IELTS 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada 2023 [35+ Colleges List]

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With high-quality education clubbed with optimal tuition fees and world-class infrastructure, Canadian universities are a dream study destination for various students. However, to land in top-tier universities, students need to score a good grade on the IELTS exam. This English language proficiency test can be a barrier for a substantial number of non-native English speaking students.

Since most Canadian universities do not accept a band score lower than 6, students scoring a 5.5 band in IELTS may find it difficult to get admission to their dream universities. Nonetheless, such students need not worry much as there are several 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada. Here is detailed information about the overall 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada that accept a lower IELTS score. In the following sections, we have also provided the various ways to apply to Canadian colleges and universities with low IELTS scores. 

5.5 band colleges in canada

IELTS 5.5 Band Colleges in Canada

All Canadian universities have pre-set IELTS band requirements. A few such universities are determined to bring that benchmark down. At the same time, there are also a few 5.5 bands IELTS Canada colleges and universities. Mentioned below are the various colleges in Canada that accept a 5.5 IELTS band score:

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IELTS 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada 2023 [35+ Colleges List]

Section-wise Cut-off of IELTS 5.5 Band Colleges in Canada

The below table will provide prospective candidates with a clear about the acceptable threshold of IELTS 5.5 band universities in Canada:

University NameRequired IELTS ScoreReadingListeningSpeakingWriting
Camosun CollegeAverage score of 6.0. Band below 5.5 are not acceptable5.
Champion CollegeAverage score of 6.5. Band below 5.5 is not acceptable5555
Athabasca UniversityAverage score of 6.5. Band below 5.5 is not acceptable5555
The University of AlbertaAverage score of 6.5. Band below 5.5 is not acceptable5.
Charles Sturt UniversityAverage score of 6.0. Band below 5.5 are not acceptable5.
St. Clair College of
Applied Arts  and Technology
Average score of 6.0. Band below 5.5 are not acceptable5.
Huron University CollegeAverage score of 6.5. Band below 5.5 is not acceptable5555
Brock UniversityAverage score of 6.5. Band below 5.5 is not acceptable5.
MacEwan UniversityAverage score of 6.5. Band below 5.5 is not acceptable5.
Lethbridge CollegeAverage score of 6.0. Band below 5.5 are not acceptable5.

Furthermore, there are also a handful of Canadian colleges accepting 5.5 bands in one module. Therefore, students must conduct thorough research before selecting a university of their choice.

Possibility to Secure Admission into a Canadian University with IELTS Band 5.5

Interestingly, candidates with a low IELTS score can also get admission into a top-tier Canadian university. The possibility of securing admission into a good Canadian university increases if the candidate fulfils these conditions:

Submission of MOI to the university

There are various opportunities for students with a 5.5 band in IELTS to prove that they can increase their proficiency in the language. Given the required time, a student can submit documents stating his or her English language skills. In addition, students can also approach their previous institution to issue a certificate that would state that English was the medium of instruction for the course. However, before taking this route, candidates must check whether the university accepts this process or not. Upon receiving confirmation, it would become extremely easy for the student to proceed accordingly with its administration.

Take the CanTEST

Apart from the 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada, several colleges in the country have laid out several provisions for low scoring IELTS candidates. One such provision is the CanTEST. This test analyzes a candidate’s ability to converse in the English language.

Opting for the ESL (English as a Second Language) Program

Universities and colleges extend this program for such students who are unable to pass the CanTEST. These students can register for this program, provided that the university offers this. This program is specifically provided in St. Claire College, and students should register for this before beginning their actual academic program. 

Minimum IELTS Band Requirements for Top Canadian Colleges

IELTS is a major determining factor of whether a student is eligible to study in a particular university or not. Therefore, many students looking to immigrate to Canada may want to know about the minimum IELTS band requirement in top Canadian colleges and universities. Typically, top-tier universities in Canada demand an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 6 in all four sections. This is the score which is demanded in all Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Diploma courses. Moreover, in some engineering or other technical courses, the minimum IELTS band requirement can reach as high as 7.Here is a detailed view of the minimum IELTS requirements that top Canadian colleges require other than the IELTS 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada 2021:

1. University of Toronto

  • The University of Toronto ranks in the 21th position on the list of the best world universities, as per THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • The university requires a minimum band of 6.5 for undergraduate courses.
  • The minimum IELTS requirement for postgraduate courses at the University of Toronto is 7.

2. University of British Columbia

  • The University of British Columbia ranks 40th in the world according to THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • The university requires a minimum band of 6.5 for undergraduate courses.
  • For postgraduate courses, the University of British Columbia requires a minimum score of 7. 

3. McGill University

  • THE World University Rankings 2023 ranks McGill University at the 46th position among the top universities in the world.
  • A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is necessary to get admission into an undergraduate or postgraduate course at McGill University.
  • A few courses like M.Sc. Computer Science requires a minimum IELTS score of 7.5.

4. McMaster University

  • McMaster University is one of the top 10 Canadian universities with a global ranking of 85th, as per THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • For most undergraduate and postgraduate courses, McMaster University requires a 6.5 band score.
  • However, a few courses like MBA, M.A. Economics, and M.Sc. Computer Science requires a minimum IELTS score of 7.

5. University of Alberta

  • The University of Alberta holds 118th position in THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • The university accepts an IELTS score of 7 for most courses.
  • A few courses like Executive MBA require a 6.5 IELTS band.

6. University of Ottawa

  • The University of Ottawa ranks 137th in the global university rankings according to THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • A minimum requirement of 6.5 bands is required to enrol at this university.
  • For an MBA program, candidates need to secure a minimum IELTS band of 7.

7. University of Calgary

  • As per THE World University Rankings 2023, the University of Ottawa ranks 201-250th among the other universities worldwide.
  • Most Bachelor’s and a few Master’s courses at the University of Calgary accept a band of 6.5.
  • Courses like M.Sc. Computer Science, MBA, Master of Management, etc., require a minimum band of 7.
  • A few other courses, like Master of Public Policy (MBA), require a band score of 7.5.

8. Simon Fraser University

  • Simon Fraser University ranks 251st-300th in THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • Candidates should have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 to get admission into the undergraduate courses.
  • For postgraduate courses, like MBA and M.Sc for Finance, a minimum band of 7 is required.

9. University of Waterloo

  • The University of Waterloo holds a 201-250th position in THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • Most undergraduate and postgraduate courses in this university require a band of 6.5 in IELTS.
  • Students wishing to study courses like M.A. Economics, Master of Management Sciences, etc., need to secure a band of 7 in IELTS.
  • IELTS score requirement for a few courses like M. Arch can go as high as 7.5. 

10. Western University

  • Western University ranks 201-250th in THE World University Rankings 2023.
  • Candidates should secure a band score of at least 6.5 to enrol in this university.
  • Scores below 6 in any of the sections will not be acceptable.

Documents Required for the Application Process of IELTS 5.5 Band Colleges

Applicants must be focused on keeping the documents required for admission into the 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada handy. Find them below:

  • CV or resume
  • IELTS Score proof (Many universities and colleges do not accept TRFs; they only accept electronic submission of scores).
  • Proof of funds
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Filled in the application form
  • School and college certificates
  • Other documents, such as I.D. proof and age proof
  • Health insurance
  • Valid passport

Apply for a Visa Under the Non-SDS Category

Canada is evidently one of the most popular study destinations. According to IRCC, the population of international students in the country grew by 19% in 2019. In the same year, Canada enrolled over 400,000 students from around the world. Students seeking admission in Canada have to qualify either under the SDS or non-SDS category visa application procedure. To apply under the SDS visa category, students must have obtained 6 bands in each module of the IELTS test. In addition, they also have to deposit the tuition fee for the first year and GIC of $10,000.On the other hand, the non-SDS category is ideal for students who cannot meet the SDS category requirements. In simple terms, it is an ideal 5.5 in one module Canada visa or 5.5 in two modules Canada visa for students unable to meet the IELTS 6 band requirement. Hence, students applying for these Colleges In Canada must check the following non-SDS criteria:

IELTS test

For the non-SDS category, there is no minimum score requirement for the IELTS test. However, students must note the chances of a visa might depend upon the score achieved. For instance, a candidate with a score less than 5.5 will have a relatively low chance of getting a visa.


A valid passport is a vital requirement to apply for a student visa in Canada. Indeed, any immigration document will not be issued to the student after the passport expires. Hence, they must extend their passport before proceeding with the visa application.

GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate)

In the non-SDS category, GIC is not a compulsory requirement. Students can opt for liquid funds instead of GIC. 

Tuition fee

Certain students can often struggle to pay the entire year’s tuition fee for the 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada. In such situations, they can initially deposit the fee for the first six months of the DLI. However, students must portray their financial stability before opting for this facility. In addition to the requirements mentioned above, students also need to submit:

  • Letter of acceptance from the university
  • Medical tests
  • Visa fee
  • Statement of purpose
  • Educational documents
  • Financial documents
5.5 bands ielts canada


From the above sections, it is understandable that IELTS is an important test and significant in pursuing higher education in Canada. Indeed, immigration to Canada comes loaded with exciting facilities and opportunities. So, candidates with a 5.5 IELTS band score should strive toward meeting the eligibility to get admission into their preferred university. However, students looking for the 5.5 Band Colleges In Canada who does not want to apply for a visa under the non-SDS category due to financial issues can approach Leap Scholar. We have helped more than 3000 students achieve their dream of studying abroad by providing them with low-interest education loans. In addition to financial assistance, we also provide a student community and counselling to support you on your journey. So, you can chase your dreams stress-free, and we will take care of your finances

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the IELTS exam types?

Ans: There are two types of IELTS exams, namely IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The general module is suitable for individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada for training or work purposes. On the other hand, the academic module is suitable for students who wish to take admitted to a Canadian university/college.

2. How is the IELTS score calculated?

Ans: The overall band score of IELTS ranges between 1 and 9. Further, there are 4 sections in the test. Each section contains a raw score, which is calculated by considering the number of correct answers. The band score is then derived from these raw scores. 

3. What is the format of the IELTS test?

Ans: IELTS contains four sections – reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students get 30 minutes for the listening section, 60 minutes for the reading and writing sections, and 11-14 minutes is given for the speaking test.

4. is 5.5 bands Eligible for Canada?

Ans: Yes. Many universities in Canada accept 5.5 bands in IELTS. However, the minimum requirements largely depend on your course. If you’re opting for advanced level courses, this band score may not be enough. Typical IELTS requirements for undergraduate courses are 6.0, while you need at least a 6.5 for post-graduate courses. It’s best to check with universities before you apply.

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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