English Language Requirements

Ensure you have the language skills to succeed

If your first language is not English, you may be required to provide proof of English language proficiency. Students applying to the Faculty of Graduate Studies should view the graduate English language requirements.

You may not be required to give proof of English language proficiency if:

  • you studied at an English language institution for at least three years at the secondary level, or
  • you studied at an English language institution for at least one year at the post-secondary level.

When proof of English language proficiency is necessary, you must achieve the following minimum score or above on a recognized English language proficiency test:

Recognized tests for undergraduate admissions

Test Minimum score- Admission
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.5 overall and no lower than 6.0 in each band

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)*

TOEFL at Home (online)

237 (computer-based)
90 (iBT) and no lower than 20 in each band

Duolingo English Test

Minimum score of 115, with no subscore below 95

Michigan English Test (formerly MELAB)


Canadian Academic English Assessment (CAEL) / CAEL Online


Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees (CanTEST)*
* the last official CanTEST was held on February 8, 2020. We therefore will no longer accept CanTEST/TESTCan scores after August 15, 2022, as scores are valid for a period of two years


Pearson Test of English – Academic 61 overall and no lower than 50 in each skill
C1: Advanced / C2: Proficiency 180 overall and no lower than 170 in each band 

*Students must achieve 4.0 or better on the essay or TOEFL Writing Test

Submitting test scores

For students who are unable to obtain required documentation (official transcripts, English proficiency test scores) due to closures of schools and test centers, unofficial copies of current test score reports (IELTS, TOEFL) will be accepted by email only on a temporary basis.

Please note: 
We are not able to accept documents of any kind by mail or courier until further notice.

Applicants should email their English language proficiency test score(s) to international.admissions@dal.ca

English language programs

If your test scores are lower than our stated minimum but you otherwise meet admission requirements, you may be offered conditional admission provided you complete an ESL program. You have two options for language upgrading:

Option 1

The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program is offered at 3 levels: Foundation English, EAP 1 and EAP 2. Minimum entrance test scores depend on the course level and range between 3.5-6.0 IELTS / 30-84 TOEFL iBT. Placement testing can be done at Dalhousie. Courses range from 2 to 3 months up to 1 year. Each level includes speaking, listening, reading, writing, pronunciation and vocabulary development.

Successful completion of EAP Level 2 with a 3.0 GPA for undergraduate programs and 3.7 GPA for most graduate programs meets the English proficiency requirements at Dalhousie University.

Option 2

Students may choose to study English full-time at one of our partner ESL schools. Once a student reaches the top-level class, they are allowed to register in part-time study at Dal, as long as they complete the ESL program.

If you enroll through an approved partner ESL school, we anticipate that you will have completed the ESL program prior to the start term listed in your letter of acceptance. If you need to delay your degree program start date, either to begin or continue in your ESL program, you must request a deferral.