Academic Upgrading

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Academic Upgrading

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Program requirements for September 2022

Academic requirements
  • Alberta Education high school transcript current within the last five years or NorQuest College placement assessment
English language proficiency requirements

If English is your second language, you must provide proof of English language proficiency before admission. These results must be no more than two years old when you start your program.

Test scores we accept:

  • CLBPT or CLBA: no section score below 5 in listening and speaking
  • IELTS Academic: 5
  • TOEFL iBT: 40
  • CELPIP General: 5
  • Duolingo: 85
  • minimum of 80% in ESLS 5000 or ESLS 5100, and 80% in ESLW 5000 or ESLW 5100

Progression and graduation

Students must remain in good academic standing to continue in the program.

As this is a course-based program, you do not need to graduate from Academic Upgrading. You may choose to complete the specific courses you need to enter your next program of study. If, however, you wish to get a diploma, several options are available to you.

Very few post-secondary programs need mature students to have a high school diploma. Possession of a high school equivalency diploma does not guarantee admission to a post-secondary institution. Students who intend to enter a post-secondary institution must check the applicable admission requirements and plan their enrolment in academic upgrading courses.

Achieving a high school diploma

Students at NorQuest have several options to achieve a high school diploma credential. A student navigator can assist in determining the right diploma route for you:

NorQuest high school equivalency diploma

To qualify for NorQuest’s high school equivalency diploma, you must complete a total of four high school-level courses with a grade of 50% or greater. A minimum of two courses must be completed at NorQuest College.

Students who qualify must apply for graduation with the Office of the Registrar to get this credential and receive an invitation to convocation. To qualify, students must complete:

  1. One of English Language Arts 30-1 or English 030-1, or English Language Arts 30-2 or English 030-2
  2. One additional 30-level course from Group A
  3. Two additional high school courses from either Group A or Group B (or equivalent)

Group A:

Aboriginal Studies 30 (030)
Biology 30 (030)
Chemistry 30 (030)
Mathematics 30-1 (030-1)
Mathematics 30-2 (030-2)
Mathematics 31 (031)
Physics 30 (030)
Science 30 (030)
Social Studies 30-1 (030-1)
Social Studies 30-2 (030-2)

Group B:

Aboriginal Studies 20
Biology 20
Chemistry 20
Career & Technology Studies (maximum of six credits)
Mathematics 20-1
Mathematics 20-2
Physical Education
Physics 20
Social Studies 20-1
Social Studies 20-2
Science 20

Alberta high school diploma

You may qualify for an Alberta high school diploma, granted by Alberta Education, if you have previously attended high school and have some accumulated credits from that time.

A minimum of 60 credits must be obtained through classroom instruction and the remaining may be granted for life experiences. Visit Alberta Education for further information.

General education diploma (GED)

A general education diploma, or GED, is a nationally recognized credential obtained instead of a high school diploma. This credential is commonly used to gain employment and is rarely used as an entrance requirement for a post-secondary program.

If you are thinking of completing the GED as a way of entering a post-secondary program, confirm first if the GED is accepted.

To get a GED, you must pass five examinations delivered over a series of two days. These tests are provided through approved testing centres (including NorQuest College). The five exams are:

  • English Reading
  • English Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

GED preparation courses are available through the Academic Upgrading and Foundations for Learning programs.

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