English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students

The ELICOS sector provides international students with a wide variety of options to learn English. Completing an ELICOS course also enables students to enter other education sectors at all levels (for example, Diploma, Certificate, Bachelor levels).

There are such a large number of courses available, we are here for you to help in selecting the right one.

CTIC IELTS Preparation | Sydney | Australia
CTIC (Cass Training International College) - IELTS Preparation | Sydney | Australia

Types of ELICOS Centre

There are about 300 accredited ELICOS centres across Australia. There are many types of centres and they can be:

  • located in all of Australia’s major cities as well as in a range of regional locations,
  • private or government operated,
  • independent or attached to a high school, TAFE college or university,
  • small boutique colleges or large international providers.
Strathfield College | Sydney | Australia
Students of Strathfield College | Sydney | Australia

Types of Courses

ELICOS providers and courses need to follow a careful quality assurance process. This specifies the minimum qualifications of teachers, class sizes, types of facilities, and the number of study hours per week.

Australia provides international students with high-quality English language instruction through national regulations. Quality learning is supported by the National ELT Accreditation Scheme Limited (NEAS) and English Australia (EA). These standards assess the quality of the course and the educational institutions. English language courses are not covered by the AQF, the Australian Qualifications Framework.

However, a small number of courses are accredited as VET courses on the AQF. The nature of the accreditation body should not influence the quality of the educational experience for the student. Australia offers a wide range of ELICOS courses designed to meet the varying needs of students with different reasons for learning English.

Full-time ELICOS courses tend to have these features:

  • Their duration generally ranges from four to 48 weeks,
  • They are taught at all levels of proficiency from beginners to advanced.
  • They comprise of at least 20 hours of study each week.
  • They usually have flexible commencement dates, so students can enrol at any time during the year.


Often ELICOS courses are taken in sequence with formal courses of study in other sectors. They are packaged together with one or more courses. Sometimes these further courses are offered at the same institution.

There are five major categories of English language courses generally offered in Australia to international students:

1. General English
2. English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
3. Secondary School Preparation
4. Examination Preparation
5. English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

In addition, some ELICOS centres have developed and deliver specific courses to suit the needs of particular clients; for example courses that may concentrate on executive English, corporate ELICOS training or Study Tour Programs (these programs usually combine English language study with other activities e.g. travelling or sporting activities).

Ausztrál nyelvtanfolyam Sydneyben

English as a Second Language (ESL) Programs

The Australian school system is well prepared for the integration of international students. Teachers are experienced in dealing with the learning needs of students from different cultural backgrounds.

ESL programs are designed for international students to facilitate their integration into the Australian school system and accelerate their foreign language developing processes. ESL programs in both primary and high schools are available for students whose first language is not English. The types of ESL students range from those newly arrived in Australia and beginning to learn English to Australian born students from a non-English speaking background.

With the support of the ESL program students will be prepared for an entry into school studies. Furthermore, students will be provided with an on-going language-support program after they begin their formal studies.

Education system

Do you have questions about ELICOS or ESL programs?