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English Language Foundations

Open for Fall 2020

Open for Spring 2020

Open for Summer 2020

Open for Winter 2020

Length: 8-week
Available: Classroom

Program Highlights

Upgrade your English skills and build confidence to pursue programs at SAIT, enter the job market or move ahead in your career. With full- and part-time options, English Language Foundations focuses on all language areas.  Evening and weekend classes are available through Continuing Education. Funding is available through the Foundational Learning Program (formerly the Skills Investment Program).

Completion of English Language Foundations Level 5 will provide you with the English proficiency admission requirement for SAIT programs.

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Tuition and Fees Per Year*

Year 1: $6,570 
Year 1 (International): $13,863

The full cost of the program is dependent on your CLBA results and the level you start in.

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


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.

When can you apply?

  • Applications are accepted until the program start date.
  • Applications for winter 2020 open May 1, 2019.
  • Applications for spring 2020 open Oct. 2, 2019.
  • Applications for summer 2020 open Oct. 2, 2019.
  • Applications for fall 2020 open Oct. 2, 2019.  
    • 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.  

Term Program start
Fall 2019 Oct. 28, 2019
Winter 2020 Jan. 6, 2020
March 2, 2020
Spring 2020 May 4, 2020
Summer 2020 July 6, 2020
Fall 2020 Aug. 31, 2020
Oct. 26, 2020

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) or 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

Program details

ELF is a 5-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 


Program start and end dates**

Full and part-time language instruction:

  • Jan. 6 - Feb. 28, 2020
  • March 2 - April 24, 2020
  • May 4 - June 26, 2020
  • July 6 - Aug. 28, 2020
  • Aug. 31 - Oct. 23, 2020
  • Oct. 26 - Dec. 18, 2020

** Dates are subject to change

Part-time language instruction:


  • Jan. 14 - April 30, 2020
  • May 12 - Aug. 27, 2020
  • Sept. 1 - Dec. 17, 2020

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.

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 to 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.

Credentials and accreditations 

40 weeks
No credentials or accreditations awarded.

Transfer options

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

  • Bow Valley College
  • Chinook Learning Services

To learn more, visit Transfer Options

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.

International students

Direct Entry: Four Step Process

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.


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.


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. Domestic students may be eligible for government grant funding through Funding Advising - Skills Investment Program (SIP).

The full cost of the program is dependent on the level you start in.


Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $6,570 - - - $6,570

International Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $13,403 - - $460 $13,863


Campus Athletic and Recreation Fee: $160
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): $302 - Check eligibility here 

Health and Dental Fees

Domestic Students 

  • Health Plan: $110
  • Dental Plan: $125
  • 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: $460
  • For more information on Health and Dental Benefits for International students please contact the International Centre.

Cost of supplies and books*

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

* Costs are subject to change.


English Language Foundations

Stan Grad Centre, MC217
Monday to Friday | 9 am - 4 pm

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