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McGill Student Exchange Programs

Information on: Planning for an exchange | Application criteria |Funding |Application process |Before going on exchange |While away |Transfer credits |Cancelling your exchange

Note: 2nd round Applications for Winter 2016 (ONLY) will be available on Minerva as of May 9th.  The deadline to apply is June 19, 2015. 

As of the Summer 2011 term, students who are on any type of study away during their graduating term WILL NOT be able to graduate at the end of their final term; instead, these students must select their graduation flag (on Minerva) for the term following their study away.

McGill Student Exchange Programs are established tuition agreements between McGill and various host universities whereby students exchange places for one or two terms (excluding summer term). For these programs you pay your tuition to McGill while studying abroad.

When embarking on an exchange program it is a good idea to have a well thought-out plan. Please read the following steps, including the related links concerning policies and regulations, to ensure your participation in a McGill Exchange program is rewarding and successful.

Step 1: What factors should I consider when planning my exchange program?

The best time to participate in an exchange program is during the year before your graduating year, your U2 year. This would give you the opportunity to complete at least one year in your program(s) of study at McGill prior to departure. You would return to McGill with an enriched educational perspective to complete your remaining degree and program requirements.

1. Consider the following before going on an exchange program:

Studying away can have a significant impact on your academic career. The following are some questions you should be asking:

  • What is the language of instruction at the host university?
  • Do you want to study away for a year or one term?
  • How many credits do you have to complete for your degree and for each of your declared programs?
  • When do you expect to graduate? Will you graduate within the degree time limit?
  • Will you exceed your minimum credit requirement?
  • If your course selection is unavailable at the host university will you be "out of step" with your program requirements upon returning to McGill?
  • Are you on a student visa; and if so, when does it expire?
  • Will you have to extend your degree at McGill if you don't receive as many transfer credits as expected, or as many direct course equivalences as expected?

2. Review Faculty policies:

Since your participation in an exchange program may be affected by certain faculty policies, use the following links to read and understand about Science or B.A.&Sc. course and degree requirements:

General degree requirements:

Transfer credit policy

3. Meet with your departmental academic adviser(s):

You are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with each of your departmental advisers to discuss your plans to participate in an exchange program. Consult the Departmental_Advisers list for names and email addresses for each program and/or department.

With your adviser(s):

  • discuss your selected host university and courses;
  • discuss your required and complementary courses, and any alternatives, which will count toward your departmental programs at McGill. Discuss elective courses and possible exemptions from specific McGill courses as a result of your exchange program;
  • determine the status of your McGill program requirements. In other words, which courses have you completed and which remain to be completed? Can they be completed at another university? Are you abiding to the "1/3 credit rule"?

Step 2: How do I select an appropriate institution?

Decide the country you would like to study in, then research the available universities. You can participate in an exchange program for Winter 2016 (ONLY). Popular destinations are usually limited to one term to allow more students the opportunity of participating. McGill Student Exchange programs are not available in the summer.

  • Bilateral Exchange: You can apply to only the Universities that are listed as "General" or "Science/Engineering":

    Bilateral exchanges are approved agreements between McGill University and partner institutions, for which a limited number of places are available. More information, as well as a complete listing of bilateral partners, can be found on McGill's International Education Website:  http://www.mcgill.ca/students/international/goabroad/exchange/partners
  • Universitas 21 Exchange:

    The U21 consortium is an international network of leading research-intensive universities whose objective is to assist the plans of member institutions to become more international, particularly through facilitating student exchanges and short-term research visits. For the list of Universitas 21 exchanges, please see: http://www.mcgill.ca/students/international/goabroad/exchange/partners

Step 3: What are the criteria to apply?

In order to be considered for an exchange program, at the time of your application, you must:

  • be currently registered in a full-time Bachelor of Science or Bachelor Arts and Science program at McGill (with your program(s) of study accurately reflected on Minerva);
  • have a CGPA of 3.0 or greater (and maintain it during all terms leading to the exchange term);
  • have completed a minimum of 12 graded McGill credits at the time of application; and
  • have completed a minimum of 24 graded McGill credits prior to the start of the exchange program.
  • application will be available on Minerva as of May 9th and the deadline to apply is June 19, 2015.

Step 4: Is it possible to obtain funding?

Start thinking early about applying for funds to study abroad. There is a wide range of options available to you but you must be pro-active in your research and planning. For example, learn if you could tap into funds through federal or provincial-level government loans and bursary programs, foundations or private and public organizations. Inquire about the various application criteria and deadlines.

The following is a list of some organizations you could review for possible funding options.

Step 5: How do I apply?

1. Consult the instructions from the SESA office: https://www.mcgill.ca/students/international/goabroad/exchange/secondround

Before beginning this online process be sure to read the instructions and warnings on

2. Submit the Minerva Exchange Application form:

Exchange Program application will be available on-line on Minerva for Winter 2016  (ONLY) as of May 9th. To access the application form, log on to Minerva and navigate to: Student Menu > Student Records Menu > Exchange Study Away Menu > Request for Exchange.  

The deadline to apply on Minerva for McGill Exchange program for Winter 2016 (ONLY) will be June 19, 2015.

There is now an application fee of $150 chargeable to your Student Account upon submitting an application.

3. Submit additional information:

  • If you are currently in your  'Year U3', final year of studies (according to your transcript on Minerva) you must write a letter of appeal explaining why you are requesting to go on exchange at this time.

    You must also provide a term-by-term outline of program and elective courses you will be completing upon your return to McGill. The purpose of this list is to ensure that you will not be exceeding your minimum credit requirement and/or the degree time limit.

    If required, explain why your degree and/or program requirements could not be completed within the time normally allotted and why you require an extension.  Send this information to Mary Gauthier, (mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] ca).

Applications missing this additional information will not be processed.

4. Confirm your approval status:

In order to be considered for nomination to the host partner, you must first be granted Faculty Approval by SOUSA. Your application will be evaluated for the required academic criteria and will be granted a status of 'Approved' or 'Not Approved' in the 'Faculty Application Status' field of your Minerva Exchange Application. This is the first level of approval.

5. Assemble and submit your application package:

Once your application has been given the required Faculty approval, you must assemble and submit all required original documents to the McGill Student Exchange and Study Abroad (SESA), Service Point, 3415 McTavish, (you will be notified when and if supporting documents are required).

6. Wait for SESA's decision and any further instructions:

If your application was granted Faculty Approval, the SESA Exchange office will review your application for nomination to the partner university. This is a second level of approval. If your nomination is accepted by the partner university you will be contacted by email either by SESA or directly by the partner university to complete their own application.

Step 6: What should I do once my application has been accepted?

Only once you have been sent the offer of admission by the partner university (only a few months before you actual go on exchange), follow these steps:

Course Equivalency System

All courses taken abroad (outside of Quebec) must be approved using the Course Equivalency System.

Search the database to determine if the course you want to take has already been approved.  You may want to use the “External” course number and then “Country” or “Institution” to determine if the course has already been approved.  Make sure you also tick off “Include Expired Decisions”.  The course may have already been approved, but might be expired, which means you will have to request a “Reassessment”.

If the course is not on the course database, then you must login (using your McGill email address and password) and “Submit a Request”. For further information on using the system, please go to Frequently asked questions

Once you have made an exchange application, you will then have access to the Minerva Transfer Credit Assessment Form” (replaces the Course Approval Form).  Only courses that appear on the Course Equivalency System can be added to the Transfer Credit Assessment Form.  For further information, please refer to the Help Field on Minerva.

You cannot assume that you will receive 3 credits for a course equivalency even if the course is 3 credits at McGill.  The Faculty of Science has the right to request a course syllabus (even if the course is approved on the course equivalency system).  The Faculty of Science has the final approval for all courses taken by a Faculty of Science (or B.A. & Sc.) student taken outside of McGill.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Mary Gauthier (mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] ca).

Attend a mandatory Pre-departure Information Session:

 Students will be invited by email to attend a Pre-departure Info Session.

Register on the mandatory Minerva International Travel Registry form

McGill requires all of its students who are studying away to fill out the Travel Registry form. This enables McGill to contact and possbly evacuate students in case of an emergency, either in Canada or in the host country. You will be notified by email once you have been coded as "Term Exchange" with the instructions on how to fill out this Minerva form.

Step 7: What should I do while I am at the partner university?

1. Keep all course materials:

You may need to refer to exam questions, graded work, methods of evaluation, reading lists, etc. for final course approvals with your department adviser upon your return to McGill.

2. Regularly check your McGill email:

The SOUSA staff will email all correspondence including: important notices and information about registration, fees, graduation, etc., to your McGill email account.

3. Register for McGill courses for the upcoming term:

If you expect to return to McGill after your exchange program, important registration information will be sent to your McGill email during the month of March. Be sure to register for your McGill courses by appropriate deadlines to avoid any late registration fees.

4. Have you updated your contact information?

If you have changed residence or telephone number, please ensure that you update your contact information on Minerva so that we can contact you about any issues regarding your exchange program or your McGill registration.

Step 8: How and when are my credits transferred to my McGill record?

Once your studies at the host university are completed, an official transcript will be mailed to the SESA Office which will then forward it to SOUSA for processing.

Please refer to the SOUSA Transfer Credit Policy for details about how transfer credits are approved and processed.

Step 9: If I decide not to go, should I cancel my application?

If you have already accepted your nomination but need to cancel it , please notify Service Point as soon as possible by completing the following form Request to Cancel Exchange term (Note: The exchange application fee is non-refundable.)