The University of Alabama provides a wide variety of international education programs and services at the Capstone International Center (CIC), housed on the first floor of B. B. Comer Hall. The Capstone International Center takes its name from its historical pre-eminence in the state as a provider of international education. The CIC is comprised of several integrated units. These include the English Language Institute (ELI), Education Abroad (EA), and Capstone International Services (CIS). The Capstone International Center has multiple complementary functions, including intensive English language instruction, U.S. immigration compliance, Fulbright programs, and study abroad programs. The Capstone International Center is a multipurpose center designed to inform, assist, and educate both international and domestic students, faculty, and staff members, as well as members of the local civic, education, and corporate communities. The CIC annually serves more than 1,600 international students on campus and makes possible the participation of UA faculty, students, and staff in a multitude of internationally focused degree, research, and outreach programs. Education Abroad sends approximately 1,200 students abroad each year. The CIC also oversees the Global Studies Certificate.

Outreach is an important function within Capstone International as evidenced by its Sakura Festival (focused on Japanese culture), involvement with Tuscaloosa Sister Cities Commission (TSCC), involvement with Japan America Society of Alabama (JASA), and the work of the English Language Institute (ELI). ELI provides the annual World Friends Day for local elementary schools, annual summer programs for students from our sister city in Japan, on-site corporate programs and tailored courses for the children and spouses of employees. A wide variety of activities are coordinated in conjunction with the Rotary International Club of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa's International Friends (TIF), the Children's Hands-on Museum (CHOM), University Place Montessori School, and the Tuscaloosa Club of Altrusa International. In addition, CIC has previously worked extensively with the German Supplementary School for school-age children from Germany.

The CIC is involved with numerous international education organizations providing professional training, outreach to national and local governmental entities, and annual conferences to promote international education at member universities. These organizations include: NAFSA: Association for International Educators, the Institute for International Education (IIE), the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), the European Association of International Education (EAIE), and the Forum on Education Abroad.

Programming, activities, and resources of CIC include:

  • Academic Programs
  • Academic Support Program
  • English Language Institute
  • External Group Programs
  • Fulbright Program Advisors
  • Graduate Research Scholarships
  • Intensive English Program
  • International Exchange Programs
  • International Linkages
  • International Scholar Events
  • International Student and Scholar Services
  • International Student Programming
  • International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP)
  • Multicultural Guidance and Counseling
  • Overseas Study
  • Overseas Study Resource Center
  • Sakura Festival
  • U.S. Immigration Compliance
  • Visa Advising
  • Global Studies Certificate
  • Peace Corps Recruiter

Contact the CIC

The Capstone International Center can be contacted by telephone (205) 348-5256, by fax at (205) 348-5298, by email at cic@ua.edu or by mail at The University of Alabama, Capstone International Center, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254. The office is located in 135 B.B. Comer Hall.

Academic Programs

Through its three units, the English Language Institute (ELI), Education Abroad (EA) and Capstone International Services (CIS), the Capstone International Center provides courses, programs and activities to the constituents of The University of Alabama community.

Fulbright Programs

The Capstone International Center encourages and facilitates active participation in all Fulbright programs. Since the founding of the Fulbright programs in 1948, approximately 125 UA students, faculty and professional staff members have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright award. Their appointments have ranged from Austria to Zimbabwe. More information is available from the CIC, 135 B.B. Comer Hall; (205) 348-5256; or cic@ua.edu.

Education Abroad

The Education Abroad office, a unit of the Capstone International Center, provides support to the UA community through identifying, developing and administering study abroad opportunities. Education Abroad offers academically challenging programs for students, promoting both academic and personal growth. The office is responsible for all of UA's credit-bearing global learning experiences. Exchange programs, affiliate programs and numerous faculty-led programs are offered. Visit studyabroad.ua.edu to learn more about all of the study abroad programs.

Exchange Programs

The University of Alabama offers a number of international exchange programs that allow students to study as visiting students at overseas universities. Each program gives students opportunities to learn in a foreign country where they obtain firsthand knowledge of another people, language, and culture in addition to gaining course credits. In some cases, a working knowledge of the language of the host country is a prerequisite. In others, the language can be studied for the first time in the host country; sometimes, no language requirement is necessary (e.g., England and Australia). Students pay University of Alabama tuition based on residency and are assisted in arranging transfer of credits through appropriate departments and divisions prior to departure. Graduate students should secure approval from the Graduate School prior to taking any overseas credit that they may wish to transfer.

International exchange programs are available to UA students at the following partner universities for either one or two semesters and, in some cases, summer study:

Exchange Partner Institutions in Europe include:

  • University of Klagenfurt - Austria
  • Université de Liège - Belgium
  • Aarhus School of Business - Denmark
  • University of Birmingham - England
  • University of Hull - England
  • University of Leicester - England
  • KEDGE Business School - France
  • Université de Poitiers - France
  • Université de François-Rabelais-Tours - France
  • Freie Universität Berlin - Germany
  • University of Augsburg - Germany
  • University of Mannheim - Germany
  • Università Cattolica del Sacre Cuore-Milano – Italy
  • University G.d’annunzio del Sacro Cuore-Pescara-Italy
  • Politencico di Torino - Italy
  • Hanzehogeschool-Gröningen - the Netherlands
  • University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • Aberystwyth University - Wales

Exchange Partner Institutions in the Asia-Pacific region include:

  • Queensland University of Technology - Australia
  • Feng Chia University - the Republic of China-Taiwan
  • Chiba University - Japan
  • Hiroshima University - Japan
  • Kansai Gaidai University - Japan
  • Meiji University - Japan
  • Ritsumeikan University - Japan
  • Ajou University - Korea
  • Pusan National University - Korea
  • Yonsei University - Korea

Direct-Enroll Study Abroad Institutions:

  • University of Sydney - Australia
  • University College Dublin – Ireland

Faculty-led Programs

In addition to its longer-term international exchange programs, The University of Alabama conducts many overseas study programs lasting from two to six weeks, most often during the summer and interim sessions. These are normally led by UA faculty members. The number of these programs has expanded greatly over the last few years. Scholarships and financial aid are available to students participating in these programs. Examples of programs and fields of study in recent years have included the following:

  • UA in Australia: Law
  • UA in Austria/Czech Republic: Field Studies in Water and Climate Change
  • UA in Belgium: Political Science
  • UA in Belize: Rainforests and Reefs
  • UA in China: Language and Culture
  • UA in Europe: International Financial Reporting
  • UA in Honduras: Marine Science Internship
  • UA in France: Language and Culture
  • UA in Germany: Honors Intercultural Understanding via Global Perspectives
  • UA in Ghana: Service Learning
  • UA in Ghana: Global Health
  • UA in Greece: Birth of Western Civilization
  • UA in Italy: Language and Culture
  • UA in India: STEM Path to MBA
  • UA in Ireland: Chemical Engineering
  • UA in Jamaica: Democracy and Economic Development
  • UA in Oxford: English, History, Honors
  • UA in New Zealand: Honors Intercultural Understanding via Global Perspectives
  • UA in Spain: Language and Culture
  • UA in South Africa: Resistance and Freedom
  • UA in Spain: Science, Technology and the Environment
  • UA in Sweden: Women Studies and Political Science
  • UA Nursing: Healthcare Missions: Kenya, Bolivia, Peru, China, Dominican Republic
  • UA Internships in: Barcelona, Dublin, London, Chile, Seoul, Shanghai, Australia and New Zealand

Academic Program Policies

  • Students participating in UA programs abroad must be in academic good standing. GPA requirements vary by program.
  • All UA students participating in programs abroad will be cleared through the Office of Judicial Affairs.
  • Students must submit all application and pre-departure requirements prior to program departure.
  • Study abroad in countries where current U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings exist is subject to additional restrictions and requirements, and may be denied.

Additional information about any international program may be obtained from studyabroad.ua.edu; 135 B.B. Comer Hall; by writing The University of Alabama, Education Abroad, Capstone International Center, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254; or by calling (205) 348-5256. In the rare instance where The University of Alabama is unable to meet the overseas study needs of a student, Education Abroad provides information about additional international education opportunities available through study abroad at other institutions and organizations.

Japan Program

The Capstone International Center, in conjunction with the Department of Modern Languages, administers academic and cultural programs and activities designed to increase understanding between the peoples of the United States and Japan. Through linkages with universities and other educational or cultural agencies in Japan, the program enables UA students and faculty members to study, conduct research, and teach in Japan.

Reciprocal student exchange programs with Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Hiroshima University, Meiji University in Tokyo and Chiba University enable qualified postgraduate students to study Japanese in Japan while undertaking Asian studies, humanities, social science, and science courses taught in English. Generous AIE-J scholarships providing round-trip transportation and a monthly stipend are available on a competitive basis to UA students. Examples of courses offered at partner institutions include Japanese-Style Management, Japanese Economic Development, Sociology of Everyday Life in Japan, Survey of Modern Japanese History, Japanese Culture and Education, Seminar in Geography, Agriculture and Agricultural Sciences in Japan, and Introduction to Deep-Sea Biology.

Chiba University offers prestigious Monbusho (Ministry of Education) graduate student research scholarships for 18 months of study. The Monbusho scholarship provides round-trip transportation and monthly stipends to cover living costs.

A founding and active member of the Tuscaloosa Sister-Cities Commission as well as the Japan-America Society of Alabama, Capstone International organizes the annual spring Sakura Festival and Haiku contest for the state of Alabama.

Contact Education Abroad

Education Abroad can be contacted by telephone (205) 348-5256, by fax at (205) 348-5298, by email at studyabroad@ua.edu or by mail at The University of Alabama, Capstone International Center, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254. The office is located in 135 B.B. Comer Hall.

International Services

International Services, a unit of the Capstone International Center, provides specialized services for international students, professors, research scholars, visitors, and their families.

International Services’ primary function is to provide visa support for these international members of the UA community. The office is responsible for the creation and ongoing maintenance and verification of visa support documents within the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for both F-1 student visas and J-1 student and scholar visas. These are ongoing services that monitor individual progress according to federal regulations. The office is also responsible for filing H-1B and other types of work-visa support documentation on behalf of international faculty and staff at UA.

International Services conducts comprehensive orientation programs and provides vital information regarding U.S. immigration compliance as well as multicultural guidance and counseling. Great emphasis is placed on international student programming. International Services coordinates a wide variety of student activities such as a weekly international coffee hour, an international spouse support group, and an annual "Welcome" reception for international students at the President's Mansion.

Professional staff members advise and assist the International Student Association, which represents all international students, and the many nationality organizations on campus. Professional staff work closely with community groups such as Tuscaloosa's International Friends (TIF), which sponsors a friendship family program for international students.

International Services may be contacted by telephone at (205) 348-5402, by fax at (205) 348-5406, by email at international@ua.edu, and by mail at Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254, USA. More information about office services, visa regulations, and processing of visa support is available on the website: http://international.ua.edu. International Services is located in 105 B. B. Comer Hall.

English Language Institute

The University of Alabama English Language Institute (ELI), a unit of the Capstone International Center, provides instruction and support in English as a second language for non-native speakers of English.

The ELI offers the following programs:

Intensive English Program and Courses

The ELI Intensive English Program (IEP), which is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), is designed for non-native speakers of English who need to improve their English language proficiency. The primary focus of the program is on preparing students for academic success in undergraduate and/or graduate study at The University of Alabama.

Six levels of study, from beginning to advanced, are available. Each level consists of 20-24 hours per week of classroom instruction. Each level of study lasts 6-8 weeks and is available during each of six sessions offered annually. Sessions begin in January, March, May, June, August and October. Students may begin their English study at the start of any one of these sessions.

Students pursuing graduate study must complete ELI Level 6 with a GPA of 3.5 (in Levels 4-6) or obtain a minimum iBT score of 79 or a 6.5 IELTS score. In certain cases, the Graduate School, the ELI, and the student's academic department may together grant permission for a student to enroll in one graduate course per semester while completing the ELI program of study. The specific course must be approved by the instructor and department prior to enrollment. Students who receive Conditional Language Admission to the Graduate School because they do not have the required minimum TOEFL or IELTS score may also receive permission to take one graduate course depending upon their placement level within the ELI.

IEP courses at the ELI include the following:

Structure, Levels 1-6: ELI Structure courses provide students with the basic grammatical structures they will need to communicate effectively in all aspects of English—listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Each Structure course emphasizes communication—both comprehension (listening and reading) and production (speaking and writing). Structure courses meet 5 hours per week in fall/spring sessions and 7 hours per week in summer sessions.

Speaking/Listening, Levels 1-6: ELI Speaking/Listening courses provide students with the opportunity to improve their listening and speaking skills and to gain confidence in using English to communicate orally. Students develop fluency, practice appropriate conversation management skills, receive instruction on pronunciation, learn useful vocabulary, and focus on comprehensibility. These activities are carried on through a variety of classroom exercises that focus on the everyday situations students are likely to encounter while adjusting to life, including academic life, in the United States. Speaking/Listening courses meet 6 hours per week in fall/spring sessions and 8 hours per week in summer sessions.

Reading/Writing, Levels 1-6: ELI Reading/Writing courses are designed to provide students with skills needed to comprehend written discourse at the college level as well as produce written English in a variety of forms. Reading skills include understanding the main idea of a passage, understanding an author's purpose, distinguishing fact from opinion, reading quickly, using the resources of a collegiate dictionary, and discussing written discourse in a relatively sophisticated manner. Writing exercises are designed to stimulate self-expression and personal involvement in writing. With attention to each step of the writing process, teachers guide students toward communicating their ideas with increasing clarity and depth. Reading/Writing courses meet 9 hours per week in fall/spring sessions and 12 hours/week in summer sessions.

Culturally Speaking, Levels 2-6: The ELI Culturally Speaking class allows ELI and UA students to meet together to converse in English and discuss cross-cultural issues. Culturally Speaking also provides a comfortable way for all participating students to form friendships with each other and get to know students from cultures different from their own. Culturally Speaking is only offered during fall and spring sessions; it is not offered in summer sessions.

Culture & Language Exchange Program

The ELI Culture & Language Exchange Program (CLEP) pairs an ELI student with a UA student who is interested in the ELI student's native language/culture. Once paired, these students then meet as often as they like for conversation practice in both English and in the particular foreign language. CLEP partners are not guaranteed and can only be provided when available, and the program is not offered during ELI summer sessions.

ELI Customized Group Programs

Customized group programs can be designed upon request for groups that need specialized needs. Such programs for non-native English speakers are typically designed for teachers of English, for university study-abroad students, for students who have been admitted for graduate study, for students or professionals in a particular discipline such as business or engineering, etc. An organization interested in a customized group program should contact the English Language Institute to request a program proposal.

Academic Support Program

The ELI Academic Support Program (ASP) provides support courses in English for UA undergraduate and graduate students who are non-native English speakers and who may want or need additional English-language instruction. At the graduate level, ASP support courses in writing and speaking are available free of charge to full-time international graduate students each fall and spring semester.

International Teaching Assistant Program

The International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) provides training and evaluation for international students who hold graduate teaching assistantships. Participation in ITAP is mandatory for all non-native English-speaking graduate teaching assistants and other graduate assistants who have instructional responsibilities at UA.

Contact the ELI

To obtain more information about any of the above ELI programs, contact The University of Alabama English Language Institute, visit the ELI website (http://eli.ua.edu) or contact the ELI at Box 870250, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250; telephone (205) 348-7413; fax (205) 348-9266; or e-mail info@eli.ua.edu.