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Trent ESL - English for University

International students standing in front of flags at Convocation

Trent ESL - English for University


English for University consists of 5 levels. The first 3 levels are the Core English Program, and the last 2 levels are the Foundations for University Program.

Trent-ESL Core English Program (CORE)

The Core English Program is designed to help beginner and intermediate English users gain proficiency in speaking, pronunciation, vocabulary, reading, writing, and grammar. Instruction is centred on themes which build essential language basics and progress to include pre-academic topics such as: popular science, urban studies, literature, arts and culture, and the environment. Students are engaged throughout their learning using technology, campus resources, and real experiences. These three levels prepare learners for a range of situations where they must understand and communicate using English in a variety of ways. Once you have completed Level 3, you can enter the Foundations for Univeristy Program. There is no test score required for admission to the CORE English program.

Core English Courses

  • Writing and Grammar
  • Reading and Vocabulary
  • Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation

NEW Direct placement into CORE 3

  • For direct admission to ESL CORE 3
  • IELTS: 5.0 overall, with a 5.0 in writing
  • TOEFL IBT: 60
  • TOEFL PBT: 500

Trent-ESL Foundations for University Program (FOUNDATIONS I and II)

The Foundations for University Program is a two-term program where the focus is on English for Academic and English for Specific purposes. “Foundations” provides the final preparation for academic success in either college or university programs delivered in English. Research skills, documentation skills, writing across academic disciplines, critical thinking and analyses become the emphases of study as English skills are polished. During your studies in Foundations, you are able to begin adding university credit courses to your timetable so that you begin your transition to degree studies or take interest courses for your own development.

Foundations for University I and II Courses

  • Academic Communication
  • Academic Analysis
  • Grammar Workshop
  • University Transition
  • 1:1 Writing Conferences

For direct admission to Foundations I

  • IELTS: 5.5 overall, with a 5.5 in writing
  • TOEFL IBT: 70
  • TOEFL PBT: 525

For direct admission to Foundations II

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall, with a 6.0 in writing
  • TOEFL IBT: 80
  • TOEFL PBT: 550


Your Trent-ESL: English for University instructors are highly qualified and have many years of experience teaching academic English, both in Canada and around the world. They are looking forward to working with you!

Trent University has two campuses: the main campus is in Peterborough, and there is a smaller campus in Durham. The Trent-ESL: English for University Program is offered at the Peterborough campus.