Welcome to the Academic English Program's Page!

Academic English is essential for preparing learners for the rigorous academic demands of university level courses.  A specialized academic English course goes far beyond a general understanding of everyday English as it focuses on the development of complex language features and academic skills that are necessary to be successful in completing an academic program at the university level.  

Course Description

Offered at both our Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses, the academic English programs are designed to prepare learners for academic studies and who do not meet Lakehead University’s English language requirements.  These programs target all four language areas:  reading, writing, listening, and speaking as well as important academic skills such as enhanced critical thinking abilities, proficient research skills, effective academic writing and presentations skills and a solid foundation in academic integrity and ethics. Other skills that students will develop and expand in these programs, include but are not limited to:  

  • identifying features and structures of abstracts, 

  • evaluating objectivity in a text, 

  • identifying types of sources, 

  • recognizing a writer’s stance, 

  • using navigational language to understand a lecture, 

  • understanding visual data in a presentation, 

  • using lecture notes and visuals effectively, 

  • preparing and participating in seminar discussions, 

  • planning, researching and delivering academic presentations, and 

  • writing academic research essays on a variety of topics.

Using Kolb’s (1984) Cycle of Experiential Learning (concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation), the Academic English Programs introduce students to an experiential approach to learning to engage students in direct and meaningful experiences to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop their capacity to contribute to the wider community. 

The 3 academic English programs' streams range from  beginning (Levels 1 and 2), intermediate (levels 3 and 4) to advanced (level 5).  Students are required to complete the online iTEP placement test or submit a Lakehead University accepted proficiency test score (no older than 2 years) such as IELTS or TOFEL to determine which level they will begin their academic English program.  If a student does not possess a current English proficiency score, they can take the ELC online placement test. If you would like to take the placement test, please fill out the Placement Test Form. When we receive the payment, we will send the test instructions along with the test login information. If you have any questions, please email international.english@lakeheadu.ca.

Below are the 5 levels of the Academic English Programs, as well as the English proficiency required for each level.

 Placement Chart for AEP Level

Program Dates


January 15 - April 19, 2024 

May 6 - August 2, 2024

June 24 - August 23 (Intensive Academic English Program) To be eligible in this program, a 6.0 overall in IELTS or equivalent. IAEP is the same as Level 5 AEP; however, the program is condensed into a shorter semester.

September 9 - December 13

Required Fees

Application Fee*: $50 CAD *only applies to applicants who want to take AEP only and are not degree bound or Confederation College bound. 

Academic English Program Tuition

$5,200 CAD per semester (tuition only)

Placement Test Fee (if required):

iTEP Academic Plus - AEP $90 CAD

Test measures the four skills: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening

The test can be taken either on site or remotely.

Academic Courses: 
 $2,850 - $3,800 CAD per class per semester depending on the academic program
Optional for advanced English-language students in Level 5 AEP.

Auditing Fees:
$598.45 for 1.0 FCE (full credit courses) or $299.23 for 0.5 FCE (half credit courses). 
Optional if you would like to take academic courses without receiving credit.

$900 - $1500 CAD per month
Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation you choose and whether you live on or off-campus.

Medical Insurance:
$1.95 CAD per day (approximately $238 per semester)
For details on medical coverage, visit the GuardMe website.

Ancillary Fees: 
Approximately $75 CAD per semester

Bus Pass:
Thunder Bay

Adult Pass (25+ years): $80.00 monthly

Youth Pass (13 - 24 years): $55 monthly

$63.60 (monthly)


Apartment style residence building on the Thunder Bay campus

There are many different housing options for international students at Lakehead:

Each housing option offers you a different and unique experience.

Find out more about Lakehead housing options.

Sample Schedule

A typical week in our in-person Academic English Program balances class time learning English with cultural excursions and free time, allowing you to learn about our city and culture as well as practice your English skills. Our online Academic English Program is a combination of synchronous (live lessons) and asynchronous (independent work). A typical day includes 3 hours of synchronous lessons starting at 7:00 am and 2 hours of asynchronous, independent work. Each week in the program introduces you to brand new experiences. Here is just a sample of what you could expect as an Academic English Program student:

Virtual Learning (Online) Model Sample Schedule

Sample Schedule Academic English Program - Virutal

*ELC runs additional custom programming that supports ELC learners to practice their AEP skills in a practical setting. 
* Across Lakehead departments there are an array of events and activities to choose from. Click on the links below to see examples of current events.

Health and Wellness

International Student Events

Lakehead Campus Events Calendar

In-Person Learning Model Sample Schedule 

Sample Schedule Academic English Program - In-Person

Some of the types of cultural excursions you could look forward to include:

  • Canada Day celebration (Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses)
  • A guided tour of the downtown museum or art gallery (Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses)
  • A nature hike at Kakabeka Falls or Scout Valley (Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses)
  • Attending a Thunderwolves hockey game (Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses)
  • Skiing at Mount Baldy or Blue Mountain (Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses)
Apply to the Academic English Program

The application process for our Academic English Program (AEP) varies depending on what academic program (if any) you will be taking:

  • Undergraduate Applicants: If you have already been conditionally accepted to an Undergraduate Program, you do not need to apply for Academic English Program (AEP). You will automatically be considered.
  • Graduate Applicants: If you are accepted to a Graduate Level Program and need to take the Academic English Program (AEP), you will receive instructions in your Letter of Acceptance on how to apply to AEP. 
  • English Language Only: If you would like to apply to Academic English Program (AEP) only, click the instructions below. 
  • Application Fee: $50 CAD

Click Here for Application Instructions for AEP

If you are unsure or have questions, contact us and we can help.

Please let us know if you would like to join online or in person after applying to the program by emailing us at international.english@lakeheadu.ca.

Phone: +1 (807) 343-8110 ext. 7888

Email: international.english@lakeheadu.ca