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Home Programs & Courses Full-Time Studies English Language Foundations

English Language Foundations

Open for Winter 2017

Open for Spring 2017

Open for Fall 2017

Length: 8-week
Available: Classroom

Program Highlights

Upgrade your English skills and build confidence through this full- or part-time program that focuses on all the language areas, from speaking and listening to reading and writing, to pursue classes at SAIT, enter the job market, or move ahead in your career.
(Also available part time through Continuing Education.) 

Tuition and Fees Per Year*

Year 1: $6,570
Year 1 (International): $13,140

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change


You will be offered admission to this program through direct entry if you meet the admission requirements and space is available. 

When can you apply?

Domestic students: you can register for courses on an ongoing basis.

International students: you must apply and choose the term when you would like to start English Language Foundations.  

Winter 2017 start: applications opened June 1, 2016.
Spring 2017 start:
applications open Oct. 19, 2016.
Fall 2017 start:
applications open Oct. 19, 2016. 

Program Details

Program  Description

The English Language Foundations (ELF) program provides English language upgrading for learners whose first language is not English. Students are placed into the program based on demonstrated proficiency in English, using the Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment (CLBA). Most students use the ELF program as entry into SAIT career programs.

The ELF curriculum encourages development in all language areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

  • Five-level program
  • Six start dates per year (eight week terms)
  • Full and part-time studies; evening/weekend courses available
  • Intensive, skills-focused approach
  • Proficiency based placement and advancement
  • Completion of ELF 5 is accepted in lieu of English 30 for most programs at SAIT

Program Overview

Your Career

After successfully completing the ELF program, the majority of graduates are prepared for admission into SAIT career programs as completion of ELF level 5 is accepted as equivalent to English 30 for most programs at SAIT.

Students in ELF Levels 4 and 5 may combine ELF coursework with Academic Upgrading subjects in math or science.

Student Success

Progress in the ELF Program depends on the student's demonstration of proficiency. Instructors regularly assess student progress through classroom assignments, participation and examinations. Students who achieve a rating of 50% (D) in all subjects can be recommended for promotion to the next level.

ELF is a fast track program. Students should be prepared to dedicate considerable time for study and to actively use their English outside of
class time. SAIT career programs require academic appropriate English skills in all areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Program Details

Each level of English Language Foundations has two courses, one in reading and writing (COMN) and the other in listening and speaking (SPCH).

Full-time Day Language Instruction:

  • Two courses per week for eight weeks 
  • 22 hours per week in class, Monday-Friday, plus 15-20 hours of homework 
  • Courses available in morning (8am, 10am) or afternoon (12pm, 2pm)

Part-time Day Language Instruction:

  • One course per week for eight weeks 
  • 11 hours per week in class, Monday-Friday, plus 7-10 hours of homework 
  • Courses available in morning (8am, 10am) or afternoon (12pm, 2pm)

Part-time Evening Language Instruction:

  • One or two courses per week for 16 weeks 
  • Each course is five hours and two evenings per week (2.5 hours each evening) 
  • Courses offered Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday 

2016-2017 Program Start and End Dates**

Full and Part-Time Day Language Instruction:

  • July 4 - Aug. 25, 2016
  • Aug. 29 - Oct. 21, 2016
  • Oct. 24 - Dec. 16, 2016
  • Jan. 9 - March 3, 2017
  • March 6 - April 28, 2017
  • May 8 - June 30, 2017
  • July 4-Aug. 25, 2017
  • Sept. 5 - Oct. 27, 2017
  • Oct. 30 - Dec. 22, 2017

** Dates are subject to change

Part-time Evening Language Instruction Intake Dates:

  • Sept. 6 - Dec. 19, 2016
  • Jan. 16 - April 27, 2017
  • May 8 - June 30, 2017
  • May 15 - Aug. 31, 2017

Program Admission Requirements and Levels

To register for the English Language Foundations program, you must complete a Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment (CLBA) and obtain a minimum score of 4 in all categories. CLBA must be completed at least one week before the course start date.

You can complete a CLBA at SAIT for $150, to make an appointment call 403.210.4045 or email english.language@sait.ca. We also accepted CLBA results from ILVARC (CLBA is free if you are eligible). Please note:

  • CLBA scores must be within six months of the test date.
  • Teacher-assessed CLBA scores from LINC schools are not accepted.
  • For international students, first CLBA test is free with first program application and after that it is $150 for the next eligible test.
The benchmark score on your CLBA will determine the ELF level you will start: 

Benchmark 4 → ELF level 1

Benchmark 5 → ELF level 2

Benchmark 6 → ELF level 3

Benchmark 7 → ELF level 4  → ELF level 5

Benchmark 8 and completion of ELF level 5 → Meets English proficiency requirement to enter SAIT career programs*

*The SAIT Respiratory Therapy program requires Enhanced Language Training Placement Assessment (ELTPA) with a score of 9 in all sections.

Program Registration and Costs

To register for English Language Foundations courses, please visit the ELF office in MC217, Stan Grad Centre and bring your CLBA scores.

Once you pay for your course(s) at Student Services, you will be registered.

  • Domestic Students*** - $657 per course, $1314 for one ELF level (two courses)
  • International Students - $1314 per course, $2,628 for one ELF level (two courses)

***Domestic students may be eligible for government grant funding through Funding Advising - Skills Investment Program (SIP). Please review the application process to see if you meet the basic eligibility criteria.

Please note:  ELF is a continuous program and it is required that students study in each level on a continuous basis. If students take a break between levels, they are required to take a CLBA to return to the program and will be placed in the appropriate level based on their CLBA, not their previously completed course(s).

Info Sessions

Interested in the program? Attend an upcoming information session to learn more! To register, email elf.infosession@sait.ca.

June 22, 2016

Sept. 21, 2016

Oct. 19, 2016

Nov. 16, 2016

Dec. 14, 2016

All sessions are held in room N108, Chinook Lodge, Senator Burns Building at 6 pm.

International Students

The International Centre provides assistance to international students interested in studying at SAIT. International students can take the English Language Foundations program in preparation for SAIT career programs. To apply, visit the International Centre.

Contact English Language Foundations

Call: 403.210.4045
Email: english.language@sait.ca
Visit: Room MC217, Stan Grad Centre
Monday to Friday 9 am - 4 pm

Admission Requirements

  • To enter the English Language Foundations program, you must complete a Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment (CLBA) and obtain a minimum score of 4 in all categories.
  • Based on your CLBA score, you will be registered into the appropriate English Language Foundations level.
  • Only CLBA scores from SAIT or the Immigrant Language and Vocational Assessment - Referral Centre (ILVARC) are accepted. Scores must be no older than 6 months.

Direct Entry: Four Step Process (International Students)

Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.

Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the admission requirements listed above.

Step 3: Apply to English Language Foundations.

  • Admission will be extended on a first-qualified, first-offered basis until the program is full.

Step 4: Find out how to monitor your application status after you apply.

How to enter SAIT Polytechnic.


Program outline

To find the course description for a course shown below please go to our Course Finder.

Course CodeCourse NameCredits
COMM-151 Communications 1 3.0
COMM-152 Communications 2 3.0
COMM-153 Communications 3 3.0
COMM-154 Communications 4 3.0
COMM-155 Communications 5 3.0
SPCH-151 Speech 1 3.0
SPCH-152 Speech 2 3.0
SPCH-153 Speech 3 3.0
SPCH-154 Speech 4 3.0
SPCH-155 Speech 5 3.0
Total Credits: 30.0


Each level has two courses (communication and speech). Completion of Level 5 indicates the completion of the program. The level which students begin in the ELF program depends on their CLBA score. In order to progress to the next level, students must successfully complete the level they are in. If students complete their course(s) with a final grade of 85% or above, they are eligible for a challenge test to re-assess their benchmark scores.


Domestic Tuition and Fees*

YearTuition FeesSAIT FeesStudent Association Fees2016/17 Total
1 $6,570 - - $6,570

International Tuition and Fees*

YearTuition FeesSAIT FeesStudent Association Fees2016/17 Total
1 $13,140 - - $13,140


Campus Athletic and Recreation Fee: N/A
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): Program does not meet UPass requirments.

Student Association (SAITSA) Fees

Health Plan: N/A
Dental Plan: N/A
Student Association: N/A

Cost and supplies*

  • Students are not required to purchase books for the program. Supplies are approximately $10-20 per study term.

Find out about Tuition and Financial Aid.

* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.

**Domestic students may be eligible for government grant funding through the Funding Advising - Skills Investment Program (SIP). Please review the application process to see if you meet the basic eligibility criteria.

Contact Information

English Language Foundations