The Intensive English Pathway program at the American Language and Culture Institute at CSUSM is designed for international students with low to medium English proficiency. The program offers ESL courses in reading, vocabulary, academic writing, grammar, public speaking, study skills and test preparation.

Students with medium-high proficiency in English may take a combination of general university courses and Intensive English Pathway courses. 

Program Features

Opportunity to take university courses for credit toward a degree for qualified, advanced-level students

Six proficiency levels

24 class hours per week

Small class sizes

Leadership and service learning

Mentorship and partnership programs

More than 100 recognized student organizations students can join

Group activities such as beach picnics, cultural celebrations and other trips

CSUSM credit classes for qualified, advanced-level students

Chances to make international and American friends

        Certificates of completion and certificate    ceremony

Fields most recommended for ISEP students include anthropology, literature and writing, global studies, history, music and native studies. Research opportunities may be available to students who are proactive about arranging them with faculty. 


Semester and Academic Year students can elect to live on campus (meals included), in a local homestay (meals included), or find housing independently. Summer students can elect to live in a homestay (meals included) or find housing independently.


Students in a homestay will be provided dinner daily by their hosts. Students will be provided food to prepare breakfast themselves each day, and lunches over weekends, holidays, and breaks.

Students living on-campus will be automatically enrolled in the standard meal plan, which includes a mix of meals in the cafeteria and "flex dollars" to use on campus.

Interested in learning more? Click here to watch a webinar on all that the USA Direct program at CSUSM has to offer

Check out five reasons to study abroad in California!

Program Website

Course Description

For students enrolling in University Classes:  From the class schedule website, choose a semester, then click on “Browse/Search Courses” to determine subjects that have been offered over the past year or for the current semester. Click on “Catalog” for descriptions of classes offered. Fall course schedules are typically posted in mid-April; Spring course schedules are typically posted in mid-November. 

Having difficulty finding course information? Contact your ISEP Student Advisor whose contact information can be found in your ISEP Dashboard. 

Website for Course Availability

ISEP STUDENT ADVISOR Emily Greenblatt | Emily joined the ISEP team in July 2019 after working at an ISEP Member Institution as an international student recruiter. She holds a master's degree in international education management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and has lived abroad as a student, volunteer, and nanny. Emily's love for intercultural learning and itch for adventure has taken her to twenty-eight countries across the globe. Emily is an Oregon native, but resides in Flagstaff, Arizona. In her spare time, you can find her cooking, FaceTiming her nieces in Oregon, or climbing rocks and exploring northern Arizona! Emily is thrilled to engage with students and member institutions to facilitate meaningful experiences abroad and lasting cross-cultural connections.


(in English)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Area Studies:

    Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other Multicultural and Diversity Studies Native American Studies

  • Business


  • Communication

  • Computer and Information Sciences

  • Engineering

    Computer Software Engineering

  • English Language and Literature: Recommended!

    American Literature (United States) General Literature Writing

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures:

    French Language and Literature Spanish Language and Literature

  • Health Sciences:

    Community Health Services/Counseling Gerontology Health and Wellness

  • History:

    American History (United States) Asian History European History History, Other Holocaust and Related Studies

  • International/Global Studies:

    International Relations and Affairs Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

  • Law/Criminal Justice


  • Mathematics

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies


  • Physical Sciences:

    Astronomy Physics

  • Psychology:

    Behavioral Sciences Biopsychology Clinical Psychology Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics Counseling Psychology

  • Social Sciences:

    Anthropology Geography Human Development and Family Studies Political Science and Government Sociology Urban Studies Work and Family Studies

  • Visual and Performing Arts:

    Acting Art History Art Studies Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management Digital Arts Drama and Theatre Arts Drawing Fine Arts and Art Studies, Other Graphic Design Jazz Studies Music Pedagogy Music Performance Music Theory and Composition Painting Photography Playwriting and Screenwriting Studio Arts

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 2 or higher
  • TOEFL iBT Score: 61
  • TOEFL Writing Score: 19
  • TOEFL Reading Score: 14
  • TOEFL Listening Score: 14
  • TOEFL Speaking Score: 14
  • IELTS Score: 5.5
  • IELTS Writing Score: 5.5
  • IELTS Reading Score: 5
  • IELTS Listening Score: 5
  • IELTS Speaking Score: 5

Special Application Instructions

ISEP students who use their personal funding for ISEP Direct San Marcos will be issued an F-visa from CSUSM. In order to be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT), ISEP Direct students need to be enrolled at CSUSM for a full academic year.

Special Needs Support

  • Mental Health
  • Mobility
  • Hearing
  • Visual
  • Speech
  • Learning

Other Academic Conditions

For students enrolling in only the Intensive English Pathway program, coursework includes English language and literature.  There are no academic requirements for admission into the Intensive English Pathway program.

For students enrolling in University Classes, nursing and kinesiology are closed to ISEP students.

Certain syllabi may be available in advance to prospective students; contact your ISEP Student Advisor. 

Semester & Prices (based on your filters)

Select a semester to calculate the price. Semesters are named according to host university's calendar.

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ISEP Application Fee US$100

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