English language proficiency

All applicants to UVic (regardless of country of origin or citizenship status) are required to demonstrate competence in the English language prior to admission.

You are not required to provide proof of language competence if:

  • You have studied for at least four years within Canada at the high school or post-secondary level
  • All of your instruction has been in English

Proof of language competence can be demonstrated via one of the following methods.

High school studies in English

Canadian curriculums

  • Completion of Grade 12 English (or its equivalent) in Canada with a grade of 86% or higher, or a score of 86% or higher on the BC grade 12 English Provincial Examination
  • Must be within the last three years prior to admission

International Baccalaureate curriculum

  • A score of 4 or higher on IB Higher Level English

International curriculums

Completion of four years of secondary education at an institution in which the primary language of instruction is English, in one of the following countries:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Botswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Kenya
  • Jamaica
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

US Advanced Placement Exams

  • A score of 4 or higher on the Advanced Placement Exam in English Language and Composition

Post-secondary studies in English

Canadian institutions

  • Completion of 1.5 or more units of transfer credit for university-level English (ENGL) courses

International institutions

Completion of four years of post-secondary education or a recognized degree program at an institution in which the primary language of instruction is English, in one of the following countries:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Botswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Kenya
  • Jamaica
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

English language assessment tests: CAEL, IELTS, LPI, MELAB, TOEFL

Note: tests taken more than two years prior to application will not be considered.

Test Minimum score
CAEL: Canadian Academic English Language Assessment 70, with no subtest result below 60
IELTS: International English Language Testing System 6.5, with no individual component less than 6.0
LPI: Language Proficiency Index Level 6
MELAB: Michigan English Language Assessment Battery 90
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language 90 on the online test or 575 on the paper-based test, with no section less than 20
(UVic's TOEFL institution code is 0989)
Conditional and preliminary admission

Students applying to the faculties of Engineering, Humanities, Social Science and Science may be offered conditional or preliminary admission if they meet academic requirements, but do not have sufficient test scores for regular admission.

Students applying to the Faculty of Fine Arts may be offered conditional admission, but will not be offered preliminary admission.

Other language proficiency tests

Other tests may be considered on an individual basis following a review of the test and a valid test score similar to the level required for the TOEFL, as determined by Undergraduate Admissions. Documentation must be received no later than May 31 to be considered for September entry.

Studies at UVic's English Language Centre

Successful completion of one of the following programs:

Conditional and preliminary admission

Students applying to the faculties of Engineering, Humanities, Science and Social Science may be offered conditional or preliminary admission if they meet academic requirements, but do not have sufficient test scores for regular admission.

Students applying to the Faculty of Fine Arts may be offered conditional admission, but will not be offered preliminary admission.

Conditional admission

If you're offered conditional admission, you'll be permitted to register for degree courses during the usual registration time period, but must satisfy the English language proficiency requirement before your first day of classes.

You can qualify for conditional admission by doing one of the following:

  • providing a CAEL score of 60 with no sub-test less than 50
  • providing an IELTS score of 6.0 with no individual component less than 5.5
  • providing a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based test or 79 on the online test, with at least 17 on each subsection
  • registering in the University Admission Preparation course

Note: tests taken more than two years prior to application will not be considered.

Preliminary admission

If you're offered preliminary admission, you'll have up to 12 months to satisfy the English language proficiency requirement, which will qualify you for regular admission to UVic and enable you to register for classes.

Preliminary admission is only offered to students who have submitted final official transcripts, and is not available if your academic coursework is still in progress.

You can qualify for preliminary admission by doing one of the following:

  • providing an IELTS score of 5.5
  • providing a TOEFL score of at least 530 on the paper-based test or 71 on the online test
  • registering in the Intensive English Program (ELPI) at the Intermediate (410), Upper Immediate (490) or Advanced (570) level

Note: tests taken more than two years prior to application will not be considered.

Students who qualify for preliminary admission may be appropriate candidates for the Pathways Program for International Students. Please contact the English Language Centre for more information.

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