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Academic Year (CEP)

The Certificate of English Proficiency (CEP) is a one-year, full-time program of English Language academic preparation designed for students of art, design, and architecture who intend to continue in their fields of study at Pratt Institute or other art colleges in the United States. It is particularly helpful to applicants to Pratt Institute degree programs who have not yet achieved the necessary TOEFL score for admission, as well as for students who recognize the need to improve their level of English proficiency before matriculating in a degree program at the Institute. Students who are accepted for the CEP program are issued I-20 forms from Pratt Institute for two semesters of English instruction on our Brooklyn campus.

The Certificate of English Proficiency Program includes 24 hours of study per week for 15 weeks (6 hours per day, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

The CEP program curriculum emphasizes practical, communicative, student-centered instruction in every aspect of English reading, writing, speaking, listening, and accuracy. During each 15-week semester, participants take four skill-focused, content-based courses designed to prepare students for academic and creative success beyond the CEP Program. Most courses have themes related to students’ interests and future careers in art and design. Sample course themes include: Designing Public Spaces, Art and Technology, Film as Art, What is Beauty?, Artists and Society, Lifestyle by Design: Consumerism and Identity, Minimalism/ Maximalism, and International New York: City as Text.

The Courses


Speaking and Listening classwork and homework include conversation, discussion, presentations, and listening activities. Field trips to museums, galleries, design studios, and other places of cultural interest are an essential part of this course.


In the Reading course, students read, respond to, analyze, and discuss a wide variety of texts, most of them connected in some way to art, design, or architecture. Course goals include improving reading speed and comprehension and helping students expand their academic vocabularies.


In this course, students will review or be exposed to the basic conventions of academic compositions in American English. Students will have several opportunities to read sample essays and to give feedback to each other on their own essays, as well as to work on their research skills.


In the Accuracy course, students examine and ask questions about the form of the English language. There is an emphasis not just on grammar rules but also on how native speakers actually speak and write.


The CEP studio experience aims to give students a taste of the atmosphere of studio classes in North America, so that when they begin their graduate or undergraduate degree they are prepared for the cultural and linguistic demands of studio learning. Pratt’s CEP program features projects and lessons led by graduate students, or “studio mentors” from Pratt’s design and fine arts programs. The projects that students do under the mentors’ guidance help them develop their language and academic skills as they simultaneously improve their English. Once students complete a project, they will participate in oral critiques of one another’s work under the guidance of their studio mentor and will present their best projects in a gallery show at the end of the semester.


CEP field trips help students learn more about life in the United States and navigate the wonders of New York City. Destinations may include museums such as The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; tours of neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights, the Lower East Side, and Washington Heights; and visits to other attractions such as the High Line, the Tenement Museum, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

CEP Admission

Enrollment in the Certificate of English Proficiency program is limited; not all applicants to the program will be accepted. Those international students wishing to apply to the CEP must complete a Program Application, a SEVIS I-20 request form (information is available online), and a Statement of Purpose prior to the admission deadlines for each semester. Upon acceptance, enrollees will be required to take an English language examination for placement purposes. Completion of the CEP program in no way guarantees or implies current or future acceptance into any Pratt Institute degree-conferring program following certification. CEP participants are not allowed to enroll in or to attend credit-bearing undergraduate or graduate classes while studying in the CEP. Students who start the CEP in the Fall may need to remain in the program for two semesters. Application to degree programs must be made separately. Please note that most degree programs at Pratt Institute do not admit new students in the Spring.

We recommend the CEP for students with TOEFL scores below the required minimum for each department.