For your safety, the Intensive English Program is continuing with virtual instruction for the Spring, Summer and Fall 2021 sessions. As a result, there will be no form I-20s issued for these sessions. It’s important your studies continue, even in these difficult times, but your health is our first priority. Please contact us at, if you have any questions.

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An intensive online program from a university you can trust.

When searching for an English learning program, it’s important to choose a respected institution. With more than 38 years of experience, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is an internationally recognized provider of English-language and college-preparation instruction.

Now online, CSUN’s Intensive English Program (IEP) prepares students for successful university study and effective English communication – all from a convenient, digital platform.

Don’t let the world slow you down.

A lot has changed in 2020. Your plans don’t have to. CSUN, through its online Intensive English Program, is here to help students achieve their learning goals – from anywhere, at any time.

The same great program, now online.

With our online option, students can learn English without ever leaving home. Our courses feature lessons taught by world-class university instructors, each with years of experience teaching English to new learners.

The IEP is an immersive English program with:

  • Flexible online learning
  • American cultural activities
  • Small class sizes (typically 15 to 18 students)
  • State-of-the-art language lessons
  • Experienced faculty with advanced degrees

Online, but never alone.

Wherever you are, we’re in this together. Throughout the program, we ensure each student is engaged in the learning material, connected to classmates, and, most importantly, learning the English language.

Learn the language faster.

It’s intensive for a reason: The learning happens faster. By immersing students in the language, we ensure they achieve their goals quickly – and, thanks to the online format, comfortably too. With 20 hours of weekly instruction, students rapidly acquire the skills and knowledge to succeed at American universities, gaining the ability to:

  • Thrive in conversations with native speakers
  • Write convincing arguments and essays
  • Succeed in new or difficult cultural situations
  • Develop active listening skills
  • Present ideas in academic settings

Advance in your career.

The IEP program is not just for students. It’s for professionals too.

On our convenient online platform, participants can develop the sophisticated language abilities to advance into senior roles in their firms and industries. By taking the program, professionals acquire the skills essential for client presentations, international sales, diplomatic relations and more.

How it works

The program will begin with a two-part orientation session.

In the first part, students will learn important processes and contacts, such as how to access learning modules, schedule tutoring, or troubleshoot technical issues. The second part, meanwhile, provides an overview of the program – what to expect and how to succeed – and introduces students to instructors and program leads.

Student placement

Before accessing courses and materials, all students must use our placement tool to assess their English-language proficiency. Based on the results, our instructional team will then place the student on an academic path matched to his or her unique learning needs.

Once enrolled in the program, students can then attend and participate in a variety of ways:

  • Attend live sessions with native speakers.
    In live online sessions, called synchronous, our instructors lead virtual discussions, teach learning modules, and connect with students from around the globe. These sessions, though intensive, help students build friendships as they learn.
  • Access course material at any time.
    Other sessions, called asynchronous, allow students to access course material on demand. At their convenience, students can view recordings of previous classes, review lessons or catch up on the day’s study.

Planning for graduate study in the U.S.?

For those interested in graduate study, we offer additional learning opportunities. These opportunities help participants develop a writing style appropriate for graduate work, as well as the ability to:

  • Critically read advanced texts
  • Analyze scholarly arguments and perspectives
  • Synthesize and respond to academic texts and peer-reviewed journal articles

Immerse yourself in American culture…

… and connect with learners from around the world.

As students learn the language, we help them learn the culture. These modules help students understand English usage in a variety of settings: Some, like those on music and movies, are fun; and others, such as the module on idioms, are more practical. Together, these lessons provide the knowledge, confidence and ability to interact more comfortably with native English speakers.

Idioms for Effective Communication: To communicate more like a native speaker, participants need to learn more than just vocabulary and grammar. They will need to learn to use American English idioms properly. In this module, participants will learn how to express themselves clearly and naturally using American English idioms.

Learning English Through Popular Music: In this module, participants will learn the lyrics to popular American songs in various music genres while practicing their English skills. They will also learn new vocabulary, improve their pronunciation, and engage in active discussions about songs and themes, providing unique insight into American culture.

Storytelling Through Comics: This module will start with the study of short, funny comics. Participants will then create their own mini comic book (no drawing skills necessary). Envisioning and putting together the parts of a story is a good way to organize thoughts and plan future actions -- both essential for stronger written and oral communications.

American English Pronunciation: In this module, participants will enhance their spoken English abilities and build their confidence as communicators. Participants in this interactive virtual class will practice and improve their pronunciation of English in an American context. Each week will focus on specific English sounds that are commonly difficult to pronounce. In addition to refining correct pronunciation, participants will also learn about intonation patterns, stress and rhythm.

Cinematic Expressions: For this module, English language films will be selected that are available on Google Hangouts, Facebook, Netflix, or other commonly available digital platforms. Using the images and characters, participants will then discuss the plots, messages, and storytelling methods of each film. This module expands close listening skills, analytic abilities, and the expression of personal perspectives in English.

Virtual Coffee/Tea Hour: Grab a cup of tea or coffee, log on to the virtual cafe, and join other CSUN IEP participants for a nice talk in a casual online setting. Share stories, make new friends, and keep connected with the CSUN IEP Summer 2020 virtual community.

Dinner Conversations: Participants will dine together virtually and learn to engage in dinner conversations in the American cultural context. As they eat, participants will share information about their favorite foods, restaurants, books, art, travels, and other topics suitable to American culture.

Creating and Sharing: Participants can share their creative expressions and discuss their work with other CSUN IEP participants. They can share visual art images, photos of crafts they have done (or that they find very meaningful in the context of their culture) or display their video creations via TikTok.

Virtual Tours of CSUN and Los Angeles: For participants planning to study at CSUN (or interested in seeing the CSUN campus and sites in Los Angeles), there will be virtual guided tours of the CSUN campus and virtual guided visits to popular Los Angeles locations.

Note:Topics may change.

Get expert help when you need it.

We offer free, one-on-one tutoring services and training resources on writing, research, critical reading, test-taking strategies, pronunciation and communication skills. Students can also receive help with all IEP classes and subject-specific tutoring on a variety of topics.

Live class session schedule:

Live sessions primarily use Zoom to stream video. For on-demand content, which is accessible at any time, CSUN uses Zoom recordings and an online Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas. Other educational technologies and platforms may be used as needed for video sharing, virtual tours, demonstrations, or the like.

Each week will feature 20 hours of scheduled live sessions. CSUN schedules sessions to accommodate those in distant time zones as well as working professionals in the United States.

Live class session schedule

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
4:00 p.m. PDT Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking
6:00 p.m. PDT Reading and Writing Reading and Writing Reading and Writing Reading and Writing
8:00 p.m. PDT Applying English Language Skills Applying English Language Skills Applying English Language Skills Applying English Language Skills
9:00 p.m. PDT Culture and Skills Enhancement Culture and Skills Enhancement Culture and Skills Enhancement Culture and Skills Enhancement

The schedule above is based on dates and times in Los Angeles (Pacific Time Zone - PST/PDT)

The content and structure of the CSUN Intensive English Program

The IEP program has a refined, student-centered curriculum. Courses are carefully developed to meet the goals of students across many levels of English language proficiency, from intermediate English language skills to advanced English language abilities.

IEP courses are organized in the following clusters. Students will start at a skill level corresponding to their results on the placement assessment tool.

The English language skills building components:

  • Listening and Speaking
    Those at an intermediate level will first learn the listening skills to better understand the core concepts of spoken English. Such English language listening skills are the basis for building each participant’s ability to respond appropriately to oral communication in English.

    As participants develop refined listening skills, they will learn to formulate questions in English based on careful listening. They also will learn how to take notes that capture concepts shared in oral presentations. Working with program instructors, participants will learn to engage in more complex question and answer exchanges in English. They will also develop a stronger vocabulary appropriate for their fields of interest and/or for higher education in the U.S.

    Those at a more advanced level will learn the comprehensive listening skills needed for active participation in discussions. With guidance from program instructors, participants will develop a greater facility for taking part in discussions and working on problem-solving scenarios that demonstrate listening capabilities needed to achieve comprehension of the topics covered in oral presentations, and to summarize the main ideas/concepts presented.

  • Reading and Writing
    Those starting the program with intermediate levels of English language proficiency will learn to write effective, well-developed paragraphs using a variety of English language rhetorical modes. Working with program instructors, participants will learn how to write essays and formulate written arguments. This preparation is essential for analytic reading and effective writing. Participants will also be introduced to effective approaches for structuring and writing academic research papers and/or professional practice concept papers or proposals.

    Those with more advanced English language skills will build upon their existing linguistic abilities. Working with program instructors, participants will learn how critical thinking and reading lead to effective written English. They will also learn how to analyze and synthesize information, write summaries and comments, paraphrase longer materials, and use readings to support their own ideas and arguments.

  • Applying English Language Skills
    Students enhance their language, grammar, vocabulary, and test taking skills by choosing from a number of courses: Conversation, Grammar, Academic Vocabulary, TOEFL, IELTS, and English for Math.

Linking English language learning to success in university study or professional practice

This level of the program helps participants develop the sophisticated language abilities necessary for success in degree study at a U.S. university. It’s also excellent preparation for working professionals or those in managerial roles in the U.S.

Note: Participants who are planning to pursue graduate level degrees at a U.S. university (master’s or doctoral levels) will be given assignments during this component of the program to develop the English language skills needed for that level of study.

  • Listening, Speaking, and Presenting Advanced Skills and Abilities Development
    With the help of program instructors, participants with more advanced English language skills will further hone their university-level academic listening and speaking abilities. They will also expand their understanding and use of more formal English grammar. In addition, this level features exercises designed to further improve oral and listening skills in English.

    With program instructors, participants will virtually attend presentations given by CSUN instructors. Based on this experience, participants will then research and present an academic or professional topic of their choosing. Each participant will virtually share their oral presentation in English with the full group of CSUN IEP participants. Program instructors will work with participants to provide feedback on their presentations and to help each refine their approach to developing and giving oral presentations.

  • Analytic Reading and Writing Advanced Skills and Abilities Development
    Those at the advanced level will practice writing academic and professional essays. Working closely with programs instructors, participants will begin to demonstrate a level of English language competency consistent with expectations for success as a degree-seeking student or as a senior professional in business or industry. Participants will learn to write in keeping with the principles and standard in the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Style Guide or the American Psychological Association (APA) Style publications. While these style guides are regularly used in higher education (along with the Chicago Manual of Style), they are also useful resources for advanced and refined writing in professional practice and business.

    Participants will be taught to analyze and discuss university-level academic texts and influential articles related to their planned majors or field of interest/practice. They will be guided and supported as they expand their ability to develop more advanced field-specific concepts expressed in English in their own written works. Participants will learn how to ensure that their written works are solidly grounded in reliable data and expert perspectives.

    Participants who are planning to enroll at CSUN as an undergraduate student following the CSUN IEP will also read and discuss the CSUN common reading for CSUN’s entering class for 2020/2021. This is important to ensure that those beginning study as a first-year student at CSUN are well prepared to participate in discussions in English with any other CSUN first-year student about the common reading.

    Note: Students who successfully complete this level in all courses are eligible for the graduate TOEFL waiver option.