Trent University to offer English as Second Language courses for credit toward undergraduate degree

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Trent University in Peterborough says it is the first university in Canada to offer English as a Second Language courses for credit toward any undergraduate degree.

The university says its English as a Second Language (ESL) programming will mean international students can now fast-track their English language studies and degree studies and still graduate within four years, saving both money and time.

“The Trent ESL program has always upheld a reputation for excellence in English language programming,” said Glennice Burns, Trent’s associate vice-president, international. “Offering for-credit ESL programming speaks to the academic integrity and rigour these courses carry and lifts the value and benefit to an unmatched level across Canada.”

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Through the Trent ESL program, housed within Trent’s faculty of humanities, and in partnership with the centre for languages and linguistics, students enrolled in Academic English 1 and Academic English 2, standard ESL courses, will now earn two full academic credits toward their degree program.

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With the support of Trent ESL, students can also enrol for two half-credit courses from their chosen degree program, allowing them to graduate eight to 12 months earlier — saving up to $10,000 in tuition and international cost of living expenses, the university says.

The Trent-ESL: English for University program was established in 1999 and is accredited by Languages Canada, offering English language instruction — both for credit and not for credit.

“It never made sense that credits weren’t granted for learning English and were for other languages,” said Cath D’Amico, director of Trent International.

“Trent’s for-credit ESL program has been a decade in the making and I’m thrilled that we’ve reached this milestone for our students. This is a great value-add for students who can get a jumpstart on their degree by integrating their ESL courses into their program.”

While the first three ESL levels remain non-credit-bearing courses, the university says the addition of two credit-bearing courses “removes the perceived barrier” between ESL and degree programming.

“The future of the Trent-ESL: English for University program is bright, and we are excited to support our students in achieving academic, social and career success,” Burns said.

Applications for fall 2021 are still being accepted. Visit for more information and details on how to apply.

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