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Study at UAlberta

Visiting Student Certificate Program

The Visiting Student Certificate Program (VSCP) is a unique program enabling students to study at UAlberta for six to 12 months in regular academic courses while enhancing their English language skills.

The VSCP is for students whose first language is not English and who have an English Language Proficiency test score below 86 iBT (TOEFL) or 6.5 IELTS or who have not taken TOEFL or IELTS tests before.

To be eligible for the VSCP, students must:

  • be registered in a degree program in a university outside of Canada, and
  • must have written consent from their university to participate in the program.

Program highlights
Academic information
Services for VSCP Students
Certificate
Dates, fees, & deadlines
VSCP Cancellation and refund policies
How to apply


Program Highlights

  • a flexible academic schedule with varied start and end dates
  • flexible English language requirements
  • assistance with the application process
  • a program of in-class and extracurricular English Language and cultural activities
  • transferable credit in academic courses
  • personalized service and assistance
  • the opportunity to live in a campus residence with international or Canadian students
  • excellent program outcomes, such as improved English language skills, greater independence, a deeper understanding of intercultural and global issues

Learn more about the program:


Academic Information

English Language Proficiency Requirements

Students do not need to present an English Language Proficiency test score to be eligible for admission to the VSCP. All VSCP students are required to take one or two ESL courses to better prepare them for academic studies in English.

At the start of the program:

VSCP students presenting an official score of 70 internet-based TOEFL (iBT) with a minimum of 17 in each section or 5.5 IELTS with a minimum of 5.0 in each section will have direct entry into the English for Academic Purposes course, EAP 140.

A student’s level of English will determine how many academic credits they can earn while at the University of Alberta. It is recommended that students who must earn academic credit during their study abroad program start the VSCP with a minimum 70 iBT or 5.5 IELTS score.

Students who do not meet these recommended test scores may be required to register for academic courses as an auditor, which means they can observe the lectures but do not receive any credit.

Registration in Academic Courses

All academic course registration is done in consultation with a VSCP advisor.

A VSCP student can register in an academic course if:

  1. The student has a strong enough level of English to be successful in the course.
  2. The student has the background (prerequisites) for the course.
  3. There are seats available in the class.
  4. The student has the permission from the faculty, Department, or instructor to remain in the course.
  • VSCP students can register in Open Studies Courses in the Faculties of Agriculture, Life & Environmental Sciences, Arts, Education, Library & Information Studies, Native Studies, Physical Education, and Science.
  • Students who choose non-Open Studies courses will require official permission from the teaching department to register in these courses. These requests are submitted after the VSCP schedule starts and permission is not guaranteed. Students who need non-Open Studies courses to graduate may need to consider a different study abroad program. Non-Open Studies courses include business (e.g. finance, marketing, management and human resources), engineering and senior level courses. There is an additional fee for business and engineering courses.
  • VSCP students cannot take courses in law, medicine, dentistry or nursing.
  • VSCP students may audit many academic courses. This means that students can attend the lectures but do not need to do the assignments or exams. Students DO NOT receive academic credit for audit courses. The audit fee is half of the credit fee.

Academic course information is available online.

The symbols for Open Studies courses are  and  in the course listings information.

You can search course schedules by logging in to Bear Tracks, UAlberta's online system, as a guest.


Services for VSCP Students

VSCP students received personalized services, including:

  • Airport welcome
  • Orientation to shopping, neighbourhood, campus and other basic living requirements
  • Assistance settling into accommodation
  • Course registration and academic advising
  • A superior experience in both academic and non-academic courses
  • Ongoing seminars in cultural, social, and academic areas
  • Volunteer placement
  • Cultural and social activities including a trip to the Canadian Rockies (additional fees apply) 

Certificate

Upon successful completion of the VSCP the student will receive a Certificate of Participation and a transcript of credit for evaluation by the student's home university.


Dates, Fees & Deadlines

All fees are subject to approval and may change. The following calculations are based on 2016-2017 costs. For 2017-2018, an increase is expected.

Study Plan 

Application Deadline

Mandatory Application Fees

(non-refundable)

VSCP Course Load


Estimated Tuition Costs 

for the duration of the program
(CAN $)

Estimated Living Expenses

based on $1,200 per month for
living expenses,
mandatory health insurance, & shared
accommodation

(CAN $)

May –December
8 months

January 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 3 academic credits

$10,600

$9,600

May – April
12 months

January 15 

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 6 academic credits

$13,400

$14,400

July – December
6 months

March 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

1 ESL course and 3 academic credits

$8,000

$7,200

July – April
10 months

March 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

1 ESL course and 6 academic credits

$10,800

$12,000

September – April
8 months

April 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 3 academic credits

$10,600

$9,600

September– June
10 months

April 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 6 academic credits

$13,000

$12,000

 September – August
12 months

April 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 9 academic credits

$15,550

$14,400

January– June
6 months

October 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 3 academic credits

$10,600

$7,200

January – August
10 months

October 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 6 academic credits

$12,750

$9,600

January –December
12 months

 October 15

Program:  $125 Residence: $25

2 ESL courses and 9 academic credits

 $15,550

 $14,400

  1. Tuition estimates include the VSCP Program Fee, ESL Course Fees, VSCP seminars and staff services, instructional (academic course) fees and non-instructional fees. Accommodation fees and health insurance fees are not included in this estimate.
  2. The estimated living expenses include monthly health insurance fees.
  3. On average, a VSCP student in any schedule earns from three to six academic course credits (each course has a value of three credits).
  4. Students applying for a campus residence must submit their VSCP and residence application before April 30 to be guaranteed a residence assignment for September.

VSCP Program Dates

 Starting Month

 Length of program 

Start date 

End date 

 January  12 months   January 4, 2017  December 22, 2017
 10 months  January 4, 2017  August 18, 2017
 6 months  January 4, 2017  June 16, 2017
 May  12 months  April 28, 2017  April 28, 2018
 8 months  April 28, 2017  December 22, 2017
 July    10 months  July 4, 2017  April 28, 2018
 8 months  July 4, 2017  December 22, 2015 
 September  12 months August 30, 2017
 August 17, 2018
 10 months August 30, 2017  June 15, 2018
 8 months August 30, 2017  April 28, 2018

VSCP Cancellation and Fees Refund Policies

Applications must be cancelled in writing prior to the first day of the first required ESL course in order for the VSCP Program Fee to be cancelled in full.  The VSCP application fee, Residence Application Fee, and Homestay Placement Fee are non-refundable.

Students who withdraw from the program after the commencement of the required ESL courses and prior to the 30th day of the month that their final required ESL term ends are eligible for a partial refund of the VSCP Program Fee.


How to apply

Are you ready to apply?  Start the application process.