The Catholic University of America

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long will I have to study in IEP?     

It depends on your proficiency level upon application.  Applicants usually come to us with an intermediate proficiency, and in that case, under normal circumstances of consistently hard work and aptitude, they can function in an academic program after two semesters of English language courses (plus or minus a summer session).  Upon graduation from IEP and the beginning of their academic work, students are advised not to take the maximum number of classes (15 for undergraduates and 9 for graduates), but a slightly lower load allowed by their immigration status as they become acclimated to the new program; during that time or later, they can take an additional writing class (ENG 103) or a class on writing and American Literature (ENG 104)—both of them are designed for non-native speakers of English.

2. What is the Placement Test?

The placement test determines the level of your proficiency at the beginning of your language studies so that we can place you in appropriate classes.  It is a two-hour long test, which includes all language skills—speaking, listening, sentence structure, reading/vocabulary, and writing—tested in multiple-choice, true/false, cloze testing items, as well as writing to a prompt. A score of 80/100 places you out of the English training program.

3. How do I register for classes?

As new students, you will be closely advised how to proceed about registration, billing, and all other matters related to the beginning of the semester.  You will also be given a schedule of the classes at your level of proficiency and will be told about the books you need to purchase for these classes.

4. Where can I live while attending IEP?

The University has on campus accommodations (rooms and meals), but if you plan to live on campus, you need to apply separately for housing (see Housing link under ‘’useful links”), and well ahead of the semester when you plan to begin your studies.  The Housing Office can also help you with recommendations about off-campus housing.

5. What does it mean to be full-time student in IEP?

A full-time load in IEP consists of 20 contact hours (that is, in the classroom, not counting homework) a week for the duration of your studies.  This is a requirement for holders of student visas (F-1 or J-1). You can attend the program only if you hold a student, a diplomatic visa (A-1 or A-2), or if you are a U.S. permanent resident or a U.S. citizen.

6. Can I take just one or two classes in IEP?

You can take one or two classes in IEP only if you are matriculated in an undergraduate or graduate program and take close to a full load of classes in the program in which you are matriculated.  For instance, you can take at least 9 undergraduate credits in your program and a class or two (not for academic credit) in IEP.

7. What do you mean by “immunization record” (on the Request for I-20 form)

In Washington DC, there is a law requiring students under 26 years of age to have a complete immunization record. Bring with you the immunization (vaccine) record from your home country (ask your parents for it), translate it, and take it to our Health Services (see link under “useful links”).  They will determine whether your record is complete or not according to DC law, and you may be asked to have additional shots or update old ones.