IELTS Test Scores for Top Universities in Canada

Canada has become a sought-after destination for international students. Every year, many international students apply to universities all over Canada to pursue either their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees.

For their applications to be successful, students must meet the minimum IELTS test scores required by these universities to evaluate their English Language proficiency.

The minimum IELTS test scores for universities in Canada vary. This article aims to identify the top universities in Canada and provide the IELTS test scores they require.

What Should You Know About Studying in Canada?

The rise in the number of international students interested in studying in Canadian universities is unsurprising as studying in Canada has numerous benefits, some of which include:

  • Quality of Life: International students who study in Canada are guaranteed to enjoy a high quality of life synonymous with the country. Canada currently ranks 1st in the list of countries with the best quality of life. The Global Peace Index for 2021 ranks Canada as the 10th most peaceful nation globally in terms of security.
  • Post Graduate Work Opportunities: The Canadian government has a Post Graduation Work Permit Program, which allows eligible International students to stay in the country to gain work experience for three years. Students who can find employment can also apply to be permanent residents of Canada.
  • Part-time Work: International students in Canada also can can work during their studies when they have the necessary permit. International students can work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled year breaks. 

What are the Requirements for Studying in Canada?

The IELTS exam is one of the preferred English tests for universities and organizations in Canada. Top universities in Canada accept IELTS as proof of English language proficiency from international students. In addition, Canada also accepts other English proficiency tests such as CELPIP for both their immigration, citizenship, and student applications.

The requirements for international students who intend to study in Canada differ according to universities. Each University has a different selection largely dependent on the student’s course of study, academic records, and ability to meet stipulated requirements.

The general requirements for studying in Canada include:

  • Candidates’ academic records/transcripts.
  • Candidates’ letter of motivation.
  • Proof of candidates’ English Language proficiency.
  • Candidates’ letters of recommendation.
  • Candidates curriculum vitae or portfolio (where applicable).
  • A valid passport/ means of identification.

What is the Minimum IELTS Score for Canadian Universities?

International students who apply to study in Canada at the undergraduate level must be a minimum of 18 years old. The candidate must also have an overall IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components.

For intending postgraduate students, they must have completed a bachelor’s degree. The candidate must also have an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in all four components.

To better understand how the scoring works for the IELTS exam, check out our details guide: IELTS Band Scoring System Overview.

IELTS Score Requirements for Major Canadian Universities

 The two most prestigious ranking metrics, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Quacquarelli Symonds University rankings, both rate Canadian universities highly.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 list ranked Canadian universities between 18th and 1200th out of thousands of assessed institutions.

1. The University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is a public and research-intensive University in Ontario, Canada. The University is ranked 18th in the world on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The University of Toronto is highly regarded as one of the worlds leading research-intensive universities and offers over 700 undergraduate and 200 postgraduate programs. It is also ranked as the top University in Canada. 

The University of Toronto has a minimum IELTS requirement of 6.5 overall with no band less than 6.0 for undergraduate courses and 7.0 with no band less than 6.5 for postgraduate studies.

2. McGill University

Ranked the 44th best University globally according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, McGill University is a public research-intensive university located in Montreal, Canada. The institution has International students from 150 countries, making it the most internationally diverse research-intensive University in Canada. The University also boasts 12 Nobel laureates and 147 Rhodes Scholars among its alumni and faculty, the most of any university in Canada.

McGill University accepts a minimum IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 for undergraduate courses and a score of 6.5 in all four components of the test for its postgraduate courses.

3. University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is a public and research-intensive University with Vancouver and Okanagan, Canada campuses. The University consistently ranks among the top 3 in Canada, and it is also currently ranked 37th globally based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The institution is highly renowned as a center for teaching, learning, and research excellence. 

The University of British Columbia accepts an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no part lower than 6.0 for undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

4. University of Alberta

Ranked as the 125th best University globally by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University of Alberta is a public and research-intensive university in Alberta, Canada. It also constantly ranks among the top 5 universities in the country. The University is highly regarded as a comprehensive academic and research university and boasts over 200 undergraduate and 500 graduate programs. 

The University of Alberta accepts an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no band lower than 6.0 for postgraduate and undergraduate courses.

5. McMaster University

McMaster University is a public and research-intensive University in Ontario, Canada. It currently ranks as the 80th best University globally based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The University is a part of the U15, an association of research-intensive universities in Canada.

 It is a highly ranked institution for its innovative approach to teaching and learning and is also credited as the pioneer of problem-based learning.

McMaster University requires an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component for undergraduate programs and an overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component for postgraduate programs.

6. The University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is a public and research-based University in Ontario, Canada. It ranks among the 201st – 250th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings.

The University runs the largest post-secondary cooperative education program globally, with over 20,000 undergraduate students enrolled in the University’s exponential learning program. The University is divided into six faculties, consisting of thirteen schools and over fifty academic departments.

The University of Waterloo accepts an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in all writing and speaking parts and 6.0 in reading and listening parts for undergraduate programs, and an overall score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and speaking parts for postgraduate programs.

7. University of Western Ontario

The University of Western Ontario, more popularly known as Western University, is a public research university in London, Ontario, Canada. It is renowned as a research-intensive university with a reputation for academic success.

It ranks between the 201st and 250th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings. The University offers over 400 specializations at the undergraduate level and 160 different postgraduate degrees.

The University of Western Ontario requires an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in all four parts for undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

8. University of Ottawa

Ranked 162nd best University in the world based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University of Ottawa is a public and research-based university in Ontario, Canada. The University is also the largest English -French bilingual University in the world. The institution boasts about 7,000 international students from 150 countries, making up 17% of the entire student population. 

It also offers a wide range of courses ranging from Medicine and Law to Management and Social Sciences programs.

The University of Ottawa requires a minimum IELTS overall score of 6.5 with a compulsory 6.5 score in writing for undergraduate programs and an IELTS testt score of 7.0 for postgraduate programs.

9. The University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a public and research-intensive university in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The institution is a member of the U15 research-intensive universities. It ranks among the 201st – 250th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings and one of Canada’s top research universities. 

The University prides itself on having graduate and undergraduate programs rich in research, hands-on experiences, and entrepreneurial thinking. It also intends to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities by 2022.

The University of Calgary accepts a minimum IELTS overall score of 6.5 for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

10. Queens University at Kingston

Queens University at Kingston is a public research university in Ontario, Canada. It ranks among the 251st – 300th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings.  Queen’s University is highly rated in Canada for student experience; it takes an inclusive approach and offers learning beyond the classroom, encouraging students to engage in extracurricular activities. 

Queens University at Kingston requires an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in all four components for undergraduate programs and a comprehensive test score of 7.0 for postgraduate programs.

11. Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University is a public research university in Nova Scotia, Canada. It ranks among the 251st – 300th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings. The University boasts notable alumni, including a Nobel Prize winner and 91 Rhodes Scholars.

Dalhousie University accepts an IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no lower than 6.0 in each band for undergraduate programs and an IELTS test score of 7.0 for graduate programs. 

12. Simon Fraser University

Ranked between the 201st – 250th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings, Simon Fraser University is a public research university in British Columbia, Canada. The University has also been ranked among the Times Higher Education list of 100 world universities under 50. The institution is highly regarded for its centers and institutes supporting collaborative research and education to address a wide range of global challenges. 

Simon Fraser University accepts an overall IELTS band score of 6.5 with no part less than 6.0 for undergraduate programs and 7.0 in the test with not less than 6.5 in each part for postgraduate programs.

13. University of Victoria 

The University of Victoria is one of Canada’s leading public, research-intensive universities in British Columbia, Canada. It ranks between the 301st – 350th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings. The University is also home to Canada’s first and only Indigenous Law degree program and dedicated research centers for Indigenous and Environmental law

The University of Victoria accepts an overall IELTS band score of 6.5 with no component less than 6.0 for undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

14. University of Saskatchewan

Ranking among the 501st – 600th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings, the University of Saskatchewan is a public research university located in Saskatoon, Canada. The institution is one of Canada’s top research universities and is a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Research intensive Universities. The University boasts world-leading research of global significance, such as water and food security and infectious diseases.

 The University of Saskatchewan requires an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with minimum component scores of 6.0 for undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

15. York University

York University is a public research university located in Toronto, Canada. It is Canada’s 4th largest University, and it ranks between the 401st – 500th best universities globally based on the Times Higher Education University Rankings. York university’s film department is home to Canada’s oldest film school. The institution has over 200 degree programs available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

York University requires an overall IELTS score of 6.5 for undergraduate programs and an overall test score of 7.0 for postgraduate programs.

Where Do Canadian Universities Stand According to QS World University Rankings in 2022?

World RankingName of UniversityIELTS Requirements
(Undergraduate)
IELTS Requirements
(Postgraduate)
26University of Toronto6.57.0
27McGill University6.56.5
46University of British Columbia6.56.5
126University of Alberta6.56.5
140McMaster University6.56.5
149University of Waterloo6.57.0
170Western University6.56.5
230University of Ottawa6.57.0
235University of Calgary6.56.5
240Queens University at Kingston6.57.0
272Dalhousie University6.57.0
298Simon Fraser University6.57.0
334University of Victoria6.56.5
458University of Saskatchewan6.56.5
494York University6.56.5

Which University Does Not Require IELTS in Canada?

It is possible to study in Canada without IELTS. Canadian universities that have substitute options for students who have not taken the test include.

The list of Canadian Universities that do not require IELTS include:

  • The University of Saskatchewan.
  • Brock University.
  • Concordia University.
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Universities that do not call for IELTS in Canada require the following alternatives from international students:

  • The student should have a certificate or other English Proficiency tests like TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, or PTE.
  • The student has adequate proof that they studied in an English medium school for at least four years to replace English proficiency scores.
  • The candidate comes from an English-speaking country such as the UK, Australia, or the United States of America.
  • Students who cannot provide English proficiency scores can opt-in for the English language course offered by the University.

FAQs About IELTS Scores for Universities in Canada

What is the Minimum IELTS Score Required for a Canada Study Visa 2021?

For undergraduate programs, the minimum IELTS overall score is 6.0, with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components.
For postgraduate programs, international students are required to score a minimum of 6.0 in all four IELTS components, with an overall score of 6.5.
These are the minimum IELTS requirements to get a Canadian student visa.

Is IELTS Band 5.5 Eligible for Canada?

A 5.5 overall IELTS score is considered low for applying to the top Canadian universities. Universities do not accept applications that do meet the minimum required band of 6.0. Universities, however, offer alternatives such as taking a foundational program before proceeding to your degree program or retaking the test.

Is 7.0 a Good Score in IELTS for Canadian Universities?

An IELTS score of 7.0 is generally considered a good score for Canadian universities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Often, for good Canadian universities, you typically need an overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in the four components. We’ve listed the minimum IELTS scores required for some of the top Canadian Universities in this particular article. See above for specific details.



Leave a Comment