FAQ

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions in our office. However, if you don’t see your question below, feel free to contact our office directly at iep@uab.edu or by phone at (205) 975-6638.
  1. What types of classes do you offer?
  2. How many classes can I take?
  3. How do I know which class is best for me?
  4. How do I know what level I am?
  5. Who teaches the classes?
  6. How many students are in a class?
  7. Where are classes held?
  8. How do I register/pay for the class?
  9. Can I get a visa to study English through the ELI?
  10. Can I get a tutor for my English?
  11. Who takes your classes?
  12. Are the classes difficult?
  13. What happens if I register for a class, and I’m unhappy?
  14. What happens if I need to miss a class?
  15. How do I get to the ELI, and where do I park?

1. What types of classes do you offer?
The ELI offers courses for persons interested in full-time or part-time English language study. We have classes to help you work on pronunciation, listening, speaking, grammar, reading, writing, and vocabulary. We also have classes designed for particular learners (i.e., professional scientists or business people). For information on the courses that we offer, please visit the Programs link and browse through the categories.

2. How many classes can I take?
Students who wish to take all of the core classes at the IEP are required to study full-time with the program. Students cannot take more than two classes as a part-time student in the IEP. Except for these situations, students can take as many or as few of our courses as they wish, depending upon their immigration status and what it allows.

3. How do I know which class is best for me?
Some of our courses are for general English language skill development, and some courses have a very specific focus. Visit our Part-time English Courses page for specific descriptions of many of our courses to guide you. If you still have questions, please contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your English language learning needs, and we'll help you decide which course is best for you.

4. How do I know what level I am?
Any student who wishes to take a daytime course will be given a formal placement test to determine their level of English. Our daytime courses are a part of our Intensive English Program, and this program has five levels of instruction. If you are considering an evening part-time course and you are unsure of your current English level, you may not know which of our courses is best for you. In this case, please contact our office to set up a brief assessment. After the assessment, we can make a recommendation on which course(s) may be best for you.


5. Who teaches the classes?
One of our instructors will teach your class. All instructors have at least a graduate degree (Master of Arts) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English, Linguistics, or a related field. For information on all of our teachers, please visit the Staff link.

6. How many students are in a class?
As a rule, the ELI has small classes, with an average 12:1 student/teacher ratio or less.   

7. Where are classes held?
Classes are held on UAB’s main campus in downtown Birmingham. Several classes are offered in the Education Building on campus, but classes are occasionally held in other buildings. If you register for a class, our office will contact you with details of the location of your class. For a map of UAB’s downtown Birmingham campus, please visit http://www.uab.edu/images/web/UAB_Campus_Map.pdf.

8. How do I register/pay for the class?
Registering for a part-time class involves completing a registration form and making a deposit to our office. Full payment for a class is required one week before the class begins. For full instructions on this process, please visit Register for a class. If you are interested in applying for the full-time IEP program, please see the IEP application.


9. Can I get a visa to study English through the ELI?
Students who apply to study full-time at the IEP can receive an I-20 from UAB for the application of an F-1 student visa. For more information on the process, please contact the IEP Manager at iep@uab.edu, who will guide you through the IEP application process and help you in applying for your I-20 from UAB’s International Recruitment and Student Services department.

10. Can I get a tutor for my English?
At this time, the ELI only offers tutoring on a per-contract basis with local Birmingham companies or UAB departments. For information on corporate tutoring, please see the Corporate Tutoring link.

11. Who takes your classes?
Many of our students are UAB undergraduate students, UAB employees, or other internationals living in the Birmingham area. Our IEP also has many students from other countries who are studying full-time with us on a student visa. Our courses are open to anyone who wishes to improve his or her English. Acceptance to the university is NOT a requirement to take our English courses, with the exception of our ELC 101/102 or ELC 203/204 academic classes. Your class will likely have a mixture of people: some people with UAB ties, some IEP international students, and some internationals from the local Birmingham area.

12. Are the classes difficult?
The difficulty of any particular class depends on your comfort level with interactive, lively classrooms. The ELI’s academic English courses are credit-bearing courses and, thus, students receive a grade for their performance in class. IEP students also receive grades for their work. All other courses are non-credit bearing, and students do not receive grades on their performance in class. For non-credit bearing courses, students do receive feedback from the instructor on their performance. Homework or out-of-class work varies from course to course. If you’re unsure about your ability to successfully participate in a course due to difficulty, please contact our office to look at the syllabus for the class or discuss the difficulty with an instructor.

13. What happens if I register for a class, and I’m unhappy?
For part-time students, refunds for classes can only be given after the first day of a class. After the second class meeting, refunds will not be given. If you are unhappy with a class after attending the first day of the class, please contact our office to request a refund or change to a different class.Full-time IEP students should see the IEP Policies for a discussion of refunds. If you have lost your copy of the IEP Policies, simply ask the IEP Manager for another copy.


14. What happens if I need to miss a class?
If you are a part-time student and you need to miss a class either for an emergency or a planned absence, please inform the instructor of the class. The instructor will take responsibility to help you catch up on any material you missed in class. The ELI cannot return money to you for any planned absences. For example, if you plan to miss 1/3 of the class because you will return to your home country, the ELI cannot refund 1/3 of your money. Full-time IEP students should see the IEP Policies for a discussion of the attendance policy. If you have lost your copy of the IEP Policies, simply ask the IEP Manager for another copy.


15. How do I get to the ELI, and where do I park?
Click here for driving directions and parking information.
   email-white-icon iep@uab.edu 
   phone-white-icon  205.975.6638
UAB English Language Institute
EB 126
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-1250