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English Language Requirements

There is no minimum English level required for admission to an academic program (University Transfer/Associate Degree or University Foundation program) at Columbia College.  However, all new students must demonstrate their ability in English before they register and start classes, and students with a lower level of English will be scheduled for non-credit English classes before or during their academic studies at Columbia College.

To demonstrate your English ability, you must do one of the following:

  • Take the Columbia College Language & Writing Assessment (LWA) on arrival at Columbia College, before you register in classes
  • Present minimum external standardized English test scores.
  • Present minimum required scores in English 12 or Communications 12 in British Columbia.
  • Present minimum required scores in first-year English taken at another college or at university in British Columbia, listed in the British Columbia Transfer Guide

Students may be placed in university transfer (credit) English, university preparatory (non-credit) English, or (non-credit) ESL on the basis of Columbia College’s Language and Writing Assessment (LWA) or on the basis of acceptable minimum TOEFL, IELTS, CAEL or LPI results.  If you take the LWA and also present minimum external test results (as listed below), we will place you according to whichever score is better.  We do not accept external tests written more than two years before you register at the college.

Students are required to submit minimum TOEFL, IELTS, CAEL, or LPI results (see below) or write the Columbia College Language and Writing Assessment (LWA)  on arrival at the College (some exceptions apply).  The minimum scores for placement in an English course are as follows:

English Language Requirements

  English 101 & English Literature English 100 or English 11 or English 12 Writing 099 English 099 or Communications 12 English 098 or Communications 11 ESL 097 1 ESL <097 1
IELTS 2 Overall Band 6.5 and Writing Band 6.0 Overall Band 6.0 and Writing Band 6.0 Placement via C- in English 099 only Overall Band 5.5 and Writing Band 5.5 Overall Band 5.5 and Writing Band 5.0    
CAEL >70 & Writing 65 60-69 & Writing 60   50-59 & Writing 50 40-49 & Writing 45    
CELPIP Academic 4H 4L   3L 3L 2H  
LPI 5 4, Essay 25/40 & 50% on each of the three components   3, Essay 20/40 & 50% on each of the three components 3, Essay 20/40 & 50% on one of the three components    
LWA 6 -5   3 2 1  
MELAB 83 79   75 72    
TOEFL CBT 230 & Essay Rating 4.5 213 & Essay Rating 4.0   197 & Essay Rating 3.5 180    
TOEFL PBT 570 & TWE 4.5 550 & TWE 4.0   530 & TWE 3.5 510    
TOEFL IBT              
Writing 21
plus two of:
19
plus two of:
  16
plus two of:
14
plus two of:
12
plus two of:
<12
Reading 21 19   17 15 13 <13
Listening 21 19   17 15 13 <13
Speaking 21 19   16 14 12 <12
Total3 88 79   71 64 57 <57
  • 1Unless a student presents a minimum IBT TOEFL score for placement at ESL 097, placement in the ESL Program (094, 095, 096, 097) will depend on the Columbia College English Placement Test (EPT).
  • 2Academic Test
  • 3To achieve the “Total” score the student must score more than the minimum in at least one component.