Laurier English and Academic Foundation (LEAF) Program

Study English at Laurier

The Laurier English and Academic Foundation (LEAF) program is an academic English program for applicants to Laurier who must provide evidence of English proficiency. As a student in the LEAF program, you will learn from certified, highly qualified English as a second language (ESL) instructors who have experience teaching in Canada and around the world.

LEAF will prepare you for success in your undergraduate program by helping you adapt to the academic culture at Laurier and to life in Canada. You'll also complete a course for academic credit, meaning you'll start your undergraduate program having already completed a course towards your degree.

You can also learn more by reading our top five reasons to study in the LEAF program.

Program Structure

There are two 14-week terms (fall and winter) and two eight-week intensive terms (spring and summer) in the LEAF program each calendar year. The 14-week terms are the same length and run at the same time as our undergraduate terms, allowing you to interact with both domestic and international students at Laurier while you experience university life in Canada. In LEAF Level 5, you also complete an academic course for credit.

2022 Terms

  • Winter: January 3 – April 14 
  • Spring: April 25 – June 17
  • Summer: June 27 – August 19
  • Fall: September 6 – December 22

Languages Canada logo

The LEAF program is accredited by Languages Canada, Canada's national language education association.

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"I would highly recommend the LEAF program to any student struggling to improve their English communication skills as well as looking to improve and develop strong study habits to succeed in university."

Jam (Yingjian) Liao, China, Business Administration (BBA) and Math (BMath) with UW


Your courses will focus on developing your English-language skills as well as the skills you'll need to be successful in your undergraduate program, like participating in group discussions and group work, managing your time to meet assignment deadlines, practicing English outside of the classroom and reflecting on your learning.

LEAF Levels

There are five levels to the LEAF program, each intended to increase your English proficiency. Upon application to an undergraduate program, or direct application to the LEAF program, you will submit an English-proficiency score from one of our accepted tests to to determine which of our 5 levels you will start in.

When you successfully complete a level of the LEAF program, you will progress to the next level. When you successfully finish level 5, which includes completing a course for credit that can be used towards your degree program at Laurier, you have met Laurier’s English proficiency requirements.


Your courses will focus on developing your English-language skills in listening and speaking, reading and vocabulary, and writing and research. These skills will help you with your coursework in the program as you learn essay writing, listening to lectures, reading academic texts and understanding university vocabulary. Additional courses in critical thinking and global engagement help to expand your learning and further prepare you for your undergraduate program.

In level 5, you'll take an undergraduate-level course for academic credit. This course is taught by a Laurier professor from our Faculty of Liberal Arts on the Brantford campus and consists of a weekly lecture. If you take this course in the fall or winter terms, you'll be able to enrol with other Laurier undergraduate students. Successfully completing this course means you'll earn credits towards your undergraduate degree before starting your undergraduate program, while also fulfilling the requirements of the LEAF program.

Student Experience

As a student in the LEAF program, you have access to a variety of student supports and services to help you excel at your studies, stay informed on immigration regulations, stay safe and healthy, and engage with the Laurier community. And you're a Laurier student so you'll have access to the amenities and activities available to all Laurier students.

Academic Support

Your course instructors are always happy to meet with you to answer any questions you have about your coursework and assignments. Each instructor will tell you how you can make an appointment to speak with them when you start your courses.

You can also schedule an appointment with the Student Academic Success team, which offers writing support and study skills support specifically for English-language learners.

International Student Support

Laurier International and the International Student Support team are your resources for support on immigration needs and questions, such as renewing your study permit and ensuring you have the correct visas and travel documents.

Staff at Laurier International also host orientation programming for new LEAF program students as well as information sessions and transition programming when you're in level 5 and getting ready for your undergraduate program.

Health and Wellness

As a LEAF program student, you will have health insurance coverage through, a leading provider of international student health insurance. Health insurance coverage is required for all students studying in Canada. Your health insurance will provide coverage for medical needs, such as doctor's appointments, as well as coverage for prescriptions and visits to the dentist.

As a Laurier student, you will also have access to the Student Wellness Centre, which provides services to support your physical health, mental wellbeing, financial wellness and safety needs. You will also have access to the Laurier Brantford YMCA, which has a fitness centre, aquatics centre, multiple studios for fitness classes and more.

As an international student, you will have free access to the My Student Support Program (MySSP) app. Through the app, you can access wellness supports in multiple languages through text and live chat functions, as well as read support articles on a variety of topics like managing stress, healthy eating, coping with homesickness and more. The app is available on Apple and Android.

Student Events and Activities

We know that your academic success is important to you and we want to help you meet your goals and succeed at Laurier. But there are also opportunities to expand your student experience outside of the classroom.

Staff in the LEAF program plan regular events and activities throughout the year where you can meet other students, make new friends, and experience the local community and culture. Past events have included trips to Niagara Falls, visiting an outdoor facility where maple syrup is made, movie nights and drop-in lunches.

We also celebrate the diverse cultures and backgrounds of the students at Laurier with cultural celebrations, such as Lunar New Year, Diwali and our annual Multicultural Gala.

And to help you build your English-language skills outside of the classroom, you can participate in the Hawk 2 Hawk English Conversation Project, which pairs you with another Laurier student for weekly conversations. This program allows you to practice your English skills while meeting someone new and sharing about your cultural backgrounds and experiences.

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"Studying in the LEAF program was an important part of my student journey. The LEAF program helped me to learn about Canadian culture and to get to know how the education system works in Canada. […] I’m really thankful for the program because it helped prepare me for my first year of my undergraduate studies in general."

Sonaina Chopra, Pakistan, Biology and Psychology with a research specialization

Brantford Campus

You'll study in the LEAF program at Laurier’s Brantford campus, a small and friendly campus located in the heart of downtown Brantford. The campus is integrated into the downtown core of the city, giving you the opportunity to practice your English by interacting with locals in the community as well as other Laurier students.

Learn more about the Brantford campus and explore the campus with our on-demand guided virtual tour.


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