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, courses, 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 through the university's Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation, 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 catalog. Programs and courses include:

  • Communicating for Academic and Professional Success (CAPS)
  • English for Design
  • Intensive English Program (IEP)

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.

English Communication Courses

English communication courses may be required as a condition of admission. English Language Services offers the following programs:


English Language Services offers Communication for Academic and Professional Success (CAPS) courses for Illinois Tech’s multilingual students. These courses are designed for students who have been admitted to Illinois Tech, but need additional language and cross-cultural support to be successful in their degree programs. The courses focus on building students’ communication and critical thinking skills in unique interdisciplinary classroom environments. 

CAPS 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 programs. Please note: When CAPS courses are required as part of admission to the university, they are required starting in the first semester of studying on campus. 

CAPS courses for graduate students are three-credit hour equivalent courses offered as non-credit courses. The tuition cost for each is discounted to one-credit hour per course. For more information about each course and its description, please see below.   

CAPS 051Writing in the University for Multilingual Speakers of English3
CAPS 052Chicago Voices3
CAPS 053Global Issues through Literature3
CAPS 054Telling Your Story: Advanced Language Skills for Academics and Work3
CAPS 059Advanced Communication for Multilingual Speakers3

For more information about English competency requirements, please visit the Graduate Admission section of the university catalog or visit English Language Services' Programs and Courses page at https://www.iit.edu/els/programs-and-courses.

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.

IDN 461Advanced Reading and Writing for Design I3
IDN 462Advanced Listening and Presentation in Design I3
IDN 466Advanced Reading and Writing in Design II3
IDN 467Advanced Listening and Presentation in Design II3

Learn more about the English competency requirements on the Institute of Design's website: https://id.iit.edu/graduate-school/courses/#english-design. For overall Institute of Design information, visit here

Intensive English program

The Intensive English Program (IEP) at Illinois Institute of Technology is designed to meet the personal, professional, and academic goals of international students. Students accepted to the IEP will study English, meet new people from different countries and cultures, and experience Chicago while preparing for their academic and professional careers.

The program consists of the following:

  • Four* levels of instruction, from high-beginning to advanced 
    *Please note: All levels may not be offered each term. Available levels are based on enrollment. 
  • Core skills: Listening/Speaking, Reading/Writing, Grammar
  • Supplemental courses: American Culture and Pronunciation
  • 12 weeks of classes within each university semester (one level per semester). 
    Spring and Fall semesters include breaks and an additional week for Final exams
  • 18 total hours of class per week (no credit toward degrees)
  • Classes meet daily Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Click to view example schedule (Curriculum)
  • An average of 15 students in a class
  • Experienced and dedicated faculty assist students in achieving their language goals

Please visit english.iit.edu/iep for more information and admission requirements. 

IEP 021IEP Listening and Speaking Level I6
IEP 022IEP Listening and Speaking Level II6
IEP 023IEP Listening and Speaking Level III6
IEP 024IEP Listening and Speaking Level IV6
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 061IEP Grammar Level I3
IEP 062IEP Grammar Level II3
IEP 063IEP Grammar Level III3
IEP 064IEP Grammar Level IV3
IEP 071Introduction to United States Culture3
IEP 073United States Culture3
IEP 086Academic Preparation for University Success I3
IEP 087Academic Preparation for University Success II3