English as a Second Language

English for University

The Trent ESL-English for University is an intensive English language, academic skills and university transition program that provides a strong foundation for academic success at the university level, and immediate progression to full-time undergraduate degree studies upon successful completion of the program. The Trent-ESL program equally prepares students entering college and provides the foundation for students pursuing study at Fleming College and for students in the University Transfer Program between Fleming College and Trent University. Trent-ESL also welcomes ESL learners to explore our English for Specific Academic and Professional Purposes courses, offered on their own, or in addition to the core Trent-ESL program.

This page is a brief overview of the Trent-ESL program. For more detailed information on topics such as fees, start dates and accommodation please visit the Trent-ESL program page.

English for University Program Details

Trent- ESL: English for University is a fully accredited member of Languages Canada.

  • Orientation TIP Camp** provides airport pickup,and depending on your start session a combination of meals,accommodation and full orientation to university life.  **orientation fees apply
  • Choose Trent-ESL in either Peterborough or Oshawa
  • Four terms for year-round study: September, January, April and June
  • Full-time Trent University student status
  • Highly qualified instructors with excellent student to teacher ratio
  • Five levels of study. Credit courses available to students in Levels 4 & 5
  • A pre-ESL program for students who have no English proficiency is available
  • Each term consists of approximately 300 class hours (ESL 5 has 200 hours + credit course hours) over 9 – 12 weeks (depending on term)
  • Small classes
  • Classes offered in Reading, Writing, Grammar, Listening, Speaking, and Applied Academic Skills-in-context
  • Instructors are TESL certified. Full-time instructors hold an MA and/or MEd
  • Instructors' office hours available for one-on-one assistance
  • English language assessment by CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language) upon arrival
  • Graduating students receive orientation and support for as they begin their degree.

Benefits of the Program

  • Full university campus experience: Trent-ESL students are integrated into the university community; you belong to a college and have opportunities to join student organization.
  • Teams, clubs and groups and access to all campus facilities including health services, computer labs, language labs, wi-fi, library, and athletics facilities. Make the most of this study period!
  • Real curriculum: An intensive English as a Second Language curriculum designed to prepare students for university success. Trent-ESL is tuned in to the programs offered at Trent University and responds by ensuring that our curriculum reflects these programs. Real English for real success.
  • Languages Canada Accredited Member: Quality assurance through Canada’s national language program accreditation standards.
  • Conditional admission: You are academically prepared and passionate about starting your degree. Your conditional admission means you can start taking credit courses* as you complete the final stages of Trent-ESL. You are here for more than just ESL: we understand.  *some conditions must be met
  • Comprehensive placement assessment: Start Trent-ESL at the level that matches your current proficiency. Our placement process combines testing with in-class evaluation to ensure that you are accurately placed. Getting it right from the beginning is important to us.
  • Teachers that know: Passionate faculty provide academic English learning specific to university preparation and academic skill development. With TESL certifications and/or MAs, they know how to teach Academic English and what it takes to succeed in university.They will get you there.
  • Four starting points and year-round programming: with new terms starting in September, January, April and June, you can choose your starting point and study year round to accelerate through the program and get to your degree.
  • Two campuses: Choose to study at either our main campus in Peterborough or at the Durham Campus in Oshawa near Toronto. 

Get Involved!

All work and no play? Not on your life! Trent-ESL students enjoy the full university experience and can join clubs, student groups and organizations,, teams and college activites. Expand you limits and take advantage of the hundreds of opportunitires available to you on and around your campus.

The Trent-ESL cultural coordinator is dedicated to developing and providing extracurricular activities including local events and excursions to popular attractions such as Toronto, Niagara Falls and more! Get involved in the planning and share your ideas for cultural experiences you would like to gain.

Who is the Program for?

  • Students wanting to improve their English skills before they pursue their undergraduate or graduate studies at Trent University or elsewhere in Canada or the United States.
  • Secondary or post-secondary graduates wanting to upgrade their English Language proficiency for work purposes.

Trent University and Peterborough

  • Campus located on the banks of the Otonabee River among forests, lakes and rolling hills
  • Active international student body from over 100 countries
  • Peterborough is a small, safe, friendly community in the Kawartha Lakes tourist area. It's only 90 minutes from Toronto, and an hour's flight away from New York City. More information about the city of Peterborough.

Trent University and Durham

  • Durham campus centrally located to connect you to the energy of a larger community proximal to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
  • A growing and diverse student body on a campus with strong community interaction.
  • Pursue degree options in Anthropology, Computer Science/Studies*, Cultural Studies*, English Literature, Environmental and Resource Science/Studies*, History, Psychology, Sociology and Women’s Studies*.
  • As a Trent University student studying in Durham, you can take courses offered by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) as part of your Trent degree program.
  • Oshawa is a thriving community gaining international fame as a liveable community and economic leader. Exciting things are happening in Oshawa and the future has never looked brighter. To find more information about the city of Oshawa.

The TRENT-ESL program can also create an ESL program specifically designed for students aged 16 and above. Please inquire at: esl@trentu.ca