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.

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:

Please note: Students applying to the Faculty of Graduate Studies should view the graduate English language requirements.

Recognized tests for undegraduate admissions

Test Minimum Score- Admission

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)*

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

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

6.5 overall and no lower than 6.0 in each band

Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) **


Canadian Academic English Assessment (CAEL)


Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees (CanTEST)


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

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

**The MELAB is no longer offered by the Michigan Language Assessment.

Applicants should arrange for their English language proficiency test score(s) to be sent directly from the testing agency to:

Dalhousie University TOEFL Code: 0915
Office of the Registrar
Dalhousie University
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia  B3H 4R2

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.