Academic English Program

Offered at both our Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses, the Academic English Program (AEP) and Intensive Academic English Program (IAEP) is designed to prepare you for academic studies if you do not meet Lakehead University's English language requirements. Our program targets all four language areas: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. You will improve your ability to read academic materials, write essays, take notes, and give presentations.

The English Language Centre will be open on September 7 for in-person AEP classes. If you have any questions about the centre's reopening, you can email

 For the Fall 2021 term, there is an option to choose online programming if you are unable to travel to Canada after August 2, 2021 in time for in person classes to begin.

Apply Now!

Program Overview

Academic English Program (AEP) - 13 Weeks

  • Students will improve their ability to read academic materials, write a variety of academic essays and give academic presentations individually and in groups. There are 5 levels in the Academic English Program. You will be assessed upon arrival and placed in the appropriate level based on your skills if you do not possess current IELTS or TOEFL scores. Please note that Lakehead University will temporarily accept the Duolingo English Test from applicants who are from a region where IELTS and/or TOEFL test centres are closed due to COVID-19. If you do not have a test score from any of these sources, you must do a placement test online before your arrival if you are planning to study in Canada. Placement tests for Fall 2021 placement must be done no later than August 16, 2021. Please contact us for more information. Please contact us for more information.
    • NOTE: Our in house placement test is used for placement in the Academic English Program only. Thus, the test does not guarantee entry in any undergraduate or graduate program.
  • The program runs 25 hours per week and each level takes 13 weeks to complete. 
  • Upon successful completion of Level 5 of the Academic English Program, graduates will meet the English language academic requirement for most Lakehead University programs without having to take another standardized English test.
  • Level 5 of the program is the equivalent of IELTS (6.5), TOEFL (80), Duolingo English Test (110).
  • If you begin the program in level 5, you may be allowed to take one academic course outside of your AEP class schedule. Please note that eligibility to take academic courses will be determined on a case-by-case basis and depending on your IELTS individual scores.
Academic English Program students in class

Intensive Academic English Program (IAEP) - 9 Weeks (compressed)

Students who have a conditional Offer of Admission and have the equivalent of IELTS 6.0 overall with no band lower than 6.0 may be admitted to the Intensive Academic English Program (IAEP). This compressed course takes 9 weeks (July & August) and runs Monday through Saturday from 9a.m. to 4p.m. (36 hours per week). This program will allow students to start their academic program in September upon successful completion of IAEP.

Review our AEP and IAEP Student Handbook here.

Fall 2021 Delivery Update

The English Language Centre is planning to deliver in-person classes subject to enrolment. At this time, students have the option of attending classes in person or remotely. Please let us know by August 16, whether or not you are planning to arrive on campus for September 2021. If you are planning to take classes in the AEP, you will need to provide your English proficiency score (for example, IELTS, TOEFL or Duolingo) before August 16. If you do not have a score, you will need to do an online placement test before this date. You can contact us by emailing

Program Dates



January 10, 2022 - April 8, 2022 (all levels) 

May 2, 2022 - July 29, 2022 (all levels)

September 12, 2022 - December 9, 2022 (all levels)*


June 27, 2022 - August 26, 2022 (level 5; IELTS 6.0 in all bands or equivalent only) 

*Fall 2023 course delivery to be determined (online or in-person). Please check back for updates.

Required Fees

Academic English Program Tuition
$4,800 CAD per semester (tuition only)

Placement Test Fee (if required):
$150 CAD

Academic Courses: 
$2,650 - $3,400 CAD per class per semester depending on the academic program
Optional for advanced English-language students in Level 5 AEP.

Auditing Fees:
$322.79 CAD per class per semester. Students do not obtain a credit.
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 $60 CAD per semester

Bus Pass:
Thunder Bay



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 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

Online Community of Care

JUMP Program

International Student Events

Lakehead Campus Events Calendar

In-Person Learning Model Sample Schedule (Resuming Fall 2021)

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, and not any other academic program at Lakehead, please apply online using the Lakehead University Undergraduate Application Form

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

Phone: +1 (807) 346-7888