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 hand in class and teacher calls on him

English for Academic Preparation (EAP)

  • 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

Aerial view of a bustling 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

SF State sign

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

International students in front of a mural about corporatocracy

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 exercises using virtual reality, while another student looks on

STEM Exploration

  • Gain technical vocabulary and understand of new science and technology concepts
  • Learn and discuss current topics in applied science and technology
  • Create and deliver short academic presentations

News & Events


The mission of the American Language Institute at San Francisco State University is to serve English language learners and the university by providing:

  • English instruction that equips students with the language and strategies they need for academic success
  • Support services that empower students to make informed decisions about their academic and professional goals
  • Teacher education that prepares the next generation of skilled, reflective and dynamic TESOL professionals

In all its work, the ALI prioritizes quality, empathy and collaboration.



What Students Say

Ane, International Student from Spain

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, American Language Institute student from Saudi Arabia

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, ALI 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, 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.”

Document Readers are required to view documents.