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English language proficiency

Since English is the primary language of instruction and communication at McGill, you must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English, regardless of your citizenship status or country of origin.

McGill University has this language requirement to ensure that all students will have the opportunity for success in their chosen program. Below you will find information on when proof of proficiency is required, not required and where exemptions may occur.

Proof of proficiency - not required

Normally, if you meet any one of the following conditions you are not required to submit proof of proficiency in English:

  • Mother tongue (language first learned and still used on a daily basis) is English
  • Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction
  • Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized institution in Canada or the United States of America (anglophone or francophone)
  • Has lived and attended university, or been employed, for at least four consecutive years, in a country where English is the acknowledged primary language.

Proof of proficiency – required

If you do not meet any of the above-listed conditions, you must demonstrate proficiency in English using one of the following options:

  • 1. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum acceptable scores are:

    iBT (internet based test)PBT (paper based test)
    86 overall, (no less than 20 in each of the four component scores) 567

    The CBT is no longer being offered. CBT results will no longer be accepted as ETS no longer reports these results.

    N.B. an institutional version of the TOEFL is not acceptable.

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a band score of 6.5 or greater (Academic module) 

    Effective for applicants to Winter 2015,  McGill University only accepts IELTS scores submitted electronically by an IELTS test center. No paper test report forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Applicants must directly ask the test center where the test is taken to send the test scores to McGill electronically using the IELTS system.  IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to McGill.  

  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): a mark of 85% or higher
  • University of Cambridge ESOL Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): a grade of “B” (Good) or higher
  • University of Cambridge ESOL Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): a grade of “C” (Pass) or higher
  • Edexcel London Test of English – Level 4 – with an overall grade of at least “Merit Pass”
  • Edexcel London Test of English – Level 5 – with an overall grade of at least “Pass”
  • McGill Certificate of Proficiency in English or McGill Certificate of Proficiency – English for Professional Communication: Certificate of Proficiency awarded.

In each case, you must ensure that the official test results are sent directly to McGill (Institution Code: 0935) by the testing service. Students cannot upload their results themselves, nor can administration upload paper copies of their results. Applications cannot be considered if test results are not available. These scores are the general minimum; some departments may set higher requirements.


Applicants who have completed a degree program at universities in the following countries may be exempt from showing proof of proficiency in English.

Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Australia
Bahamas Barbados Belize
Bhutan Botswana Canada
Cayman Islands Dominica Eritrea
Ethiopia Fiji Gambia
Ghana Grenada Guyana
Hong Kong* India Ireland
Jamaica Kenya Kiribati
Lesotho Liberia Malawi
Marshall Islands Micronesia Namibia
New Zealand Nigeria Palau
Papua New Guinea Pakistan Saint Kitts & Nevis
Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Seychelles
Sierra Leone Singapore Solomon Islands
South Africa± Swaziland Tanzania
Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Uganda
United Kingdom United States of America Zambia

*Applicants from the Chinese University of Hong Kong are required to provide proof of English proficiency.

±Some applicants from South Africa may be required to provide proof of English proficiency as not all universities teach in English.


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