English language proficiency

As English is the primary language of instruction at University of Victoria, all applicants, regardless of country of origin or citizenship status, will be required to demonstrate competence in the English language prior to admission in one of the following ways:

Education at a recognized institution

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Botswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • 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

Advanced standing or approved transfer credit

Recognized English language assessment tests

Tests taken more than two years prior to application will not be considered.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)
Language Proficiency Index (LPI)

Completion of UVic's University Admission Preparation course (UAP)

The UAP program is an English language program offered through the English Language Centre at the University of Victoria. The UAP is the highest level in the 12-week ELPI program. Successful completion of the course at 80% of higher satisfies the English Language Proficiency requirement for entry into UVic undergraduate and graduate programs.

The UAP is designed to prepare you for study in an English-speaking university. The course improves your research, writing, and seminar skills and introduces you to the level of English required to succeed in regular credit courses. The UAP provides the skills you need as a non-native speaker to participate with confidence in an academic setting. Further information about the application process, program dates and cost can be obtained by contacting the English Language Centre.

Other ways to demonstrate language proficiency

Other tests may be considered on an individual basis following a review of the test by Undergraduate Admissions 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.

If you are participating in a formal exchange program, you must demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency for successful participation in the program. The level of proficiency and the manner in which it will be demonstrated will be stated in the exchange agreement approved by the university.

If you participate in an exchange program and later apply for regular admission to UVic, you will need to meet all admission requirements and demonstrate English language proficiency at that time, as outlined above.

Visiting and Study Abroad students must demonstrate English language proficiency (outlined above) if their first language is not English and if they have not studied in Canada or another English-speaking country for four recent academic years. Study must be from an acceptable program from an approved secondary or post-secondary institution.

International students who are evaluated as being academically admissible to their program, but are not yet able to successfully demonstrate English language proficiency (i.e. low TOEFL or IELTS score), may still be considered for admission. Please note that this is only applicable to students who are applying to undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Fine Arts (Art History and Visual Studies only) or the Faculty of Engineering.

Depending on the score submitted, there are two options available.

Conditional Admission -- Minimum TOEFL 79/IELTS 6.0

If you have a TOEFL score of at least 79 with at least 17 on each subsection (550 on the paper-based test) or an IELTS overall band score of 6.0 with no individual component less than 5.5, you may be offered conditional admission. You will be permitted to register for your degree courses during the usual registration time period, but are expected to provide sufficient proof of language proficiency prior to the first day of classes for the entry point to which you have been admitted.

Proof of language proficiency must be demonstrated by submitting the required score on any one of the tests listed above. Alternatively, you may choose to attend our English Language Centre to complete the UAP course with a score of 80% or higher.

Preliminary Admission -- Minimum TOEFL 71/IELTS 5.5

If you have a TOEFL score of at least 71 (530 on the paper-based test) or an IELTS score of 5.5, you may be offered preliminary admission. You will have up to 12 months to provide sufficient proof of language proficiency, at which time you will then be permitted to register in degree courses.

Proof of language proficiency must be demonstrated by submitting the required score on any one of the tests listed above. You may also choose to attend an ESL program at our English Language Centre and work toward completing the UAP course with a score of 80% or higher. You will be then tested on your first day of the program and placed in the correct level according to your proficiency.

It is not possible to consider you for this option if academic coursework is still in progress. Final official transcripts must be submitted first.