English for Professional Purposes: Social Work (Summer)

Available in summer.

Rates shown are from 2017 and subject to change and approval of the Columbia Board of Trustees.

This course in English for Professional Purposes: Social Work will meet for 18 hours per week for six weeks.

Please note: This course is open only to Social Work students who are entering CUSSW in the fall. 

This program has been designed in collaboration with Columbia University’s School of Social Work (CUSSW) and is intended to prepare international students entering CUSSW in the fall for the demands of their graduate coursework and their professional internships. Although all language skills will be addressed, this course will emphasize improving participants' spoken interaction.

The course will cover topics relevant to professionals in the field of social work. The program will include:

  • explicit language instruction, focusing on areas of weakness
  • use of authentic social work materials
  • mock client interviews, complete with feedback
  • special lectures by professionals and professors in social work
  • visits to social work agencies in boroughs outside of Manhattan

Participants will:

  • identify, improve, and compensate for features which may hamper their intelligibility
  • learn collocations, idioms, and academic language common to the field of social work
  • practice writing field notes, interview summaries, and academic assignments
  • improve their ability to summarize, synthesize, and critique texts
  • take accurate notes on social work-themed lectures and talks
  • participate appropriately in class discussion, professional meetings, and informal conversation
  • gain a better understanding of what it means to be a social worker in the US

Those who successfully complete the seminar will become more comfortable interacting with clients and discussing topics in their field with professors and classmates.

If you have questions about this course please email: alp@columbia.edu

For a full explanation of Activity Fee, Instructional Support Fee, ALP Student Services Fee, and Technology Fee, see below. 

Dates & Prices

Application Deadline June 3
Course Dates July 2 – August 10
Tuition $7,218
SCE Activity Fee $50
Instructional Support Fee $90
ALP Student Services Fee $20
Technology Fee $35
Housing* $1,932
Textbooks** $150
Living Expenses** $3,982
Total*** $11,545

* ALP does not provide Housing for EPP: Social Work students. This information is given for financial planning purposes. EPP: Social Work students who want Columbia Housing during the EPP: Social Work course should coordinate with their home school and the Housing office for early check-in.
** Textbook and living expenses are estimates. Living expenses include food, transportation, incidental expenses, and Housing. 
*** Total required amount on the financial document for I-20 for EPP: Social Work course.
Open to incoming Columbia University School of Social Work students only.
The SPS Activity fee is a once per term $50 charge for ALP registrants only. It covers School of Professional Studies expenses relating to orientation, handbooks and events.
The Instructional Support fee is a course-related charge: $30 (3-point part-time); $45 (6-point part-time); $90 (full-time); $150 (Winter). It covers extra class materials and expenses such as playbooks, novels, newspapers, photocopying, theater tickets, museum or event entry.
The ALP Student Services fee is a once per term $60 charge. It applies to full-time ALP registrants only. It covers internal I-20 processing fees and other SEVIS transactions.
The Technology Fee is a once per term $35 SPS-related charge. It covers SPS technology expenses, including access to online course management software, Canvas, and tools used to develop online course content.


This course is only open to international students who are entering the Columbia University School of Social Work. Students required to take this course will be notified by the School of Social Work (CUSSW).

Application Materials

  1. Completed online application form.

In general, an F-1 (student visa) is required for study in the US. International applicants are required to request an I-20 for the American Language Program (not the CUSSW program) in order to obtain the F-1 visa and must enroll in a full-time program (18 hours or more per week).

All international students taking EPP: Social Work must have an I-20 issued by the ALP. At the end of the summer, we will transfer your I-20 from the ALP to the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) so that you can begin your studies at CUSSW.

If you are already holding an F-1 visa and attending another school you must also transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to the ALP. Please speak to your Advisor at your current school.

For all I-20 requests, please send the following items along with your completed application:

2. Bank statement: this document must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must be from a checking or savings account and must show sufficient available funds to pay the estimated tuition, fees and living expenses.

  • EPP: Social Work is a 6-week intensive course and requires a 2-month I-20. The required amount (in your account) for the 2-month I-20 for EPP: Social Work is $12,516.

For ALP purposes, we need to see sufficient funds for the ALP I-20 only. However, when we transfer your record from ALP to ISSO at the end of the summer (and when you have your visa appointment at the US Embassy in your country), you must show financial documents with sufficient funds to cover EPP: Social Work + one year of CUSSW.

3. Sponsor letter: the letter must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must also be signed by the sponsor. If you are sending your own bank statement you are not required to submit a sponsor letter. The sponsor letter is necessary only if a bank statement will be submitted on your behalf by another person. The person whose bank statement you will submit is your sponsor.

Your sponsor must submit a letter (sponsor letter) stating that s/he will provide you with full financial support during the period of your study in the ALP. The sponsor letter must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must also be signed by the sponsor.

4. Photocopy of your passport identification page.

  • The page in your passport that shows your photograph, your name and your date of birth.

Once your completed application and accompanying materials and fees have been received and processed, you will receive a U.S. government I-20 A-B form. Bring the I-20 A-B form, along with your letter of acceptance and original financial documents, to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country to apply for a student (F-1) visa.


ALP cannot provide housing for EPP: Social Work students. Students needing housing should coordinate with CUSSW/housing for early check-in.

The housing link for EPP: Social Work students is here.

Please email alp@columbia.edu for information.