Language Requirements

Our language proficiency policies exist to ensure students have the requisite skills to succeed in the university learning environment.

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.

Note: Fulfillment of one of the listed requirements does not guarantee admission. The University of Alberta reserves the right to use discretion in determining language proficiency.


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.


Update to Admissions Process

The Duolingo English Test will be made available to all applicants to undergraduate and graduate programs as an additional option to demonstrate English Language Proficiency. This option is currently available until Winter 2024 admission.

Duolingo English Test score required by University of Alberta:

  • An overall score of at least 115 for English Language Proficiency, with no subscore below 95*
  • 125 for Spoken English Proficiency, with no subscore below 105*

Applicants who are required to demonstrate English Language Proficiency and intend to fulfill that requirement using English Language Arts 30-1 will only be able to do so if they write the diploma exam. If students don’t write the diploma exam, they will be required to demonstrate ELP with acceptable scores in an English language proficiency test. The chart below outlines specific examples of ELP exams and requirements.

If your coursework has been completed through diploma/final exams, the university will accept those results to fulfill ELP.

International applicants should visit undergraduate international admissions for further information.


* Duolingo English Test score requirements are currently under review and subject to change
English Language Proficiency (ELP)
English is the primary language of instruction at the University of Alberta. All undergraduate applicants to English-speaking and bilingual programs need an adequate level of English Language Proficiency prior to admission, regardless of citizenship status or country of origin.
Spoken English Proficiency (SEP)

For some programs in the Education and Health Science-related fields, Spoken English Proficiency is also required.

For more information, see Table 2 below.

French Language Proficiency (FLP)
French is the primary language of instruction at Campus Saint-Jean. All applicants to Campus Saint-Jean must demonstrate proficiency in both written and spoken French (Compétence dans la langue française).

How to meet language requirements

Automatic

If you have completed at least three years of full-time education (or equivalent) in English, in Canada or another country where the primary language of instruction is English (excluding ESL), you will meet the ELP requirement automatically.

For more details see Table 1 below or check the University Calendar»

Exam-based

If you do not meet the requirements automatically, there are several ways you can demonstrate ELP. Some of the most common methods are listed below. The best way to provide test scores is to have the testing centre submit them directly to the University of Alberta. Once test scores are received and processed, your Launchpad checklist status will be updated. You do not need to upload additional copies through Launchpad.

Note: Test scores more than two years old will not be accepted.

For more details see Table 1 below or check the University Calendar»


Table 1: ELP exams and requirements

Method Requirement
Written Exams

TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT)
In-person, paper, home edition accepted. TOEFL Essential is not accepted.

Total score of 90 with no section less than 21
IELTS (Academic)
In-person or IELTS Online
Overall band score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
Canadian Academic English Language Assessment - CAEL (paper) or CAEL CE (online) A score of at least 70
CanTEST (Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees) At least 4.5, with no part lower than 4
CAE (Certificate in Advanced English, also known as Cambridge English: Advanced) At least 180, with no less than 170 in each skill
CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English, also known as Cambridge English: Proficiency) At least 180, 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
High school course work
English Language Arts 30-1 (Alberta or NWT) 75% or higher (final blended grade includes the diploma or provincial exam mark)
IB English A1, A2, A Literature, or A Language & Literature 5 or better
IB English B 6 or better
AP English 4 or better
GCE Advanced Level (A-level) or Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS-level), GCSE, IGCSE or O-level English Language or Literature course B or better
All India Senior Secondary School Certificate (ISSC) Functional English, issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education 80% or better
All India Senior Secondary School Certificate (ISSC) Core English, issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education 75% or better
Indian School Certificate (ISC) English, issued by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) 75% or better
Post-secondary course work
✮6 credits of university-level English studies completed at a recognized English-language institution (must be transferable as 6 credits of English at the University of Alberta) B+ or better
University of Alberta EAP 140/145 Successful completion
Previous education in English
Three or more years of full-time education in English (excluding ESL) in Canada or another country or institution where English is recognized as the official/primary language of instruction Successful completion - must include Alberta Grade 12 (or equivalent) if secondary education is the highest level completed, or if a combination of secondary and post-secondary is used

Table 2: Spoken exams and requirements

Spoken exams
TOEFL Internet-Based (iBT)
In-person, paper, home edition accepted. TOEFL Essential is not accepted.
Minimum score of 26 in the Speaking section
IELTS (Academic)
In-person or IELTS Online
Minimum score of 7.5 in the Speaking section
Previous education in English
Six years of full-time education in English in Canada or another country or institution where English is recognized as the official/primary language of instruction. Successful completion - must include Alberta Grade 12 (or equivalent) if secondary education is the highest level completed, or if a combination of secondary and post-secondary is used.

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.