Language Requirements

The information on this page is for undergraduate applicants. See English Language Proficiency for graduate students.

English is the primary language of instruction for all programs, except those at Campus Saint-Jean (U of A's French-language campus).


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to meet English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency first, before I am evaluated for my program choice? Does an outstanding English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency checklist prevent an evaluation?

For certain programs (see below), applicants must meet English Language Proficiency/Spoken English Proficiency before they are evaluated. We recommend submitting your documentation to fulfill this requirement as soon as possible. If you are meeting the language requirement by showing a minimum of three or six years of full-time education in English and are still currently attending, you may wish to consider taking a language test in order to fulfill this requirement sooner. 

Programs that require the fulfillment of English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency prior to an evaluation being completed:

  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • All programs in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life, and Environmental Sciences
  • Bachelor of Education (Elementary & Secondary)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Pharmacy (Entry to Practice) (this program is for post-secondary applicants only)
My test result has been received, but English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency is still outstanding, when will that be updated?

You will see in your checklist that there are two different items related to English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency. One checklist item is for the English Language Proficiency test result that you reported in your application (you will not have this item if you reported meeting English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency using coursework or years of study). The other checklist is for the English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency requirement itself and includes a note regarding how it will be fulfilled after we have reviewed your documents and scores. 

When you submit your test score, that checklist will be marked as complete right away, but it can take us several weeks to verify the test results and mark the checklist item as complete. This wait is normal. Please double-check that you have met the requirement using the method you reported and you have submitted all the required documents for an evaluation. If you meet our minimum score, then we appreciate your patience!

How do I submit my transcripts to show proof of English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency? Can I upload my Grade 10 or Junior High transcripts through Launchpad? Do you need official transcripts sent directly from the issuing institution or can I send them via the Contact Form?
  • High school transcripts (Grades 10, 11, 12, or equivalent) need to be received directly from the issuing institution either via mail or electronically to transcripts@ualberta.ca
  • Junior high transcript copies (Grades 7, 8, 9, or equivalent) can be uploaded to Launchpad.
  • For students studying in Alberta: we will receive your Grade 10-12 transcripts directly from Alberta Education. If you need to submit junior high transcripts, please ensure that you request these from your junior high directly. 
What do you consider as “full-time studies” in order to meet English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency?
When it comes to full-time study, we are looking for 3 consecutive years of study in an English language country/institution, with at least 5 academic, for-credit courses taken per year in those three years. We only consider courses that were taken for credit, and we will not consider courses that were failed or ESL/ELL courses in the 5 course per year calculation.
If my test result doesn’t meet English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency, will I be notified?

If at the time of assessment your test result does not meet the requirement, a new checklist will appear on your Launchpad, asking you to submit new official test scores. When this happens you must submit a new test result in order to meet the requirement.

You will receive a message via email notifying you that you have not successfully met English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency test requirements. More information about how you can meet the English Language requirements can be found on our website.

Why do I have English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency as checklist items when I am Canadian/have studied in Canada for my whole education?
All students are required to meet the language requirement, even those who are Canadian or have studied in Canada. Typically these students will meet English Language Proficiency through their years of education so a checklist may not be needed. However, depending on the information declared on an application, we may require additional information from applicants in which case the English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency checklists will be added to your Launchpad.
I am studying in a country that’s not on the exemption list, but my education is in English. Will I meet English Language Proficiency and/or Spoken English Proficiency?

Here is a list of institutions exempt from needing to meet English Language Proficiency.

In the majority of cases, if your non-exempt institution is located in a foreign country that is not on the exempt countries list, you would not be able to meet English Language Proficiency using your years of education, even if the language of instruction at your school is in English. The only exception to this would be schools that meet the appropriate accreditation requirements which will be determined by the Admissions department. In these cases we strongly encourage students to complete an acceptable English Language Proficiency test to ensure that they can meet the requirement.

Language Requirements for Undergraduate Study

English Proficiency at the U of A includes two categories:

All undergraduate applicants to English-speaking and bilingual programs need an adequate level of English Language Proficiency prior to admission, regardless of their citizenship status or country of origin.

  • Applicants attending schools outside of Canada may meet the English Language Proficiency and the Spoken English requirements based on the university they have attended or the country in which they reside. Some conditions apply. See Countries and Universities that satisfy ELP.
  • Spoken English Proficiency is required by some programs (e.g., certain Education and Health Science-related programs).
  • Applicants to Campus Saint-Jean must meet French Language Proficiency requirements.

In order to verify your IELTS test results, we require an electronic copy of your Test Report Form which can be uploaded through UAlberta Launchpad after you apply. Please make sure that the electronic copy is legible and it contains your Test Report Form number.


Written Proficiency

Complete an ELP exam with the minimum required score.

Standardized test results must be issued directly from the testing office. Photocopies will not be accepted.

Test scores must be valid and verifiable. Scores more than two years old will not be accepted.

Test scores must include four sections: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.

UAlberta will accept one of the following:

Detail and conditions

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
Internet Based (iBT), In-person or special at-home edition.
When requesting TOEFL scores, use:
Institution Code: 0963
Department Code: 00

iBT: At least 90 with a minimum score of 21 points in each section

Note: the PBT is no longer accepted

IELTS (Academic) (International English Language Testing System)
In-person or IELTS Online

At least 6.5 with no band less than 6.0

Duolingo English Test

115 for English Language Proficiency, with no subscore below 95*

125 for Spoken English Proficiency, with no subscore below 105*

*Duolingo English Test scores are currently under review and subject to change.

CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language assessment) Either CAEL (paper) or CAEL CE (computer) A score of at least 70, with no band less than 60
CanTEST (Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees) At least 4.5, with no part lower than 4
Cambridge English Scale (formerly known as Certificate in Advanced English or Certificate of Proficiency in English)

At least 180 on the C1 Advanced, with no less than 170 in each skill

or

At least 180 on the C2 Proficiency with no less than 170 in each skill

PTE (Academic) (Pearson Test of English Academic)
In-person or PTE Academic Online
At least 61, with no less than 60 in each communicative skill

Complete certain UAlberta-approved courses with a minimum required grade

In countries where alpha-grades are further defined by numerical grades, a minimum grade of 3 is required to meet ELP. For example: a grade of B3.

Standardized test results must be issued directly from the testing office. Photocopies will not be accepted and test scores must be valid and verifiable.

UAlberta will accept one of the following:

Detail and conditions

English Language Arts 30-1 course (Alberta or NWT High School) Final blended grade of 75% or better. (final blended grade includes the diploma or final exam mark). 
International Baccalaureate English A: Literature or English A: Language and Literature A grade of 5 or better.
School must offer IB Diploma Program and appear on the IB School list.
International Baccalaureate English B1, B2 A grade of 6 or better.
School must offer IB Diploma Program and appear on the IB School list.
Advanced Placement English A grade of 4 or better on the AP English College Board examination
O-level, AS-Level, A-Level, GCSE, IGCSE English Language or Literature course A final grade of B/6 or better
6 credits of transferable university-level English Language and Literature completed at a postsecondary institution where English is the language of instruction A grade of B+ or better
University of Alberta's ESL 140 and 145 Successful completion
All India Senior Secondary School Certificate (ISSC) Core English, issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education Score of 75% or better
All India Senior Secondary School Certificate (ISSC) Functional English, issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education Score of 80% or better
Indian School Certificate (ISC) English,
issued by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE)
Score of 75% or better

Previous Education in English

Enrollment in English as a second language (ESL) courses or programs will not be included in the calculation of three years of full-time study. Enrollment must be in a regular high school or postsecondary for-credit program. Where students are registered in both ESL and regular programs, the ESL hours will be deducted from the total educational hours.

Proof of three years of education must be submitted in the form of official transcripts, including details on course enrollment and hours of instruction.

Failing grades/courses will not be counted when calculating full-time attendance. Only courses with passing grades will be considered.

UAlberta will accept one of the following:

Detail and conditions

Three or more years of full-time education in English (excluding ESL) in a country where English is the principal language. Education must be equivalent to Alberta Grade 12 and can be a combination of secondary and postsecondary training.
Three years of full-time instruction in a school/institution in Canada in which the major language of instruction is English. The level of English proficiency required for graduation must be equivalent to that in English language schools/institutions in Canada.
Successful completion of three years of full-time education in English at a recognized school/institutionthat uses English as the primary language of instruction. The level of English proficiency required for graduation must be equivalent to that in English language schools/institutions in Canada.
Graduation from a degree program offered by an accredited university at which English is the primary language of instruction. The institution must be located in a country where English is the primary language.
Successful completion of three years of full-time education at a school that is an accredited member of the Council of International Schools. You must have completed the senior or grade 12 level English Language or Literature Course (non-ESL) with a passing grade.
Successful completion of three years of full-time study at a school with appropriate US regional accreditation. You must complete the senior or Grade 12 level English Language or Literature course (non ESL) with a passing grade.

For a list of countries and institutions that are recognized as having met the ELP requirement, see Countries and Universities that satisfy English Proficiency.

Complete UAlberta's Bridging Program

If you meet the academic subject requirements for your program of interest, but do not quite meet the English Language requirement, you should explore UAlberta's Bridging Program. The program allows excellent students to start some degree programs while taking ESL classes to improve English language skills. See Bridging Program


Spoken English Proficiency (SEP)

You can meet Spoken English Proficiency through the following:

UAlberta will accept one of the following:

Detail and conditions

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
Internet Based (iBT), In-person or special at-home edition.
When requesting TOEFL scores, use:
Institution Code: 0963
Department Code: 00
Minimum score of 26 in the Speaking section
IELTS (Academic) (International English Language Testing System)
In-person or IELTS Online
Minimum score of 7.5 in the Speaking section
Duolingo English Test At least 125 for Spoke English Proficiency, with no subscore below 105
Six full-time years of education in English in Canada or the equivalent in another country where English is the principal language (excluding ESL). If secondary education is the highest level completed or if combination of secondary and post-secondary education is used, education must include the Alberta Grade 12 (or equivalent).

For a list of countries and institutions that are recognized as having met the SEP requirement, see Countries and Universities that satisfy English Proficiency.


The University of Alberta is an official test center for TOEFL.

Disclaimer

The University of Alberta reserves the right to use discretion in determining language proficiency. In some cases, additional English language testing, conducted by the Faculty of Extension, may be required. Fulfillment of one of the listed requirements does not guarantee admission.


Bridging Program

The Bridging Program is designed for applicants who meet all other admission requirements for their program of choice, except for English Language Proficiency (ELP). The Bridging Program allows eligible students to complete the ELP requirement by taking English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses during their first year of study, while also being eligible to enrol in academic courses and earn credit toward their degree. Not all programs offer the Bridging Program.

See the Bridging Program page for more details.