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Intensive English

English Language Study for International Students

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The mission of the Intensive Enlgish Program is to help adult international students meet their personal, academic, and professional goals through intensive English language study. Advanced instructional technology; research-proven teaching methodologies; and independent, voluntary accreditation ensure a superior program of instruction.

For more than 40 years, the Intensive English course series has provided full-time classroom instruction in all skill areas — including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and pronunciation — from beginning through advanced proficiency levels. Classroom instruction is supplemented by self-paced, interactive computer-assisted training in our technology center.


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VIrginia Tech Main Campus - Blacksburg, Virginia National Capital Region

map of Virginia

Virginia Tech Main Campus,
Blacksburg, Virginia
(Southwest Virginia)
National Capital Region,
Fairfax, Virginia
(Near Washington, D.C.)
Language and Culture Institute at Radford University
Radford, Virginia
(Southwest Virginia)

Intensive English

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Classroom presentationThe Intensive English course series is designed to assist students in acquiring the language skills necessary for successful study at an American university.

Students enroll in two required core classes and an optional elective each term and are engaged in these classes 20 to 24 hours per week. Classes are divided into 10 levels according to language proficiency. Core classes are 20 hours per week and include instruction and practice in reading and writing, listening and speaking, grammar, and pronunciation. Our highest levels make up a concentrated preparation program to help students transition to university classes.

Four hours per week are devoted to special-interest electives, which may be taken optionally and at extra cost. TOEFL iBT® Preparation, offered each term, is available to students who have high-intermediate to advanced language proficiency. The elective offerings vary by session, but typically include American Idioms, Orientation to American Culture, Skills for University Success, Advanced Academic Listening, American Media and Business English.

Intensive English features:

  • Full-time, intensive instruction in all language skill areas
  • 10 levels of instruction from low-beginning to advanced
  • Concentrated preparation for university studies
  • An advanced computer-assisted learning center
  • Concurrent graduate-level university enrollment for qualified students
  • Up to 18 months of study, depending on placement

The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students. Form I-20 A/B, the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, is issued to all students originating from outside the United States. This form is used to obtain a student visa.

Computer-Based Training

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TOEFL testingSelf-paced, computer-based training is integrated throughout the Intensive English curriculum to support classroom teaching, address students' individual learning needs, and provide instruction in special interest areas.

Through its technology center, the LCI makes available some of the newest and most effective computer-assisted language learning software on the market.

Software accessible to students includes Auralog's award-winning Tell Me More® language learning program. Tell Me More features more than 850 hours of content in English as a second language from beginning through advanced levels of learner aptitude.

TOEFL iBT® Preparation

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TOEFL is the most widely recognized test of English proficiency in the United States, accepted for admissions purposes by colleges and universities throughout the country. The Internet-based TOEFL, or TOEFL iBT, is administered in secure testing locations throughout the world. Unlike previous versions of the TOEFL, this newest test measures all four language skills, speaking, listening, reading and writing, with an emphasis on assessing the ability to communicate in English.

TOEFL iBT Preparation features:

  • Complete overview of the course format, sections and question types
  • Vocabulary-building and extensive grammar review
  • Extensive computer-based practice, including timed sample tests
  • Speaking and writing drills under actual test conditions
  • Skill-building tips
  • Opportunity to take the TOEFL iBT on-site during the course (main Virginia Tech campus location only)

TOEFL iBT Preparation is a featured elective in the Intensive English course series. High-intermediate language proficiency and concurrent enrollment in Intensive English core courses are required.

Term Calendar

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The Intensive English course calendar closely follows the Virginia Tech semester calendar, with two terms each semester. Sessions are generally eight weeks in length during the academic year from September through May. The two summer sessions from June through August are each six weeks long.

Intensive English term calendars appear in Virginia Tech main campus and National Capital Region location descriptions.

Placement and Levels

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Intensive English courses are divided into 10 levels from low-beginning to advanced. Each level may be completed, with normal progress, in one term. Students are placed into a level upon arrival according to their initial English proficiency, which is determined by results of a standardized test, a writing sample, and an oral interview. Advancement from one level to another is based on the student's having achieved course learning outcomes. This is measured by performance on tests, writing assignments and oral assessments conducted during the term, and a comprehensive evaluation of the student's reading and writing portfolio at the conclusion of the term.

Typical Classes

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Following is a listing of typical classes offered by level. The TOEFL iBT Preparation elective is offered each term. Other optional electives offered vary by term and student interest.

Level 100/150, Beginner
Core I Course: Listening & Speaking
Core II Course: Reading & Writing
Sample Electives: Sounds, Spelling & Writing
Level 200/250, High Beginner
Core I Course: Grammar, Listening & Speaking
Core II Course: Reading & Writing
Sample Electives: Building Vocabulary, Oral Proficiency, Study Skills
Level 300/350, Intermediate
Core I Course: Grammar, Listening & Speaking
Core II Course: Reading & Writing
Sample Joint Electives: American Idioms, Orientation to American Culture, Using English Every Day
Level 400/450, High Intermediate
Core I Course: Grammar, Listening & Speaking
Core II Course: Reading & Writing
Sample Joint Electives: TOEFL iBT Preparation, Advanced Academic Vocabulary, Advanced Academic Listening, American Media, American Culture through Film, Business English
Level 500/550, Advanced
Core I Course: Grammar, Listening & Speaking
Core II Course: Reading & Writing
Sample Joint Electives: TOEFL iBT Preparation, Skills for University Success, Advanced Academic Listening, American Media, American Culture through Film, Business English