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IELTS Requirements for Canada’s Top Universities

IELTS Requirements -magoosh

Canada has over 265,000 international students, ranking as the seventh most popular country in the world for overseas students who want to pursue their university education abroad.  This is not surprising considering Canada’s top three universities are ranked within the global top 50 of the 2015/2016 QS World University Rankings® and a further 10 are in the top 300.  Therefore, if you are looking to study at an elite university, in one of the world’s most developed nations, applying to study in Canada can be an attractive option. Would you like to be one of them?

Well, now is the time to apply, as schools are actively recruiting the best and the brightest to study there over the next few years in a bid to double their international student numbers by 2022.  However, to be considered you will need to have the right English proficiency requirements for each. Let’s take a look at the top 4 universities in Canada and find out the IELTS scores required for each (and what you can do to work towards that score).

1. McGill University

Ranked 24th in the world, McGill University is the highest ranking university in Canada. Based in Montreal, the university has international students from over 150 countries.  If you are looking for a medical-doctoral university then this is the school for you as it has been voted first in Canada in this area for the last 10 consecutive years.

  • International students wanting to study here will need an overall IELTS band score of 6.5 or better and individual component scores of 6.0 or better on the Academic version. 
  • The regular Academic test and the test for UKVI are both accepted. 
  • They will accept paper score reports mailed directly by IELTS, ONLY if the test centre is unable to provide results electronically.

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2. University of Toronto McGill University

Ranked 34th in the world, the University of Toronto is located in Canada’s largest city. Its specialist degree programs include literary criticism, communication and theory.  They are also know for their range of research innovations, including being the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research.

  • Proficiency in the English language must be demonstrated by all applicants educated outside Canada whose primary language is not English. This is a requirement of admission and should be met before application, but must be met before the deadline to register.
  • An overall IELTS Academic Score of 7.0 is the minimum required.
  • Test results that are older than two years at the time of application cannot be accepted. In these circumstances, the applicant must retake the English-language proficiency test.

3. University of British Columbia

Over on the west coast, the University of British Columbia ranks 50th in the world and is home to almost 60,000 students (almost 12,000 of whom are international students) at its campuses in Vancouver and Kelowna.

  • Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application.
  • Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
  • A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is required with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component of the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.
  • Individual graduate programs may require higher English language proficiency scores, and may require minimum scores on individual components of the test. Please check individual program websites to verify English language score requirements.
  • UBC requires an official score to be sent to them electronically from the test centre.

4. University of Alberta

Ranked joint 96th in the world in the QS World University Rankings this year, the University of Alberta is particularly well-respected for its arts and humanities courses.

  • A total IELTS Academic score of at least 6.5 is required, with no section less than 5.0.
  • Applicants to the teaching and health sciences disciplines need a further level of Spoken English Proficiency in addition to demonstrating overall English language proficiency. Here a minimum score of 7.5 in the Academic Speaking section is required.
  • Fulfillment of the listed requirements does not guarantee admission. Even if the English standards are met, the University of Alberta reserves the right to use discretion in determining language proficiency.

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46 Responses to IELTS Requirements for Canada’s Top Universities

  1. Siddhant July 21, 2017 at 1:14 am #

    Are IELTS general test scores relevant for applying PHD to these universities.

    • Eliot Friesen
      Eliot Friesen July 28, 2017 at 9:03 am #

      Unfortunately, no they’re not. Universities require the Academic IELTS. It is a more challenging exam that demonstrates your ability to perform academic tasks in English.

    • Dhaval August 2, 2017 at 6:47 am #

      IELTS general accept in few universities like Canadian Technology College.

  2. Sumanth September 3, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

    I got ielts overall score is 6. My individual sections score is speaking 5.5 listening 6.0 reading 6.5. Can I get admission in canadian university offering course (masters degree in data analytics).

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 7, 2017 at 10:21 am #

      Based on those scores, the one university in this article that would accept you is the University of Alberta. I know that they have graduate degrees in computer science, although I’m not sure if they have a Data Analytics emphasis. If University of Alberta would accept you,t here are probably other respectable Canadian schools that would take you as well, and some of them might just have the exact Master’s programme your’e looking for. I’d say look around and see what you can find.

      • anokita January 19, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

        Hi, I have got 6.5 overall score. 6.5-listening, 6-writing, 5.5-reading, 7.5 speaking. Also, I have 3 years of work experience with EY. Is GMAT mandate or Just IELTS would do for masters or MBA program.

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 19, 2018 at 4:57 pm #

          Hi Anokita,

          You’ll have to do some research and find out the school’s requirements directly from their website. Each program and department might have different requirements, so it’s best to check directly with your target schools to see what the requirements are 🙂 Good luck!

  3. sivaram September 21, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    my score is over all 6.00
    L=6
    S=6
    R=6
    W=6
    am i going to get good universities?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Sivaram,

      Maybe! But it depends on the universities. I think typically a 7 across the board is a much safer score to get into your desired university, but you should research the places you want to go to verify. 🙂

      • Tanveer November 24, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

        Hi I got 6.5 overall score and 6.5 in all individual scores except writing , I got 5.5 in writing . Can i get admission in masters in public health in university of alberts

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 28, 2017 at 10:51 am #

          It looks like you’ll probably need a higher score. On the Public Health page of U Alberta, I see an IELTS requirement of 7.0, with 6.5 in each section. So unless they’re willing to be flexible for students with lower scores, it looks like you’ll need to retake the IELTS to be eligible. (To find out if U Alberta can be flexible, you’ll need to contact them directly and ask.)

  4. Nikhil Sharda October 14, 2017 at 8:07 am #

    My overall band scroes in ielts academic is 6.5 .in individual modules i got 7 in listening and speaking and 6.5 and 6 in reading and writing respectively.. can i get admission in post graduation or masters in canadian universities or it will b very hard.. pls reply ..

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 14, 2017 at 11:14 am #

      Hi Nikhil,

      It will depend on the individual universities and whether they have conditional acceptance options. You should research the schools you want to attend and make your choices based on that. Good luck! 🙂

  5. Dan October 17, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    Hey, my overall IELTS band score is 7 bands. Individually I got 7.5 bands in the listening module, 7 in the reading module, 7 in the writing one and 6 in the speaking module. Is this a good band score? I’m a little worried about my speaking band score, even though most Canadian universities do accept a band score of 6 in IELTS speaking (except Alberta and a few others). Should I start applying to universities now? or is my band score on the speaking module really bad?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 18, 2017 at 10:16 am #

      Hi Dan,

      It is not really bad, but if you are applying to universities that require a minimum of 7 in each skill, you may not be admitted (or you may get conditional admission). I would do my homework if I were you (e.g. making sure I know the admissions requirements of my dream universities) so that you can determine the best course of action. Good luck! 🙂

  6. nishant October 18, 2017 at 3:49 am #

    I got ielts overall score is 6. My individual sections score is speaking 6.5 listening 6 reading 5 writing 5.5. Can I get admission in canadian university offering course (masters degree in management in information system).

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 18, 2017 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Nishant,

      The answer is “maybe” but it depends on each university! Gave you done some research into what those specific programs are asking for? That will be your best source of information. 🙂

  7. Neharika October 25, 2017 at 2:02 am #

    Hi, For Masters Do these universities require GMAT also?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 25, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

      Hi Neharika,

      That depends on your program. Some will require the GMAT and others will require the GRE. You should do careful research to determine which is required. 🙂

  8. Rahul November 3, 2017 at 7:27 pm #

    Hello magoosh ,

    My IELTS Overall band score is 7
    L 8
    R 7.5
    W 6
    S 7
    Should I re-write the test one more time to apply for top universities in Canada ?
    My area of interest is Computer Science and Engineering.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

      Hi Rahul,

      If you think you can improve on this score, it is definitely worth re-writing the test. But if you think your time would be better spent working on other aspects of your application, I do not think your IELTS score is bad by any means!

  9. charan November 22, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    hello magoosh ,

    My IELTS Overall band score is 6.0

    Listening 6.5
    Reading 6.0
    Writing 5.5
    Speaking 6.0
    Can i get admit in any of those top universities?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 22, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Charan,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so it’s difficult to give you a good answer to this question. However, most of these universities require at least a 6 in each band score and a higher overall band score that what you received. I recommend that you contact the universities directly for more information, but you may want to consider studying for a retake if you want to be competitive at these schools!

  10. raj November 25, 2017 at 8:59 am #

    hi, i got overall 6.0 in ielts
    individual band score
    L:6
    R:6
    W::6
    S:5.5
    can i get admission in the stream of telecommunications for masters in universities?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 28, 2017 at 10:19 am #

      At that score, you definitely can get into some graduate programs in mid-tier universities. However, a 6.0 overall with a 5.5 in Speaking will make it harder to get into top schools. As you can see from this very article, the very top schools in Canada won’t accept your current IELTS score.

  11. Sushanti November 28, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    Hello Magoosh,

    I want to know whether masters in engineering management require any experience. I competed my bachelors in Electronics and communication engineering. I have written my IELTS and got a score of 6.5 overall. And I also want to know the courses that are booming right now. I want to know the job prospectus and opportunities in engineering management. Awaiting for your reply.

    Thanking you
    Yours Sincerely,
    Sushanti

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 28, 2017 at 10:12 am #

      Hi Sushanti,

      So many good questions! Unfortunately, none of your questions have simple answers.

      Having experience definitely is a plus if you’re applying to a Masters in Engineering Management. However, not all such grad programs have a strict requirement of work experience. Some programs only strongly encourage experience, while others only hire people with a certain amount of past work history/management track record. You’d have to check with individual grad programs to see their exact requirements.

      As for the current state of the job market, that too depends on a lot of factors. Job markets are different in different countries and different regions within a country. In general, the engineering job market has been doing well in the world as a whole, which means that a variety of engineering fields and positions are hiring right now. How that will change in the future and how that will work out for you depends on many different factors. So you’ll want to research that carefully yourself, or talk to a career adviser.

  12. Imran November 28, 2017 at 10:09 am #

    Do they(top versities of Canada) count the IELTS score to provide scholarships for undergraduate coursess?If yes,what’s the safe score.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 28, 2017 at 10:14 am #

      Very often your IELTS score can influence your ability to get scholarships. With that said, every scholarship granting organization has different rules and standards, and many scholarships are specific to one individual university. Check with your prospective schools to see what kind of funding might be available, and how IELTS scores impact grant eligibility.

  13. Pallav Jhaveri December 2, 2017 at 6:09 am #

    Hi Magoosh,

    My IELTS band score is 7.5

    L: 8.5
    R:7
    W:7
    S:6.5

    Can I get admission in any of the top Canadian Universities for masters in Computer Science?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 4, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

      Hi Pallav,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid I can’t give you more information than what we already provide in this blog post! Your score exceeds the minimum requirements for these schools, so your IELTS score at least will not count against you! I recommend that you research the schools and their requirements for international students, and investigate what other admissions requirements you have to fulfill–the IELTS is only one test, after all, and there are many other factors to consider for admission!

  14. Vedant Thakor January 3, 2018 at 4:33 am #

    Sir, is ielts exam is enough to get admission in master of engineering for civil engineering. In any university and plas give me target that how much I have to score. I have my bachelor’s degree with around 8 gpa For sure

    Plssssssss guide me cause I need to prepare for this exams . Tq 😊

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 4, 2018 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Vedant,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid I can’t be very helpful here. I recommend that you look directly on the websites for some of your target schools and determine their admission requirements. Some schools will require other tests like the GRE for admission, so you should be sure to do your research and understand the requirements!

  15. Ali January 20, 2018 at 12:12 am #

    I have done IELTS in general module (6.5 band). Any university accepting this?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm #

      Hi Ali,

      Congrats on taking the IELTS! Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid I can’t provide any more guidance than what we already wrote in this blog post! I suggest that you use this blog post as a starting point and then do some more research into specific schools to see what their IELTS requirements are! Good luck 🙂

  16. Monika January 20, 2018 at 3:03 am #

    My overall score is 6
    Reading 5
    Listening 6
    Speaking 6.5
    Writing 6
    Can anyone suggest me which university suits to my profile
    Am intrested in master in computer science

  17. Tarun January 24, 2018 at 11:32 pm #

    My scores are 6.5 academic( ielts). I am looking for LLM masters from any good university. kindly guide in regarding to this matter.
    Thank you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 26, 2018 at 3:03 pm #

      Hi Tarun,

      First, congrats on taking the IELTS! Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so unfortunately I can’t provide any tips beyond what we discuss in this blog post. I suggest that you start your search here and then move on to see what other universities might fit your interests and profile 🙂 Good luck!

  18. Febin Antony February 13, 2018 at 5:06 am #

    My name is Febin Antony, I got L&R -7.5 , S -7 but W- 5.5 . Shall I get admission for Post Graduate diploma in Biotechnology . Please reply

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 13, 2018 at 7:54 am #

      Hi Febin,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid I can’t really answer this question well Besides, this really depends on the schools and programs you are applying to. Each program sets their own requirements for admission, and I recommend that you research your target schools and determine their particular requirements! Good luck 🙂

  19. Charan February 17, 2018 at 3:44 am #

    Hi,
    My overall score in ielts is 6
    Listening 6.5
    Reading 6
    Writing 6
    speaking 5.5

    i’m done with my graduation and my planning to do my post graduation in canada

    will i get an admission in civil engineering universities with the mentioned ielts score ?

    please suggest.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

      I know a lot of Canadian universities and graduate programs will accept you with those IELTS scores. TO find out your prospects for civil engineering specifically, I recommend checking with the various civil engineering degree programs in Canada. See the official full list of Canada’s civil engineering degree programs and check each one. (Don’t worry, it’s a relatively short, manageable list. 🙂 )

  20. Ananth February 17, 2018 at 10:06 am #

    I have got my IELTS score 6.5 average but I got 5.5 in writing will they be any universities or colleges that would accept my score to do masters

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 18, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

      That’s hard to say. It depends a lot on the program and the school. And it’s also important to remember that if you have a a strong academic record or an impressive CV, some programs may be willing to accept you even if you’re below their preferred minimum IELTS score. The good news is that this is fairly easy to research. There are only 43 universities in all of Australia. I recommend checking the Australian government’s official list of universities, which includes website links and contact information. Make a list of the schools with degree programs you’re interested in and check websites for requirements. If you have other qualifications which may impress schools, you could even contact schools that require more than a 5.5 in writing and see if they can consider you anyway.

  21. Shreya February 19, 2018 at 8:22 pm #

    is ielts score enough for doing MBA in those universities or do i need to write anyother exam like GRE and GMAT

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 21, 2018 at 11:41 am #

      Most Canadian MBA programs will require the GRE or GMAT in additional to an English proficiency test like the IELTS. Usually they require the GMAT rather than the GRE.


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