Intensive English Program

Welcome to the Intensive English Program at Northern State University! Learn the English you need to study in America, while in America!
The Intensive English Program at NSU is designed to give you the English skills needed for study in an American undergraduate or graduate program.

Read about Northern in your language!


When you arrive at NSU, you will be placed in a level that best suits your needs. As your English skills improve, you will be able to advance in level. Once you have completed the advanced level (Pathways Program), your English language requirement to enter the university has been achieved.
We offer three levels of academic English language courses:
  • Beginner Level: reading, writing, listening and speaking, grammar
  • Intermediate Level: reading, writing, listening and speaking, grammar
  • Advanced Level Pathways Program: see below for a detailed description

Each level has 18 hours of classroom instruction a week, including one hour in language lab. Tutoring is also available.

Our courses are taught by experienced and knowledgeable English language experts in small classes to provide ideal teacher-to-student interaction. Our students also enjoy trips around South Dakota. 


The Pathways Program

The 28-credit Pathways Program is a rigorous course of English language study that replaces the advanced level of the Academic English Program (AEP).  In this program, English language learners (ELLs) can take content courses - courses that count towards graduation (example: PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy). At the same time, ELLs can take AEP courses (example: AEP 032 Advanced Writing) that support their academic success in content courses. The program is designed to benefit both international ELLs - including international degree-seekers and exchange students - and domestic ELLs. 

If conditionally admitted to Northern, students who successfully complete two semesters of the Pathways Program will have met the English language proficiency requirement and be fully admitted to the university. At any time, students may seek direct admission to Northern by providing a TOEFL or IELTS score that meets admission requirements.

All other ELL students who have been admitted to Northern can be referred to the Pathways Program for additional support, participating in the program either full-time or part-time for one or more semesters.

Application Process
Complete Application & Submit Transcript

Complete the online application and send a copy of your high school and/or university transcripts, translated to English, to

Declare Finances

If you are on an F1 visa or will need to apply for one, complete the Declaration of Finances form to ensure that you have the finances necessary to support your program.

Submit Test Scores

If you have tested for TOEFL or IELTS, send us your score to determine placement and eligibility for the International Student Transition Scholarship of $1,500 during your first year at NSU. Completion of the Intensive English Program at NSU will satisfy all testing requirements for admission to a degree program.

Get Your Visa

Once you receive your I-20 SEVIS document from NSU, apply for a student visa at your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. For more information and assistance with your student visa, please visit Study in the States.

Apply Now!


Get started in our Intensive English Program by applying now!