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Intensive English Program

The Intensive English Program (IEP) is an academic support service designed to help international students enhance their academic success by improving their English language proficiency and increasing their familiarity with US culture. Small classes and individual attention characterize Drake's IEP, where intermediate and advanced level courses are offered year-round. Course placement will be based on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Intermediate IEP Courses

This program is designed with the flexibility to move students from one level to another should it be determined that is in their best interest.

Reading (3hrs.)
This course will build strategies for developing reading speed and comprehension, while developing the students' vocabulary.

Grammar (3 hrs.)
This course will emphasize using structure correctly in oral and written communication.

Listening & Speaking (3 hrs.)
This course will use a pragmatic approach to build listening and speaking skills, utilizing various types of everyday communication.

Writing (3 hrs.)
This course will develop writing skills as used in everyday communication.

Pronunciation & Spelling (3 hours)
This course will focus on improving pronunciation of American English.

Advanced IEP Courses

Reading (3 hrs.)
This course will build strategies for improving reading speed and comprehension, while improving the students' vocabulary.

Grammar (3 hrs.)
This course will focus on the structure of American English as it is used for reading, writing, and speaking, especially in an academic context.

Listening & Speaking (3 hrs.)
This course will improve listening and speaking skills for academic purposes, including listening to lectures and taking notes, giving oral presentations, and participating in group discussions.

Writing (3 hrs.)
This course will focus on several types of academic writing: journal writing, summary writing, essay writing, and scholarly reports or research papers.

American Culture (3 hrs.)
This course is an introduction to the basic characteristics of American culture: its government/politics, education, economics, family lifestyles, ethnic diversity, historical background, basic values and beliefs, so students can put what they know into perspective, gain insight into why Americans are the way they are, and achieve a better understanding of U.S. society. The coursework for this class includes regular field trips to various locations around the City of Des Moines. 

TOEFL Preparation (3 hrs.)
This course will prepare students for taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is required at many U.S. institutions in order to take academic programs. It will use exercises and practice tests, and will focus on developing the students' test-taking skills.

Sample IEP Schedule

During Fall and Spring semesters, there is one session over a sixteen week semester. During the Summer term, there are two sessions taught over a period of four weeks in July for the Summer Institute of Language and Culture.  

Four core language skill courses are offered every semester to include Listening and Speaking, Grammar, Reading and Writing as well as a TOEFL Preparation course. Additional multi-skills courses are also offered but can change from semester to semester.

Start dates for terms are August, January and July.  All F1 students must complete 26 weeks prior to a vacation period. Contact the Intensive English Program coordinator for specific dates.

Sample Intensive English Program Course Schedule (PDF)

TOEFL Equivalencies

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Drake offers the institutional (TOEFL) at the beginning of each term. Students with a TOEFL score below 54-55 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) will enroll in intermediate level English as a Second Language courses. Students with an iBT score above 54-55 will enroll in advanced ESL level courses. (See below for computer and paper-based TEOFL score equivalencies.)

Scores are evaluated on each part of the TOEFL, therefore it is possible that a student may enroll at the intermediate level in some skill areas, but at the advanced level in others.

Students with iBT scores above 71 (for undergraduate study) or 79-80 (for graduate level study) are not required to take English as a Second Language, but may enroll in IEP courses that they believe will interest and benefit them. Such courses are free of charge to anyone who is paying full time Drake tuition.

Score equivalencies

iBT = internet Based TOEFL
CBT = Computer Based TOEFL
Paper = Paper and pencil TOEFL (including the Drake institutional TOEFL)

iBT 54-55  =  CBT 157  =  Paper 480   
iBT 71  =  CBT 197  =  Paper 530
iBT 79-80  =  CBT 213  =  Paper 550

All IEP courses are academically focused to improve English language skills as well as familiarity with academic content, vocabulary and US classroom practices.

Drake IEP students have full access to university facilities, including the Library, Health Center, Career Center, recreational facilities, Counseling Center, and, of course, Global Engagement. They may participate in any campus event or student activity that is available to degree-seeking students. IEP students will learn to access campus services, library holdings, faculty and each other via Drake e-mail, Blackboard, and the MyDrake system.

The IEP is offered during the Fall (15 weeks, August – December) and Spring (15 weeks, January – May).

Fall or Spring (per semester)
    Full-time (≥6 IEP courses) $6,500
  (per course)
    Part-time (<6 IEP courses) $1,300
Summer (per semester)
    Full-time (6 IEP courses) $3,460
       (per session)
    Part-time (<6 IEP courses) $1,730
  (per course)

For full details on program costs, including housing, books, health insurance and other fees, see the Drake IEP Financial Certificate

All students in the IEP must have a high school diploma and at least a beginning knowledge of the English language (language proficiency requirements may vary based on program).

Application Document Checklist

  1. 1

    A copy of your passport;

  2. 2

    A completed IEP Application for Admission; including information about English proficiency scores to prove at least intermediate proficiency

  3. 3

    A $25 application fee (non-refundable) in the form of a check from a U.S. bank or a U.S./international money order. Credit card payments are accepted through Student Accounts by phone at (515) 271-4777.

    In addition to that, students intending to apply for an F-1 visa must also provide:

  4. 4

    A certified copy of your official transcripts in your native language and a certified copy of the transcripts translated into English; we do not require original transcripts; however, if you submit a scanned copy by email, it has to show that the copy was certified;

  5. 5

    Financial documentation showing sufficient funds to cover one full year of IEP tuition, housing, meals and fees in the amount of $28,773.

    - An original copy of the Drake IEP Financial Certificate, signed by your sponsor and signed/stamped by a bank official (required only if your sponsor is someone other than you or your parents)


    Electronic copies of the above items should be sent via email to


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