American Language Institute

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit Any changes will appear on our errata page.

The American Language Institute (ALI) is a center for teaching English as a second language (ESL) and is closely allied with the Department of English and its program for training teachers of ESL. The ALI provides a full-time, academically focused curriculum in ESL that gives students both language and study skills necessary for academic success in the United States. There are four levels of instruction ranging from a low intermediate level (TOEFL scores of 325 and above) to an advanced level (TOEFL scores of 520-600). Students must enroll for a full session (twelve weeks in the fall and spring, ten weeks in the summer), which involves 22 hours per week of classroom instruction. Students are expected to regularly attend classes and maintain good academic standing to continue in the program. Part-time study is not permitted. All applicants must be graduates of a recognized high school or secondary school and must be 18 years of age or older.

In addition to language instruction, the ALI provides special assistance to students who want to attend San Francisco State University but do not have the required language skills. Undergraduate students can apply through the ALI to the University even when other enrollment deadlines have passed. Qualified undergraduate applicants from ALI can be admitted to SF State with a 475 TOEFL. The ALI also offers other student services which include: workshops in cultural adaptation, orientation to the academic community, immigration advice, assistance in selecting universities for further study, and social activities.

Furthermore, the ALI serves as a training institute for selected graduate students in the English Department's Master of Arts in English: Concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Those graduate students become instructors in the ALI under the supervision of the full-time, permanent ALI faculty.

For further information about ALI programs and future session dates, please contact the American Language Institute. The office is located in HUM 101, telephone 415-338-1438; fax 415-338-1717; e-mail: See also the ALI web site for more detailed program information at