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Admissions questions? Our team has answers

February 22, 2021
UBC MEL MHLP - Admission Questions: English Proficiency Requirement

If you’re thinking about applying to the MEL or MHLP, you likely have some questions about the admissions process. In this series, we chat with some of our team members about the eligibility requirements and application process for the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) degrees.

We spoke with Valentina Martinez, MHLP & MEL Coordinator Assistant, about the English language requirement.

Why do I have to show proof of English language proficiency?

The MEL and MHLP are professional master’s degrees taught in English. The pace of instruction is very fast, there’s a lot of collaborative group work and you’re expected to complete numerous writing assignments and presentations within each course. Courses also use a flipped classroom approach, with a heavy emphasis on discussion and active learning.

Strong English language skills are integral to your success in the program and for a learning environment where everyone can contribute fully.

How do I show I am proficient in English?

If you completed your undergraduate degree or a master’s degree at a university in Canada or the US, you automatically meet our English language proficiency requirement. You also meet this requirement if you completed your undergrad or master’s degree at a university in a country where English is the official language, like Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and some countries in Africa.

If you graduated from a university where the language of instruction was English, even if English is not an official language of the country, you may also meet our language requirement. This applies to many universities in India and Hong Kong, for example. However, your transcripts must clearly state that the language of instruction for your degree was English. Some institutions provide a letter that indicates that the language of instruction was in English. Unfortunately, UBC cannot accept these letters. If it is not stated directly on your transcript, you will need to complete an English language proficiency test.

What tests do you accept? And what scores do I need?

The most common tests that students take are the TOEFL Internet-based exam or academic IELTS.

The eligibility page on our website lists the minimum scores you need to achieve for each component of reading, listening, writing and speaking.

You must take the test within 24 months of your application date. If it’s been more than 24 months, you will need to retake the test and submit new results. If you don’t, we will consider your application incomplete.

How do I submit my scores?

You should request that the official test results be forwarded directly to UBC. Our application checklist page describes the electronic submission process. It can take up to two weeks for your official results to appear in our system.

Anything else?

Lots of people study hard to pass the test, but passing the test isn’t the same as fluency.

If English is not your first language and you don’t use English regularly in your daily life, I recommend that you try to practice your English as much as possible – listen to a podcast, watch movies and TV, read online magazines or newspapers, and talk with your English-speaking friends.

This will help you succeed as a master’s student at UBC!

Review some of the English language proficiency criteria against your credentials, assess your competency and capabilities towards meeting the program’s English language proficiency requirements, as part of the application to the MEL and MHLP degrees.

Looking for more information? Check out the other articles on admissions questions, including eligibility requirements, reference requirements, why you should apply early and how to create a strong application. You’ll also want to take a look at the minimum score requirements on our website.