Canadian universities without IELTS
International students can get into selected Canadian universities in 2022 without having to submit their IELTS score. Source: Daniel Slim/AFP

Are you a school leaver who plans on studying abroad? Did you know that you can apply to a selected number of prestigious Canadian universities without IELTS in 2022?

There’s no denying that Canada is a popular choice for international students to expand their horizons. The 450,000 study permits granted last year are a testament to its success and allure as a study destination.

For years, IELTS has been a popular English proficiency test required by universities as proof that a student can cope with the academic writing and the teaching medium of an English-language setting. However, it has grown increasingly unpopular among international students who come from English-speaking backgrounds.

This includes factors such as its high fees and short validity. Several Canadian universities, however, have found more feasible alternatives to measure an applicant’s English proficiency, either through waiving it or providing alternative programmes for them to demonstrate their English proficiency.

With that being said, you can apply for undergraduate programmes at these five Canadian universities without IELTS.

5 Canadian universities you can apply to without IELTS in 2022

Queen’s University, Kingston

Queen’s University notes that you can contact the university if you believe submitting an English proficiency test does not apply to you.

Alternatively, if you have not taken IELTS or fulfilled its requirements, you can opt for the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme, an intensive 12-week programme to help you with the rigours of academic writing.

You could be exempted from providing proof of your English language proficiency if you have fulfilled one of the following requirements.

Canadian universities without IELTS

Despite being located in the French-speaking province of Quebec, the primary medium of instruction at McGill University is in English. Source: Daniel Slim/AFP

McGill University

McGill University is a top-rated institution in Canada that is based in the French-speaking province of Quebec. However, the primary language of instruction and communication at McGill University is English, and you must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in the language, regardless of your citizenship status or country of origin.

You may be exempted from providing an IELTS score if you have fulfilled the following English-language requirements here.

If you have not met the above requirements and feel like you require more time to brush up on your English, consider enrolling in their intensive six-week English language and culture course. Upon completion, you will receive the McGill Certificate of Proficiency of English.

If you want a cheaper English testing option, consider opting for the Duolingo English Test, which costs about 49 US dollars (approximately 61.50 Canadian dollars at the time of writing) and is accepted by over 3,500 institutions worldwide.

Concordia University

Like McGill University, to get into undergraduate programmes at Concordia University you may be exempted from providing an IELTS score if you have completed the Quebec Diploma of Collegial Studies (DEC).

If you have not fulfilled one of the English language proficiency requirements listed here, you will be tested on an English proficiency test set by the university regardless of your citizenship.

If you have applied to an academic programme and received a conditional offer — you can opt to undergo the Intensive English Language Programme (IEP) at the university. Once you have attained a final grade of 70%  or higher for the Advanced Two Level of the IEP, you will meet Concordia University’s English Language proficiency requirements. More details on the IEP programme can be found here.


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University of Toronto 

The University of Toronto is ranked 34 in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023. You may be exempted from having to provide an English language test score to qualify for its academic programmes if you have:

  • Completed/are completing four or more years of full-time academic study in a recognised Canadian school (in Canada) that teaches in English
  • Have completed/are completing four or more years of full-time academic study in an English language school located in a country where the dominant language is English
  • Your first language is French and you have completed four or more years of full-time academic study at a Canadian school

There are also alternative tests to the IELTS here.

The University of Toronto also offers an English Language Programme (ELP) to help you get up to speed with mastering your English proficiency to meet your language needs.

University of Ottawa

If you have completed at least three years of full-time study in an institution where English is the only language of instruction, you may be exempted from submitting an IELTS score at the University of Ottawa. This applies to the following countries.

You may also be exempted from submitting your IELTS score if you have fulfilled the following requirements.

If you have not fulfilled the English-language requirements required to pursue the academic programmes at the University of Ottawa, you can enrol in their English Intensive Programme (EIP) to brush up on your English-language skills.

Ultimately, it’s worth remembering that your university reserves the right to request the results of a language test at any time. they can also refuse a language test exemption request. Contact the admissions office for details.