Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Elena at Tea Time.

Get answers to common questions about the IEP.

Who can apply to the Intensive English Program (IEP)?

The IEP is open to all students aged 17 years or older with a high school education or its equivalent. Applicants do not have to be university students or intend to enroll at a U.S. university.

How do I apply to the IEP?

The student visa application process takes time, so you must apply to the IEP before the application deadline date. Please note: While admission to the IEP does not constitute admission to the University at Buffalo, some IEP students do go on to enroll in UB academic programs.

Will I be placed in a class that will fit my needs?

Instruction in the IEP is divided into four major levels:  High Beginning, Intermediate, High Intermediate and Advanced. At the start of your program, you will be given two nationally recognized proficiency tests to determine which level is appropriate for you. You will also be interviewed by IEP faculty to assess your speaking and listening skills.

What will I study in the IEP?

High Beginning, Intermediate and High Intermediate students take three courses:  Grammar and Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Reading. Advanced students also take three courses:  Grammar and Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Reading and Discussion.

What time do courses meet?

All courses meet daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For information about dates, please see the calendar page.

How will I be evaluated?

You will receive written evaluations for all courses at midterm and again at the end of the program. To measure your progress by the end of the semester, you can also take the paper-based Institutional Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL ITP), and you will be advised if you need further English instruction. If requested, copies of evaluations can also be issued to your academic advisor or sponsor.

How will I find a place to live?

If you wish, the ELI will arrange for you to stay in a double room in a university residence hall on the South Campus. Living in the residence halls is an integral part of the immersion experience, and it enables participants to meet many international and American students. Residence halls feature computer labs with Internet access, cafeterias, television lounges, recreational facilities, and laundry rooms. ELI staff are always available to help students with questions and problems. The number of rooms is limited in Fall and Spring semesters, so you must apply early. 

In addition, a variety of reasonably priced off-campus housing options are available near the university’s South and North Campuses.

Will I meet American university students?

As a member of the UB community, you will have many opportunities to meet American students -- in the residence halls, in the ELI’s Chat Room, at lectures, at the Student Union, in the dining halls, in student clubs, and at social functions and sporting events. You can also get to know American classmates by auditing regular university courses. IEP students are also encouraged to participate as fully as they can in the many organizations and activities available at UB.

Where will my classmates be from?

IEP students come from every continent and represent a variety of different cultures and languages. In the IEP, you will get to know people from many countries and age groups, whose cultures and ideas will enrich your learning experience.

What about the TOEFL?

Many IEP students are preparing for studies at American universities or colleges, so IEP courses include TOEFL practice exercises. The paper-based Institutional TOEFL (TOEFL ITP) is given at the end of every semester. The University at Buffalo is also an ETS testing site for the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT).

Can I take regular UB courses if I am a student in the IEP?

IEP students may audit regular UB courses offered in the late afternoon and evening, when IEP classes are not in session. After class, they may also participate in the Chat Room or attend the Open Listening Lab. There is no additional charge for auditing a UB course or for attending the Open Listening Lab or the Chat Room.

How long can I stay?

There is no limit to how long you can study at the IEP. Students are encouraged to remain in the program until they attain satisfactory English proficiency. Many students pursue their English training in the IEP for at least two semesters.

When can I start studying in the IEP?

The Fall semester begins in late August and is 15 weeks long. The Spring semester begins in late January and is also 15 weeks long. The Summer semester begins at the end of June and is six weeks long.  

What is included in my IEP tuition and fees?


In the first week of each program, students get an orientation to the IEP and the University at Buffalo, take a tour of the two campuses, and learn about facilities and services available to them at UB and in the Western New York area.

Immigration and Academic Advising

The Associate Director of the ELI assists students with immigration matters such as their visas and I-20’s, as well as school transfer procedures. The Associate Director can also assist students on an individual basis with academic and personal matters, and provide guidance in selecting and applying to universities.

Special Activities and Field Trips

Varied field trips and tours take students to points of cultural, educational and recreational interest around the greater Buffalo area. In addition to a tour of Buffalo's historic and architectural highlights, there are concerts, films, sports events, shopping trips, excursions to Niagara Falls, New York, and dinners with local families.

University Facilities

Students have access to all University student services. These include university libraries and computer laboratories; in addition, ELI students may use the many athletic, entertainment and recreation facilities available to UB’s students.

Health Care Services

IEP students can use a variety of health care facilities at the university, including the Student Health Services (a clinic on the South Campus where IEP students can get medical attention from staff nurses and doctors), the Wellness Center and the Counseling Center.


The two campuses of the University at Buffalo are linked by a frequent and convenient shuttle bus service, UB Stampede; the ride takes only 15 minutes.


Students who attend classes regularly, receive satisfactory progress reports, and fulfill program requirements, receive an official Final Progress Report and Attendance Certificate. Outstanding students are appointed to the Director’s List and receive special recognition on their Certificates.

Institutional TOEFL

At the end of every intensive program, students can take the Institutional TOEFL (paper based).

What is not included in my tuition and fees?

Health Insurance

All UB students on F-1 and J-1 visas are required by the State of New York to purchase, for a modest fee, the comprehensive health insurance policy available to international students at UB.


Students are responsible for their housing costs. They have the option to stay in a university residence hall located on the South Campus.


Students may choose to purchase a university food service contract; costs vary depending on the number of meals indicated in the contract. Meal contracts are only available during a Fall or Spring program. During the Summer Program, students living in residence cook or prepare their own meals.


Students purchase their own textbooks at the university bookstore. The approximate cost per semester is U.S. $225.

UB Card

Students must purchase for $25 the university identification card called the UB Card. The UB Card is required for access to all university student services and athletic facilities.