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Capstone International Center

Dr. Teresa E. Wise
Associate Provost for International Education and Global Outreach
Office: 135 B.B. Comer Hall

The University of Alabama provides a 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 1,500 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 1,100 students abroad each year.

CIC 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.

Through its three units, English Language Institute (ELI), Capstone International Academic Programs (CIAP) and Capstone International Services (CIS), the Center provides courses and activities available to the constituents of The University of Alabama community.

Community and Corporate Outreach

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 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.

Language Supplementary Schools

In 1995, the University in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. established the German Supplementary School to provide supplementary education in German to children ages six to 16 who will return to a German-speaking educational system after living in Alabama for several years. The school is no longer located on the UA campus, but CIC continues to work closely with Mercedes-Benz to promote German culture and language within the community. In addition, CIC works with the Birmingham Supplementary School for Japanese established by Honda to provide education to Japanese-speaking children. 

Sakura Festival

Capstone International organizes the annual spring Sakura Festival and Haiku contest for the state of Alabama.

Japan Program

Reciprocal student exchange programs with Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Ritsumeikan University, Hiroshima University and Chiba University allow qualified undergraduate 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. Gilman and Freeman-ASIA scholarships for students on financial aid are also available. 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. For students who have already earned undergraduate degrees, Chiba University offers prestigious Monbusho (Ministry of Education) research scholarships for 18 months of study. The Monbusho scholarship provides round-trip transportation and monthly stipends to cover living costs.

Additional information about the Japan Program may be obtained from Capstone International, 135 B.B. Comer Hall; (205) 348-5256.

Global Studies Certificate Program

The University of Alabama Global Studies Certificate (GSC) Program is designed to introduce the undergraduate student to the cultural, economic, physical and political aspects of being a world citizen in the 21st century. The program emphasizes the contemporary rather than the historical. Nine hours of the program are specified as GSC core (usually lower division) and must be taken prior to the six Emphasis Area hours (usually upper division).

The CIP 200 Introduction To Global Studies course must be taken first in the sequence of GSC Core and Emphasis Area courses, but the remaining courses may be taken in any order. The introductory course sets the basis for the student's approach to the entire Global Studies Certificate Curriculum, both core and upper division, Emphasis Area courses.

Students must successfully complete 15 hours of coursework as specified below. Some courses may have prerequisites. Candidates for the certificate must complete an application form before the certificate can be awarded. Application forms are available in the Capstone International Center, Room 135 B.B. Comer Hall, and must be submitted no later than the semester prior to graduation.

Mandatory introductory course:3
Introduction To Global Studies
Select two of four existing courses:6
Intro Cultural Anthropology
World Regional Geography
Prin Human Geography
Intro To Sociology
GSC emphasis area courses:6
Intro American Studies: Globalization, Nationalism, and Regionalism
Contemporary America
Peoples Of Europe *
Peoples Of Latin Amer *
Peoples Of Africa *
Peoples Of South Asia *
International Trade
International Finance
Economic Development of Latin America
World Literature I
World Literature II
Special Topics In Literature
Intro To Linguistics
Directed Readings
Geography Of Africa
Cultural Geography
Intro World Business
Multinatl Business Communctn
Music In World Cultures
Social Change
Globalization & Folk Crft Prod
International Relations
Lat Am Political Syst
Soviet Post Sov Politics
Government Politics West Europ
For Pol Sov Un Suc State
Amer Foreign Policy
Internatl Polit Econom
Internatl Conflict
International Organizations
Intro To Religious Studies
Survey Of Asian Religion
Philosophies Of Judaism
International Cinema
Independent study (all colleges) **3
Language studies (FL or HU for some) ***6

*Offered according to demand.

**Special Topics/Field Education/Directed Readings with permission of department/professor and GSC director.

***All MLC and critical languages at the 300- to 400-level are eligible.

Fulbright Programs

Capstone International encourages and facilitates active participation in all Fulbright programs. Since the founding of the Fulbright programs in 1948, approximately 125 UA students, faculty and professional staff members have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright award. Their appointments have ranged from Austria to Zimbabwe. More information is available from the CIC, 135 B.B. Comer Hall; (205) 348-5312; or fax (205) 348-5298.

International Academic 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
    • University of Klagenfurt
  • Belgium
    • Université de Liege
  • Denmark
    • Aarhus School of Business
  • England
    • University of Birmingham
    • University of Hull
    • University of Leicester
  • France
    • Université François-Rabelais (Tours)
    • Bordeaux Business School
    • Paris-EST Marne la Vallee (Paris)
    • Université de Poitiers (Poitiers)
  • Germany
    • University of Augsburg
    • University of Berlin
    • University of Mannheim
  • Italy
    • Polytechnic University of Torin
    • University of the Sacred Heart (Milan)
  • Japan
    • Chiba University
    • Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto)
    • Hiroshima University
    • Meiji University
    • Kansai Gaidai University (Hirakata-City)
  • Korea
    • Pusan National University
    • Yonsei University (Seoul)
    • Ajou University (Suwon)
    • Yeungnam University (Daegu)
  • The Netherlands
    • Hanzehogeschool-Gr'ningen
  • Scotland
    • University of Glasgow
  • Taiwan
    • Feng Chia University (Taichung)
  • Wales
    • University of Wales (Aberystwyth)

Short-term Academic 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, 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, 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

Affiliate Programs

The University of Alabama offers programs through third-party program providers every year and students continually have positive feedback on their experiences with these providers. Students participating in these programs can use their UA scholarships and financial aid for funding. Also, students do not pay UA tuition but pay the program fee charged by the program provider and additional expenses including, but not limited to, travel, personal, meals, visa, housing expenses, etc. A list of UA's Affiliate Programs can be found online at

International University Programs

Students at The University of Alabama also have the opportunity to spend a summer, semester or academic year at several international universities with which we are affiliated. Participants in these programs can use their UA scholarships and financial aid for funding. Also, students do not pay UA tuition but pay the cost of attending the international university. A list of international university programs can be found online at

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.

Additional information about any international study 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.

International Services

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 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; fax at (205) 348-5406; email at; or mail at The University of Alabama, International Services, Box 870254, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0254, USA. More information about office services, visa regulations and processing of visa support is available online at International Services is located in 105 B. B. Comer Hall.

English Language Institute (ELI)

For the non-native speaker of English, The University of Alabama English Language Institute (ELI), a part of Capstone International, offers two types of year-round English-language programs: The Intensive English Program designed for individuals seeking intensive English study and External Programs designed for groups desiring highly-specialized curricula. In addition, the ELI has two programs for matriculated students at The University of Alabama: the International Teaching Assistant Program, which trains and evaluates international graduate teaching assistants, and the Academic Support Program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students who may want or need additional English-language instruction. 

To obtain more information about any of the ELI programs, contact The University of Alabama, English Language Institute, Box 870250, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250; visit; call (205) 348-7413; fax (205) 348-9266; or email

Intensive English Program

The ELI Intensive English Program (IEP) is designed for individuals who need to learn English as a second language. The program focuses on preparing students for academic success, both in English-language proficiency and cultural awareness, for undergraduate and graduate study at The University of Alabama.

Six levels of study, from beginning to advanced, are available. Each level consists of 20 hours of core classes per week; additional optional classes are also available for students who wish to take them. Each level of study lasts approximately eight weeks and is available six times per year with sessions beginning in August, October, January, March, May and June. Students may begin their English study at the beginning of any one of these sessions.

An ELI student wishing to enter an undergraduate degree program at The University of Alabama may meet UA's English proficiency requirements either by obtaining the required TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score or by completing Level 6 with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in Levels 4, 5 and 6. Undergraduates who meet certain conditions (minimum TOEFL score and GPA) become eligible to enroll in undergraduate courses while completing their ELI program of study. The number of UA courses that an eligible student may take is determined by the ELI. Students pursuing graduate study must complete Levels 4, 5 and 6 with a minimum GPA of 3.5. In certain cases, the Graduate School, the ELI and the student's academic department may together grant permission for a student who has completed Level 4 or higher with a minimum GPA of 3.5 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 apply for admission to UA and meet the academic and financial qualifications to enter the University but do not have TOEFL scores available or do not meet the TOEFL score requirement may be admitted conditionally or provisionally. Such students will not be eligible to begin an academic program and will be required to register for full-time study in ELI until they meet the TOEFL requirement or satisfactorily complete the ELI program as outlined above.

Intensive English Program Courses

Structure: Levels 1 to 6

Structure courses provide students with the basic grammatical structures they will need to communicate effectively in English in 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 to 6

ELI courses in Speaking/Listening English 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 to 6

The Reading/Writing curriculum of the English Language Institute is designed to provide students with both the skills and the practice that are necessary for them to develop satisfactory reading and writing skills in English and eventually to function successfully in U.S. university courses where extensive academic reading and essay writing are required. Skill instruction along with accessible, varied and challenging tasks invite students to invest their time and energy in constructing meaning from written texts, responding to those texts, and producing writings of their own. Students will acquire new vocabulary and develop effective reading strategies for different types of tests. Working on closely-related reading and writing assignments, students will develop proficiency in understanding what they read and in thinking, drafting and revising their own ideas by working through the writing process with input from their classmates and teachers. Reading/Writing courses meet nine hours per week.

Oral Communication

Oral Communication is designed to help students improve their skills and proficiency in both speaking and understanding oral English. Students' oral proficiency in English will improve as a result of a variety of classroom tasks and activities. In addition, instructional activities will occasionally take place outside of the classroom in order to take advantage of opportunities in community settings. Oral Communication is divided into two separate eight-week sessions, OC I and OC II, each of which meets for nine hours per week.

Optional Classes

The ELI offers several choices of optional courses. Some examples of optional courses are: TOEFL Preparation, Pronunciation, American Culture, Current Events, Business English, English Through Current Events and English Through Music. Optional classes typically meet two to three hours per week.

Culturally Speaking Class

Through the Culturally Speaking class, ELI students meet regularly with American students to converse in English in relaxed surroundings. Culturally Speaking provides a comfortable way for ELI students to form friendships with American students and to practice their English.

Culture and Language Exchange Program

The Culture and Language Exchange Program matches the ELI students with UA students who are studying the ELI student's native language. Once matched, these pairs or groups of students then meet as often as they like for conversation practice in both English and in the particular foreign language.

ELI External Programs

ELI External Programs consist of a variety of programs designed for groups of participants 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 given curricula for credit, international graduate students preparing to enter universities throughout the United States, and business professionals who wish to improve their overall effectiveness in English or to concentrate on specific skills such as written communication.

An organization wishing to participate in such a program should clearly define the goals of its group and keep in mind that program enrollments typically require a minimum of 10 participants. Financial sponsorship for the above programs may come from ministries of education, embassies, corporations, private philanthropic organizations, U.S. or other government sponsoring agencies, or the individual participants themselves. Programs may be offered at any time of the year and typically range in length from two to six weeks.

A second type of external program is the corporate short-term program for individuals from a single corporation who participate in a curriculum composed partially of courses in the ELI Intensive English Program and partially of specialized courses designed specifically for the participants. These programs are offered as needed throughout the year.

A third type of external program may be offered on-site at the corporation or University. As with all external programs, dates can be customized and curricula can be specially designed for the particular group.

English Teacher Training Program

This program is designed for non-native speakers who are teachers of English. The curriculum typically consists of courses in conversational management, debate, listening and speaking, pronunciation, and public speaking, as well as a teaching workshop and series of methodology lectures. This curriculum can be adjusted to meet the needs of a particular group of English teachers. The program aims to further refine the teacher's own usage and to address and evaluate current theories of methodology in light of the country's unique challenges in teaching English. These courses meet four to six hours daily.

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 undergraduate level, newly admitted international students, after taking the UA English Proficiency and Placement Exam (EPPE) prior to beginning their first semester at UA, may be asked to take one or two ELI courses in spoken and/or written English on a part-time basis. These students may pursue their academic studies while fulfilling their EPPE requirements. Students must pass the designated ELI Speaking/Listening or Academic Writing course(s) before enrolling in the University's required English courses for credit. In addition, the UA Language Resource Center is available for individualized language assistance.

To obtain more information about any of the above ELI programs, request a brochure and application for the Intensive English Program, or to discuss the possibility of an external program for your group, contact The University of Alabama English Language Institute, Box 870250, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250; visit; call (205) 348-7413; fax (205) 348-9266; or email