English as a Second Language

The language of instruction at Carleton is English. For admission into Carleton’s graduate programs, you will need to demonstrate that your knowledge and use of English are strong enough for graduate studies at an English-language university.

If your first language is not English, you can prove your language proficiency by:

  • presenting one of the official Language Proficiency (ESL) test score as defined in the table below;
  • showing that you have completed ESLA 1900 or ESLA 1905 at Carleton University with a final grade of B- or higher; or
  • present official certification (transcripts) that you have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree within the past three years in a university in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or any country in which the primary language is English, where the language of instruction in the relevant educational institution was English, and the language of instruction in their most recently completed undergraduate or graduate degree was English.

Note: Letters from your universities stating the medium of instruction is English are not acceptable.

Minimum Language Proficiency (ESL) test score requirement:

 Language Proficiency Test Score
Canadian Academic English Language Test (CAEL) 70
Paper-based TOEFL 580
Internet-based TOEFL 86 (20 in reading and listening; 22 in speaking and writing)
IELTS (Academic) 6.5 IELTS (min 6.0 in each band)
Pearson Test of English (PTE) (Academic) 60 overall (min 60 in each Communicative Skill)

Please note that some graduate programs may require a higher level of understanding of the English language and will have higher ESL requirements. It is your responsibility to review and meet the minimum requirements of the program to which you are applying. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs reserves the right to require further documentation or additional testing if they feel it necessary to demonstrate the required level of English language proficiency.

Applicants whose first language is French must present transcripts to indicate that they have taken their previous degree in English or a submit an English-language test result.

Admission with an ESL Requirement (Foundation Program)

Students who present scores slightly below our minimum requirements, may be eligible for an offer of admission with an ESL requirement. This means that Carleton will admit you to your degree program with the requirement that you complete English language classes through Carleton’s Foundation Program. The Foundation Program allows you to earn academic credits while developing the English language skills required for full-time study.

There is no separate application process for students entering the Foundation Program. Students who apply with slightly lower test scores will be automatically considered for admission with an ESL requirement. Students who successfully complete this program will be eligible to begin full-time degree studies.

Please note that graduate students are only eligible to be enrolled in ESLA 1500 or 1900 and that not all graduate departments are able to offer this program.