English Language Requirements

Applicants may be admitted to Durham College for our undergraduate programs if they have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)* or equivalent high school diploma from another country which includes: one senior-level English language credit (from an English speaking country as listed below**), equivalent English Proficiency test results (see chart below), or completion of an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program through one of our recognized  English Language Partner schools.

*Applicants from Canadian curriculum high schools both inside and outside of Canada must complete a minimum of three years high school credits to be considered for exemption from TOEFL/Academic IELTS requirements upon provision of a full transcript.

**Applicants with a minimum of three years of high school or post-secondary studies in Canada, Australia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, New Zealand, Singapore, United States, United Kingdom, Some Caribbean*** and selected other countries (see list below) may be exempted from TOEFL/Academic IELTS requirements upon provision of a full transcript. Exceptions may apply, please contact the International's Education office for full details.

***Excluding international applicants from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico.


Please note due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, Durham College is temporarily accepting the following online English Language Proficiency test for admissions purposes only. All information in this section and which tests are accepted are subject to change without notice. Students can complete the tests online from the safety of their home computer.

Duolingo English Test (DET) https://englishtest.duolingo.com/applicants 

Please check English language proficiency requirements for your visa and study permit as required by IRCC for your country with your nearest Canadian Embassy or Visa Application Centre (VAC), as you may still need to write an in-person IELTS or TOEFL test for visa or study permit processing. 

For the time being, we will accept official Duolingo English Test results for admissions purposes only for intakes beginning in January 2021, May 2021 and September 2021 unless otherwise noted on the chart below. If IELTS test centres begin to open worldwide, this information may change and Durham College admissions staff will communicate to any students with applications in the system if this occurs. Changes may be made on a country-by-country basis due to the availability of in-person test sites based on COVID-19 cases for individual areas or countries.


Most one-year certificate programs

Most two-year diploma programs

Most three-year advanced diploma programs

*Grade 12 English (Canada/USA) or equivalent.

  • Senior High School English examination results, for example: 0level, GCE, CSEC (CXC), IGCSE
  • Academic IELTS: 6.0, no band score less than 5.5**
    Applicants with an Indian or Pakistani passport are required to submit official Academic IELTS test scores with a minimum overall score of 6.0, with no band score below 6.0, as per SDS guidelines. Select programs may require higher scores. TOEFL / PTE / CAEL test scores and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) will not be accepted.
  • IBT TOEFL: 80, with minimum section scores of 20
  • PTE Academic: 53 minimum overall, no section below 49 L,W,S,R
  • CAEL: Overall scores of 60 with no section below 60
  • DET 105

One-year Ontario college graduate certificate and compressed, fast-track programs and the following diploma or degree programs:

  • Behavioural Science - Honours Bachelor
  • Dental Assisting (levels I and II)
  • Dental Reception and Administration
  • Health Care Technology Management - Honours Bachelor
  • Journalism
  • Massage Therapy
  • Music Business Administration/Music Business Management
  • Police Foundations
  • PR and Strategic Communications
  • Social Service Worker
  • Sport Administration/Sport Management


*See Program webpage for Grade 12 English/Senior High School English examination minimum requirements.

  • Academic IELTS: 6.5, no band score less than 6.0
  • IBT TOEFL: 88, with minimum section scores of 22
  • PTE Academic: 60 minimum overall, no section below 57 L,W,S,R
  • CAEL: Overall score of 70, no section below 70
  • DET 110



  • Practical Nursing
  • Communicative Disorders Assistant (graduate certificate)



*See Program webpage for Grade 12 English/Senior High School English examination minimum requirements for Practical Nursing.

  • Academic IELTS: 7.0, with no band less than 6.5
  • TOEFL: 94, with minimum section scores of 23
  • PTE Academic: Not Applicable
  • CAEL: Not Applicable


The following applicants may be exempt* from submitting IELTS Academic/TOEFL/PTE Academic scores:

  1. International students who completed a minimum of three years of full-time secondary or college/university level education in one of the countries where English is an official or the only language of common usage (check below if your country is listed on our ESL exemption list).
  2. International students who obtain an International Baccalaureate with the medium of instruction in English, and pass in English A from one of the International Schools' members of the Council of International Schools.
  3. Graduation from Durham College's ELC Program or one of Durham College's English-language partner schools for programs offering conditional admission.
    • *At the discretion of the admissions officer

All other students must submit their valid IELTS Academic/TOEFL/PTE Academic scores to International Admissions. Only tests taken in the last 2 years are considered valid.

Students who completed their high school education** in one of the countries listed below may be deemed exempt from IELTS Academic/TOEFL/PTE, depending on their high school graduation results and with a qualifying English grade:

    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Australia
    • Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • Bermuda
    • Botswana
    • British Virgin Islands
    • Canada: All provinces except Quebec
    • Cayman Islands
    • Dominica
    • Fiji
    • Gambia
    • Ghana
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Ireland
    • Jamaica
    • Kenya
    • Kiribati
    • Liberia
    • Marshal Islands
    • Mauritius
    • Micronesia
    • New Zealand
    • Nigeria
    • St. Kitts and Nevis
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
    • Sierra Leone
    • Singapore
    • Solomon Islands
    • South Africa
    • Tanzania
    • Trinidad & Tobago
    • Uganda
    • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales)
    • USA
    • Zambia
    • Zimbabwe
    • Under discussion: Lesotho, Guam

    ** If a student does not meet the minimum English grade requirements of Durham College, from their high school /college/university English courses, they will be asked to provide a valid IELTS Academic/TOEFL/PTE Academic test to the college or complete English language training at one of our English language partner schools.