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English Language Foundations

Open for Fall 2020

Open for Winter 2021

Length: 8 weeks Delivery: Classroom

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Upcoming Information Sessions

All classes in this program will be delivered online for the Fall 2020 term due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health and safety guidelines.


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) or the  International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. 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

ELF is a five-level program and each level 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 the morning (8 am, 10 am) or afternoon (12 pm, 2 pm)

Part-time instruction:

  • One course per week for eight weeks 
  • 11 hours per week in class, plus 7-10 hours of homework 
  • Morning or afternoon courses available 


  • One or two courses per week for 16 weeks 
  • Five hours and two evenings per week (2.5 hours each evening) 
  • Online registration available

Program start and end dates**

Full and part-time language instruction:

  • July 6 - Aug. 28, 2020
  • Aug. 31 - Oct. 23, 2020
  • Oct. 26 - Dec. 18, 2020
  • Jan. 11 – Mar. 5, 2021
  • Mar. 8 – Apr. 30, 2021
  • May 10 – Jul. 2, 2021
  • Jul 5 – Aug. 27, 2021

** Dates are subject to change

Part-time language instruction:


  • Sep. 7 - Dec. 17 2020
    • SPCH course (Mon/Wed)
      Sep 7 - Dec 16, 2020
      Plus Sat. Nov 7, 2020 (5 hrs)

    • COMN course (Tues/Thurs)
      Sep. 8 - Dec. 17, 2020
      Plus Sat. Oct. 3, 2020 (5 hrs)
  • Jan. 18 - April 29, 2021
    • SPCH course (Mon/Wed)
      Jan 18 - April 28, 2021
      Plus Sat. March 13, 2021 (5 hrs)

    • COMN course (Tues/Thurs)
      Jan 19 - April 29, 2021
      Plus Sat. February 27, 2021 (5hrs.)

  • May 10 - Aug. 27, 2021
    • SPCH course (Mon/Wed)
      May 10 - Aug 25, 2021

    • COMN course (Tues/Thurs)
      May 11 - Aug. 26, 2021

Evening dates (program starts 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.

Is this the right fit for me?

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 to study and actively use their English outside of class time. SAIT career programs require academic appropriate English skills in all areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Read more


Want to learn more about this program?

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Prepare for SAIT programs

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.

Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $6,635

Year 1 (International): $15,465

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

Full costs
Tuition and financial aid


This is a direct entry program. Applicants who meet the admission requirements are offered spots based on first qualified, first acceptance if space is available.

Admission Requirements

When can you apply?

  • Applications are accepted until the program start date.
  • Applications for fall 2020 open Oct. 2, 2019.  
  • Application for winter 2021 open March 30, 2020.   
Term Program start
Fall 2020 Aug. 31, 2020
Fall 2020 Oct. 26, 2020
Winter 2021 Jan. 11, 2021
Winter 2021 March 8, 2021
Spring 2021 May 3, 2021

Get to know English Language Foundations

Our English language program will help you build the confidence and skills to further your education and career.

Admission Requirements

To register for the English Language Foundations program, you must complete either a Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment (CLBA) and obtain a minimum score of 4 in all categories, or complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and obtain a minimum band score of 3. 5 in all categories. CLBA or IELTS tests must be completed at least one week before the course start date.

Testing Information

English Proficiency Test - CLBA and IELTS (Academic test).

  • For international students, your entrance CLBA in ELF is free.
  • For domestic students, you can get a free CLBA at ILVARC (Immigrant Language and Vocational Assessment - Referral Centre) if you are eligible.
  • Except for the above free CLBA, all students are charged a test fee, similar to challenge tests.
    • CLBA at SAIT for full-test: $175 and partial test (R/W or L/S): $87.50 (test fee is subject to change.) To make an appointment for the CLBA, please call 403.210.4045 or email english.language@sait.ca.
  • IELTS at SAIT:$309 (test fee is subject to change).
    • To discuss IELTS, please email ielts@sait.ca. We accept IELTS band scores from any approved centres - however, you must submit an official copy of your IELTS test report form (TRF).
  • It is recommended that the results from CLBA and IELTS are current within six months of applying to this program. Test results older than one year will not be accepted.
Course Equivalents
ENGL 102 (Pre Level 1) CLB 3 IELTS 3.0
Level 1 CLB 4 IELTS 3.5
Level 2 CLB 5 IELTS 4.0
Level 3 CLB 6 IELTS 4.5
Level 4 CLB 7 - must take level 4 and 5 IELTS 5.0
Level 5 IELTS 5.5

Benchmark 8 and completion of ELF level 5-----Meets English language requirements to enter SAIT career programs.* Students with a CLBA score of 3 in each category can take ENGL 102-English Language Readiness.

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

An IELTS band score of 6.0 in all categories or completion of ELF level 5 meets the English Language requirements to enter SAIT career programs. Students with an IELTS band score of 3 in each category can take ENGL 102.

Please note:

  • Students coming from LINC program (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) with a certificate of completion for LINC (CLBA) level 4, 5 or 6 can be accepted to the ELF program as below:
    • LINC (CLBA) level 4 Graduates  ELF level 1
    • LINC (CLBA) level 5 Graduates → ELF level 2
    • LINC (CLBA) level 6 Graduates → ELF level 2
  • Teacher assessed CLBA scores from LINC schools are not accepted.

Bridging pathways

Based on the English Language Foundations (ELF) equivalency policy, students who have successfully completed some level at either of one of the SAIT pathway programs partners or other post-secondary academics English as a Second Language (ESL) programs may also be accepted. For more information, please contact the ELF office 403.210.4045 or english.language@sait.ca.

Are you interested in applying for the Business Administration program?

English Language Foundations and Business Administration Plus is a new admission option that allows  international applicants who meet the academic requirements to the Business Administration diploma but do not meet the minimum English language proficiency requirements.

Direct Entry: Four Step Process (International students)

Step 1: Read the program information.

Step 2:Apply to English Language Foundations through Apply Alberta and select a start date.

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

Step 3: Find out how to monitor your application status after you apply.

Step 4: Once you receive your SAIT student ID number, schedule a CLBA by calling 403.210.4045 or email english.language@sait.ca.

Please note: We recommend that you arrive in Calgary at least one week before classes start so you can complete the CLBA and receive your scores to register for courses.

Domestic students

You can register for courses on an ongoing basis. 


Program outline

View additional English Language Foundations program information including course-specific descriptions and requisites.

Course Code Course Name Credits
COMN-151 Communications 1 3.0
COMN-152 Communications 2 3.0
COMN-153 Communications 3 3.0
COMN-154 Communications 4 3.0
COMN-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


Level 1 (communications and speech) leads to level 2, which in turn leads to level 3, 4 and 5. However, students entering the program with a CLBA may begin at any point between levels 1-4 depending on their score. Students entering with IELTS, depending on their band score, may begin at any point between levels 1-5.

Transfer options

The opportunity to advance your education through transfer to, within or from SAIT is available with the following universities and colleges:

  • Chinook Learning Services

To learn more, visit Transfer Options


The program fees listed below include the cost of one level, which has two courses. If you only take one course, the fee will be $657 for domestic students and $1,340 for international students. There may be additional fees depending on the number of courses taken.

Domestic students may be eligible for government grant funding through the Foundational Learning Program.

Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2020/21 total
1 $6,635 - - - $6,635

International Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2020/21 total
1 $14,341 - - $155 $15,465


Campus athletic and recreation Fee: $171.20
Universal transit pass (UPass): $310 - Check eligibility here.
Student support fee: $100
Student technology fee: $100

Health and Dental Fees

Domestic Students 

  • Health Plan: $122
  • Dental Plan: $130
  • For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the Saitsa website for information on opting out.

International Students 

  • Health and Dental Plan: $344
  • For more information on Health and Dental Benefits for International students please contact the International Centre.

Books and supplies*

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

Next steps for incoming students

Have you been accepted to this program? Here's what you'll need for your first day of classes.

Important dates and deadlines

Find important dates applicable to all students, including your transcript and tuition payment deadlines on our Important Dates page.

Important Dates

Fall 2020


All classes in this program will be delivered online for the Fall 2020 term due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health and safety guidelines.

How to register for classes

Students should work with an advisor for registration details.

Computers and laptops

This is a bring your own device program with a standard hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page

Required textbooks

No textbooks are required for this program. 


Phone: 403.210.4045
Email: english.language@sait.ca

Academic chair

Rekiyat (Gifty) Siyaka, Academic Chair
Email:  rekiyat.siyaka@sait.ca

Have questions about this program?

Contact us at

English Language Foundations

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