Language requirements

Courses at the University of Ottawa are given in English, French or both languages. You must master one of the two languages to be admitted. We reserve the right to request the result of a language test at any time if necessary.

English-language programs

If you’re applying for an English-language program and have not completed at least three years of full-time study in an institution where English is the only language of instruction (aside from in language courses) in a country where English is an official language, you must submit your official score in one of the following language tests. The official results must be sent directly to us online from the test centre.

We also offer language test exemptions.

Remember: Language requirements are not based on citizenship. They are based on your country of study.

Countries and regions eligible for an English language test exemption

You do not have to pass an English language test if you have completed your studies in one of the locations listed below, as long you have completed three years of full-time studies in an institution where English is the only language of instruction.

If you are not sure whether you must pass a language test, contact the admissions office.

Remember: The University of Ottawa reserves the right to request the results of a language test at any time and to refuse a language test exemption request.

Anguilla
Antigua & Barbuda
Australia
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Bermuda
Botswana
Canada
Dominica
Eritrea
Falkland Island
Fiji
Gambia
Ghana
Grenada
Guam
Guyana
Hong Kong
Ireland
Jamaica
Kenya
Kiribati
Lesotho
Liberia
Malawi
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Micronesia
New Zealand
Nigeria
Pakistan
Palau
Papua New Guinea
The Philippines
Puerto Rico
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
South Africa
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Sudan
Tanzania
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Kingdom
United States
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Other possibilities of exemptions

We might offer you an exemption if you meet, or are in the process of meeting, one of the following conditions: 

  • achieving a final grade of 70% or higher in an English 4U course while working towards your Ontario Secondary School Diploma at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board or the Ottawa Catholic School Board
  • passing at least 18 Ontario secondary school courses excluding ESL and technical courses (or the equivalent in another Canadian province) while studying at a school physically located in Canada 
  • passing the International Baccalaureate English A course with a minimum grade of 4
  • passing a GCE A or AS Level English (non-ESL) course with a minimum grade of B. O Level or GCSE/IGCSE English is not sufficient for an exemption.
  • passing the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition course with a grade of 4
  • achieving a score of 31 on the SAT writing section
  • passing the CBSE or CISCE senior English subject with a final grade of 75% (Indian grading scale). If you are currently attending secondary school, interim grades (for example, pre-board exam results) will be used.

If you are in the process of meeting one of these requirements, you must provide interim grades.

If you believe you meet one of these requirements and that the University should exempt you from having to submit the results of an English language proficiency test, email admissions@uOttawa.ca.

The University of Ottawa reserves the right to refuse exemption requests.

Language tests

You must achieve the scores below for all programs offered in a direct-entry faculty. Even if you achieve the required score, we reserve the right to have you take language courses if we feel that your knowledge of one of our two official languages is not satisfactory. All language proficiency tests must be completed less than two years before the date of application for admission to the University of Ottawa.

Required scores

IELTS (University of Ottawa Institution Code: 0993)

Test Overall score Writing section
IELTS 6.5 6.5

Your official IELTS results must be sent to us electronically directly from the test centre. Be sure to include our institution name in the STED RO section of your request as well as our institution code (code 0993) with the option to electronically transmit test scores.

The University of Ottawa is authorized to receive test scores electronically. However, keep the following in mind:

  • Submitting your TFR (test report form) number is not sufficient to send your results.
  • Be advised that we only accept academic IELTS test results.
  • Ensure that the name and date of birth indicated on your test is the same as what you entered on your University of Ottawa application.

TOEFL (University of Ottawa Institution Code: 0993)

Test

Overall score

Writing section

Listening section

Reading section

Internet-based (IBT)

86

22

n/a

n/a

Paper-delivered

n/a

22

20

20

Other tests

Test

Overall score

Writing section

University of Ottawa CanTEST

Averaged listening and reading: 4.5

4

CAEL

70

60

PTE

60

60

CAE

C1

n/a

 

English Intensive Program (EIP)

Depending on your language test scores, you might be admitted with language conditions. You may be required to enrol in one or two English-as-a-second-language courses during first year or complete the English Intensive Program (EIP).

The English Intensive Program is a great way to improve your English language skills and prepare to enrol at the University of Ottawa. You might have to enrol in and pass the EIP before you can start your program. If you pass the most advanced EIP course (ESL 0140) with a final grade of B or higher, you will not have to pass one of the above language tests.

Note: Students who have applied for admission to the Telfer School of Management are not eligible for the English Intensive Program.

Required test

Minimum score for conditional admission with enrolment in the English Intensive Program

TOEFL Internet based

Overall score of 60 and writing score of 20

or

Overall score of 70 and writing score of 16

IELTS

Overall score of 4.5 and writing score of 5

or

Overall score of 5 and writing score of 4.5

Learn more about the English Intensive Program (EIP)

Contact the EIP:

Second Language Intensive Programs
Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute 
eip@uOttawa.ca

 

 

French-language programs

If you’re applying for a French-language program and have not completed at least three years of full-time study in an institution where French is the only language of instruction (aside from in language courses) in a country where French is an official language, you must submit your official score in one of the following language tests.

We also offer language test exemptions for international students studying a Canadian curriculum.

Remember: Language requirements are not based on citizenship. They are based on your country of study.

Required level of study by country

You do not have to pass a French language test if you have completed your studies in one of the locations listed below, as long you have completed three years of full-time studies in an institution where French is the only language of instruction.

If you are not sure whether you must pass a language test, contact the admissions office.

Remember: The University of Ottawa reserves the right to request the results of a language test at any time and to refuse a language test exemption request.

Countries eligible for a French language test exemption

Algeria
Andorra
Belgium
Benin
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Canada
Chad
Comoros
Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo
Ivory Coast
Djibouti
France
Equatorial Guinea
French Guiana
Gabon
Guinea
Haiti
Madagascar
Mali
Mauritius
Monaco
Niger
Senegal
Seychelles
Switzerland
Tunisia

Language tests

You must achieve the scores below for all programs offered in a direct-entry faculty. Even if you achieve the required score, we reserve the right to have you take language courses if we feel that your knowledge of one of our two official languages is not satisfactory. All language proficiency tests must be completed less than two years before the date of application for admission to the University of Ottawa.

Test

Required Score

DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française)

C1 or C2

DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française)

B2 

TEF Études (Test d’évaluation de français)

B2 

TCF (Test de connaissance du français)

*All three mandatory components of the test must be completed

B2

TESTCan

4

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