Overview

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 International English Language System (IELTS) examination. Most students use the ELF program as entry into SAIT career programs.

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

Program highlights include:

  • five-levels, with two courses in each: one in reading and writing (COMN) and the other in listening and speaking (SPCH)
  • six start dates per year (eight-week terms)
  • full and part-time options; evening/weekend courses available
  • intensive, skills-focused approach
  • proficiency-based placement and advancement

Completion of ELF 5 is accepted in place of English 30 for most programs at SAIT.

Progress in the ELF program depends on your demonstration of English proficiency. Instructors regularly assess your progress through classroom assignments, participation and examinations. If you achieve a rating of 50% (D) in all subjects, you can be recommended for promotion to the next level.

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

English Language Foundations and Business Administration Plus is an admission option for international students interested in studying Business Administartion who meet the academic requirements of the Business Administration diploma but do not meet the minimum English language proficiency requirements.

Qualified applicants will complete the ELF portion of their studies and, upon completion of the appropriate ELF level 5 will transition to the Business Administration program.

Please note that depending on the ELF level you are starting at, it may take longer to meet the required ELF level successfully.

To apply, you must meet the published program admission requirements for the Business Administration diploma program (any major) at the time of application and present IELTS scores of at least 4.5.

You will be offered a seat in the Business Administration program once you achieve ELF level 5.

Applications can be made in the international virtual admissions system by selecting the "International English + Diploma" program.

Download program info

Courses

Course delivery

Full-time program:

  • Two courses per level for eight weeks 
  • 20 hours per week in class, Monday through Friday, plus 15 to 20 hours of homework 
  • Courses are available in the morning or the afternoon

Part-time program:

  • One course per level for eight weeks 
  • 10 hours per week in class, plus seven to ten hours of homework 
  • Courses are available in the morning or the afternoon

Communications

Course Credits

Communications 1 (COMN 151) is designed to advance the reading and writing skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 4. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building fluent basic reading and writing skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending instructions and reproducing information; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners begin to develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • CLBW 04 - Canadian Language Benchmark - Reading/Writing
  • IELR 3.5 - IELTS Academic Reading and IELW 3.5 - IELTS Academic Writing
  • LIN4 -  Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada LINC Level 4
  • ENGL 102
3

Communications 2 (COMN 152) is designed to advance the reading and writing skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 5. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building intermediate-level reading and writing skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending instructions and reproducing information; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • CLBW 05
  • Canadian Language Benchmark - Reading/Writing IELR 4
  • IELTS Academic Reading and IELW 4 IELTS Academic Writing
  • COMN 151
3

Communications 3 (COMN 153) is designed to advance the reading and writing skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 6. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for continuing to develop intermediate-level reading and writing skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending instructions and reproducing information; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners build the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • CLBW 06 Canadian Language Benchmark - Reading/Writing IELR 4.5
  • IELTS Academic Reading and IELW 4.5 IELTS Academic Writing
  • COMN 152
3

Communications 4 (COMN 154) is designed to advance the reading and writing skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 7. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building adequate intermediate-level reading and writing skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending instructions and reproducing information; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • CLBW 07 Canadian Language Benchmark - Reading/Writing IELR 5
  • IELTS Academic Reading and IELW 5 IELTS Academic Writing
  • COMN 153
3

Communications 5 (COMN 155) is designed to advance the reading and writing skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 8. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building fluent intermediate-level reading and writing skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending instructions and reproducing information; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners continue to develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts. COMN 155 is the final English Language Foundations COMM course and fulfills the English language reading and writing requirements for entry into most SAIT programs.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • IELR 5.5 IELTS Academic Reading and IELW 5.5 IELTS Academic Writing
  • COMN 154
3

Speech

Course Credits

Speech 1 (SPCH 151) is designed to advance the listening and speaking skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 4. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building fluent basic listening and speaking skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending and giving instructions; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners begin to develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • CLBS 04 Canadian Language Benchmark - Listening/Speaking
  • IELL 3.5 - IELTS Academic Listening and IELS 3.5 - IELTS Academic Speaking
  • LIN4 -  Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada LINC Level 4
  • ENGL 102
3

Speech 2 (SPCH 152) is designed to advance the listening and speaking skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 5. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building intermediate-level listening and speaking skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending and giving instructions; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • CLBS 05 Canadian Language Benchmark - Listening/Speaking
  • IELL 4.0 IELTS Academic Listening and IELS 4.0 IELTS Academic Speaking
  • SPCH 151
3

Speech 3 (SPCH 153) is designed to advance the listening and speaking skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 6. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for continuing to develop intermediate-level listening and speaking skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending and giving instructions; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • CLBS 06 Canadian Language Benchmark - Listening/Speaking
  • IELL 4.5 IELTS Academic Listening and IELS 4.5 IELTS Academic Speaking
  • SPCH 152
3

Speech 4 (SPCH 154) is designed to advance the listening and speaking skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 7. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building adequate intermediate-level listening and speaking skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending and giving instructions; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • Canadian Language Benchmark - Listening/Speaking 07
  • IELL 5.0 IELTS Academic Listening and IELS 5.0 IELTS Academic Speaking
  • SPCH 153
3

Speech 5 (SPCH 155) is designed to advance the listening and speaking skills of ESL learners at Canadian Language Benchmark 8. The course takes an integrated task-based approach to language learning. Four broad areas of competency provide the framework for building fluent intermediate-level listening and speaking skills: 1) interacting with others; 2) comprehending and giving instructions; 3) getting things done; and 4) comprehending and sharing information. Topics and tasks are contextualized within Canadian professional settings, so that learners continue to develop the strategies and skills required for effective communication in English-speaking, multicultural contexts. SPCH 155 is the final English Language Foundations SPCH course and fulfills the English language listening and speaking requirements for entry into most SAIT programs.

Pre-requisites:

One of:

  • IELL 5.5 IELTS Academic Listening and IELS 5.5 IELTS Academic Speaking
  • SPCH 154
3

Progression

Level 1 (communications and speech) leads to level 2, which leads to levels 3, 4 and 5.  However, students entering the program with a CLBA, CLPBT or ELF PPT may begin between levels 1 and 4, depending on their score. 

Depending on their band score, students entering the IELTS Academic Test may begin at any point between levels 1 and 5. 

Review our grading and progression procedure >

Admission requirements

To register for the English Language Foundations program, you must complete either:

CLBA or IELTS tests must be completed four weeks before the term starts.

International English Language Testing System

The IELTS Test Centre at SAIT provides proficiency testing for $329. 

We accept IELTS band scores from any approved centres. However, you must submit an official copy of your IELTS test report form (TRF).

Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment

Entrance CLBA tests for international students are free. If eligible, domestic students can get a free CLBA or CLBPT at CLARC (Calgary Language Assessment and Referral Centre).

English Language Foundations (ELF) proficiency placement test

Your ELF placement will be based on your CLBA, CLBPT, ELF PPT or academic IELTS score:

ELF levels CLBA CLBPT ELF PPT IELTS
ELF Level 1 CLBA 4 CLBPT 4 ELF PPT 4 IELTS 3.5
ELF Level 2 CLBA 5 CLBPT 5 ELF PPT 5 IELTS 4.0
ELF Level 3 CLBA 6 CLBPT 6 ELF PPT 6 IELTS 4.5
ELF Level 4 CLBA 7 -must take level 4 & 5 CLBPT 7 ELF PPT 7 IELTS 5.0
ELF Level 5 N/A CLBPT 8 ELF PPT 8 IELTS 5.5

IELTS: A band score of 6.0 in all categories and completion of ELF level 5 meets the English language requirements to enter SAIT programs.

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)

Students coming from the LINC program 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 3

Teacher-assessed CLBA scores from LINC schools are not accepted.

Bridging pathways

Based on the English Language Foundations (ELF) equivalency policy, you may also be accepted if you have completed some level at either one of the SAIT pathway program partners or other post-secondary academic English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.

Call 403.210.4045 or email english.language@sait.ca for more information about English language bridging pathways.

Available intakes

Winter 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: n/a
International students: Open
  • Application deadline: n/a

Spring 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: n/a
International students: Open
  • Application deadline: n/a

Summer 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: June 2, 2024
International students: Open
  • Application deadline: June 2, 2024

Fall 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: n/a
Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: n/a
International students: Open
  • Application deadline: n/a

Costs

2023/24 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023. They are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per year.

Domestic students

Number of courses Tuition fees Additional fees Total per semester
1 $699 $205.66 $904.66
2 $1,398 $112.32 $1,652.32
3 $2,097 $628 $2,725
5 $3,495 $628 $4,123

Number of courses Tuition fees Additional fees Total per semester
1 $1,473.42 $370.66 1,844.08
2 $2,946.84 $419.32 $3,366.16
3 $4,420.26 $628 $5,048.26
5 $7,367.10 $628 $7,995.10

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

No textbooks are required for this program.

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Financial aid

You could potentially qualify for funding for your courses if you are out of high school for more than 12 consecutive months, are unemployed, working less than 20 hours per week, and/or earning a modest annual income, or are 18 years old and a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or convention refugee.

Foundational Learning Program

Application process

Canadian citizens and permanent residents must apply to the program through Apply Alberta.

International students, temporary residents (with a study permit, work permit or visitor visa), or those living in Canada but do not have permanent resident or refugee status must apply to the program via the virtual application system.

After we confirm we have received your application, schedule your English Language Foundations proficiency placement test (PPT) by calling 403.210.4045 or email english.language@sait.ca

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Begin your application

Apply now using the online application portal. 

Ensure you have a valid Visa or Mastercard to pay the non-refundable application fee of $120 for domestic applicants or $150 for international applicants. 

Apply now

Ready to apply?

Follow our step-by-step guide to submitting a successful application.

Learn how to apply

Communication during admission

Email is the primary source of communication during the admission process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. 

We recommend you add the english.language@sait.ca to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.

Contact us

English Language Foundations

Phone
403.210.4045
Email
english.language@sait.ca

International Student Advising

Phone
403.284.8852
Email
international@sait.ca