Major Papers


International Enrolment, Language Proficiency Requirements, English Language Proficiency, University Admissions


The internationalization of the Canadian higher education system is becoming increasingly delicate, yet complex. This major research paper aims to develop an understanding of the impact that language proficiency requirements have on international students’ ability to study abroad at post-secondary institutions. This paper employs a theoretical framework of neoliberal education and culturally relevant pedagogy to analyze enrolment management practices and opportunities through a student-centred lens. A systematized review of the literature concerning English language proficiency (ELP) of international students in higher education was conducted. Results were synthesized into two key themes: language proficiency and university admissions and the student experience.

The former theme addresses the research question directly, determining that all aspects of ELP and the admissions process highlighted ineffective practices likely to cause difficulties for international students. The latter theme answers the research question indirectly, resulting in a call for increased support both academically and socially. A holistic approach to the development of international students’ ELP that spans both institutional organization and the student journey would best limit adverse impacts on the student experience. Positive retention rates and student experience both serve as recruitment tools for future students. Therefore, the literature’s call for a holistic approach to international studentlanguage development offers reciprocal benefits for students and institutions alike.

Primary Advisor

Clayton Smith

Program Reader

Susan Holloway

Degree Name

Master of Education



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year