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Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person components of this program have moved into a virtual format until further notice. Enrollment in our virtual format requires access to a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile devices such as smartphones do not meet this requirement.


Students interested in matriculating to San Diego State University for an undergraduate degree can apply for Undergraduate Conditional Admission.


English for Academic Purposes (EAP) English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program is designed for English as a Second Language (ESL) students at all levels who: plan to enter an American college or university at the undergraduate level; need to prepare for the TOEFL and IELTS; want to succeed in the university classroom with native English speakers.

Program Highlights

  • TOEFL Waivers
    Students applying to SDSU undergraduate and graduate degree programs and local community colleges may be eligible to receive a TOEFL waiver after completing advanced levels.

  • Undergraduate Conditional Admission to SDSU
    Students who are planning on getting an undergraduate degree at SDSU have the opportunity to apply for Undergraduate Conditional Admission

  • Academic Skill-Building
    The EAP program helps international ESL students develop the skills needed to succeed at U.S. universities.

  • University Advising
    The ALI offers advising on academic matters and university selection. Advisors help students with admission applications to San Diego State University and other schools.

  • Interaction with Native Speakers
    EAP students have the opportunity to practice their English speaking and listening skills and to improve their knowledge of American culture by interacting with native speakers. The ALI Student Life Office can also help students make contact with native speakers outside the classroom.

  • Enroll in SDSU Classes
    Advanced EAP students may enroll in up to two regular SDSU classes (six units)* with American students during the fall or spring semesters. Official SDSU grades, credits, and transcripts are awarded and may be transferred to other universities. See EAP Plus below for more information.
    *An additional fee applies.

Testing and Placement

The EAP program offers English instruction in all levels from beginning to advanced. Students take placement tests to determine their English level. They are tested in different skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and placed according to their varied needs and abilities. Lower level students take integrated skills classes. At the end of each term, students have the option of testing again to measure their progress.

For more information on this program, please contact studentworld@sdsu.edu.


English for Academic Purposes

Number of weeks

12 in summer, 17 in spring or fall

Hours of instruction

23+ per week


Prior instruction in English preferred

Also included

All students have access to academic advising, student advising, electives, pronunciation clinics, conversation groups, language and computer labs, the SDSU library, and sports facilities.

Dates and Costs

See Calendar & Fees

Students arriving after the EAP start date may attend the Intensive English for Communication (IEC) program until the next EAP session begins.


  • Placement Tests
    After taking the EAP placement examination, students are placed into their courses according to the strength of their language skills in each course content area, meaning that students may be in different levels for listening, reading, writing, etc. Lower level students follow an integrated curriculum.
  • English Skills
    Significant instruction time is dedicated to developing academic reading, writing, grammar, listening, speaking, and vocabulary skills, and strategies necessary for success in college and university coursework.
  • Other Coursework
    Depending on level and availability, students may choose courses to prepare for the TOEFL and IELTS examinations required for undergraduate university programs. Some students may be eligible to take content based courses such as The English of Math, English for Engineering, American Marketing.
  • Activities
    Students are exposed to U.S. university classroom culture and can take part in SDSU campus activities on a regular basis through the EAP program.
  • Program Electives
    Elective courses are offered each semester to further support test-taking skills, improve language proficiency, and increase knowledge of U.S. culture. Courses vary by session and placement level.
    Popular electives include:
    • Internet-based TOEFL Prep
    • IELTS Prep
    • English Through Dance
    • American Pronunciation
    • English Sentence Patterns
    • Developing Fluency Through Verbs
    • Preparation for Academic Reading
    • English Through Popular Music
    • English Through Sports

Sample Schedule












Elective 1


Listening & Note-taking


Listening & Note-taking


Elective 2




Academic Speaking


Academic Speaking


Pronunciation Clinic

In addition to daily speaking classes and pronunciation electives, the ALI offers students free personalized articulation and accent modification using specialized software, customized lab activities, and teacher-created materials.

EAP Plus

Advanced students may enroll in up to two regular SDSU classes with American students. Official SDSU grades, credits, and transcripts are awarded and may be transferred to other universities.

  • Open to advanced students who test above EAP level 106.
  • Students work closely with their ALI advisors to choose SDSU classes in select departments.
  • Students earn SDSU credit in courses with American students.
  • Official SDSU transcripts and transferable credit are awarded.
  • Additional fees apply on a per-class basis.