Intensive English Program
IEP Mission:

The Intensive English Program creates learning opportunities that provide academic and specialized English language instruction to students planning to study at WCU or other academic institutions in the United States. The program focuses on educational outreach, research, creative, and cultural activities to sustain and improve individual lives and enhance economic and community development in Western Carolina and beyond.

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)
  • 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 you explore the local area and broader community
  • Semester long IEP that follows the same academic calendar as WCU for seamless integration in activities and schedule

IEP Curriculum

  • Four levels of English study: high beginner, 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 and culture
  • 20+ hours per week in language instruction and activities

Each level of instruction is designed to be completed in one 15-week semester. High beginning level students can complete the program in four 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.


i-fest flags

Academic Calendar:

Spring 2015 classes: January 7 - May 1, 2015

Summer 2015 classes: May 27 - August 3, 2015

Fall 2015 classes:  August 12 - December 11, 2015

Spring 2016 classes: January 6 - May 6, 2016

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

Testing dates for iBT on campus can be found at:



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 May 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 scenic

Cost for Fall 2014 or Spring 2015:

 Academic program:  3950 
 University & Orientation fees: 1598  

 Housing (dorm double rooms) and meals (see links below):

3622 to 4472   
 Health insurance + 1st immunizations (student only) 558     
Books (estimated):  250     
Total estimated cost per 15-week semester: 

USD    $9978  to 10828           

There will be no refunds following registration.



Cost for Summer 2015 (9 weeks) 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 Student Advisor (Admissions)


Jill Cargile, Director of the IEP


International Programs and Services

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

Apply Now!


Copyright by Western Carolina University      •      Cullowhee, NC 28723      •      828.227.7211      •      Contact WCU
Maintained by the Office of Web Services      •      Directions      •      Campus Map      •      Emergency Information      •      Text-Only

Office of Web Services