English as a Second Language Program

Complete Your ESL With Direct Entry to University - Don't Delay Your Future! 

Study English at a university recognized for teaching excellence

The English as a Second Language Program at Vancouver Island University offers academic ESL programs for students intending to continue to university, and short-term summer and winter programs for students who want to improve their English and experience Canadian culture.

ESL Programs

 ESL diagram explaing the levels

  • 14-weeks (two 7-week courses)
  • Upper beginner to intermediate
  • 20 hours per week of instruction
  • Six start dates throughout the year
  • Small classes, highly qualified, friendly, approachable teachers, and a wide range of learning materials
  • A minimum grade of C (60%) is required to pass any level of Language Foundations

Learn more about Language Foundations 1-3

  • 14-weeks (two 7-week courses)
  • 20 hours per week of instruction.
  • Six start dates throughout the year
  • Small classes, highly qualified, friendly, approachable teachers, and a wide range of learning materials
  • Students in University Preparation 5 may be eligible to take one academic credit course
  • Graduates from University Preparation 5 can enter Vancouver Island University degree, diploma and certificate programs directly (as long as academic pre-requisites met)
  • A minimum grade of C (60%) is required to pass any of the University Preparation levels

Learn more about University Preparation 4-5

  • 14.5-weeks
  • Three start dates per year: January, May, September
  • 20 hours per week supplemented by individual and group tutorials
  • Classes will be offered in a HyFlex format that combines face-to-face and online learning synchronously
  • Small classes: average class size 15-16, maximum 20
  • Full access to University facilities including cafeteria, gymnasium, library, bookstore, health clinic and computer labs
  • Access to full-time International Student Advisory Services and Department of Student Services
  • Experienced professionals, trained in the most up to date teaching methods

Learn more about Graduate Preparation

Why Choose Us?

Why should I study English at Vancouver Island University?

  • Six start dates per year: January, February, April, June, August, October
  • Guaranteed entry to Vancouver Island University upon successful completion (Level 5 for undergraduate programs and Grad Prep for graduate programs.)
  • Transfer ESL courses across many public institutions in British Columbia
  • 14-week courses:
    • 7-weeks - Listening and Speaking
    • 7-weeks - Reading and Writing
  • TESL certificate for teachers
  • 3-week and 4-week summer and winter camps
  • Small class sizes
  • Access to the facilities and experiences available on the university campus
  • Access to housing, counselling and immigration advising
  • Fully accredited by Languages Canada
  • Special blend of a caring and nurturing education
  • Day and weekend road trips to discover Vancouver Island's vibrant communities, local cultural events and attractions
  • An environment that balances academic accomplishments with social and relationship skills

University Credits

Students who have successfully completed the highest level of the University Preparation stream (University Preparation 5) with a minimum grade of “C”, and who are entering Vancouver Island University undergraduate programs, will be given 3 academic credits. These credits recognize the skill development in reaching an advanced level in a second language. These credits may be used for any non-specified elective towards certificate, diploma, and degree programs at VIU.

Learning Support

To help you achieve your goals, the ESL Program offers learning support to all ESL students in their Learning Centre.

Every top athlete has a coach to help them improve their game or increase their performance. Language learning is no different. There are ways to become a better learner and get the powerful results you are looking for while studying English.

Learning Support includes:

Jason Doan, Vietnam

Grad Prep is not simply an ESL course. It prepared me with academic language skills, such as writing in APA style and skimming readings, and that helped with every assignment and group project in my MBA program. I believe this course is very useful and necessary for international students who want to pursue higher level studies in Canada. (Grad Prep + MBA)