THIS SITE

Information for

English language requirements

The University of Waterloo requires the following English language scores in addition to Grade 12 U English (or equivalent) if it is required for the program you are applying to.

You are not required to provide an English proficiency test score if you meet the criteria for one of the following exceptions:

Exception A: You have been educated in Canada and you meet one of the following criteria:

  • your first language is English or
  • you are a bilingual Francophone Canadian.

Exception B: Your first language is not English and your 4 most recent years of full-time education have been taught in an entirely English-language school system either in Canada or in another country.

  • If your 4 most recent years of full-time education have been in a country other than Canada, the following conditions apply:
    • Official transcripts indicating subjects taught, grades achieved, and language of instruction must be provided by your high school and/or post-secondary institution(s) to support your claim.
    • We will also consider official letters from the school’s Principal or Head of Guidance verifying that all subjects (excluding language courses) are taught in English.
    • Official documents must arrive by the deadline.
    • English as a Second Language programs do not qualify you for this exemption and cannot be included in the number of years of full-time education in an English-language school system.

You are required to MEET or EXCEED the minimum required English test score if:

  • Your first language is not English and
  • Your 4 most recent years of full-time education have not been in an English-language school system.

Required English language scores

  • The following chart lists English proficiency tests that are accepted for admission consideration. Tests that do not appear on this chart are not accepted for admission consideration.
  • Choose one of the test options and register for a test date well in advance of Waterloo's deadlines.
Test Minimum score

Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) - Test Of English as a Foreign Language

90 overall
25 writing
25 speaking

IELTS AcademicInternational English Language Testing System

Note: Incorrect scores were listed in the Faculty of Engineering admissions brochure. The scores listed here are correct.

6.5 overall
6.5 writing
6.5 speaking
6.0 reading
6.0 listening

MELAB - Michigan English Language Assessment Battery

85 overall
80 per section
3.0 speaking

CAEL - Canadian Academic English Language Assessment

70 overall
70 writing
70 speaking
60 reading
60 listening

PTE Academic - Pearson Test of English

63 overall
65 writing
65 speaking

EFAS - English for Academic Success

Overall 75% at the 400-level
75% in each of academic, oral, and writing

Are your test scores below the requirements?

You still may be eligible for admission.

  • If your English language test scores do not meet the requirements but you meet our academic admission requirements, you may still qualify for conditional admission through the Bridge to Academic Success in English (available in most programs, except the Faculty of Mathematics).
  • If you are applying to the Faculty of Mathematics and your English scores are below the required levels, you may be eligible for conditional admission through the English Language for Academic Studies program.

Important notes

  • Your 4 most recent years of full-time education must be immediately before the beginning of the month you start your studies at Waterloo.
  • The English language requirements stated above are minimum required scores. Applicants with higher scores may be given preference for some programs.
  • English language proficiency scores are considered valid if completed within 2 years of the date of admission assessment. Because applications are evaluated at different times throughout the admissions process, we strongly recommend that your test be completed on, or after, September 1, 2015 to guarantee that your test will be eligible for September 2017 admission.
    • If you're applying to start in January 2018, we strongly recommend that your test be completed on, or after, January 1, 2016.
  • Paper-based TOEFL will be considered on an individual case-by-case basis.
  • Students achieving an overall IELTS score of 7.0 and no band score below 6.0 may be given individual consideration for admission to full-time undergraduate studies.
  • For some programs, individual consideration may be given for an iBT overall score of 90 (writing and/or speaking of 23 or 24).
  • The University reserves the right to withdraw any offer of admission if an applicant fails to meet the minimum English language requirements for the program to which he or she has applied.
  • If you have completed your 4 most recent years of full-time education in an English-language school system and you also provide a failing English language test score, the University reserves the right to withdraw your Offer of Admission or refuse admission.
  • The University reserves the right to request an English language test result from any applicant.

More information

Improving your English

Take advantage of the many ways to improve your English before attending Waterloo or while you're a student here.