English Language Services

The mission of English Language Services (ELS) at Illinois Tech is to provide engaging English language programs and services in a dynamic learning environment relevant to the academic and professional needs of multilingual learners, as well as promote intercultural awareness in the university community.

English Language Services offers several options for students to develop their language abilities. To view more information about the English Language Services department and the programs and services offered, please visit english.iit.edu. English Language Services is accredited by CEA (the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation), a specialized English-language accreditation, and under the university through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and is licensed to operate under the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

To view information about specific programs and courses, please visit the Language Courses section of this bulletin. Programs include:

  • Intensive English and Pathway Program (IFY and IGY)
  • English Language Program (commonly referred to as PESL)
  • Professional Communication Advancement (PCA)
  • English for Design (EfD)

English Language Services also offers special programs/courses for visiting groups as well as individuals who want to study part-time. Contact us at els@iit.edu to find out more.

Supplemental English Language Courses

English language courses are not for academic credit and may be required as a condition of admission. English Language Services offers the following programs:


English Language Services offers supplemental Proficiency of English as a Second Language (PESL) courses for international undergraduate and graduate students through its English Language Program. These courses are for students who have been admitted to Illinois Tech, but need additional language support to be successful in their major courses. The courses focus on building students’ communications and critical thinking skills in unique interdisciplinary classroom environments. 

PESL courses meet the needs of international students to provide academic support for major and program courses, and the language skills and strategies needed to integrate into the global workforce after graduating. Courses in academic reading, writing, listening, and speaking provide a linguistic bridge and help international students acculturate to academic and social life in Chicago. Qualified and experienced instructors deliver carefully designed lessons to help students learn, think, and express themselves in the English language.

Different requirements will apply based on a student’s individual needs and admission requirements, and requirements related to the student’s specific undergraduate and/or graduate programs. Please note: When PESL courses are required as part of admission to the university, they are required starting in the first semester studying on campus as a student. 

Courses in the English language program, when all of the skill­-building courses are taken concurrently, also serve as additional semesters for English­-only students continuing from the Intensive English Program and higher-level courses for applicable pathway program students (IFY and IGY). English language courses for graduate and undergraduate students begin with PESL 0##. Undergraduate course sections begin with U. English language courses beginning with ELP 8## are taken by non-degree students opting into supplemental English language courses.

More information about English competency requirements is available in the Undergraduate Admission section and Graduate Admission section of the university bulletins. Learn more about English competency requirements by visiting English Language Services' Programs and Courses page at https://www.iit.edu/els/programs-and-courses.

PESL 021Listening Enhancement I3
PESL 022Listening Enhancement II3
PESL 031Reading and Vocabulary Development I3
PESL 032Reading and Vocabulary Development II3
PESL 040Fundamentals of Academic Writing3
PESL 041Academic Writing I3
PESL 042Academic Writing II3
PESL 061Effective Communication I3
PESL 062Effective Communication II3
ELP 821Listening Enhancement I3.5
ELP 822Listening Enhancement II3.5
ELP 831Reading and Vocabulary Development I3.5
ELP 832Reading and Vocabulary Development II3.5
ELP 840Fundamentals of Academic Writing3.5
ELP 841Academic Writing I3.5
ELP 842Academic Writing II3.5
ELP 861Effective Communication I3.5
ELP 862Effective Communication II3.5
ELP 899Special Topics in English as a Second Language9

Professional Communication Advancement

Illinois Tech's Stuart School of Business partners with English Language Services to provide the Professional Communication Advancement (PCA) program for international students to receive a customized and targeted approach to communications skill-building. PCA is designed to help students achieve success during their time at Stuart and as they move into the job market and the global business environment. PCA offers a variety of half-semester courses, each targeting specific English-language or communications competencies. Students take part in customized language advancement studies that meet their individual needs.

PCA gives you the support you need to:

  • Transition from classroom English to real-world English
  • Improve your academic performance at Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business
  • Gain the cross-cultural knowledge necessary to succeed in U.S. business
  • Make a great first impression as you begin networking and interviewing with potential employers

Language Assessment Requirements

All students—regardless of country of origin or citizenship—are required to participate in an English Language Assessment if both of the following criteria have not been achieved: 

  • A bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution
  • Speaking English as their first/home/native language

Our in-person language assessment evaluates students in each of the following areas: speaking, listening, pronunciation, academic writing, and business writing. If the assessment of a student’s English skills indicates a need for additional English instruction, then the recommended sequence of courses within the PCA program becomes a requirement that the student must fulfill in order to graduate. Historically, nearly all international students attending Stuart School are in need of one or more courses in the PCA program. A maximum of two semesters of PCA is required provided all attempted courses are completed successfully. 

Learn more about the English competency requirements for admission for Stuart School of Business graduate students in the Stuart School of Business section of the Graduate Bulletin. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Stuart School of Business English competency requirements are available on the English Language Services website (https://www.iit.edu/els/programs-and-courses/professional-communication-advancement).

PCA 510Communication Essentials1.5
PCA 515Strategies for Effective Communication1.5
PCA 520Advanced Communication Skills1.5
PCA 525Advanced Presentation Skills1.5
PCA 530Writing for Academic and Professional Success I1.5
PCA 540Writing for Academic and Professional Success II1.5
PCA 550Writing for the U. S. Workplace1.5
PCA 570Advanced Strategies for Clear Communication1.5

English for Design

Illinois Tech's Institute of Design partners with English Language Services to offer a unique program of study that combines English for Specific Purpose instruction with graduate-level design education. The program is taught concurrently with coursework in the Master of Design. Its goal is to help students from outside of the United States improve their English fluency inside, and outside, of the classroom. In English + Design, students broaden their design vocabulary and increase their understanding of design in the U.S.

Learn more about the English competency requirements for the Institute of Design in the Institute of Design section of the Graduate Bulletin and on the Institute of Design's website: https://id.iit.edu/esp-and-design/

IDN 461Advanced Reading and Writing for Design I3
IDN 462Advanced Listening and Presentation in Design I3
IDN 463Cross-Cultural Communication I2
IDN 464Cross-Cultural Communication I Laboratory1
IDN 466Advanced Reading and Writing in Design II3
IDN 467Advanced Listening and Presentation in Design II3
IDN 468Culture and Communication in Design II2
IDN 469Cross-Cultural Communication II Laboratory1

Intensive English Program and pathway program

The Intensive English Program (IEP) at Illinois Institute of Technology is designed to meet the personal, professional, and academic goals of international students. The program consists of the following:

  • Four levels of instruction, from high-beginning to advanced
  • Core skills: Listening/Speaking, Reading/Writing, Grammar
  • Other example courses: American Culture, Pronunciation, and Test Prep
  • 18 total hours of class per week = 18 credit hour equivalents (no credit toward degrees)
  • Classes meet daily Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Click to view example schedule (Program Calendar)
  • 15 students average in a class (or fewer)

Students accepted to the IEP will study English, meet new people from different countries and cultures, and will experience Chicago while preparing for their academic and professional careers. Experienced full-time and part-time instructors with graduate degrees assist students in achieving their language goals.

Courses in the IEP also serve as the English communication courses for pathway program students in International Year Programs (International Freshman Year, IFY, and International Graduate Year, IGY.) 

Please visit english.iit.edu/iep for more information.

IEP 021IEP Listening and Speaking Level I8.5
IEP 022IEP Listening and Speaking Level II6
IEP 023IEP Listening and Speaking Level III6
IEP 024IEP Listening and Speaking Level IV6
IEP 025IEP Listening and Speaking1-10
IEP 026Pronunciation3
IEP 028Advanced Pronunciation3
IEP 041IEP Reading and Writing Level I6
IEP 042IEP Reading and Writing Level II6
IEP 043IEP Reading and Writing Level III6
IEP 044IEP Reading and Writing Level IV6
IEP 045IEP Reading and Writing1-10
IEP 061IEP Grammar Level I3
IEP 062IEP Grammar Level II3
IEP 063IEP Grammar Level III3
IEP 064IEP Grammar Level IV3
IEP 065IEP Grammar4.3
IEP 071Introduction to United States Culture3
IEP 073United States Culture3
IEP 075TOEFL Preparation for IEP3
IEP 077GRE Preparation for IEP3
IEP 081English for Special Purposes1.9-4.9
IEP 082English for Special Purposes: Architecture1.9-4.9
IEP 083English for Special Purposes: Engineering1.9-4.9
IEP 096Independent Study and Special Projects21