The English Language Foundations (ELF) program provides English language upgrading for learners whose first language is not English. Students are placed into the program based on demonstrated proficiency in English, using the Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment (CLBA). Most students use the ELF program as entry into SAIT career programs.
The ELF curriculum encourages development in all language areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
- Five-level program
- Six start dates per year (eight week terms)
- Full and part-time studies; evening/weekend courses available
- Intensive, skills-focused approach
- Proficiency based placement and advancement
- Completion of ELF 5 is accepted in lieu of English 30 for most programs at SAIT
ELF is a 5-level program and each level has two courses: one in reading and writing (COMN), and the other in listening and speaking (SPCH).
Full-time Day Language Instruction:
- Two courses per week for eight weeks
- 22 hours per week in class, Monday-Friday, plus 15-20 hours of homework
- Courses available in morning (8 am, 10 am) or afternoon (12 pm, 2 pm)
Part-time Day Language Instruction:
- One course per week for eight weeks
- 11 hours per week in class, Monday-Friday, plus 7-10 hours of homework
- Courses available in morning (8am, 10am) or afternoon (12 pm, 2 pm)
- One or two courses per week for 16 weeks
- Each course is two evenings and five hours per week (2.5 hours each evening)
- Courses offered Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday
2017-18 Program start and end dates**
Full and Part-time Day Language Instruction:
** Dates are subject to change
Program registration and levels
Before you can register for the English Language Foundations program, you must complete a Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment (CLBA) and obtain a minimum score of 4 in all categories. CLBA must be completed at least one week before the course start date.
- CLBA scores must be within six months of the test date.
- Teacher-assessed CLBA scores from LINC schools are not accepted.
- For international students, the first CLBA test is free as part of your application fee, an additional CLBA can be completed for $150 for the next eligible test.
To register, bring your CLBA score to the ELF office in MC217, Stan Grad Centre, to select your course(s) schedule. Once you pay for you course(s) at the Registrar's office, you will be registered.
Benchmark 4 → ELF level 1
Benchmark 5 → ELF level 2
Benchmark 6 → ELF level 3
Benchmark 7 → ELF level 4 → ELF level 5
Benchmark 8 and completion of ELF level 5 → Meets English proficiency requirement to enter SAIT career programs*
Join us for an upcoming info session to get your questions answered and learn more about SAIT and ELF. Email email@example.com to sign up.
All sessions are held in room N108, Chinook Lodge, Senator Burns Building at 6 pm.
The International Centre provides assistance to international students interested in studying at SAIT. International students can take the English Language Foundations program in preparation for SAIT career programs.
After successfully completing the ELF program, students who meet the English proficiency admission requirement for most programs as completion of ELF level 5 is accepted as equivalent to English 30.
Students in ELF levels 4 and 5 may take Academic Upgrading courses in math or science.
Progress in the ELF program depends on the student's demonstration of proficiency. Instructors regularly assess student progress through classroom assignments, participation and examinations. Students who achieve a grade of 50% (D) or above in all subjects will be promoted to the next level.
Students should be prepared to dedicate considerable time to attending classes and completing homework, and to actively use English outside of class time. SAIT career programs require academic appropriate English skills in all areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
ELF is a continuous program and it is required that students study in each level on a continuous basis. If you take a break between levels, you will be required to take a CLBA when you are ready to return and you will be placed in the appropriate level based on your CLBA, not your previously completed course(s).
Contact English Language Foundations
- To enter the English Language Foundations program, you must complete a Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment (CLBA) and obtain a minimum score of 4 in all categories.
- Based on your CLBA score, you will be registered into the appropriate English Language Foundations level.
- Only CLBA scores from SAIT or the Immigrant Language and Vocational Assessment - Referral Centre (ILVARC) are accepted. Scores must be no older than 6 months.
Direct Entry: Four Step Process
Step 1: Read the program information.
Step 2: Apply to English Language Foundations through Apply Alberta and select a start date.
- Admission will be extended on a first-qualified, first-offered basis until the program is full.
Step 3: Find out how to monitor your application status after you apply.
Step 4: Once you receive your SAIT student ID number, schedule a CLBA by calling 403.210.4045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: The cost of one CLBA is included in your application fee. We recommend you arrive in Calgary at least one week before classes start so you can complete the CLBA and receive your scores to register for courses.
To find the course description for a course shown below please go to our Course Finder.
|Course Code||Course Name||Credits|
|Total Credits: 30.0|
Each level has two courses (communication and speech). Completion of Level 5 indicates the completion of the program. The level which students begin in the ELF program depends on their CLBA score. In order to progress to the next level, students must successfully complete the level they are in. If students complete their course(s) with a final grade of 85% or above, they are eligible for a challenge test to re-assess their benchmark scores.
Language training for apprentices
If English is not your first language, and you're concerned about your language proficiency, register for this free, trades-specific language training program for automotive service technician apprentices. Email email@example.com, call 403.210.5971, or learn more about the program.
The program fees listed below include the cost of one level, which has two courses. If you only take one course, the fee will be $657 for domestic students and $1314 for international students. Domestic students may be eligible for government grant funding through Funding Advising - Skills Investment Program (SIP).
The full cost of the program is dependent on the level you start in.
|Level||Program Fees||SAIT Fees||Student Association Fees|
|Level||Program Fees||SAIT Fees||Student Association Fees|
Campus Athletic and Recreation Fee: N/A
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): Program does not meet UPass requirments, unless you are enrolled in two back-to-back terms within the fall (Sept.-Dec.), winter (Jan.-April) or spring (May-Aug.) semesters.
Student Association (SAITSA) Fees
Health Plan: N/A
Dental Plan: N/A
Student Association: N/A
Cost of supplies and books*
- Supplies are approximately $10-20 per term. Students are not required to purchase books for the program.
* Costs are subject to change.