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 and how to provide proof of proficiency.

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:

In response to COVID-19, both the IELTS and TOEFL tests have been made available online for students who are unable to take the tests at a test center.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum acceptable scores are:

    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.

    • IBT (Internet-Based Test): 86 overall, no less than 20 in each of the four component scores
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a band score of 6.5 or greater (Academic module)

    The regular Academic test and the UKVI test are both accepted. A band score of 6.5 or better. For further information: IELTS website.
     
    McGill accepts only scores submitted electronically by an IELTS test center, and no longer accepts paper TRFs (Test Report Forms) directly from test centres and candidates. Please contact the test center where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent electronically to McGill. You can verify receipt of your results directly in uApply;  please allow  an appropriate delay as McGill receives IELTS results on an ongoing basis.

    Important note to applicants considering the IELTS test: We have received several reports from applicants of significantly delayed delivery of scores from various IELTs test centres. If you choose to take the IELTS test, please allow extra time for delivery and make sure that the test centre is clear on the mechanism to send results to McGill.

  • 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.


Please note that these are minimum acceptable scores. The McGill graduate department to which you are applying may require higher test scores. Please verify the program-specific requirements here.

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.

Please note that the Duolingo English Test (DET) is not accepted for admission to graduate programs at McGill University.

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