The University of South Florida's first English Language Program was established in 1978, offering English language instruction to international students interested in studying at USF or other American universities. It was originally known as the English Language Center and was managed by both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Continuing Education. Later, it was renamed the English Language Institute (ELI) and was moved under the Department of World Languages, in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2010, it became the English Language Program (ELP) and was moved under INTO USF in Academic Affairs.
For more than 30 years, ELP has had close ties to the MA program in Applied Linguistics, and later the multidisciplinary PhD program in Second Language Acquisition and Instructional Technology. The ELP is a teaching and learning laboratory, a place where graduate students from these programs do research and gain valuable teaching experience. The ELP also provides a Mentoring Program that pairs MA students with experienced ESL instructors during a two-semester practicum.
The ELP provides English language courses for many purposes. It delivers the Academic English Program and for-credit English courses for the INTO USF Pathway Program. The ELP has also offered customized special programs for international universities and the community, including courses for international student groups, international English teachers, local Tampa Bay workers, and USF researchers.
In 2002, ELI was accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), and has been re-accredited as the USF ELP through 2018.