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English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirement

What is the English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirement?

Writing and other communication skills are essential to student learning and performance. Therefore, all University of Waterloo undergraduate students must demonstrate their ability to write effectively in order to support their studies at the university level. To meet the ELP requirement, most students must either pass an approved writing course with a minimum grade (approved courses and minimum grades are determined by faculty), or successfully pass the ELP exam (ELPE).

I am a University of Waterloo undergraduate student. When do I fulfill this requirement?

I am interested in a writing course.

I would like to try to write the English Language Proficiency exam (ELPE).

I am a University of Waterloo undergraduate student. When do I fulfill this requirement?

You should try to meet this requirement within your first year of study at the University of Waterloo. To make sure that you are developing the writing and communication skills required for your academic success, it’s important that you begin building your skills as early as possible.

I am interested in a writing course.

That’s great! Some faculties prefer that you attempt the ELPE first, and all faculties have a list of approved courses, so check your faculty’s requirements in the Undergraduate calendar. The benefit of a course is that you will develop your writing for a variety of contexts and build your skills as a writer for the long term.  We strongly encourage students to choose this route, and our teaching associates are excellent resources if you need help along the way.

I would like to try to write the English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE).

If you are enrolled in a faculty that accepts the ELPE, you may write the exam only once.

You can make one attempt to pass the ELPE. If you are unsuccessful, you will need to enroll in a writing course as soon as possible.

The What do I need to know about the English Language Proficiency Exam? section provides you with more information on preparing for the ELPE.