How to Study in Canada without IELTS

Canada is one of the favorite countries for international students. Its long history of multiculturalism and diversity makes it a very attractive place for foreigners to pursue their higher education. Furthermore, there’s a great number of universities with ambitious programs.

The quality of education in Canada is one of the best in the world and it provides students with great competitiveness in the international market. However, there are some things to be considered when deciding to pursue a degree in Canada.

One of them is language. As you might already know, Canada has areas in which speaking French is more common than speaking English. Conversely, there are also areas of the country in which English is the predominant language.

Therefore, depending on the region of the country and the university you want to attend, they might require proof of proficiency. In the case of English, IELTS scores are usually requested.

For many students, taking the IELTS to show their English proficiency is an expensive and time-consuming option. Therefore, we have compiled some options for you if you wish to study in Canada without taking the IELTS.

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Six Methods that You Can Study in Canada without IELTS

1. Show Your Education Was In English

If you’re heading to Canada for your graduate studies and you did your undergraduate courses in English, then you can study in Canada without IELTS. The fact that you already got a degree by taking your studies fully in English, shows that you’re able to study in this language.

Being fluent in the language you’re going to be learning is instrumental for the success of your education. Different universities accept this as proof, but most of them require that your prior education has taken place for at least four years.

Transcripts from your school might be enough to prove your English proficiency. This applies to high school studies as well.


2. English Is Your Native Language

You will need to prove that you were born in an English-speaking country. For that purpose, you might need to present your birth certificate. Being a Native English speaker is the surest way to study in Canada without IELTS.

It is assumed that you have a strong command of English and are completely fluent in the language if you were born in an English-speaking country.


3. English Proficiency Letter

Another way to avoid taking the IELTS is by asking for an English proficiency letter from the institution where you did your prior studies. A formal letter is accepted by numerous universities in Canada, including the University of Winnipeg and Concordia University.

You might be asked for supporting documents that give further credibility to this letter. This is where your transcripts might come in handy. These documents need to be properly certified to be valid.


4. Present Scores From Other English Assessment Tests

If you have already taken tests such as the TOEFL or the CAEL, then these are likely to be accepted by Canadian universities. They are considered proof that your knowledge of the language is more than sufficient for you to pursue your higher studies there. So keep this in mind.

If you have already taken any of these tests, you can definitely study in Canada without IELTS. But, if you have not taken these tests then this might not be the best option for you.

You could see which test is the one that you feel aligns more with your test-taking skills and opt to take one of these options instead of the IELTS.


5. Take Your Studies In French

One of the great things about Canada is that there are universities that teach their entire curriculum in French. If you’re fluent in the language or if you’re a native of a French-speaking country, then this might be the best option for you.

Of course, you’ll need to provide proof of your sufficiency, such as a birth certificate. High school transcripts showing that you went to a French-speaking school might also be acceptable depending on the university.


6. Take An English Course Before Pursuing Other Courses

A majority of universities offer English courses, which might be available to you. This way, you can enter the country with a student visa and learn the language while practicing it in your daily life. This is a fast and sure way to learn the language before continuing your education.

This immersive option will allow you to notice local idioms and develop a sense of community before continuing your academic life. This is one of the options preferred by a lot of young students. It’s also a way to get familiar with the country and city where you will be pursuing your higher studies.

This way, you’ll be fully adapted by the time you start your degree courses.


Universities in Canada that You can Study without IELTS

Let’s take a look at some of the universities in Canada that accept students’ applications without IELTS scores. The majority of them will require one of the above for you to be able to pursue the degree you want in this beautiful country.


1. Concordia University

This university is located in Montreal, Quebec. Despite being in an area where people speak predominantly French, they are one of three institutions in the area where degrees are offered in English. This is one of the best universities in the country, with an award-winning business school.

Concordia University is one of the most flexible institutions regarding proof of English proficiency. One of the options is proving that you attended undergraduate or graduate studies in English for at least three years.

Another option is to show proof of having worked in an English-speaking environment for over three years. This option requires the applicant to go through a personal interview as well. Your eligibility for these options varies according to the program you’re interested in.


2. University of Saskatchewan

The University of Saskatchewan is a research institution located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Although it started as an agricultural college, it has expanded and it now offers a wide variety of programs.

Furthermore, it’s recognized as one of the best research universities in the country. This makes it a very attractive option to graduate students. Here, you can study in Canada without IELTS.

One of these is showing that at least three years of your high school studies were coursed in English. The number of years might be less if you achieved excellent grades in your courses. Another option is available if you’re a graduate student. Showing that you coursed at least one year of post-secondary studies in a school in which English was the main language of instruction is acceptable.

Another option at this university is becoming part of the English for Academic Purposes program offered at the University of Saskatchewan. Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll be able to course your higher studies.


3. University of Winnipeg

This institution is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and it offers a wide range of programs for both graduate and undergraduate students. From art to health, almost every student can find a program in his or her area of interest in this institution. It’s considered one of the best institutions for undergraduate studies and it constantly ranks among the top 10 of the country.

The university provides different options to get a waiver from any type of English proficiency test. One of these options is to show that you come from an exempt country. These are countries in which English is the first language. Another option is showing that you attended a high school with a Canadian curriculum outside of Canada.

Students that followed New Brunswick’s curriculum are not included and a test is required. Also, showing proof of excellent scores in the International Baccalaureate Higher Level English course is accepted.


4. Brock University

This is one of the largest institutions in the country. Located in St. Catharines, Ontario, it’s one of the most prestigious universities and a great thing is that you can study in Canada without IELTS by attending this university. The number of research programs and investigations performed makes it a very attractive option for students interested in innovation.

They offer unique programs, such as the only undergraduate degree in Public Health in the entire country. Aside from numerous undergraduate programs, they offer over 40 graduate programs, with nine doctorate degrees available. This university requires IELTS as proof of English proficiency.

However, if you feel that you should get an exemption, you can write a letter, making a formal request to be exempt. This is an option for students that have taken undergraduate courses in English and can prove this. Making the request does not guarantee that it will be accepted.

Furthermore, if your request is denied, you need to provide the necessary test scores in a proficiency test before the established deadline.


Canada is a great destination to pursue higher studies. If English is not your first language, you have other options aside from taking the IELTS. Make sure to check the requirements from the university you’re interested in. Showing your proficiency might be easier than you think!


I hope that this article on studying was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Canada Scholarships Page!