Table of Contents > General Information


The University of Alabama provides a wide variety of international education programs and services at the Capstone International Center (CIC), housed on the first floor of B. B. Comer Hall. Known simply as Capstone International, the Capstone International Center takes its name from its historical pre-eminence in the state as a provider of international education. CIC is comprised of several integrated units. These include the English Language Institute (ELI), Capstone International Academic Programs (CIAP), and Capstone International Services (CIS). The Capstone International Center has multiple complementary functions, ranging from intensive English language instruction to U.S. immigration compliance, Fulbright programs, and overseas study. Capstone International is a multipurpose center designed to inform, assist, and educate both international and domestic students, faculty, and staff members, as well as members of the local civic, education, and corporate communities. Capstone International annually serves almost 1500 international students on-campus and makes possible the participation of UA faculty, students, and staff in a multitude of internationally focused degree, research, and outreach programs. Capstone International Academic Programs sends approximately 1100 students abroad each year.

Outreach is an important function within Capstone International as evidenced by its Capstone International newsletter, support of the Sakura Festival (focused on Japanese culture), and the work of the English Language Institute (ELI). ELI provides the annual World Friends Day for local elementary schools, annual summer programs for students from our sister city in Japan, on-site corporate programs and tailored courses for the children and spouses of employees. A wide variety of activities are coordinated in conjunction with the Rotary International Club of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa's International Friends (TIF), the Children's Hands-on Museum (CHOM), University Place Montessori School, and the Tuscaloosa Club of Altrusa International. In addition, CIC has previously worked extensively with the German Supplementary School for school-age children from Germany and is currently working on the development of a German Culture Center.

The University is a member of numerous international education organizations providing professional training, outreach to national and local governmental entities, and annual conferences to promote international education at member universities. These organizations include: NAFSA: Association for International Educators, the Institute for International Education (IIE), the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), the European Association of International Education (EAIE), and the Forum on Education Aboard.

Programming, activities, and resources of CIC include:

  • Academic Programs
  • Academic Support Program
  • English Language Institute
  • External Group Programs
  • Fulbright Programs
  • Graduate Research Scholarships
  • Intensive English Program
  • International Exchange Programs
  • International Linkages
  • International Scholar Events
  • International Student and Scholar Services
  • International Student Programming
  • International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP)
  • Multicultural Guidance and Counseling
  • Overseas Study
  • Overseas Study Resource Center
  • Sakura Festival
  • U.S. Immigration Compliance
  • Visa Advising

Contact the CIC
The Capstone International Center can be contacted by telephone (205) 348-5256, by fax at (205) 348-5298, by email at or by mail at The University of Alabama, Capstone International Center, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254. The office is located in 135 B.B. Comer Hall.


The primary focus of International Academic Programs, a unit of the Capstone International Center, is providing study abroad and other academically focused study opportunities for students.

Fulbright Programs

CIC and Academic Programs encourage and facilitate active participation in all Fulbright programs. Since the founding of the Fulbright programs in 1948, more than 100 UA students, faculty, and professional staff members have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright award. Their appointments have ranged from Austria to Zimbabwe.

International Exchange Programs

The University of Alabama offers a number of international exchange programs that allow students to study as visiting students at overseas universities. Each program gives students opportunities to learn in a foreign country where they obtain firsthand knowledge of another people, language, and culture in addition to gaining course credits. In some cases, a working knowledge of the language of the host country is a prerequisite. In others, the language can be studied for the first time in the host country; sometimes, no language requirement is necessary (e.g., England and Australia). Students pay University of Alabama tuition based on residency and are assisted in arranging transfer of credits through appropriate departments and divisions prior to departure. Graduate students should secure approval from the Graduate School prior to taking any overseas credit that they may wish to transfer.

International exchange programs are available to UA students at the following partner universities for either one or two semesters and, in some cases, summer study:

  • Australia: Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane)
  • Austria: Universität of Klagenfurt (Klangenfurt)
  • Belgium: Hautes Etudes Commerciales (Liège)
  • Denmark: Aarhus School of Business (Aarhus)
  • England: University of Hull (Hull) ; University of Birmingham Shakespeare Institute (Birmingham); University of Leicester (Leicester)
  • France: Université François Rabelais (Tours), Bordeaux Ecole de Management/Bordeaux Business School (Bordeaux), Universite de Poitiers (Poitiers), Paris-Est Marna-la-Valle (Paris)
  • Germany: Universität of Mannheim (Mannheim); Freie Universitat Berlin (Berlin), Augsburg University (Augsburg)
  • Italy: Universita Cattolica Del Socro Coure (Milan); Polytechnic University of Torin (Torin)
  • Japan: Chiba University (Chiba); Hiroshima University (Hiroshima); Kansai Gaidai University (Osaka); Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto), Meiji University (Tokyo)
  • Korea: Pusan National University (Pusan); Yonsei University (Seoul), Ajou University (Suwon); Yeungnam University (Gyeongsan)
  • Scotland: University of Glasgow (Glasgow)
  • The Netherlands: Hanzehogeschool-Gröningen (Gröningen)
  • Taiwan: Feng Chia University (Taichung)
  • Wales: Aberystwyth University (Aberystwyth)

Short-term Group Overseas Study

In addition to its longer-term international exchange programs, The University of Alabama conducts many overseas study programs lasting from two to six weeks, most often during the summer and interim sessions. Scholarships and financial aid are available to students participating in these programs. Programs and fields of study in recent years have included the following: 

  • Alabama at Oxford: English, History, and Honors
  • Alabama in Austria: German language and culture
  • Alabama in Belgium: Political Science
  • Alabama in China: Chinese, business, communications, culture
  • Alabama in Ecuador: Biology
  • Alabama in France: French language, culture and literature
  • Alabama in Ghana: Geography and healthcare
  • Alabama in Greece: Classical civilization, religious studies
  • Alabama in Italy: Italian language and culture, art history, New College
  • Alabama in Japan: Japanese language and culture, transcultural nursing
  • Alabama in Spain: Spanish language and culture
  • Alabama in Spain: Engineering
  • Alabama in Sweden: Political Science
  • Alabama in Turkey: Business
  • Alabama in Barcelona: Internships
  • Alabama in Dublin: Internships
  • Alabama in London: Internships

Academic Program Policies

  • Students participating in UA programs abroad must be in academic good standing. GPA requirements vary by program.
  • All UA students participating on programs abroad will be cleared through the Office of Judicial Affairs.
  • Students must submit all application and pre-departure requirements prior to program departure.
  • Capstone International Programs does not offer programs in countries where current U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings exist.

Capstone International provides insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). Students traveling abroad on a University of Alabama exchange or faculty-led program are required to carry CISI insurance. Capstone International will assist students with obtaining the appropriate policy for their time abroad.

Additional information about any international program may be obtained from; 135 B.B. Comer Hall; by writing The University of Alabama, Capstone International, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254; or by calling (205) 348-5256. If The University of Alabama is unable to meet the overseas study needs of a student, Capstone International provides information about additional international education opportunities available through study abroad at other institutions and organizations.

Japan Program

The Capstone International Center, in conjunction with the Department of Modern Languages, administers academic and cultural programs and activities designed to increase understanding between the peoples of the United States and Japan. Through linkages with universities and other educational or cultural agencies in Japan, the program enables UA students and faculty members to study, conduct research, and teach in Japan.

Reciprocal student exchange programs with Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Hiroshima University, Meiji University in Tokyo and Chiba University enable qualified postgraduate students to study Japanese in Japan while undertaking Asian studies, humanities, social science, and science courses taught in English. Generous AIE-J scholarships providing round-trip transportation and a monthly stipend are available on a competitive basis to UA students. Examples of courses offered at partner institutions include Japanese-Style Management, Japanese Economic Development, Sociology of Everyday Life in Japan, Survey of Modern Japanese History, Japanese Culture and Education, Seminar in Geography, Agriculture and Agricultural Sciences in Japan, and Introduction to Deep-Sea Biology.

Chiba University offers prestigious Monbusho (Ministry of Education) graduate student research scholarships for 18 months of study. The Monbusho scholarship provides round-trip transportation and monthly stipends to cover living costs.

A founding and active member of the Tuscaloosa Sister-Cities Commission as well as the Japan-America Society of Alabama, Capstone International organizes the annual spring Sakura Festival and Haiku contest for the state of Alabama.

Contact Academic Programs
Capstone Academic Programs can be contacted by telephone (205) 348-5256, by fax at (205) 348-5298, by email at or by mail at The University of Alabama, Capstone International Center, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254. The office is located in 135 B.B. Comer Hall.


International Services, a unit of the Capstone International Center, provides specialized services for international students, professors, research scholars, visitors, and their families.

International Services’ primary function is to provide visa support for these international members of the UA community. The office is responsible for the creation and ongoing maintenance and verification of visa support documents within the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for both F-1 student visas and J-1 student and scholar visas. These are ongoing services that monitor individual progress according to federal regulations. The office is also responsible for filing H-1B and other types of work-visa support documentation on behalf of international faculty and staff at UA.

International Services conducts comprehensive orientation programs and provides vital information regarding U.S. immigration compliance as well as multicultural guidance and counseling. Great emphasis is placed on international student programming. International Services coordinates a wide variety of student activities such as a weekly international coffee hour, an international spouse support group, and an annual "Welcome" reception for international students at the President's Mansion.

Professional staff members advise and assist the International Student Association, which represents all international students, and the many nationality organizations on campus. Professional staff work closely with community groups such as Tuscaloosa's International Friends (TIF), which sponsors a friendship family program for international students.

International Services may be contacted by telephone at (205) 348-5402, by fax at (205) 348-5406, by email at, and by mail at Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254, USA. More information about office services, visa regulations, and processing of visa support is available on the website: International Services is located in 105 B. B. Comer Hall.


The University of Alabama English Language Institute (ELI), a unit of the Capstone International Center, provides instruction and support in English as a second language for non-native speakers of English.

The ELI offers the following programs:


Intensive English Program and Courses

The ELI Intensive English Program (IEP), which is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), is designed for individuals who need to learn English as a second language. The focus of the program is on preparing students for academic success in undergraduate and graduate study at The University of Alabama.

Six levels of study, from beginning to advanced, are available. Each level consists of 22 hours of core classes per week. Each level of study lasts six to eight weeks and is available six times per year. Sessions begin in January, March, May, June, August and October. Students may begin their English study at the start of any one of these sessions.

Students pursuing graduate study must complete Levels 4, 5, and 6 with a GPA of 3.5 or obtain a minimum iBT score of 79 or a 6.5 IELTS score. In certain cases, the Graduate School, the ELI, and the student's academic department may together grant permission for a student to enroll in one graduate course per semester while completing the ELI program of study. The specific course must be approved by the instructor and department prior to enrollment. Students who receive Provisional Language Admission to the Graduate School because they do not have the required minimum TOEFL or IELTS score may also receive permission to take one graduate course depending upon their placement level within the ELI.

ELI Intensive English Program courses are designed for those who require a concentrated curriculum of study in English:

Structure: Levels 1–6. ELI structure courses provide students with the basic grammatical structures they will need to communicate effectively in English in the four language skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Each structure course emphasizes communication—both comprehension (listening and reading) and production (speaking and writing). Structure courses meet five hours per week.

Speaking/Listening: Levels 1–6. ELI courses in speaking/listening provide students with the opportunity to improve their listening and speaking skills and to gain confidence in using English to communicate orally. Students practice appropriate conversation management skills, receive instruction on problem areas of pronunciation, and learn useful vocabulary. These activities are carried on through a variety of classroom exercises that focus on the everyday situations students are likely to encounter while adjusting to life in the United States. Speaking/listening courses meet six hours per week.

Reading/Writing: Levels 1–6. The ELI reading/writing curriculum is designed to provide students with skills needed to comprehend written discourse at the college level as well as produce written English in a variety of forms. Reading skills include understanding the main idea of a passage, understanding an author's purpose, distinguishing fact from opinion, reading quickly, using the resources of a collegiate dictionary, and discussing written discourse in a relatively sophisticated manner. Writing exercises are designed to stimulate self-expression and personal involvement in writing. With attention to each step of the writing process—thinking, writing, and rewriting—teachers guide students toward communicating their ideas with increasing clarity and depth. Reading/Writing courses meet nine hours per week.

Culturally Speaking
Through the Culturally Speaking class, ELI students can meet regularly with American students to converse in English in relaxed surroundings. The Culturally Speaking class provides a comfortable way for ELI students to form friendships with American students and to practice their English by discussing cross-cultural issues.

Culture & Language Exchange Program
The Culture & Language Exchange Program pairs an ELI student with an American student who is studying or has expressed an interest in the ELI student's native language/culture. Once paired, these students then meet as often as they like for conversation practice in both English and in the particular foreign language. Culture & Language Exchange partners are not guaranteed and can only be provided when available.

ELI Customized Group Programs
Customized group programs can be designed upon request for groups with mutual goals and concerns who desire highly specialized, intensive curricula. Such programs are typically designed for international English teachers, students whose international universities have approved particular curricula for credit, international graduate students preparing to enter universities throughout the US, and business professionals who wish to improve their overall effectiveness in English or to concentrate on specific skills such as written communication.

An organization interested in a customized group program should contact the English Language Institute to request a program proposal.

Academic Support Program
The ELI Academic Support Program provides opportunities for UA undergraduate and graduate students who may want or need additional English-language instruction. At the graduate level, ESL support courses in written and spoken English are available free of charge to full-time international graduate students each fall and spring semester. In addition, the ELI Study Center and the UA Language Resource Center are available for individualized language assistance.

International Teaching Assistant Program
The International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) provides training and evaluation for international students with graduate teaching assistantships. Participation in the ITAP program is mandatory for all non-native English-speaking GTAs and graduate assistants who have instructional responsibilities at the University.

Contact the ELI
To obtain more information about any of the above ELI programs, contact The University of Alabama
English Language Institute, visit the ELI website ( or contact the ELI at Box 870250, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250; telephone (205) 348-7413; fax (205) 348-9266; or e-mail



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