UC San Diego Extension Program



In 1966, in a small wooden building situated among a grove of eucalyptus trees, UC San Diego Extension first opened its doors. Under the guidance of Dr. Martin Chamberlain, a former Peace Corps director in Africa, Extention quickly established a reputation for being a reliable source of knowledge taught by national experts. The first educational programs reflected the social turbulence of the times, with courses in radical rhetoric and international affairs. Other offerings include a statewide lecture series on integrated circuits for engineers and performances by prominent jazz musicians like John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.


A Great University

  • Part of the ten-campus University of California system: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz
  • 14th internationally in the 2015 Academic Rankings of World Universities conducted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China
  • 6th among U.S. universities in total research and development expenditures by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 2015; 16th best research university in the world by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University in 2015
  • 6th in the nation, 2nd among all U.S. public institutions, and 13th in the world for total research output by the journal Nature in their 2014 index
  • 1st in the U.S. for Positive Impact on the United States by the Washington Monthly College Guide
  • Five Nobel Prize winners on the faculty
  • A huge campus (over 5 square kilometers) overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with a community of over 33,000 students
  • Ranked the top surfing school in the U.S. by Surfline.com


A Great Location

  • “America’s Finest City” with a great quality of life
  • 100 kilometers of beaches, mountains up to 2,000 meters, and the best climate in the United States
  • Population: 1.3 million in the city and 3 million in the county
  • Center for biomedical research, electronics, and telecommunications
  • The perfect base for exploring California, the Southwest, and nearby Mexico
  • Voted one of the “Best Rides in America” by Bicycling Magazine


A Great Selection of Language, Academic, and Professional Programs

  • The English Language Institute won the Best School Award from the Ryugaku Journal in 2014, as the best English Language Institute in the U.S.
  • English language programs for personal or professional development
  • English language programs to prepare for university studies in the U.S.
  • Certificate programs to prepare for work experience or university studies in the U.S.
  • Credit-bearing University and University Extension courses at UC San Diego
  • Highly experienced International Student Services staff
  • Excellent campus location

Conversation leaders

Conversation Leaders are an integral part of our Conversation classes. Conversation Leaders are American UC San Diego students and members of the community who actively participate in class with our students several hours during the program.

Conversation Leaders provide students in these programs with the chance to meet and have meaningful interaction with native speakers of English. ELI’s expert conversation instructors design and supervise the lessons and conversation activities so that the students’ time with the Conversation Leaders will have maximum benefit.

Conversation partners

UC San Diego’s English Language Institute provides a list of Conversation Partners to ELI students. Conversation Partners are UC San Diego university students and employees who would like to help international students with English conversation in exchange for the opportunity to learn the international student’s native language. Conversation Partners provide students with the chance to meet and have meaningful interactions with native speakers of English outside of the classroom.

UC San Diego and UC San Diego Extension Resources

  • Students have access to many University and University Extension resources:
  • Highly experienced International Student Services staff
  • State-of-the-art language lab
  • Two daytime computer labs, one for personal use and one for class work
  • Academic advising
  • Athletic facilities, recreational classes, and two Olympic-size swimming pools
  • Wide variety of on-campus dining facilities
  • Campus social and cultural activities
  • Campus lectures and performances
  • Organized activities and field trips
  • UC San Diego Thornton Hospital

Academic advising

Our Academic Advisor guides students who are interested in applying to a college or university in the United States. Every quarter, students can attend an information session to assist them in understanding the American university system. Additionally, a College Fair is held twice a year so students can obtain information and application materials from representatives of the many colleges and universities in San Diego.


UC San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). UC San Diego Extension—like all other UC San Diego schools, colleges and departments—is accredited by WASC through the University. All courses and certificate programs offered by UC San Diego Extension have been developed and administered in accordance with Extension policy and the regulations of the Academic Senate of the University of California.

The UC San Diego English Language Institute (ELI) is officially accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). CEA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions. This recognition gives CEA the distinction of being the only specialized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. CEA’s mission is to promote excellence in the field of English language teaching and administration through accreditation of English language programs and institutions worldwide.


  1. La Jolla Campus
    • 9600 N. Torrey Pines Road
      La Jolla, CA 92037
  2. University City Center
    • 6256 Greenwich Drive
      San Diego, CA 92122


It is our mission to provide programs of the highest quality, in which people can learn to their full potential, develop a deeper understanding of the United States, and always receive courteous and knowledgeable service.

University of California, San Diego Extension International Programs offers English language, university credit, professional certificate, and customized programs for personal, academic, and professional development.

English Language Institute:

If you are over the age of 18 and would like to study English, the UC San Diego English Language Institute (ELI) has a course for you. The ELI offers many different types of English, from general English to English for specific purposes, and it has 12 core levels of instruction, from beginning to advanced. You progress to the next core level once you meet specific language skills requirements.

2-week Program

  • Academic English

4-week Programs

  • Conversation
  • Conversation and Fluency
  • Academic English
  • University Preparation Academy
  • Business English
  • Medical English
  • English for Pharmaceutical Studies
  • English for Engineering and Technology
  • Legal English for Business

8-week Programs

  • Communication and Culture
  • Intensive Communication and Culture
  • Intensive Academic English
  • Academic Advancement Through Service-Learning
  • Intensive Business English
  • Intensive TOEFL Preparation
  • Intensive IELTS Preparation
  • Intensive Legal English
  • University Preparation Academy

10-week Program

  • Intensive Pre-University

Certificate Programs:

UC San Diego Extension International Programs offer Certificate Programs to help give you the skills and competitive advantage to accelerate your career in Business, Project Management, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). In most of these programs, you will share the classroom with American and other international professionals who have complementary career interests.

  • Business Certificate Programs
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Programs

Business Certificate Programs

Our Business Certificate Programs are led by practicing professionals with direct knowledge of the latest trends in American and international business. If you are an international student with an advanced level of English and you are looking to launch or accelerate your career in business, these business programs are just what you need to acquire the expertise necessary to advance in your career:

  • Business Essentials
  • Leadership and Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Business Analytics
  • Business Management
  • Project Management

The popular Business Management, Intermediate Business Essentials, and Business Essentials certificate programs offer you the opportunity to build job skills and knowledge or to prepare for graduate studies through an extensive introduction to U.S. business practices. To complement the classroom experience, both the Business Essentials and Business Management programs incorporate internships into the curriculum, allowing each student the opportunity to apply their new skills and knowledge in an American workplace to gain a competitive edge in the global job market.

Given the increased demand for project managers worldwide, the business department offers an intensive certificate program in Project Management that can be completed in two quarters. This program does not include an internship.

Business Essentials 

If you are 20 years old or older, with at least two years of university study, and wish to gain a broad introduction to American business practices, Business Essentials is right for you. It is possible to take one, two, three, or four quarters of this program.  You will have an on-campus internship during the first quarter.

Leadership and Management

If you have a university degree or three years of full-time professional work experience, and you are interested in developing your management skills and improving your ability to influence others in the workplace, Leadership and Management is for you.  During the program, you will participate in a hands-on experiential learning project with a local company.

Digital Marketing

If you have a university degree or three years of full-time professional work experience, and you would like a strong foundation in digital marketing, this program was designed for you.  Acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to design innovative marketing plans, implement successful digital marketing tactics, and utilize marketing analytics.  During the program, you will participate in a hands-on experiential learning project with a local company.

Business Analytics

If you have a university degree or three years of full-time professional work experience, and you would like to acquire a comprehensive introduction to the vast field of business intelligence, Business Analytics is designed for you.  The expanding field of business analytics is fundamental to all areas of business, across different industries.  During the program, you will participate in a hands-on experiential learning project with a local company.

Business Management

If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree and one to two years of full-time, post-university, professional work experience and also have a high level of English competency, Business Management will give you in-depth expertise which complements your experience. During the program, you will choose one of the following areas of emphasis: Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, or Global Commerce.

Project Management

If you have a bachelor’s degree and one to two years of full-time, post-university, professional work experience AND seek a hands-on approach to gaining the knowledge and tools necessary for handling complex projects within various industries, Project Management is designed for you. Based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the curriculum provides an in-depth study of the elements essential to initiate, execute, and complete a successful project.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate Programs

Are you considering teaching English?

Our Teaching English as a Foreign Language programs will give you the effective classroom teaching skills and modern English language teaching techniques necessary to instruct students in non-English speaking countries and non-immigrants in U.S. classrooms.

TEFL Proficiency Program

This three-month program is a foundation course in TEFL for non-native English speakers.

TEFL Professional Certificate

This six-month program focuses on developing effective classroom teaching skills and modern English language teaching techniques to instruct students in non-English speaking countries and non-immigrants in U.S. classrooms.

TEFL Professional Certificate (Intensive Format)

Participants with very advanced English language proficiency can complete the six-month certificate program in just three months.

TEFL Professional Certificate (Hybrid Format)

Complete 4 courses of TEFL Professional Certificate program online from your home country and 5 courses here at UC San Diego. One in-class course can be replaced with 3 one-unit workshops. The four core TEFL Professional Certificate courses can be completed online either before or after your stay in San Diego. Online courses are available throughout the year. In-class courses can only be taken in the winter and summer quarters.

Special Studies in TEFL

In this three-month program, you select your own schedule of courses in teaching English as a foreign language, education, humanities, and other academic areas to enhance your preparation to teach English.

Teaching English to the Young Learner (TEYL)

If you are interested in teaching English as a foreign language to young people (children and teenagers), this three-month certificate may be right for you.

Teaching English Grammar (TEG)

If you are already enrolled in the six-month professional TEFL certificate or Special Studies in TEFL certificate, you can also obtain a Teaching English Grammar certificate.

University Credit Programs:

If you are an excellent student and already have a high level of English proficiency, university credit programs allow you to take UC San Diego or UC San Diego Extension courses for university credit. Universities in many countries count these credits towards their own bachelor’s or master’s degree programs. Course transferability is at the discretion of the home university and must be verified in advance by the student.

  • University & Professional Studies
  • Academic Year Program
  • International Summer Session
  • Summer Session
  • Academic Connections International (ACI)

Custom Programs:

UC San Diego Extension’s International Programs department has a long and rich history of offering high-quality customized programs and seminars for international groups of students, professors, and professionals. We can create the perfect combination of studies and services for a group of any size, according to your specifications.

Nicknamed the Silicon Valley of Southern California, the San Diego region has thousands companies in technological, life sciences, financial, telecommunications, and software industries:

  • 800+ Cleantech/Environmental
  • 600+ Sport Innovators
  • 3,000 IT/Wireless/Communications/Software
  • 80+ Research Institutes
  • 260+ Defense/Transportation
  • 600+ Biomedical/Life Sciences
  • 50+ Mobile Health and Genomics
  • 75+ Bioinformatics
  • 75+ Cybersecurity and Autonomous Robotics
  • 250+ Biofuels/Solar Energy and Energy Storage

The mild climate, beautiful landscape, and the many cultural and entertainment attractions of San Diego complement a training experience by providing many opportunities for recreational and cultural enjoyment.

In collaboration with UC San Diego main campus and UC San Diego Extension departments, we have developed and delivered custom programs for many years in the following areas:

  • Business, Economics, and Trade
  • Engineering and Technology
  • University Faculty Development
  • University Student Affairs Development
  • English Language Teacher Training
  • Science Teacher Development
  • University Academic Preparation