Students and Learning

Who can apply to the IECP English language school?

You can apply to the IECP if you:

  1. Are an adult language learner, with a demonstrated English language proficiency of at least 42 on the TOEFL iBT, 4.0 on IELTS, or 65 on Duolingo.
  2. Want to develop your English language skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening for academic purposes.

How many courses will I take?

If you have an F-1 visa, you must study full-time. You will take four courses each semester: Academic Interactions, Academic Literacies, and two elective courses.

If you have a different visa or resident status, you may enroll part time. You will take one to four courses.

What kinds of courses will I take?

The IECP provides coursework across the following skills:

  • Academic Interactions: A course in academic oral communication in a variety of contexts. Feedback on content, pronunciation and pragmatics is a fundamental component of the course, and opportunity is given for speaking practice in a variety of genres.
  • Academic Literacies: A course in academic reading and writing. Feedback on content, organization, and cohesion is a fundamental component of the course, and opportunity is given for reading, writing, and incorporating sources in a variety of genres.
  • A choice of two (2) electives: Applied English for Science, Applied English for Humanities, Applied English U.S. Institutions, Interfaith Leadership, Intercultural Communication & Development, Foundations of English Spelling, Foundations of English Reading, Foundation English Modern Topics.

How will I know which courses to take?

The IECP currently only has two upper-intermediate and advanced levels. New students are placed using the Duolingo exam, and then level appropriateness is re-evaluated at the start of each semester via an in-class diagnostic exam. Depending on the Placement Exam and in-class diagnostic results, students will be placed in one of the following levels:

  • Level 130/140 is for high-intermediate students.
  • Level 150/160 is for advanced students.

Will I use computers as a part of my study?

Yes. IECP instructors often use computer-based activities to help students improve their English. IECP students may also use all other student computer labs on campus. We strongly recommend that IECP students have a laptop or tablet; cell phones are inadequate for IECP study and for accessing course materials.

What will be expected of me if I become an IECP student?

To be successful, IECP students must:

  • Read the IECP Handbook carefully. Ask faculty or staff if you have questions.
  • Read and understand the syllabus for each IECP course.
  • Check their PSU email account every day.
  • Arrive for class on time and return from breaks on time.
  • Attend class regularly.
  • Study outside of class.
  • Do all homework and assignments and turn them in on time.
  • Be prepared for quizzes, tests, presentations, etc.
  • Contribute positively to the work of the class.
  • assume responsibility for any missed coursework and assignments.
  • Assume responsibility for your own learning – for example, ask instructors for help when you need it and learn from what other successful students do.
  • Always treat other students and faculty with respect.
  • Follow all of the IECP and Penn State rules and policies.

Can I take IECP courses part-time?

Yes, under certain conditions. See the information on enrolling as a part-time-student.

F-1 visa holders or students must study full time.

Health and Safety

Do I need to have health insurance?

Yes. All international students are required to have health insurance for themselves, their spouses, and their children. You can buy it from the Student Insurance Office when you arrive or you may bring your own insurance if it is pre-approved by Penn State.

What if I get sick?

IECP students can use the University Health Services clinic.

Is Penn State a safe place?

Yes. State College is a very safe town. According to Sperling’s Best Places survey, State College has the least amount of crime compared to all other cities of its size in the United States.

Enrollment and Costs

When can I begin the IECP program, and how long can I study?

The IECP offers courses during all three Penn State semesters. During the fall and spring there are two 8-week terms, and during the summer there is one 8-week term. Please check the following chart for information about application deadlines: https://iecp.la.psu.edu/dates-costs/ 

The fall and spring semesters correspond with the University Calendar. Students can start their courses at the beginning of any term. With the current set of available courses, most students can complete the IECP within two semesters (four terms).

When is the application deadline?

The IECP accepts applications at any time; however, applicants who need a student visa must apply at least six weeks before they want to begin studying at the IECP.

What does the IECP tuition include?

Tuition includes:

  • 20 hours of instruction per week;
  • One-on-one tutoring and workshops at the Student Center;
  • New student orientation;
  • Social/cultural activities;
  • Information about how to apply to universities or colleges;
  • Access to most University facilities;
  • Visa advising by Penn State’s Directorate of International Student and Scholar Services;
  • Penn State access account.

What does the IECP tuition NOT include?

Tuition does NOT include:

How can I pay tuition?

The IECP accepts tuition payments by:

  • Checks drawn from a U.S. bank made payable to Penn State University.
  • Credit cards (MasterCard or VISA only). Note: Tuition payments made via credit card will be assessed an additional 3% transaction fee.

Note: The Student Insurance Office accepts payment by credit card for student health insurance; however, Penn State does not accept credit cards as payment for dormitory rooms and/or food.

When is my tuition payment due?

All tuition is due two weeks after invoices have been issued. Invoices are usually issued at the end of the second week of classes.


Who will my instructors be?

IECP instructors:

  • Have several years of teaching experience;
  • Possess graduate degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or a related field;
  • Have experience learning other languages as adults;
  • Are highly experienced in cross-cultural learning;
  • Understand the challenges of cultural adjustment;
  • Are active in professional development;
  • Maintain active professional development.


How will I be evaluated?

Instructors evaluate students in a variety of ways during the semester or summer session, including essays,  presentations, portfolios, lab or attendance reports, and various other assignments.  The IECP uses exams only in limited instances; instructors inform students on first day of class if a course will have any exams. The IECP follows Penn State’s grading policy in assigning letter grades (A – F). Starting Spring 2023, students must obtain an 83% or higher in order to advance to the next level.

How will the IECP courses help prepare me for the TOEFL/IELTS test?

Many IECP classes focus on language skills and test-taking techniques that help students succeed on the TOEFL. The IECP also offers special evening courses in TOEFL prep and IELTS prep.

Life at Penn State

Where will I live as an IECP student?

Students can choose to live in Penn State dormitories or in apartments off campus. The IECP does not arrange housing for students, but works closely with UOGP to provide information to assist you in making your own arrangements.

If students choose a dormitory, it is on a space available basis. Their space will not be reserved until the University receives the contract and the required deposit. We strongly recommend that IECP students consider the Global Engagement Community.

If you choose to live off campus, UOGP can give guidance on how to find an apartment.

Do IECP students have the opportunity to meet and get to know Americans?

Yes. The program works with various groups and programs to help IECP students meet and interact with Americans. Global Connections is a community non-profit organization, affiliated with Penn State and the Centre County United Way with a long-standing tradition of promoting international cultural exchange in Centre County.

Will I be able to use Penn State services and facilities?

Yes. IECP students may use University facilities such as libraries, computer labs, the health care center, and, for a nominal fee, recreation and sports facilities.

Can I take other courses at Penn State?

Only students who have competed Level 150 or 160 and for various reasons choose to remain in the IECP may, with the permission of the Director, take two Penn State non-degree credit-bearing courses (See Onward to Penn State). No IECP student may take non-degree, credit-bearing courses without prior approval.

Where is Penn State?

How can I find more information about daycare and enrolling my child in school?

You can find out more information about child care and enrolling your child in school below.

How to find child care

Penn State Human Resources provides updated information about child care facilities for younger children throughout State College and the surrounding communities.

Child Development and Family Council of Centre County, Inc.
 2565 Park Center Boulevard | State College PA 16801

How to Enroll Your Child in School

State College Area School District enrollment information
 131 West Nittany Avenue | State College PA 17801

Bellefonte Area School District enrollment information
 318 North Allegheny Street | Bellefonte PA 16823

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