American Language Institute

The American Language Institute (ALI) has been helping students reach their personal and professional goals since 1961. At the ALI, you will have high-quality English language instruction, enthusiastic teachers and plenty of support to help you get the most out of your time in San Francisco.

Student raises his hand in class, and teacher calls on him

English for Academic Preparation

  • Learn English skills to prepare for American colleges and universities
  • Held at the SF State main campus
  • Offered in fall, spring and summer
  • Conditional admission to SF State

SF State students in Malcolm X Plaza

Gateway: English + University Credit Studies

  • Improve your English and academic skills for university success
  • Take an SF State course for credit
  • Receive support to understand and complete your university course assignments
  • Level 90: The highest English level of English for Academic Preparation

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Conditional Admission

  • For students seeking admission to SF State, who need to improve their English
  • Two possible TOEFL waivers — receive either waiver without completing the highest ALI level
  • Apply to SF State after deadlines have passed
  • Receive assistance with your application

San Francisco Discover international students in front of Capitalism mural

San Francisco Discover

  • Improve your spoken English
  • Two- to four-week programs
  • Student visa not required
  • Visit innovative companies, universities and San Francisco neighborhoods
  • Offered multiple times per year

Student uses a laptop in SF State library, in front of a large window

TOEFL Test Preparation

  • Get the confidence, skills and familiarity to excel on the iBT TOEFL
  • Learn test-taking strategies
  • Review practice tests
  • Interact with English-speaking instructor and peers to improve your Academic English skills
  • Offered in spring and fall

PDPI Brazil English Teachers Program class in session

PDPI Brazil English Teachers Program

  • Customized program, tailored to client needs
  • Six-week program
  • Professional development for English teachers from Brazil
  • Teachers study English language and TEFL methodology
  • Exposure to U.S. culture and society


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What Students Say

Ane, an international student from Spain, studying English at ALI

Ane, Spain

“At the ALI, I learned how to communicate with English and not just memorize rules. This made my classes so fun. Also I made friends from all over the world.”

Abdullah, an international student from Saudi Arabia, studying English at ALI

Abdullah, Saudi Arabia

“As a result of more than 50 years of experience, this school knows what the students really need. I really appreciate this school for helping me reach my goal of going to an American law school.”

Asako Hanafusa, an international student from Japan

Asako, Japan

“To get into graduate school, the English for Academic Preparation program gave me great advice, resources and encouragement. It was the best choice for me to train at SF State's English for Academic Preparation program before pursuing my academic goal in the U.S.”

Mohammed Bakhsh, an American Language Institute student from Kuwait

Mohammed, Kuwait

“The English for Academic Preparation program at SF State is the greatest school for learning English because the classes are a comfortable place to meet students from many nations, and the staff are so welcoming and helpful. They have a lot of fun activities, parties and field trips.”

College of Professional & Global Education

The San Francisco State University American Language Institute is part of the College of Professional & Global Education's Center for Global Engagement.

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College of Professional & Global Education

The College of Professional & Global Education (CPaGE) offers a wide variety of continuing adult education courses and programs to prepare you for career advancement, career change or personal growth. We offer weekend, evening and online courses, online degree completion, international education and access to thousands of transferable degree-credit University classes.

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Center for Global Engagement

The Center for Global Engagement provides international students and professional groups unparalleled access to pursue rigorous academic education, cutting-edge professional development and enriching cultural exploration at an American university.

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San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University (SF State) is committed to providing innovative, high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs for students, as well as continuing and professional educational opportunities. SF State educates more than 27,000 students, including 1,800 international students from over 100 countries each year.



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