Acceptable language tests & minimum scores
The language of instruction at McMaster University is English. Below are the only English Language Proficiency tests accepted by McMaster, along with their respective minimum score requirements are listed below.
NOTE: Typically, the English language proficiency test result must be written within two years of starting at McMaster. For the September 2021 entry, we will accept a test result as long as it is valid at the time you submit your application.
If you are applying to a graduate program, please go to the School of Graduate Studies website for all information regarding Language Requirements and application instructions.
At the discretion of the university, you may be exempted from McMaster’s English proficiency testing requirements if you meet one of the following requirements (exemption is not automatic):
- Attended, in full-time academic studies (non-ESL), an accredited Secondary School (High School) or Post-Secondary College in an English-speaking country for at least four years immediately prior to your anticipated start date at McMaster, OR
- Attended, in full-time academic studies (non-ESL), an accredited English medium Secondary School (High School) or Post-Secondary College for at least four years immediately prior to your anticipated start date at McMaster,* OR
- Attended, in full-time academic studies (non-ESL), an accredited English medium University for at least one year immediately prior to your anticipated start date at McMaster, OR
- Resided in an English speaking country for at least four years immediately prior to your anticipated start date at McMaster.
- McMaster only accepts the tests listed below for English language proficiency.
- It is your responsibility to make all arrangements regarding the writing of the English Language Proficiency tests and to have the official score report forwarded to the Admissions Office directly from the testing centre in a timely manner.
- Canadian citizenship, in and of itself, is not enough to satisfy the English Language Requirements, nor does a credit in Grade 12 English (or the equivalent)
- Students attending a Canadian curriculum offshore school in China are required to submit an English Language Proficiency test
- Students currently attending an Ontario high school and previously attended a Canadian curriculum offshore in China will be required to provide an English Language Proficiency test
- The University reserves the right to require applicants with an English Language Proficiency score disparate from their academic English prerequisite achievement to present further evidence of proficiency.
- If evidence of misrepresentation of fraudulent or falsified documentation is found, the penalty is severe. McMaster University reserves the right to rescind any Offer of Admission and/or scholarship.
If you are a student who meets all academic requirements but does not meet the minimum English-language proficiency scores detailed above, you may still qualify for an offer of admission that is conditional upon the successful completion of the MELD program.
The MELD Diploma is a 1-year (two academic terms) intensive transition program designed for students whose primary language is not English. MELD focuses on the development of academic English, acculturation, and engagement with the university community.
For more information about the program and how to apply, please see the MELD website.
If your English language test results do not meet our minimum requirements, your checklist will remain as ‘Required’. To proceed you have two options:
- Rewrite the English language proficiency test and submit the results again. You may rewrite the test as many times as you like but results must be submitted by April 1, 2021. If your new scores meet the minimum requirements, your checklist will be updated with ‘Complete’ and we will continue to process your application. You cannot proceed with your application until this requirement is met.
- Apply to the McMaster English Language Development program. This 8-month program is designed to improve your English skills while giving you university credit. Upon successful completion, you will progress to the gateway program for which you are applying. You can add one of the MELD programs as an option to your application via OUAC if you would like to be considered.
IELTS – International English Language Testing System (Academic)
6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four components (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening); results valid for 2 years
5.0 overall for MELD (McMaster English Development) Program
CAE – Cambridge Advanced English
190 overall with minimum score of 180 in each component; valid for 2 years
- Minimum grade of B
- Minimum of “good” on each of the four components: reading, writing, listening and speaking
PTE – Pearson Test of English Academic
60 overall with minimum score of 60 in Writing and Speaking; valid for 2 years
CAEL – Canadian Academic English Language
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language
IBT: 86 overall with a minimum score of 20 in each of the four components (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening); valid for 2 years
70 overall for MELD (McMaster English Development) Program
Please note that we do not accept TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition
CAEL CA – Canadian Academic English Language Computer Edition