CELPAD is previously known as the Centre for Languages (CfL). It was established in July 1983 together with the Centre for Fundamental Knowledge, Kulliyyah of Economics and Kullliyyah of Laws. In May 1993, CFL was renamed the Centre for Languages and Pre-University Academic Development (CELPAD) in order to uphold the IIUM Philosophy, Vision and Mission and to shoulder the responsibility of injecting a new system into language teaching and learning at the IIUM.

CELPAD offers courses in English, Arabic and Bahasa Melayu as well as Tilawah al-Quran to undergraduate and postgraduate students at all levels of proficiency. Its well-trained and qualified academic staff use up-to-date multimedia language laboratories, teaching materials and methodology to ensure quality language learning for all students. The role of CELPAD is to ensure that all IIUM students fulfill the minimum language requirement in order to undertake credit bearing Kulliyyah courses in English and Arabic. In addition, Bahasa Melayu, Tilawah, Mandarin and bridging courses are also offered either as University required courses or as elective courses.