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Study in Canada Without IELTS

Written by  Vishesh Chogtu

Published on Sat, October 27, 2018 7:17 AM   Updated on Fri, July 22, 2022 9:33 AM   14 mins read

You can study in Canada without IELTS. In recent years, Canada has become one of the best educational hotspots. It provides quality education and living standards, which are the highest in the world.

You get quality education at affordable rates. The degrees from Canadian universities are of great value, comparable to those of Australia and the USA. Universities also provide ample research and internship opportunities during your course period.

But before you pack your bags for Canada, it is necessary to know that you need to give an English proficiency test, called the International English Language Testing System (or IELTS for short). If you are applying for any college, for permanent residency or Canadian citizenship, you need to show the test score as a proof. But it is not mandatory to give the IELTS exam.

What is IELTS?

Like most other countries where English is the popularly spoken language amongst the natives, Canada requires its international students to be able to prove their proficiency in English if they wish to pursue higher studies. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized test that accurately assesses and grades your ability to write, speak and read English. The Scoring system is on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest score. These scores are requested and often required to gain admission to foreign universities or even for applying for work in counties like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.

Is IELTS required for Canada?

IELTS is not compulsorily required to study in Canada. In recent times due to pandemic and the lock-down in several countries’ IELTS communicating centres were closed thus particular countries like UK and Canada update their Student Visa Rules.

  • Plenty of Canadian Universities might take into account your application without IELTS and give you admission if you qualify one among the subsequent criteria:
  •  If you’ve got appeared and scored up to the mark in alternative English Proficiency tests like take a look at of English as a foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • You have done your schooling through English-Medium for four or additional years (these criteria might vary from country to country) You are a native of any English country You have appeared for university or college’s English course for a minimum of one semester or a year.
  • As per the recent updates, most of the Canadian Universities have started accepting the DUOLINGO English test and there are also some additional changes created by the immigration ministry. 

Alternative of English Proficiency Tests Except for IELTS

While the IELTS is a highly-standardized testing system that is accepted by most Canadian universities and institutions, there are certainly other alternatives available to those who have not taken up the IELTS.

Following are the other English language tests to study without IELTS in Canada:

  • PTE
  • Duolingo English test
  • CanTest (Canadian Test of English for scholars and Trainees)
  • CAEL (Canadian assessment English language)

Apart from these, here are the alternative options that one can opt for in case if they do not have an IELTS score:

  • Alternative English Proficiency tests: One always has the option of submitting proof of English proficiency through other test scores. Most of these alternative tests are just as reliable and fair and are often preferred by those who are unable to furnish IELTS scores. These include the likes of Test of English as Foreign Language(TOEFL), Pearson English Language Test (PTE), Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees (CanTest), Duolingo English Test, Canadian assessment of English Language(CAEL Assessment).
  • Proof of Study in English Medium: Apart from alternative test scores, one can also submit evidence of studying in an English medium school for a period of at least the last 4 years to prove their proficiency in English. Most Canadian universities accept evidence of this as proof for English proficiency and, as such, is also a viable option if you are unable to take the tests.
  • IELTS Exemption: As mentioned earlier, international students hailing from nationalities where native English speakers are sparse are often exempted from the need to submit proof of English proficiency on the basis of their nationality. This makes the dream of studying in Canada without IELTS more accessible for students from all walks of life.
  • Canadian English Language Course: Students who wish to study in Canada without IELTS can also opt for an English Language course in Canada. By completing the coursework at their University of study, they can prove their proficiency in English over time instead of having to submit IELTS scores as proof. 

How to get into Canadian Universities Without IELTS ?

We hope that it has become clear by now that while IELTS scores are recommended to study in Canada, it is not necessarily the only option to travel to Canada for work or studies. All of the universities mentioned above have various options and processes through which they accept applicants without IELTS. We have chosen a few of them to elaborate and elucidate these processes. 

UniversityAlternatives for IELTS
University of ReginaThis university accepts various test scores to prove English proficiency and has separate minimum scores for each of them. 
TOEFL (PBT): 525
TOEFL (iBT): 70
Duolingo Score: 95-105
CAEL Score: 50
University of WinnipegThe University of Winnipeg acknowledges the fact that not everyone has access to valid IELTS scores. They have initiated their own English Language Program (ELP), which on completion with a minimum prescribed score, will be taken as proof of English proficiency.
Brock UniversityBrock University offers candidates who wish to study in Canada without IELTS the option of studying an Intensive English Language Program(IELP). Also, students who have a prior degree in English are also exempted from the requirement of IELTS scores.
University of SaskatchewanInternational students who wish to apply to this university without IELTS can do so by tendering alternative test scores such as TOEFL, Duolingo, etc. Apart from this, they can also enrol themselves in the U-PREP program at the University of Saskatchewan Language center (USLC).
Cambrian College Alternative test scores are valid and accepted, and every applicant who arrives at the university will have their proficiency in English evaluated. Those who fail to meet the prescribed proficiency requirements will have to take an English course before starting their desired program. 
Memorial University of Newfoundland and LabradorApart from all the Alternative tests mentioned above, they also accept tests such as the Cambridge English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). Otherwise, applicants who wish to go to Canada without IELTS will have to take up an Intensive English Programme (IEP) at the university. 
Concordia UniversityOther Standardized tests that serve as alternatives to IELTS such as TOEFL, PTE, CPE, CAEL, DET, or CAE. Alternatively, The University of Concordia also allows its applicants to either submit an International Baccalaureate in English Literature with specified levels or proof of study in an institute with English as the medium of instruction for a minimum period of 4 years. If none of the above are viable options, then the candidate must apply for an Intensive English Language Programme (IELP) at the University.  
Okanagan College The university is pretty lenient on its requirements for IELTS and varies those requirements based on the program one is applying. An alternative test score that is accepted instead of IELTS is Duolingo English score. 
Carleton UniversityIn the eventuality that a candidate wishes to study in Canada without IELTS, Carleton University also accepts TOEFL, PTE, CAEL as alternatives. Also, applicants can also submit proof of study in a high school or the university of Canada in USA, UK, or country in which the institute used English as the medium of instruction. 
Seneca CollegeThe University accepts alternative test scores such as CAEL CE, TOEFL, PTE Academic, Duolingo, Cambridge English Exams. The Candidate can also opt to apply for an Intensive English Language Program, which on completion would serve as proof of English proficiency. Alternatively, proof of study at an academic institution with English as the mode of instruction for a period of 2 years is also accepted.  

Universities in Canada without IELTS

Canada has steadily been growing as a dream destination for pursuing higher education courses and degrees. The premier institutions and universities in Canada are the chief proponents of attracting international students. Thus, there is a need to know which universities offer students the chance to study in Canada without IELTS scores.

Here are a few such universities that allow their candidates to apply without IELTS scores: 

  • Seneca College
  • Cambrian University
  • Okanagan College
  • Concordia University
  • Brandon University
  • Carleton University
  • University of Winnipeg
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Brock University
  • Algoma University
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Guelph
  • McGill University

Admission requirements to study in Canada

The entry requirements for various programmes are detailed on each university’s website. These could include records containing personal information and proof of academic achievement.

The following general documents must be submitted:

Documents required to study in Canada: 

  • Resume
  • Attested copies of mark sheets of Standard X, XII, and the undergrduate degree as per the requirement.
  • Others (certificates or achievements at the state and national level and extracurricular activities)
  • Proof of funds
  • Medical Tests
  • 2 LORs – Academic and professional
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Xerox of score reports of IELTS / TOEFL/ GMAT 

How To Apply for PR in Canada Without IELTS?

Canada provides several programs that enable an individual to apply for a PR in Canada. Though IELTS is one of the basic requirements for PR, these programs offer an alternative to IELTS, like the Canada Language Benchmark (CLB). CLB is the Canadian standard for measuring and assessing the English proficiency of people wanting to obtain PR in Canada.

The jobs in Canada are classified into 5 types and this classification is called National Occupation Classification (NOC). For immigration, these are the main groups:

  1. Skill Type 0: These refer to management jobs.
  2. Skill Level A: Jobs that require university degrees.
  3. Skill Level B: The technical jobs that require a college diploma or training before recruiting.
  4. Skill Level C: The jobs that require job specific training.
  5. Skill Level D: Labor jobs that provide on-site training.

Canadian Experience Class

To apply for a PR via this program, you need to satisfy the following conditions first:

  1. Strong English skills, with CLB 7 for NOC 0 or A, else CLB 5 for rest of the NOCs.
  2. Experience of working in Canada in NOC 0, A or B.
  3. 1 year of working experience in Canada.
  4. Higher preference if you have a job offer and Canadian Education.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

To apply for a PR via FSWP, you need to satisfy the following conditions first:

  1. Strong English skills, with CLB 7 for all NOCs.
  2. Experience of working in Canada in NOC 0, A or B.
  3. 1 year of working experience in Canada, either full time or part time job equivalent to one year.
  4. Higher preference if you have a job offer.
  5. Secondary education is needed. Higher preference for post-secondary education.

Federal Skilled Trade

To apply for a PR via this program, you need to satisfy these conditions:

  1. Strong English skills, with CLB 5 for speaking and listening, while CLB 4 for reading and writing.
  2. Experience of working in Canada in NOC B.
  3. 2 years of working experience in the last 5 years.
  4. An offer of a full-time job is required for at least 1 year.
  5. Higher preference for having Canadian Education.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Before applying for a PR via PNP, you must fulfil these criteria:

  1. Strong English skills. The required NOC depends on the provinces.
  2. Experience in working is dependent on provincial rules.
  3. Work experience, job offer, and educational requirements are province dependent.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Applying for this program demands the following:

  1. Strong English skills with CLB 4 minimum.
  2. Type and amount of work experience are not required.
  3. Job offer should be of NOC 0, A, B or C and should last for at least 1 year from the day PR is granted.
  4. Must have graduated from publicly funded post-secondary college in Atlantic Canada.
  5. The job should be offered by an employer of Atlantic Canada.

How to get a Canadian Student Visa Without IELTS?

The following are some of the documentation that international students who choose to study in Canada without taking the IELTS must provide to obtain a Canadian study visa:

English language proficiency proof: 

Alternatively, you can submit a TOEFL, CAEL Assessment, or Duolingo test score, or you can show documentation that you’ve enrolled in an English course at the university (if it is offered by them).

Proof of Individuality: 

Two recent passport-size photographs with the student’s name and birthdate inscribed on the reverse of each, together with a valid passport or other travel document.

Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS): 

Proof of enrollment in a programme at a certain university that accepts students without IELTS.

Proof of Financial Support: 

Give evidence, in the form of pertinent documents, that the student has the financial means to pay for their studies in Canada. Whether it’s a bank statement, student loan, or scholarship, these records demonstrate that you have the financial means to attend school in Canada.

Work Permit In Canada Without IELTS

It is usually seen that students, after completing their graduation from Canada, prefer to work in Canada itself. This becomes a problem because it needs either one or both of the following: the availability of work permit and eligibility for permanent residence.

To apply for a post-graduation work permit, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  1. Be at least 18 years old at the time of applying.
  2. You should have continuously studied full time in Canada in a degree program which lasts for at least 8 months.
  3. Have graduated from a registered institution of Canada.
  4. Have document from your institution confirming you passed in all program core courses.
  5. Should have applied for a work permit within 90 days from the day your program ended.
  6. Have a valid study permit at the time of applying for a work permit


Is it possible to study in Canada without IELTS? 

Ans. Yes! There are various other alternate options available to those who do not possess a valid IELTS score, such as tests like TOEFL, Duolingo, etc., enrolling in Intensive English programs, providing proof of study in an English medium institute for a substantial amount of time, or having a nationality that is exempted from the requirement. 

Which country is best for Studying without IELTS? 

Ans. Countries such as the UK, USA, Germany, Singapore, and other European countries are best suited for those who wish to study without submitting IELTS scores. 

Is IELTS compulsory for Canada?

Ans. No, It is not compulsory! IELTS, the standardized test of English proficiency, is not required for those who wish to travel as a tourist or for a short period of work. While getting accepted into Canadian universities requires IELTS in most cases, there are many other alternate tests that can be taken up to prove one’s proficiency in English. IELTS or an equivalent test becomes more necessary when applying for a PR status in Canada. 

Can I get a Student Visa without an IELTS score?

Ans. Yes! You can apply through your institute, private organizations, or directly online and submit an alternate proof for proficiency in English along with the other required documents. Once the application is processed, you will be given a Student Visa to study in Canada without IELTS. 

Which countries are exempted from the IELTS score requirement? 

Ans. In general, most universities in Canada exempt students hailing from India, Malaysia, Norway, the USA, Australia, Germany, etc. do not require IELTS for immigration. Apart from this, some African and South American countries are exempted from the need for IELTS.   

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Vishesh Chogtu

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