Learn English with University of San Diego's English Language Academy

English Language Courses for Educational and Professional Goals [Online and On-Campus]

Learning English opens up a world of opportunity — in business, education, arts, culture, professional settings and more. Where you learn English can also shape this experience in important ways.

That's why the English Language Academy (ELA), located on the beautiful campus of the University of San Diego, takes great care to create a supportive, family-like atmosphere that helps students thrive and that has been one of the keys to our ongoing success. Whether you are taking an English language course here on campus or through our leading-edge remote learning option, you will find a top-quality academic program taught by expert instructors who are passionate about helping students learn English.

The English Language Academy enthusiastically welcomes students from all over the world. Our programs are designed to help you learn English online to excel in your studies at a U.S. university or improve your language skills for professional reasons. Our instructors are skilled at helping learners of varying levels of language proficiency.

English Language Academy: A closer Look [Video]

Take a peek at the USD campus while learning about the philosophy and mission of the English Language Academy in this brief video.

Remote Learning at USD

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some courses that are traditionally offered on campus are now being taught online, as the university has decided to extend remote teaching until further notice. In doing so, the University of San Diego is guided by two imperatives:
  • Ensuring that we take precautions to protect our community and communities beyond our campus
  • Continuing to deliver high-quality, value-based programs that prepare our students to address society’s most urgent challenges

Please visit USD’s COVID-19 website for the most current information.

English Language Courses, Programs & Certificates

The following are the primary programs offered through the English Language Academy:

  • Intensive English Language Program* – prepares students for the academic requirements of university study and for career success
  • Undergraduate Pathway Programoffers academically prepared international students the opportunity to become full-time, degree-seeking students at the University of San Diego
  • Graduate Pathway Program – offers academically prepared international students the opportunity to become degree-seeking graduate students at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), University of San Diego
  • Summer International Junior Program welcomes international students aged 13-17 to San Diego for a summer language-learning adventure
  • Accent Modification Programoffers skills training for people who speak English as a second language and who want to improve their speaking skills, as well as reduce their native-language accents
  • Introduction to Graduate Writing provides scholars with the knowledge and specific tools necessary to improve their graduate-level research paper-writing skills: 100% Online
  • Preparing for University in the U.S. gives international students planning to attend a university in the U.S. insight into campus life and academic expectations: 100% Online
  • TOEFL iBT Test Prep helps non-native English speakers who are seeking to improve their TOEFL score to gain admittance into U.S. universities: 100% Online

We also offer customized programs tailored to specific groups of individuals who wish to improve their English skills for personal, academic, or professional reasons.

* The ELA offers the option of attending shorter portions of our Intensive English Program (Fall and Spring: 7 weeks; Summer: 5 weeks).

Who Should Attend?

The English Language Academy offers a variety of different programs, each carefully designed to serve language learners of varying ages, levels of English proficiency and goals. These range from our popular Summer International Junior Program for international students aged 13-17 to the Intensive English Language Program, which prepares those aged 18 and older for university or career success.

Generally speaking, each of our programs provides personalized, high-quality instruction to help non-native speakers develop and improve their English language skills. Students also gain cultural knowledge that can be helpful in achieving their personal, professional and academic goals.

ELA Program Highlights

Here are some of the highlights that are common to the wide range of English language courses and certificate programs offered through our English Language Academy:

  • Individual skill-based student placement for dynamic learning
  • Small classes averaging 10 to 15 students, offering individualized attention and a strong connection with faculty
  • Highly qualified instructors with graduate degrees in English language teaching, enhancing the educational experience
  • Assistance with various housing and accommodation options, including on- and off-campus housing, or homestay with an American family
  • A University of San Diego Student ID Card, providing access to the university’s many facilities and services (e.g. swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, etc.)
  • Opportunities for field trips to reinforce English skills and learn about American culture
  • Friendly, dedicated staff available to help students with academic planning, housing, visa processing, campus functions, social activities and more
  • Certificate issued after successful completion of the program

Unique Benefits of the ELA Program

In addition to some of the program highlights and benefits mentioned above, one of the key advantages of ELA programs is that our placement test is used to place students at different levels for each skill area. For example, a student may be placed in Advanced Reading, High Intermediate Listening, Intermediate Writing, etc. This helps customize the English language-learning experience to each student’s unique needs, as well as providing them with a more dynamic educational experience by having different teachers and students in classes.

Mission Statement

The English Language Academy (ELA) offers an Intensive English Language proficiency program that helps to improve and strengthen the skills of non-native speakers so they can fulfill the academic requirements of a college or university.


“I highly recommend the English Language Academy for international students. Teachers here are really helpful and friendly. They helped me not only in my study, but they also helped me with the problems in my daily life. I came to America without any TOEFL study experience, but with the help of ELA, in two semesters I passed the TOEFL test and got accepted in USD. Thanks for the help from ELA.” — Zhiyi (Tom), China

“My experience in ELA was truly amazing. I returned home after one year not only with a better performance in writing, listening, speaking and grammar, but having a broader experience of our world, sharing with people from other cultures and having unforgettable moments with them. I am also glad to have had teachers so nice and with a high level of know-how, always willing to help you and giving the best of themselves day after day. Forever grateful and thank you for the memories!” — Luis Guillermo, Venezuela

“Home away from home — this is how I describe my ELA experience. Caring staff and patient teachers. The trips every semester helped me learn more about San Diego and the culture of the U.S. On the academic side, I have improved a lot in my writing skills to a level I am proud of. Moreover, my vocab has enlarged at the ELA, which now makes my writing cohesive. My favorite class was reading and critical thinking, and it is needed at the university level. You will approach what you are looking for if you put the effort.” — Helana, Saudi Arabia

“The ELA is the best English school I have ever attended. The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. I would highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to be well-prepared for university level courses.” — Takanobu, Japan

“The English Language Academy was a perfect opportunity to improve my English in a friendly atmosphere and small group setting. I enjoyed the variety and usefulness of the courses and meeting new friends from all over the world. The instructors were great, always open to helping me even if it was not related to my course work. The time I spent in the program is unforgettable.— Cvetanka, Bulgaria

Experienced Instructors 

Our highly skilled English Language Academy instructors — each of whom have earned graduate degrees in English language teaching — are patient and passionate about their work helping students learn English. 


The University of San Diego’s English Language Academy is a member of the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) and the Association of International Educators (NAFSA). Our Intensive English Language Program is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). In addition, USD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission (WASC).

Prospective Student Information [Housing, Application Process, Etc.] 

Application process:

For information on how to apply to ELA programs, please visit our English Language Academy Application page or contact us directly to talk with an enrollment counselor at (888) 983-3976.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q: Why should I choose the English Language Academy (ELA) for my child?

A: The ELA offers an intensive and rigorous language program for students who are serious about pursuing an academic degree at an American college or university. Classes are small, typically 10 to 15 students per class.

Q: What type of classes does the ELA offer?

A: ELA offers classes in Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Grammar and TOEFL preparation.

Q: What does ELA academic instruction look like?

A: ELA students spend the majority of their time practicing English through class discussion, in-class projects and homework. Tests are given to measure progress and are only a small part of the “holistic” approach to learning, which also includes opportunities to practice the language and learn about American culture outside the classroom.


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