University of Arizona CESL

Center for English as a Second Language

Since 1968, the University of Arizona’s Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) has been serving students through high-quality Intensive English Language and Teacher Training Programs.

The University of Arizona

The University of Arizona, established in 1885, is the state’s premier research university, ranked among the top 20 public research universities in the United States. The University of Arizona campus, located in Tucson, Arizona, is comprised of a diverse student body of 45,000 students, including students from 119 countries around the world.

With over 110 degree programs, the University of Arizona has renowned and nationally ranked programs in optical sciences, astronomy, astrophysics, planetary sciences, earth sciences, business, hydrogeology, linguistics, philosophy, sociology, architecture, engineering, and anthropology. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the University of Arizona is a Top 100 University.

The Center for English as a Second Language (CESL)

Since 1968, the University of Arizona’s Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) has been serving students through high-quality Intensive English Language and Teacher Training Programs. Taught by experienced teachers, students receive superior English language instruction in grammar, reading, and oral and written communication. The curriculum provides a rich and engaging learning environment, which prepares students for university academic study, social settings and professional success. CESL is the only English program in Arizona with center-wide accreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). All students at CESL receive beneficial preparation for academic, professional, and life goals.

Intensive English Program (IEP)

The Intensive English Program curriculum consists of 7 levels of instruction, ranging from beginning to advanced.  Each level is made up of 8-week sessions with a training emphasis in writing, reading, listening and speaking.  Each session includes 20-22 hours of instruction per week, with 13-17 students per class.  Upon arrival at CESL, students take a placement test, which creates an individualized assessment and placement into core skill classes.  In addition, CESL students enjoy free access to the CESL Program for Intentional Learning (PIL) and to the CESL Library.  Each weekend, fun, optional activities are offered to students.  These activities allow students to build relationships with each other as well as to experience American culture.

Intensive English Program Dates and Costs

The IEP’s 8-week sessions begin in August, October, January, March and June. The total cost for an 8-week session is $6,755 USD. This includes tuition, fees, student health insurance, books, food, transportation, and housing. We also offer a 4-week session in July for half the cost of an 8-week session.  For an extra cost, students can take tutoring or extra classes in the evening, such as pronunciation or TOEFL preparation.

Undergraduate University Track Programs

CESL's Undergraduate University Track at the University of Arizona provides ESL learners with an opportunity to take UA courses while continuing their ESL studies at CESL. The courses in Undergraduate U-Track are sheltered, English-immersion, credit-bearing courses. Each UA course in the Undergraduate U-Track is paired with a CESL class that is designed to support student learning in the UA course.  U-Track students enroll in courses through CESL and fulfill UA’s minimum English language proficiency requirement upon successful completion of two 8-week sessions in Undergraduate U-Track.  In addition, students can earn up to 6 University credits, and students who successfully complete the 2-session program can matriculate into the University without a TOEFL or IELTS score. This program prepares for full-time study at the UA or another U.S. institution.

Graduate/Advanced University Track Program

CESL's Graduate/Advanced University Track at the University of Arizona provides graduate-bound students with advanced-level ESL courses, which are specifically designed to prepare students for graduate or other studies. In addition to their ESL courses, students in the Graduate U-track are given the opportunity to sit in on a UA graduate course or another in their intended field of study (with department approval) as well as receive support from a CESL instructor. Students in the Graduate/Advanced U-Track are also eligible to apply for CESL's Graduate Endorsement, which is accepted by many UA graduate departments as fulfillment of minimum English language proficiency requirement.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate Program

Our TEFL certificate program prepares aspiring teachers who wish to teach English abroad.  It offers a variety of teacher training programs to expand and update English language skills depending on one’s career goals.  TEFL courses are offered face-to-face or online.  We also offer courses for experienced teachers as professional development.

Conditional Admission to the University of Arizona

Students who meet the University’s academic requirements but do not demonstrate English proficiency will be offered conditional admission. By attending CESL, conditionally admitted students experience the University of Arizona campus and community.  Students in the U-Track can apply for endorsement and do not have to take the TOEFL or IELTS again if they want to study at the University of Arizona.

Faculty and Staff

Our experienced, creative, and culturally sensitive faculty have at least a master's and/or doctorate degree in foreign and second language education. This translates into innovative curriculum based on research and student needs.

Aside from admission and recruitment specialists, CESL has full-time immigration and student advisors ready to assist you and answer your questions about everything from housing and orientation to campus services and the surrounding community.

Support, Student Life & Recreation

  • Full-time immigration and student advisor available
  • Access to the CESL Student Learning Center (SLC) where students receive assistance in homework related needs
  • Access to Program for Intentional Learning (PIL) workshops that teach students to succeed with intentional learning practices
  • State-of-the-art multimedia lab
  • English language support services available even after university admission
  • Access to all University of Arizona services and facilities
  • Campus activities and excursions to local points of interest such as the Grand Canyon, sports games, and University of Arizona activities and events


Surrounded by majestic saguaro forests and dramatic mountain peaks, Tucson blends the beauty of nature with the excitement and amenities of a thriving city. With 350 sunny days a year and average winter temperature highs of 64 - 75 °F / 18 - 24 °C, you can enjoy outdoor adventures, unique Southwest cuisine and much more. Tucson celebrates diversity, and it has a friendly, informal atmosphere that provides an ideal setting for an institution of higher learning. Our students benefit from a blend of cultures, both on and off campus.

Why Tucson?

  • College-town atmosphere which allows you to focus on your studies and personal success
  • Cost of living is low! The costs for housing and transportation are competitively priced, allowing you to save more
  • Bike or walk to campus! Travelling around campus and in the city is relatively easy, fast, and fun!
  • Tucson is a very safe city and we have our own campus police at the University of Arizona
  • Tucson is centrally located to other major cities and destinations including Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and more!
  • Tucson has an international airport with connections to other major airports in the United States
  • Fun and amazing indoor and outdoor adventures, which include hiking, biking trails, camping, and more!
  • Live in Tucson! A small city that gives you all the things of a big city but a better value, safer, and with top academics from CESL and the University of Arizona, a Top 100 university

Study with Us!

We are excited to welcome you and help you pursue your academic and career goals through our professional English instruction, support services, and academic programs at the University of Arizona.  For more information, please click in the links you can find in our StudyUSA.com profiles.  You can also apply or contact us through our links below or via the “Contact this program!” form and links located on these profiles.  We hope to welcome you soon at CESL, the University of Arizona, and the Tucson, Arizona community.  We invite you to come and be part of our family, and we look forward to meeting you at CESL.



$1,000—$5,000 Session

Fast facts

Afiiliation icon



Top Programs icon

Top Programs

English Language (ESL), English for Specific Purposes Programs, TESOL and Teacher Training

Type of school icon

Type of School

University/Intensive English Program

  • School Size

  • Student Body Gender

  • Religious Affiliation

    No Affiliation
  • Scholarships for International Students

  • Conditional Admission Available

  • Setting

    Small/College town
  • Accreditation and Certification

    CEA, EnglishUSA Member, UCIEP Member
  • Type of Housing

    Residence Hall, Homestay, Apartment, Dormitory

Tucson AZ
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1100 E James E Rogers Way Tucson, AZ

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