Are you applying to a Canadian University? Ensuring you have the required documents before you start your application is critical. Apart from academic transcripts, degree certificates, and financial proof, you must provide evidence of English proficiency by taking an approved language test.

IELTS is a widely accepted test among universities worldwide, including Canadian educational institutes. The English language test is adequate proof of language proficiency and is sometimes required for Canadian visa applications. Canadian universities have specific minimum requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Read on to find out the IELTS band requirements for Canadian universities and a list of universities that accept IELTS scores.

Minimum IELTS Band Requirements for Universities in Canada

The minimum IELTS Band requirements vary across universities. This comprehensive guide provides in-depth information about the IELTS requirements in seven Canadian universities:

1. University of Toronto

If you apply to the University of Toronto, one of Canada’s top-ranked universities, you must pass the IELTS test with an overall band of 6.5, with at least 6.0 in each section. This includes programs such as Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. However, some graduate programs may require a higher band. The graduate school requires a score of 7.0 on the Academic IELTS test with a score of 6.5 in each section. To submit your IELTS scores to the university, you must request the test center to send them electronically.

2. University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is one of the top-ranked public research universities worldwide, with a wide range of programs and research opportunities. Like The University of Toronto, the minimum IELTS band required is 6.5, with at least 6.0 in each test component.

The institute accepts the results of the Academic IELTS test, which must be submitted electronically. Some programs have different IELTS band requirements, such as the Master of Architecture program, which requires a score of 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in each component. On the other hand, the minimum requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology is 7.5.

3. McGill University

Known for its excellence in medicine, engineering, law, and arts, McGill University is Canada’s third-ranked institution in Montreal. If you are a graduate applicant, the minimum IELTS score required is 6.5 overall accepted for several programs, including Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Undergraduate applicants have different requirements. The university accepts both the regular academic test and the test for UKVI, with a minimum band of 6.0. You must submit the scores electronically instead of paper Test Report Forms (TRFs).

4. McMaster University

Did you know McMaster University boasts more than 30,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff with a reputation for excellence in teaching research and innovation? The university offers several programs across faculties such as Engineering, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, and more. To apply, you must provide proof of English language proficiency with a 6.5 band overall and 6.0 in each test component.

Similar to other Canadian universities, McMaster has different requirements for some programs. This includes the Master of Engineering in Manufacturing program, the minimum requirement for which is 7.0.

5. University of Guelph

The University of Guelph has a student body of 30,000 students from more than 120 countries. Apart from its vast student body, the university is recognized for its excellence in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and environmental sciences.

The minimum IELTS requirements vary depending on the degree level you’ve applied to. So, if you are an undergraduate applicant, you must score a general minimum of 6.5 on the IELTS Test. The minimum band requirement for postgraduate degrees is 7.0, especially for Engineering and Music programs.

6. University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo requires a minimum band of 6.5 at the undergraduate level. You must score a 6.5 in the writing and speaking components, while a 6.0 is accepted for the reading and writing components. International students can submit the electronic test report form (TRF).

Compared to other Canadian universities, the University of Waterloo eases English proficiency requirements by allowing students to retake the IELTS One Skill if they did not score well on their first attempt. However, students must retake their IELTS exam within 60 days of the original test date.

7. University of Calgary

The University of Calgary sets minimum requirements based on the degree program and academic level. A minimum band is typically acceptable for most undergraduate programs, except for specific programs such as Nursing, which requires a minimum band of 7.0. Similarly, an Education degree also requires a minimum band of 8.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in each test section.

Certain faculties of the University of Calgary are stricter regarding language proficiency requirements. For instance, the Faculties of Law, Graduate Studies, and School of Medicine have separate language requirements.

FAQs about Studying in Canada

Do Universities in Canada Consider Students Who Have Not Passed the IELTS Exam?

If you haven’t passed your IELTS exam, the good news is that Canadian universities accept students who may not have passed the IELTS exam or have not taken it yet. However, certain conditions and alternatives must be met to demonstrate English language proficiency.

For instance, students who have studied in English medium education for at least five years are exempt from taking the IELTS exam if they can provide proof through a certificate or letter from a counselor or other school officials. Similarly, students from English-speaking countries don’t need to take additional tests to prove language proficiency. However, students from non-English speaking countries must provide scores of other alternative English tests such as TOEFL, Duolingo, PTE, etc.

Some Canadian universities also offer English language courses tailored for international students. These courses allow students to improve their English language skills. You can also enroll in English language courses at the university you have applied to. Successful completion of such a course demonstrates language proficiency. One example is the Academic English Level 60 test offered by the University of Toronto. A minimum Grade B is adequate to show language proficiency at the University of Toronto.


One of the first steps to pursuing education in Canada is fulfilling the English language requirements. Most Canadian universities demand a minimum band of 6.5, but this varies depending on the program and education level you are applying to.


We hope that this article on IELTS score requirements in Canadian universities was helpful! To learn more information on studying abroad, check out the Study in Canada Page and the various Available Programs in Canada for International Students to explore your study options. Aside from IELTS, Canadian universities also accept other English proficiency exams, navigate our page to learn more!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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