon completion of the program, an exit test measures the linguistic readiness of the students to function in a degree-granting program. Conditionally admitted students—i.e., those whose previous academic achievement meets the criteria for admission to CUA—receive an evaluation of language proficiency at the end of the program, which can be used in place of standardized test scores, such as the TOEFL.
In order to apply to IEP, go to our Admissions page, which lists the documents necessary for application, as well as all the forms that need to be filled out (including a Request for an I-20, necessary for a student visa). Dates and deadlines for each semester are at the beginning of the Home Page. Tuition—half of that for a degree-granting program—and fees are listed separately.
Students who do not hold an F-1 visa can take classes on a part-time basis. Students matriculated in a degree-granting program, make take one or more IEP classes as part of their full-time academic load.
Admission to IEP does not imply admission to any degree-granting program. Students have to apply separately for the Program (or “major”) in which they want to study before joining IEP or upon successful completion of IEP.
For on-campus housing, go to www.cua.edu/campus-life/living-at-cua.cfm