Resources for Prospective Students

For Prospective Students: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Classes (Academic Year)

Atmosphere (Campus & Springfield)

The ESL Program wants to help make your application and transition to UIS as easy as possible. If you have a question that is not answered here, please e-mail us at or call us at +1 (217) 206-8356.


Do I have to have a certain TOEFL score to attend IEP? 

Non-degree seeking students are not bound by the same English Language Proficiency Requirement that degree seeking students are. The Intensive English Program has different admission requirements and steps than UIS degree programs. Please contact Angela Gerberding for more information.

Students who seek admission to UIS Undergraduate and Graduate Programs must meet the English Proficiency Requirements.


Do I need a student visa? How do I get one?

If you are an international student, then, yes, you need a student visa.

  1. The office of International Student Services (ISS) issues the initial I-20s for admitted international students once all necessary documents have been submitted. Documents will be sent by Express mail.
  2. After you receive an acceptance letter and the I-20, contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to make an appointment. Steps for Obtaining an F-1 visa to enter the u.s.
  3. Bring all appropriate forms, passport, and supporting documents to the appointment at the U.S. Embassy. It will then be reviewed by consular officers and state officials. This process takes a few weeks, and there is no guarantee of obtaining a visa.

How do I apply to or enroll in IEP program or ESL courses?
If you want to take intensive English classes, apply to the IEP here.

If you are a current UIS student and want to take a university ESL class (LNG 091, LNG 092, & LNG 101), register through the course schedule. ESL Classes are listed under Modern Languages (LNG).

Are there deadlines to apply for IEP?
Admissions office accepts applications throughout the year. International students are encouraged to apply as early as possible because of possible visa delays. We recommend that international students applying from abroad apply no later than two month prior to start of the session/semester. Students may apply after these dates, but the Admissions Office cannot guarantee that international students will receive necessary documentation in time.

How do students transition from IEP to degree programs?
IEP is a great bridge program to improve your overall English language ability, boost your confidence, and increase your knowledge of U.S. culture. You’ll learn and get to practice completing typical university assignments – from giving presentations to writing papers to conducting research. By the time you start your degree program, you should be comfortable with the campus, campus services and staff, and most importantly be registered and ready for your classes.

It’s simple to transition from IEP to a UIS degree program.

Classes (Academic Year)

What English levels and classes do you offer?
We offer beginner through advanced classes.

IEP students are expected to attend only English classes. Level offered: Level 1-Beginner, 2-High Beginner, 3- Low Intermediate, 4-High Intermediate, or 5-Low Advanced, or 6-High Advanced.

Conditionally admitted students, due to low English proficiency score, take advanced ESL classes (LNG 091 & 092). These are taught concurrently with Writing and Listening/Speaking classes respectively.

Where and when are IEP classes offered?
Classes are offered on our campus in Springfield.

Classes are offered during the day (between 9 AM and 4 PM). There are currently no evening or weekend classes.


How many hours a week will I attend class?
This depends on your chosen path. Full-time students in the IEP attend 21 hours of class per week. IEP part-time students may attend between 5 – 16 hours of classes per week.

During the school year, university level ESL classes are between 4 to 8 hours per week.

May I take UIS classes while I’m in ESL classes?
If you are an admitted degree seeking student, yes. You can enroll in any classes for which you are qualified.

If you are an IEP or non-degree seeking student, you may only attend the classes for which you applied for on your initial application. If you would like to attend other classes, please contact the Admissions office.

How are students placed in ESL university classes?
Students may register for ESL classes on their own or be advised by an advisor or faculty member to enroll. Incoming undergraduate students whose native language is not English take an ESL Placement Test during Orientation week to determine if additional language support is advised.

Advisors and Faculty members with questions about a student’s need for language support should contact Angela Gerberding.

Will I receive an IEP certificate of attendance or completion?
Yes. Students who complete the program (level 5 or 6) will be awarded with a certificate of completion. Students who don’t complete but would like a certificate of attendance can request their certificate from the IEP office.

Atmosphere (Campus & Springfield)

Where is Springfield?
Springfield is the fifth largest city in Illinois and the state’s capital. The city is located between the metropolitan areas of Saint Louis and Chicago . Springfield has its own airport, bus station and train station making it easy to get in and out of the city. View us on the map.

How can I get to Springfield? Get around Springfield?
Springfield is easily accessible by plane, train or bus.

Once you are in Springfield, there is a city bus that has various routes to campus, downtown, and the shopping centers. Many students choose to live on campus. Students are allowed to have cars on campus. Our campus is small and safe enough that you can comfortably walk all around.

Who are the other students?
UIS has around 5000 undergraduate and graduate students each academic year, of which about 72% of the students are residents of Illinois, 15% from out of state, and 13% are from foreign countries.  Because of the large percentage of American students, international students have various opportunities to experience American culture and practice English skills. More facts about UIS can be found here.

Where will I live?
IEP students are required to live on campus; however, you may request to waive this requirement. Refer to the exemption policy for acceptable reasons for waivers.  Students should complete their housing arrangement prior to their arrival to campus.

UIS maintains multi-room apartments, townhouses and dorms. There are furnished and unfurnished apartments. Special accommodations are made for families and married couples so that they live together. Please visit the Housing Office.

What kind of social activities are there for IEP/ESL students?
There’s always something to do at UIS and in Springfield. We are a small city so you do not need to be intimidated to explore or be concerned about traffic. We are also a very safe city, so you should feel comfortable on campus and around town.

Check out what’s happening on campus now.

Join one or several of our 50+ student organizations.

If you’re interested in sports and fitness, you’ll be set at UIS. Take a class, hit the courts, or lift weights at TRAC or our many outdoor recreational areas.

View our calendar to see upcoming lectures from visiting scholars, exhibitions, films, and productions.

Can I bring my family?
Yes. Students may bring their spouses and dependents with them to campus. If you want to live on campus, you should apply to the Housing Office as soon as possible for one of the residences specifically designed for families.

What about health care?
Health insurance coverage and proof of all required immunizations are mandatory at UIS.

Students who have outside coverage may be exempt from purchasing UIS health insurance.

The Heath Services Office provides services of health and wellness to all students. Appointments are free and confidential appointment.