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Summer Studies at a University Outside Québec

Information on: Requirements| Where can I study | Application process/course approval | Distance education courses | Apply and enrol at host university | Before you go | While away | Transfer credits | Cancelling study away request

If you would like to take a summer course at another Quebec University please see Study at Another Quebec University.

Studying at another university during the summer months allows you the opportunity to take a few courses away from McGill while experiencing a new city or culture.


U3 STUDENTS: As of the Summer 2011, if you are taking any courses outside of McGill during the Summer months and you are graduating, YOU WILL NOT be able to graduate at the end of the summer and must select the term of graduation (on Minerva) for Fall 2015 (February 2016 graduation).

 STEP 1: Can I study away at another university during the Summer?

Students in any year of studies, U0 to U3, are permitted to take summer courses at another university if you meet the following academic criteria:

  • You are currently registered in a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts & Science degree program at McGill (with your program(s) of study accurately reflected on Minerva); and
  • You have a CGPA of 2.00 or greater.
  • You are permitted to take an overall maximum of 12 credits during the Summer session, including courses taken at McGill during the summer.  All courses that you want to register for, must be approved (using the on-line course approval form on Minerva) by the appropriate Department before a Letter of Permission will be issued.

STEP 2: Where you can study

A. You can select any of the already approved universities from our List of_approved_host Universities

B. Alternatively, you can choose to study at a different university and request that the Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA) consider it for approval. You must supply detailed information about the university as indicated on the Request Approval Host Institution [.pdf].  You must submit your request to Mary Gauthier (mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] ca).  If the institution meets the faculty's criteria it will be approved as a suitable study away destination and added to the approved university listing.

C. Important Information on applying for a study away:

Only universities which confirm the following criteria to our office in writing will be approved:

1. you MUST register and attend an accredited, degree-granting university;

2. this SAME university MUST provide the official transcript of studies (third party "school of record" transcripts are not acceptable); and

3. the venue of studies is the campus of the accredited university or college, a language centre (which has been approved by the corresponding McGill University language department), or an academic program which is field-based.

4. SOUSA WILL NOT approve study away requests involving any Study Abroad and/or Intermediary Organizations.

5. Unless otherwise indicated, universities are approved for "On campus studies" only.

Effective Summer 2010, study away requests involving study abroad (Intermediary) organizations WILL NOT be approved. This includes, but is not limited to, the following organizations:

  • Abroadco Study Abroad, Academic Programs International (API), American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), Arcadia University, Centers for Interamerican Studies (CEDEI), Council on International Educational Exchanges (CIEE), Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA), Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), Expanish, Greenpeace Organization, Institute for Study Abroad (ISA), Institute for the International Education of Students (IES), Institute of American Universities, Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE), International Partnership for Service Learning and Leadership (IPSL), International Studies Abroad (ISA), Living Routes, Mexico Solidarity Network (MSN), Road2Argentina, School of Field Studies (SFS), School of International Training (SIT), Woodenfish Project, World Bank Institute, Sotheby's Institute of Art, SIE International Summer School.

Failure to have your host university/institution approved by SOUSA WILL result in NOT receiving transfer credits for courses taken elsewhere. Approval by a department or program adviser outside of SOUSA should be considered as a recommendation only and NOT as the final decision.

D. Another option to consider is the summer program offered by McGill language department, such as:

  • Summer Program in Florence, Italy

E. Consider learning French as a second language (Explore Program):

You can learn French through the government-sponsored "Explore Bursary Programs": http://www.jexplore.ca/. If this option interests you, make sure that you refer to the following site, French Language Centre, for special instructions for registering for French second-language courses at another university in the Summer.

You do not apply for a Summer Study Abroad but to receive credit for the course you must do the following:

  • Do a pre-test, either at McGill or at the host institution.
  • Do-a post-test upon your return at McGill at the French Language Centre.
  • Have an official transcript sent to McGill (see Step 7: While at the host University).  Transcript must be received in the Fall term immediately after you have taken the course.
  • Send Mary Gauthier (mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] ca) an email informing her that you have taken the course.

The following institutions are not acceptable for transfer credits:

CEGEP de Rivière-du-Loup
CEGEP de Trois-Rivières
Centre linguistique du Collège de Jonquière
Collège Boréal au Nipissing
Collège Saint-Charles
La Cité collégiale

F. If you are still undecided on a host university, refer to INDEPENDENT STUDY AWAY, STEP 1: PLANNING PROCESS AND REGULATIONS for the list of some government-sponsored Higher Education Agencies and Organizations.

STEP 3: McGill's application process

Apply online (the Minerva application is now available):

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 independent study away 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. Online courses must be approved (before being taken) by the Faculty of Science (even if the course has been approved on the course equivalency system).  Send a detailed course syllabus to mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] ca.  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).

NOTE:  You will not be able to print a "Letter of Permission" without completing the step above. 

Applications on Minerva are available from FEBRUARY 1, 2015 to July 15, 2015.

Step 4: Are you considering taking an online (Distance Education) course?

Apply online:

  • Log on to Minerva and navigate to: Student Menu > Student Records Menu > Exchange/Study Away Menu > Request for Study Away.  Follow the steps and refer to the provided information text and/or help keys.
  • You must ALSO enter host university courses and have them approved by the appropriate McGill departments for equivalencies on the Minerva Course Approval form.
  • You must also receive permission from the Director of Advising Services (SOUSA) to take an online course.  Send your email to: mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] ca .  In your email request indicate your reasons for wishing to take the online course, and attached a detailed course syllabus and method of evaluation.

NOTE: A maximum of six (6) transfer credits from online courses towards the fulfillment of elective credits ONLY for your degree.

STEP 5: Apply and enrol at host university

Host University Application:

  • Wait for "Faculty Approval" on BOTH your Minerva study away application and course approval forms. 
  • Apply DIRECTLY to the host university as a visiting student (or their equivalent to a non-degree student status) according to their process and deadlines.  With your application, submit the Letter of Permission and any other required documents.  An official Letter of Permission can be printed from your Minerva Study Away application once "Faculty Approval" status has been granted.  Click the "Generate letter" link on the form.
  • Once you are offered admission, register in courses according to the registration dates made available to you.

STEP 6: Things to do before going away

A. Transfer Credits: You must receive a passing grade of "C", or better, at the host university. Grades of C-, Pass (P) and Satisfactory (S) will not be accepted for transfer credits. Please refer to TRANSFER CREDIT, B. COURSE CRITERIA for the complete transfer credit policy.

B. Meet with your Program Adviser(s): If you are planning to take courses which will count toward your program(s) requirements, you are required to meet with each of your program advisers. Consult the list of Departmental_Advisers for each program and/or department.

  • discuss your selected host university and courses; provide your adviser with course syllabus, including the method of evaluation;
  • 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 study away;
  • 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 "1/3rd credit rule"?
  • NOTE: When choosing host university courses you must follow the criteria required to have the credits transfer toward your McGill degree; refer to TRANSFER CREDIT, A. COURSE CRITERIA

C. Review Faculty Policies: Since your participation in a study away program may be affected by certain faculty policies, use the following links to read and understand about Science or Arts courses and degree requirements:

General degree requirements:

NOTE: It is your responsibility to read and understand these policies and regulations. You cannot make any appeals resulting from a lack of knowledge or understanding of these policies.

STEP 7: While at the host University

A. Keep all course materials; i.e., exam questions, graded work, methods of evaluation, reading lists, etc.

B. Official Transcript: Order an official final transcript from the host university to be sent directly to

McGill University
Enrolment Service
Student Records
3415 McTavish Street, Room MS 13
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 0C8.

C. U3 STUDENTS: As of the Summer 2011, if you are taking any courses outside of McGill during the Summer months and you are graduating, YOU WILL NOT be able to graduate at the end of the summer and must select the term of graduation (on Minerva) for Fall 2015 (February 2016 graduation).

STEP 8: Transferring your credits

Once your studies at the host university are completed and you have arranged for an official transcript to be mailed to the Documentation Centre (address above), the transfer credit process will begin. Please refer to TRANSFER CREDITS, C. Policies and Regulations, for details.

STEP 9: Should I cancel my study away request if I decide not to go?

A. Home university, McGill:

If you were approved for summer courses at another university but end up NOT taking courses, you MUST cancel your request with the SOUSA Office, no later than SEPTEMBER 1, 2015. Please send an email to mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] caFailure to cancel your Summer Term Away will prevent you from making changes to your minerva record for the Fall term.

B. Host university:

Do make sure, that you have cancelled your registration at the host university; otherwise, you will be charged for the courses, and you will receive a failing grade at the end of the summer term.

Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA) Coordinates

All correspondence relating to STUDY AWAY:

McGill University
Faculty of Science (SOUSA)
Dawson Hall, Room 405
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC, H3A 0G5


TELEPHONE NUMBER: 514-398-5442
FAX NUMBER: 514-398-8102
EMAIL: mary [dot] gauthier [at] mcgill [dot] ca