Your Guide to Studying in Canada Without IELTS 2024 | Universities & Alternatives

Securing admission to Canadian universities as an international student sans the IELTS entails meeting specific criteria and opting for alternative assessments. Admission to esteemed Canadian universities without an IELTS score is indeed viable, with over 20 institutions embracing this approach.

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Your Guide to Studying in Canada Without IELTS 2024

These universities employ diverse parameters beyond the confines of IELTS tests to evaluate English language proficiency.

Canadian universities have diversified their criteria by incorporating various IELTS alternatives, such as the Duolingo English Test.

Some universities also consider English Language Proficiency certifications from prior academic institutions, while applicants from certain nationalities may be exempted from presenting IELTS scores.

Moreover, several Canadian universities waive English test requirements if the applicant's university or institute is listed in the WHED Portal.

For comprehensive information on Canadian universities waiving the need for IELTS, along with insights on securing admission sans IELTS, refer to the detailed breakdown below.

List of Universities in Canada Allowing Admission Without IELTS

Looking to pursue studies in Canada without the hassle of IELTS? Here's a compilation of esteemed Canadian universities that offer admission without the requirement of an IELTS score:

The University of Alberta (Faculty-specific criteria apply)

  • University of Winnipeg
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Cambrian College
  • Seneca College
  • Brock University
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Okanagan College
  • University of Guelph
  • McGill University
  • Algoma University
  • Brandon University
  • Carleton University
  • University of Regina
  • Concordia University
  • University of Prince Edward Island

Study Without IELTS in Canada

  • Attain English Language Proficiency Validation: Obtain proof of English language proficiency from your previous educational institution. This documentation serves as a credible alternative to an IELTS score, verifying that the candidate has completed their prior degree from an English-medium institute.
  • Exemption for English-Speaking Nationals: Individuals hailing from English-speaking nations such as the UK, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Canada, and other officially recognized English-speaking countries are typically exempt from the obligation to undertake the IELTS or any other alternative language proficiency tests.

Leveraging the WHED Portal for IELTS Exemption

The World Higher Education Database (WHED) Portal stands as a comprehensive online repository offering authoritative insights into global higher education systems, academic credentials, and institutions.

For prospective students eyeing Canadian universities, an interesting pathway to skip the IELTS requirement involves universities listed within the WHED Portal. If your prior university instructs in English and is listed on WHED, Canadian immigration authorities recognize these institutions for meeting English language proficiency standards that align with their requisites.

Numerous Canadian universities extend an English test waiver for applicants whose former educational institutions feature on the WHED Portal. However, for universities not included in WHED, an IELTS score might be necessary.

Here's a sample of Canadian universities available on the WHED Portal, enabling applicants to apply without the need for IELTS:

  1. University of Toronto
  2. McGill University
  3. University of British Columbia
  4. McMaster University
  5. University of Alberta
  6. University of Montreal
  7. Queen’s University
  8. University of Waterloo
  9. Western University
  10. University of Calgary

Please note, this compilation isn't exhaustive. It's advisable to consult the admissions office of your chosen university for the most current information.

Explore the WHED Portal website:

Steps to Locate Your University on the WHED Portal

  • Visit:
  • Locate the search bar on the right side of the page.
  • Choose your country or enter relevant keywords. For instance, select "Pakistan."
  • Choose your university, such as LUMS, from the list.
  • Check the institution's listed language of instruction. If it's only listed as "English," congratulations! Students from this university may apply to Canadian universities without needing IELTS scores.

Current English Proficiency Criteria Set by Select Universities

University of Winnipeg

  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 120
  • TOEFL iBT Test: Minimum score of 86 with no section less than 20.
  • Cambridge Assessment English (CAE): C1 Advanced - Minimum score of 180
  • Cambridge Assessment English (CAE): C2 Proficiency - Minimum score of 180
  • Cambridge Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): Minimum score of 60
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Minimum score of 58
  • Other specific program requirements detailed by University.

University of Saskatchewan

  • TOEFL iBT: Overall score of 86 with minimum scores of 19 in each section
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced: Overall score of 176
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Overall score of 115 with minimum scores of 95 in each area
  • PTE Academic: Overall score of 63 with minimum scores of 59 in each area
  • Other program-specific language criteria provided by the University.

 Cambrian College 

vary based on the program level. For TOEFL's Internet-based test, a score of 80 is needed for Diploma/Certificate programs, 84 for Grad Certificates, and 88 for Degrees. Meanwhile, the Paper-based TOEFL requires scores of 550, 570, and 58 for Diploma/Certificate, Grad Certificate, and Degrees, respectively. PTE scores of 58, 61, and 58 are necessary for Diploma Certificate, Grad Certificate, and Degrees. For Duolingo, applicants should aim for scores between 105 to 115 for Diploma/Certificate programs and above 120 for Grad Certificates.

Seneca College

  • CAEL CE and CAEL Online: Minimum score of 60
  • Cambridge English Exams (B2 First/FCE, C1 Advanced/CAE, or C2 Proficiency/CPE): Minimum score of 169 with no skill below 162
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 58
  • TOEFL iBT (including MyBest TOEFL and Home Edition): Minimum score of 80 with no section below 20
  • TOEFL Revised Paper Delivered: No skill below 20

Algoma University

  • CAEL: Minimum score of 60
  • Cambridge English Qualifications: Overall score of 176 with no band less than 169
  • Duolingo: Overall score of 110 (no individual band below 90)
  • TOEFL: 550 (paper-based) or 79 (Computer or Home Edition)
  • PTE: Minimum score of 60
  • ENG4U (OSSD) or ENGL12 (BC Curriculum): Completion of a 3-year full-time course with a minimum grade of 70%
  • Students completing the International Baccalaureate may also meet language requirements.


Don't let IELTS be a barrier to your ambitions. Numerous alternatives exist. Explore, research, and discover the most suitable path for your aspirations

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