Intensive English Program

IEP Mission:

The mission of the Intensive English Program (IEP) at Western Carolina University (WCU) is to provide programming to facilitate English language, cross-cultural and academic skills that prepare international students to attend US universities, primarily undergraduate and graduate study at WCU. The IEP supports the educational mission of Western Carolina University through the WCU 20/20 Vision with focus on international outreach to the university and local community, as well as commitment to fostering int’l student academic success, faculty development, and positive teaching and learning environments. The IEP contributes to the integration of international students into all aspects of campus life, and collaborates with faculty, staff and students across campus toward creating a successful academic experience for all international students.

We provide the following programs:

  • Intensive English Program (IEP)
  • Academic English for International Students (credit-bearing classes that supports international students’ transition with academic writing, reading, and speaking, to WCU)
  • Special Programs (designed to meet specific group needs, minimum of 12 participants)
  • Short-term Teacher Training Programs
  • Overseas Consulting and Workshops

The Intensive English Program at Western Carolina University offers:

  • Superior quality English language instruction
  • Preparation for academic study in the United States
  • Individual attention to your academic needs
  • Conditional Admission to WCU classes once language requirements are met
  • Safe, small town, American atmosphere with a global outlook
  • Immersion in English language and US culture by living, studying and learning with WCU students
  • Orientation to WCU and the broader community
  • Activities to help students explore the local area and broader community
  • Semester long IEP that follows the same academic calendar as WCU for seamless integration in activities, facilities and schedule

IEP Curriculum

  • Three levels of English study: low intermediate, high intermediate, and advanced
  • Instruction and strategies in reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and in special topics such as literature, film, academic research, iBT test-preparation and culture
  • 20 hours per week in language instruction; a variety of cross-cultural activities throughout the year
  • Classes in session Monday—Friday between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm

Each level of instruction is designed to be completed in one 16-week semester. Low Intermediate level students can potentially complete the program in three semesters. Other students can complete the program in less time depending upon level of English proficiency.  These courses are offered on a not-for-credit basis.

IEP students may apply for conditional admission to Western Carolina University's undergraduate and graduate programs. After successfully completing the IEP, they may enter a degree program without providing a TOEFL or IELTS score to WCU.

WCU IEP Group Photo 

Academic Calendar:

Spring 2016 classes: January 6 - May 6, 2016    Now Accepting Applications

Summer 2016 classes: June 1 - July 29, 2016    Now Accepting Applications

Fall 2016 classes: August 17 - December 16, 2016    Now Accepting Applications

Spring 2017 classes: January 4 - May 5, 2017

Summer 2017 classes: May 29-August 2, 2017

IEP Highlights

  • Safe, friendly campus
  • Small class size (maximum 18 students per class)
  • Orientation to the program and to the university
  • Access to all facilities of Western Carolina University
  • Opportunities to learn about American culture
  • Extracurricular activities in a beautiful campus environment located in the beautiful Smokey Mountains
  • Collegial learning community

Admission Requirements

IEP only or IEP with conditional admission to Bachelor's program:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school or secondary school diploma

IEP with conditional admission to Graduate program:  See Graduate School. For further information on Graduate programs, please contact Tonya Steiert in Graduate School Admissions.

English language requirements to be admitted directly to WCU undergraduate or graduate programs: iBT: 68 or IELTS: 6

Register to take iBT through ETS  |  See this link for iBT testing dates at WCU
Register to take IELTS in Charlotte


Experienced faculty hold graduate degrees in linguistics and/or language teaching and are native English speakers. IEP students receive individual attention from a dedicated and caring faculty and staff.

Housing and Meals

WCU requires students under 21 years of age to live in residence halls on campus. Double or single occupancy rooms are equipped with furniture, utilities, and high speed internet. Meals are served in the new campus dining hall and offer a range of food choices. 

Another option for individual students which may be available is living with a host family in the local community. There are currently a small number of host families available to host students, but we are working to increase this number.

In the IEP, you may choose to live off campus and to follow WCU policy, if you are under 21 when you complete the IEP, you must move to on-campus housing. If you are accompanied by family members, housing is available only in off-campus residences.



Once you know your flight details, please go to this LINK in order to inform IPS about your August 2015 Arrival


Surrounded by forested mountains, WCU’s campus in Cullowhee, North Carolina blends scenic beauty with convenient, modern facilities. Cullowhee is a small community located 4 miles from the town of Sylva, one hour from Asheville, North Carolina and two hours away by car from major cities such as Atlanta, Georgia and Knoxville, Tennessee. The nearest airport is Asheville, North Carolina. The climate in Cullowhee is temperate with four distinct seasons.  Come see us -- it's beautiful here!

  WCU Campus in Fall



Cost for Summer 2015:

 Academic Program   2647 
 University and Orientation Fees   1147
 On-Campus Housing + Meals (see links below for more information)*   2219 - 2326 
 Health insurance + 1st immunizations (student only) **  263
 Books (estimated):  250
 Total estimated cost per 9-week semester (subject to change)  USD 6526 - 6633 

There will be no refunds following registration.

Summer On-Campus Housing and Meal Plan Information
 email for student + family health insurance information and costs

Estimated Costs for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 (per semester):

Academic Program  3950
 University Fees  1702
 On-Campus Housing + Meals (see links below for more information)*   3400 - 5000 
 Health Insurance (Student Only) **
 Books (estimated)  250
 Total estimated cost per 15-week semester (subject to change)  USD 9769 - 11145 

There will be no refunds following registration.

Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 On-Campus Housing and Meal Plan Information (#2 and # 3 only) 
 email for student + family health insurance information and costs

SHORT TERM Program information coming soon                                                                                  


For program and application information, contact:

Application deadlines:

Fall Term (August-December): deadline April 1 
Spring Term (January-May): September 1 
Summer Term (May-August): deadline February 1 


Hilary Lindler, IEP Admissions Specialist


Jill Cargile, Director of the Intensive English Program


International Programs and Services

109 Cordelia Camp
69 East University Way
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723
001.828.227.7080 fax
001.828.227.7494 tel

Apply Now!


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