Program Overview

Learn English

The Program in Intensive English (PIE) prepares you for academic success at a US university.  You'll be able to study for a Northern Arizona University degree when you finish our English program—while enjoying the benefits of a full-time student in the meantime.

In this program, you will:

  • work to improve your English skills by taking full-time English language coursework
  • develop your study skills in a university environment
  • gain confidence in yourself as a student and as an English speaker
  • make friends in the university student community
  • immerse yourself in American culture
  • have access to university services, facilities, and activities:
    • opportunity to live on campus
    • check out books from the library
    • use the NAU Recreation Center
    • and more...

How the program works

After you apply to PIE and are accepted to the university, you will take the placement test and be assigned to one of the following levels of instruction based on your placement test score.  Students attend 20 hours of instruction per week in Fall/Spring and 26 hours per week in Summer.

Level 2

Level 2 is General English and students use their language knowledge and ability to go beyond simple exchanges of information into the realm of elaboration.  At this level, students process information in order to produce longer spoken and written texts, and also develop their ability to sustain reading and conversation.  Students with TOEFL scores of 16 - 31 (IELTS score 0-4) may be placed in level 2.  View Level 2 courses.

Level 3

In Level 3, students acquire and demonstrate knowledge and language abilities for academic purposes with significant support. At this level, students’ process simplified academic input in order to produce spoken and written texts.  Students with TOEFL scores of 32-44 (IELTS score 4-5) may be placed in level 3.  View Level 3 courses.

Level 4

In Level 4, students acquire knowledge and demonstrate language abilities for academic purposes.  This level provides students opportunities to engage with adapted academic reading, writing, listening and speaking.  Students respond critically to academic texts while developing their vocabulary knowledge.  At this level, students begin to draft longer essays that display complexity in organization and content.  Students with TOEFL scores of 45 - 56 (IELTS score 5-5.5) may be placed in level 4.  View Level 4 courses.

Level 5

In Level 5, students gain the language knowledge and skills necessary to be prepared for study at the university. This level provides the necessary transition from intensive language study to university study. Students become fluent in listening to authentic academic lectures. They learn to apply reading strategies independently in order to successfully comprehend and discuss academic texts. Students at this level study a wide-range of academic vocabulary and apply it in written and spoken contexts.  Students with TOEFL scores of 57-69 (IELTS score 5.5-6) may be placed in level 5.View Level 5 courses.

Note: Undergraduate degree-seeking students who complete Level 5 may then enroll in regular NAU courses.

Level 6

In Level 6, students gain the language knowledge and abilities necessary to be prepared for study at the university. Students listen to authentic academic passages and lectures and read adapted academic texts in order to learn and use academic vocabulary and complex grammatical structures to complete both academic written and spoken tasks.  Students with TOEFL scores of 70+ (IELTS score above 6) may be placed in level 6.  View Level 6 courses.

Program courses

View our program courses to learn what classes you will take as a student in PIE.