Application Requirements for Canadian Universities

Application Requirements for Canadian Universities

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By Prabhadri Suman|Updated On - 2023-04-26 08:32:09

Application requirements for Canadian Universities- It varies from college to college and course to course what the eligibility criteria, English proficiency, study permit is for admission in Canadian universities.

Application Requirements for Canadian Universities

Topics Covered:

  • Intakes in Canada
  • Grading system in Canada
  • Study in Canada: Eligibility criteria
  • The Co-Op Education System in Canada
  • What are the English Proficiency Requirements to Study in Canada?
  • University- wise English Proficiency Scores in Canada
  • Standardized Test Score Requirements for Admission in Canadian Universities
  • Undergraduate Universities in Canada
  • Canada University Admission without IELTS
  • Study Permit in Canada
  • What is Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?
  • Top Universities to Consider for Studying in Canada
  • How to Apply to University in Canada for International Students?

In recent years, Canada has come to power as one of the world's top immigration destinations for a variety of reasons, one of which is its education sector. In terms of standard, quality, and tuition, Canada's education has been praised as one of the greatest in the world. As a result, many people prefer schooling in Canada to education in other nations.

Another reason Canadian universities are preferred is that they consistently rank among the best in the world, which, combined with Canada's acceptance and love for diversity, makes it a top foreign destination for education, not to mention its living conditions, which are among the best in the world, and the availability of good and choice employment opportunities after graduation.

Intakes in Canada 

In comparison to the single intake available in Indian universities, Canadian colleges and universities provide three intakes which may also be referred to as a semester. These three intakes are as follows:

Grading system in Canada

Canada does not have a standardized grading system in its ten provinces. However, it all depends on the state you live in, your school board or your educational choices. The following grading scale can be from 4.0 to a maximum of 9.0 degrees on the graduate-level grade scales. Also, different types and combinations of approaches with alphabetical grades and numerical scores or percentages are used in each case, region or university. 

While each university, department or even professor may have their own grading system to follow, here are the two grading scales most commonly followed in Canada:

Alphabetical grade Percentage GPA A+ 90-100 9
A 92-100 4.33 A 80-89 8
A 88-91 4 B+ 75-79 7
A- 85-87 3.67 B 70-74 6
B+ 82-84 3.33 B- 65-69 5
B 78-81 3 C+ 60-64 4
B- 75-77 2.67 C 55-59 3
C+ 72-74 2.33 C- 50-54 2
C 68-71 2 D 40-49 1
C- 65-67 1.67 F 0-39 0
D 55-64 1      
F 0-54 0      

Study in Canada: Eligibility criteria 

The following are the minimum requirements for admission to a Canadian university:

Want to apply universities in Canada? Ask our experts for free!  Click to Know More! 

Eligibility Criteria for Certificate Courses

  • Flexible admission
  • IELTS score as per the university requirements.

Eligibility Criteria for Post-Graduate/Masters Courses

  • Up to 3 years of full-time work experience
  • Necessary scores in English language proficiency test, for example IELTS, must be at least 6.5 in total, with no section below 6 as per the academic program and university regulations.
  • GMAT: 580-600 minimum.
  • 4 years bachelor’s degree, 70% average.
  • Statement of purpose (SOP)      
  • Certain organizations may need documents that demonstrate the previously published works or a collection of completed projects.
  • Letter of recommendation (LOR) 

Eligibility Criteria for Undergraduate/Bachelor’s level

  • 12th-grade level Math
  • 70% in 12th grade

If you have any additional questions, our worldwide education specialists are available to help you with the enrollment process.

Eligibility Criteria for MBA Program 

Every school has its own specific standards for admission to MBA program in Canada, but these are the prerequisites that are mostly required:

  • In order to be accepted, one must possess a Bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Generally, a 4-year Bachelor's is expected, but some institutions may permit a 3-year Bachelors instead.
  • Applicants should have at least three to five years of job history in the relevant field. Preference will be given to those who have spent at least one year in the workforce.
  • Minimum IELTS Scores as per the selected Canadian university
  • For admission to a good Canadian institution, you must have a GMAT score between 500 and 700 out of 800.
  • In Canada, study gap is acceptable under special circumstances. 

The Co-Op Education System in Canada

Co-operative education in Canada , also referred to as co-op education, that combines classroom learning with relevant work experience in an industry related to the student's field of study. It helps students determine their desired career path, provides financial support for their education, and increases the chance of obtaining a higher-paying job upon graduation. Generally, these programs are organized in an alternating pattern, meaning a student alternates a semester or term of schooling with a semester or term of work.

What are the English Proficiency Requirements to Study in Canada?

To study in Canada , applicants have to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language through a language test. Of the existing options, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the most preferred and widely accepted. This assessment is acknowledged by 11,000 organizations in 140 countries around the globe.

To be able to submit an application for a Canadian student visa, applicants must have a minimum score of 5.5 in each IELTS band and a total score of 6.0. The requirements that each institution sets may differ, but the minimum score usually needed to study in Canada is as follows:

Also helpful content: Entrance exams to study in Canada   

Undergraduate Courses in Canada (Bachelor’s, Diploma or Short-term)  Postgraduate Courses in Canada (PG Diploma/Masters)  Student Direct Stream (SDS) 

Overall: Minimum 6 IELTS

Each Band: No less than 5.5

Overall:  Minimum of 6.5 IELTS

Each Band:  No less than 5.5 or 6.0, depending on the institution

Overall: Minimum of 6.0

Each Band: No less than 6.0


University- wise English Proficiency Scores in Canada

International students from a non-English speaking country need to demonstrate their proficiency in English for admission to A band Universities in Canada. You can demonstrate your English proficiency with competitive scores in IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Duolingo, and a few other tests. The following table consists of some of the top universities in Canada and the minimum English language proficiency test scores required for admission.

University Minimum IELTS Score Requirement for Under Graduate Courses Minimum IELTS Score Requirement for Graduate Courses
University of Toronto

6.5 overall

6.0 in each section

6.5 (6.0 in each section)
McMaster University

6.5 overall

 6.0 in each section

6.5 with 5.5 in each section
University of British Columbia

6.5 overall

6.0 in each section

6.5 (6.0 in each section)
University of Waterloo       

6.5 overall

Writing and speaking: 6.5 

Reading and listening: 6.0

7.0 (6.5 in each section)
University of Ottawa        6.5 band score 6.5 band score
University of Alberta        6.5 (6.0 in each section) 6.5 (6.0 in each section)
McGill University

6.5 overall

 6.0 in each component

Band score of 6.5
University of Montreal - 6.5
Queen’s University

6.0 overall

5.5 in each component

6.5 (6.0 in each section)
University of Calgary 6.5 6.5 (6.0 in each section)
Dalhousie University        7.0 band score 6.0 band score
Simon Fraser University

6.5 overall

6.0 in each section

7.0 (6.5 in each section)
Western University 6.5 6.5

Standardized Test Score Requirements for Admission in Canadian Universities

International students who are trying to secure admission to graduate courses in Canada must present the results of certain standard examinations that are appropriate to the program they are applying to. Here is a list of the most popular tests accepted in Canada and the minimum scores necessary for admission.

Program           Test         Average Score         
MBA and other business courses GMAT 500-600
MS and related courses GRE 300-320
MD MCAT 490-500

Undergraduate Universities in Canada

Most undergraduate learners in Canada register for classes during the spring semester. Here is a compilation of the most renowned universities in Canada along with the due dates for applications and application fees:

University Program Undergraduate Application Deadline
University of Toronto All programs January 15, 2024 (depends upon the program you choose)
McGill University All programs 

January 15, 2024

Deadline extended to February 1, 2024

University of British Columbia All programs with few exceptions January 31, 2024
University of Alberta Most programs March 1, 2024
University of Ottawa Science, Engineering, and Arts. April 1, 2024
McMaster University Arts and Science, Business, Computer Science and related courses January 15, 2024
University of Waterloo Most Programs February 1, 2024
Western University Full-time first-year programs (early consideration) February 1, 2024
University of Calgary All programs March 1, 2024
Queen’s University All first-year programs February 1, 2024
Simon Fraser University Undergraduate programs January 31, 2024
Dalhousie University Bachelor of Science, Arts, Computer Science and Engineering, Bachelor of Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science (Nursing), Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies, Bachelor of Science (Medical Sciences), Bachelor of Agriculture (International Food Business). February 15, 2024

Canada University Admission without IELTS

It is best to research well-known Canadian universities that allow applications without IELTS scores. Below is a compilation of reputable universities and colleges in Canada that you may consider for your studies without the need for IELTS:

University      Alternatives for IELTS Scores     
Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador    

Several language proficiency tests and assessments are available to evaluate one's English language skills, including but not limited to:

  1. Duolingo English Test (DET
  2. TOEFL
  3. Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment
  4. Cambridge English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  5. PTE Academic, Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees (CanTEST)
  6. Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). 

Alternatively, universities may offer an Intensive English Program (IEP) for individuals seeking to improve their English proficiency.

University of Winnipeg    

The University of Winnipeg is one of the well-known universities in Canada that accepts students who cannot submit IELTS scores. Instead, they require students to pass their own English Language Program (ELP) with a certain score. 

The full-time and part-time courses of the ELP can be applied for by students before starting their term or during the admission process.

Cambrian University
  1. TOEFL
  2. PTE
  3. Duolingo English Test (DET), etc. 


Upon arrival, students' language proficiency is assessed, and if students fail to meet the necessary requirements, they will be required to enroll in English language courses before starting their desired program. 

Brock University    

Intensive English Language Program (IELP). 


Additionally, if an individual has completed an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Degree course with English as the language of instruction, they may be exempt from English proficiency score requirements (however, this may vary depending on the program). 


Along with IELTS, the university also accepts scores from TOEFL, PTE, CAEL Assessment (Canadian assessment of English language), MELAB, and YELT.

Okanagan College      The language requirements vary based on the program, and if someone doesn't have IELTS scores, they can provide Duolingo scores as an alternative.
Concordia University    
  1. TOEFL
  2. DET
  3. CAEL
  4. CAEC
  5. PE
  6. PTE


To be considered, the applicant needs to demonstrate that they have studied for a minimum of four years at a secondary or post-secondary institution where the language of instruction was English. It is mandatory to submit evidence of this requirement.


International Baccalaureate in English Literature with specified levels.

University of Regina    
  1. TOEFL
  2. TOEFL iBT
  3. Duolingo,
  4. CAEL 

(For admissions to UG and PG programs) 

Seneca College    
  • Cambridge English Exams
  • Duolingo
  • PTE Academic
  • TOEFL 

Complete an intensive English language program from English Language Institute.


To be eligible, the applicant should have finished a two-year course at a college or university where English was the medium of instruction.

University of Saskatchewan    
  • CanTest
  • Duolingo English Test (DET)
  • CAEL Assessment, amongst others. 

 In addition, individuals who are unable to demonstrate their English language skills can enroll in the U-PREP program offered by the Language Centre at the University of Saskatchewan (USLC) prior to commencing their desired program.

Carleton University    
  1. CAEL
  2. TOEFL
  3. PTE

To qualify, the applicant must submit evidence of finishing a three-year (full-time) course at a high school or university situated in Canada, the US, the UK, or any other nation where the primary language of teaching is English.

Study Permit in Canada

To ensure a smooth transition, particular paperwork is mandatory for you to be allowed entry into, remain, and engage in activities in the new nation. 

Among the most essential documents is a study permit, which is an obligatory immigration document for international students, even if they have already been issued a student visa. A student visa authorizes entry into Canada, but a study permit verifies the student's stay in the country.

What is Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is used to verify that an individual has enough money to cover tuition fees and other living costs when applying for a Canadian Visa through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program. With a GIC, no additional financial documentation needs to be provided to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Top Universities to Consider for Studying in Canada

It is crucial to look at world university rankings when deciding which university to attend.

Institution QS Ranking 2024 (Globally)
McGill University 30
University of Toronto 21
University of British Columbia =34
University of Alberta 111
University of Montreal =141
McMaster University 189
University of Waterloo 112
Western University 114
University of Ottawa =203
University of Calgary 182

How to Apply to University in Canada for International Students?

The admission requirements for overseas students at Canadian universities are also among the best and simple. For students to get admitted to their universities and schools, each university has its own set of standards and qualifying criteria. However, there are several universally recognized standards that apply to Canadian universities. These are:

Choose an institution and program of study

Determine what you want to study and where you want to study it. Examine various profiles of colleges as well as listings of their programs. Begin by selecting a degree program that is appropriate for you. There are degrees available in a wide range of topics and disciplines. Canada is known around the world for a range of programs, including those in the humanities, business, and science.

Prepare the necessary documents

A letter of motivation, a recommendation letter, and, if applicable, a portfolio of previous work are among the core documents that all universities request. Universities will also seek confirmation of previous studies' completion. Send an official transcript from your secondary school if you're starting a bachelor's degree or your prior university if you're pursuing a master's degree or higher to complete this criterion. If you are not a natural English speaker, you may need to pass an English proficiency test as well.

There is documentation that you must present to the university to which you are applying. The majority of these will need to be submitted through an application portal. The required documents are:

  1. Minimum Education Equivalence or Marks
  2. University Academic Transcripts      
  3. Copy of your university degree
  4. English Language Proficiency Test scores
  5. Statement of Purpose, CV, and Letters of Recommendation      

Meet the language requirements

In Canada, students can choose from a variety of English and French-taught Master's degrees. You will need to demonstrate your skill level in the language you want to study.

The most common English Language Proficiency Test approved by Canada's leading colleges are:

Some universities may accept other English tests, like:

  • CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language Assessment)
  • CanTEST (Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees)
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery)

 Read also: Best 15 TOEFL Accepting Universities in USA: Minimum TOEFL Score      

Check Specific Admission Requirements

Specific documentation may be required depending on the university. In Canada, the university to which you are applying handles applications and admissions. Students are encouraged to apply to multiple programs and universities at the same time.

Deadlines for submitting applications

Although deadlines vary, you should apply at least eight to twelve months ahead of time. The September and January semesters are popular entry points for international students. Many colleges, on the other hand, have a "rolling admissions" policy that allows them to consider international students throughout the year.

Our Study abroad team is here to assist you in making the application process a little smoother. Before applying to your dream university or college, be sure to consult an Edmissions professional by registering.         

To learn more about application processing, contact our Edmissions specialists at [email protected].

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