Program Description

In the International ELL program, you'll learn listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. This program is certified by the Languages Canada Quality Assurance Scheme. 

You will get:
 Small, interactive classes
 Experienced teachers
 Flexible course options
 Workplace skills
 Flexible registration, from four months to one year

Program Structure and Student Progression

Before classes begin, we assess and place students according to their language level. Applicants placed in ELL level 1 should have at least an intermediate level of English. International ELL Preparation is for applicants with lower than intermediate English.

We offer five different levels of classes: 
International ELL Preparation
International ELL 1
International ELL 2
Academic English 1
Academic English 2

Download the program brochure


Students who successfully complete Academic English 2 with a grade of “B” or higher meet the language proficiency requirements for most Bow Valley College and SAIT career programs.


For fall and winter intakes, classes for International ELL 1 and 2 are held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. Monday through Thursday, over 15 weeks.

For spring intakes classes are from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, over 13 weeks.
Academic 1 and Academic 2 are 15 week courses. Classes are held from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Important Dates

Please review general important dates and deadline and important dates for international learners.

Medical Insurance

To be adequately protected for medical insurance coverage, students should have both basic and extended medical insurance plans.

Basic coverage for all students: Alberta Health Care

Alberta Health Care Insurance is a basic health care coverage that is administered and governed by the provincial Government of Alberta. All eligible recipients are required by law to be covered by this insurance plan.

Students must enroll themselves for Alberta Health Care Insurance when they arrive and establish a residence in Alberta, registration is not automatic. For specific details on Alberta Health Care Insurance benefits and how to register please refer to the website

Other links of interest:

To find health care, please visit:

Extended Health Care for International English Language Learners

Students currently taking the International English Language Learning Program will be insured through StudentGuard Insurance. This insurance is mandatory and included in the tuition and fees for each term/semester of ELL study. Students are covered from the first day of class until the day before the start of the next term. A StudentGuard insurance card and detailed information will be handed out during the first week of classes.

Note: International ELL students may also be eligible for free Alberta Health Care coverage if they meet all requirements. International ESL students who are eligible for Alberta Health Care will still have Student Guard coverage during their ELL study at Bow Valley College. Visit StudentGuard medical insurance website at to get more details.

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Admission Requirements

As of Winter 2018, Bow Valley College will accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic and other test equivalencies) as an acceptable test score for admission and to place students in the appropriate level.

Level IELTS Academic (*) Pearson PTE A (*) Toefl ibt (*)
Preparation 3.5 24-25 24-25
ELL 1 4.0 26-29 26-31
ELL 2 4.5 30-35 32-43
Academic English 1 (AE1) 5.0 or higher 36 or higher 53 or higher
 Academic English 2  Completion of AE1  Completion of AE1  Completion of AE1
(*) Placement is based on the lowest band score.
Prospective International Learners Request More Information
International Education Department

N333, North Campus
345 - 6 Avenue SE
Toll-free: 1-866-428-2669 


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