English language proficiency

All applicants must demonstrate competence in English to attend UVic. You've already demonstrated proficiency if you studied for at least four years within Canada in an academic program at the high school or post-secondary level, and all of your instruction has been in English.

Otherwise, you can demonstrate English language proficiency in any of the following ways:

Academic studies

Four years of full-time study in English

Four years of full-time academic studies or completion of a degree program at a recognized institution in which the primary language of instruction is English.

This includes high schools and post-secondary institutions from:

  • 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 & Tobago
  • Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Grade 12 English in a Canadian curriculum

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

Advanced Placement

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

International Baccalaureate

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

English courses that qualify for transfer credit

  • Completion of 1.5 or more units of transfer credit for university-level English courses (including British A-Levels).

English language proficiency tests

  • All test scores must be sent directly to UVic from the testing organization. We will not accept unofficial test scores.
  • We will not consider tests taken more than two years before your application.
Test Minimum score
CAEL: Canadian Academic English Language Assessment 70, with no section less than 60
IELTS (Academic): International English Language Testing System 6.5, with no 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 iBT (Internet-based test) with no section less than 20, or 575 on the PBT (paper-based test)

(UVic's TOEFL institution code is 0989)

Other language proficiency tests

Other tests may be considered on an individual basis following a review by Undergraduate Admissions to determine if it is a valid test score similar to the level required for the TOEFL.

English Language Centre programs

Successful completion of one of the following programs offered by UVic's English Language Centre:

Conditional and ELC preliminary admission

Applicants to certain programs may be offered conditional or ELC preliminary admission if they meet all academic requirements, but do not have sufficient test scores for regular admission.

Conditional admission

Available for applicants to the faculties of Engineering, Fine Arts (Art History and Visual Studies only), Humanities, Science and Social Sciences.

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 by the date specified in your offer email.

You can qualify for conditional admission if you do one of the following:

  • provide a CAEL score of 60 with no section less than 50
  • provide an IELTS score of 6.0 with no component less than 5.5
  • provide a TOEFL score of at least 79 on the iBT (Internet-based test) with at least 17 on each section, or 550 on the PBT (paper-based test)
  • register in the University Admission Preparation course

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

ELC preliminary admission

Available for applicants to the faculties of Humanities, Science and Social Sciences.

ELC preliminary admission will give you up to 24 months to satisfy the English language proficiency requirement and then begin degree studies without re-applying. You can qualify by registering in the Intensive English Program (ELPI) at UVic's English Language Centre (ELC). Offers will only be made to applicants who have submitted final official transcripts.

Some applicants who qualify for ELC preliminary admission may also be appropriate candidates for the University Pathways Program for International Students.

Contact the English Language Centre for more information.


If you can't find the information you need, we're here to help! Ask us questions like:

If you have not yet submitted an application to study at UVic, get in touch with your UVic recruiter. We'll help you figure out everything you need to know before you apply.

You can also reach us by posting on our or .

If you have a general question about the application process or studying at UVic, get in touch with your UVic recruiter.

If you have a specific question about your application to UVic, call or send an email to your assigned admission assistant. Their contact information was provided to you in an introductory email shortly after you submitted your application, but you can also find them in the Undergraduate Admissions directory.