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About IFP

Our Purpose

The International Foundations Program was created to help academically-qualified students gain English Language Proficiency for undergraduate and graduate program admission. The International Foundations Program provides students planning on doing degree programs at the U of C with an on-campus program to help them achieve their academic goals. Students in the International Foundations Program gain fluency in their use of the English language while learning in an academic environment which prepares them for their university studies. The program is full-time and intensive, for undergraduate and graduate students.

Many students who need English Language Proficiency (ELP) choose to come to the International Foundations Program to satisfy this admission requirement. Gaining proficiency in the English language is often the first place a student needs to begin. The International Foundations Program assists both prospective undergraduate and graduate students to gain English language proficiency.

What is the International Foundations Program?

The International Foundations Program is a uniquely focused English language program that prepares English as a Second Language (ESL) students for university studies. It is designed especially for intermediate to advanced ESL students who want to learn English in a challenging and effective environment that trains them for academic success at the undergraduate or graduate level.

The program is comprised of three tiers with students taking rigorous language assessment to place them into the appropriate tier. Each tier consists of thirteen weeks (approximately 260 hours) of instruction, including exams. Students who place in tier one normally take one year to complete the program.

Students who join the International Foundations Program are highly motivated to develop the language skills necessary to succeed at university. By the end of the program, successful students are able to:

  • Write effective summaries, responses and essays at a university level
  • Use their increased speaking skills to participate actively in all aspects of university life
  • Employ improved speed and accuracy for both reading and listening comprehension in academic contexts
  • Implement critical thinking skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • Make use of effective learning strategies both inside and outside of the university classroom

Instructors in the program have advanced experience and training in teaching ESL. They use an active, learner-centred communicative approach that focuses on helping the students themselves arrive at an understanding of the English language proficiency requirements necessary for academic studies. This inquiry based methodology fosters research skills and initiative in the students in order to help them succeed at a research-intensive university like the University of Calgary.

Students who successfully complete the International Foundations Program with a grade of C or higher fulfill the English Language Proficiency requirement for most undergraduate programs at the University of Calgary. Additionally, successful completion of the International Foundations Program is accepted in lieu of Alberta English Language Arts 30-1. 

Why choose the International Foundations Program?

Why is the International Foundations Program your best choice to satisfy the English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement for admission to the U of C?

The International Foundations Program is a better tool than standardized English tests like CAEL or IELTS for achieving English language proficiency

  • A CAEL or IELTS score does not teach you how to do research; how to give a successful oral presentation; how to write effective papers for your professors; or how to do other important academic tasks. The time you spend comprehensively acquiring these skills before you begin your degree studies means less time acquiring these skills when you face a deadline.
  • A CAEL or IELTS score is simply a test result. You either pass or fail with no benefit to the development of your proficiency. University instructors will not slow down to accommodate students struggling with their English even if they have achieved an acceptable CAEL or IELTS score. Prepare yourself now for your best success later. You are further ahead to invest your time and energy now to prepare for your future academic success.

We are the ONLY proficiency program on campus directly linked to undergraduate admission

  • NO other program in Calgary can offer you conditional admission to a degree program at the U of C.
  • We are the only program on campus which is directly linked in the admissions process for academically-qualified students who need English language proficiency.
  • Both prospective undergraduate AND graduate students can gain ELP for admission purposes with the International Foundations Program.

Our Instructors are highly qualified professionals who want to see you succeed

  • Our instructors have specific preparation in the field of Teaching English as a Second Language who expertly guide students towards achieving their English language proficiency. Students can move into their degree programs with confidence.

The International Foundations Program is an academic program housed within the Werklund School of Education

  • All curriculum used in the International Foundations Program has been faculty developed and APC approved.
  • All courses offered are in the U of C calendar.


Last modified date: January 21, 2016