Study English

Students from all over the world come to Bow Valley to get ready for a new life. Our English Language 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.

About the program

Learn English for the real world with the full-time International ELL program. You’ll learn by listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

The International English Language Learning program offers five levels. Your initial level placement can be determined by submitting a valid English Language Proficiency Exam Result (IELTS, TOEFL, or Pearson PTE) or you will complete a level placement assessment at the start of term prior to orientation.

(Please note: the English Language Proficiency scores can ONLY be used as a placement for new students into our programs.  After you start your studies with us, scores cannot be used to jump over a level). 

  • International English Language Learning Preparation.
  • International English Language Learning 1.
  • International English Language Learning 2.
  • Academic English 1.
  • Academic English 2.

Download the program brochure

Application process

International English Language Learning applicants can be placed in the initial level of study in one of two ways: 
a. Submit International English Language Testing System(IELTS Academic and/or other test equivalence) at the time of application or prior to orientation OR
b. Complete the in-house level placement assessment at the start of term

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 36-41 53
Academic English 2 (AE2) 5.5 42-50 71 
(*) Placement is based on the lowest band score.

Applicants who choose to complete the level placement assessment will be granted a Letter of Acceptance for one year (three terms) of ELL study. Learners may choose to pursue alternative study options. It is the responsibility of the learner to ensure they comply with Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada study permit guidelines any time after completing one or more levels of the ELL program.


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


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

Academic 1 and Academic 2 are 15 week courses. Classes are held from 8:00 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Important Dates

Please review the application deadlines, orientation dates, placement test dates, start dates and other important deadlines here.

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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