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Exchange

The Exchange process can be described in these simple steps:

 

Request exchange

Before you begin, read the Conditions_of_Participation and check with your Faculty Student Affairs Office for faculty-specific information.

To be eligible to participate, you must
  • be currently registered as full-time, degree-seeking McGill student
  • have a minimum CGPA 3.0*
  • meet the participation criteria of your McGill Faculty
  • have completed at least one year of full-time study by the start of your term abroad

    *If your CGPA is under 3.0 and you have extenuating circumstances explaining why you are below the minimum, and would like to go on exchange to any of the following partner schools, please contact your faculty advisor to determine if you might be eligible to apply:

    • Lund University (Science, Engineering, Law only)
    • University of Melbourne
    • National University of Singapore
    • University of Nottingham
    • Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po, Paris)
Tip! The best time to participate in an exchange program is in the year before your graduating year.

You can participate in an exchange for one or two terms.

Follow the instructions to submit a request for exchange on Minerva. (Note: A $150.00 non-refundable application fee will be charged to your student account.) The information you enter in this form is sent to your faculty for approval, and if approved then to the Service Point for nomination to a partner university ('host school'). Once you click on Confirm, your application is submitted and cannot be modified.

You will be notified of McGill's nomination and you will be asked to accept (or deny) the nomination within a few days. 

IMPORTANT: It is essential that you have a valid passport - valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the end of your planned exchange.

Due to limited exchange spots, you might be nominated to a host school (or term) you did not select in your request form.

If you want to cancel your request for nomination, notify servicepoint [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Service Point), as soon as possible. (The exchange application fee is non-refundable.)

Apply to Host School

You will receive an email from service Point with instructions on how to submit your application to the host school:

For a Fall term or full year exchange, expect to receive this email between March and July.

For a Winter term exchange, expect  to receive this email between July and October.

In general, you will receive instructions a couple of weeks before the host's application deadline.

The host school will ask you for supporting documents along with the application, which may include: up-to-date transcript, academic references, original passport photos, a copy of your valid passport page, language proficiency, bank statements, letters from your parents/guardians, and confirmation of your scholarship (if applicable).

It is very important to consult with your faculty to obtain approval for the courses you want to take while studying abroad. Refer to the instructions.  

Once the host school receives the full application, they process it and inform you of the next steps:

If you applied for a Fall term or full year exchange, expect a response by the end of June (or earlier if your exchange term begins in July).

If you applied for a Winter term exchange, expect a response by November.

Your application to the host school is only valid for the term to which you were nominated.  If you wish to delay your exchange you will be required to submit a new request for exchange. If you wish to extend your stay, you will be required to seek approval from both McGill and your host school. 

The host school will usually contact you directly with a response. Inform Service Point of the host school’s decision as soon as possible after you receive it. If you are not accepted by the host school (this happens very rarely), we can put you in contact with another host school.

Prepare to leave

Make sure your passport is valid. Renew your passport, if needed, to ensure that it will be valid for the duration of your exchange activity AND for at least 6 months AFTER the completion of your exchange.

Travel Health and Safety

  • Check that your emergency contact information is up to date on Minerva. (Also, update your mailing address – all correspondence from McGill will be sent to the mailing address you indicate on Minerva.)
  • Attend a Pre-departure Orientation Session
  • Stay connected while you travel: Complete a Travel Registry form on Minerva (Student Records tab), download the McGillAbroad app, and register your travel with your government (For Canadians: Registration of Canadians Abroad)
  • Review the information and resources available here
  • Book an appointment with the Travel Nurse (514-398-6017) at McGill Student Health Services (or another travel health clinic) at least six weeks before you leave. Review Travel Health Matters and get the appropriate immunizations as required for the country you will be visiting.
  • Carefully review your health insurance plan to see what expenses are covered while you are away. Be sure to have emergency medical evacuation which provides transportation in the event of medical emergencies.Be aware of the limitations of the insurance plans offered by SSMUand PGSS. For example, there is a requirement that you check with the insurance provider before receiving care. If you are an International student, visit www.mcgill.ca/internationalstudents/health to review your coverage and to sign up for the extended travel option of the International Health Insurance plan. No matter what insurance provider you have, it is very important that you inform them that you will be traveling. Canadian non-residents and international students MUST ADVISE International Student Services of travel as soon as possible before leaving to activate the travel insurance. Address any questions to International Student Services.
  • Quebec students, refer to the list of countries that have reciprocal medical coverage with the Province of Quebec. Please see the details on the RAMQ site
  • Remember that medical care in other countries may be more expensive than in Canada so you may decide to purchase additional travel insurance through a travel agency e.g., Voyages Campus (Travel Cuts). In the Minerva Travel Registry, if your insurance plan provides unlimited coverage, enter “999999” in the Amount of Coverage field; and if your insurance plan has no expiry date enter “2099-01-01”.

Travel Documentation

  • Make sure you have a valid passport. Renew your passport early if needed, to ensure that it will be valid for the duration of your exchange activity AND for at minimum 6 months AFTER the completion of your exchange.
  • Research visa/study permit requirements. If it is required for your destination country, apply as early as possible.

Host Country Awareness

Transfer Credits, $$$, and Academic issues

  • Get courses approved for transfer credit. Remember McGill’s Transfer Credit Policy: Transfer credits are earned if the grade earned in the host university course(s) is equal to or higher than the grade / CGPA required to graduate from the host university. This applies to both elective and required course credits. It is a good idea to get more courses approved in advance than you actually intend to take (8-10 per term), in case you run into problems getting into the courses you had pre-approved for your faculty.
  • Provide Service Point (and, if required, your faculty's Student Affairs Office), with a copy of your letter of acceptance from your host institution.
  • Pay your McGill tuition (equivalent of 15 credits) and related fees per term away by the usual deadlines for McGill students.
  • Request and obtain a copy of your up-to-date official transcript (do this through Minerva) and bring this with you when you go to your host institution. The host institution will need this up-to-date transcript to know which courses you followed during your most recent McGill term.

While you're Away

  • Consider keeping a journal or blog. This will be helpful when writing your testimonial that you are asked to submit upon your return. Your report will help McGill students who wish to go on exchange in the future.
  • Keep an eye on your McGill email while you are away for important notices.
  • It is quite common for students to have difficulties getting into the courses they have had approved for their exchange. For this reason, it is a good idea to get more courses approved in advance than you actually intend to take.  If, after arriving at your host university, you are not able to get into your pre-approved courses, contact your academic advisor at McGill right away and submit alternative course selections for approval. Do not wait until you get back to McGill, as this may jeopardize your ability to receive transfer credits. 
  • Coping with Culture Shock
  • Bring back the following materials from your host school to assist in obtaining your transfer of credits:
    • Detailed course information
    • Course outlines
    • Reading lists
    • Information on lecture hours and number of weeks in a semester/term
    • Graded work or examinations which were returned to you
    • Information on the grading/evaluation method for all courses taken at the host institution. You should indicate the page references for degree and program requirements relevant to your course selection. The explanation for the grading system, course weight system, course load requirements, and the minimum course load required for full-time registration status should also be included.
    • A calendar outlining the program and degree requirements including the number of credits/units/points/modules/quarter hours required to complete a degree at this institution as it is relevant to the courses you have selected.
    • At least two copies of your official transcript for your personal records. (You may need a copy if you apply to graduate schools, for a job, or to apply, to secure or to prolong a scholarship.)
  • Confirm that you have no outstanding fees before you leave

Return to McGill

  • Once Service Point receives the transcript from the host school and transfer credits are approved by your faculty, the transfer credits can be viewed on your unofficial transcript in Minerva.
  • The grades received from host institution will not show on your McGill transcript, and will not be calculated in your GPA. Your McGill transcript will indicate that you were away on exchange, as well as the number of transfer credits granted by McGill.
  • Submit your testimonial to Service Point
  • You might experience some level of culture shock as you return to Canada. Help is available.
  • If you are a non-graduating student, you are expected to return to McGill after your exchange. Register as usual through Minerva for the following academic year.
  • If you are a graduating student, you are responsible for ensuring that you apply to graduate on Minerva in your final year. Failure to do so may jeopardize or postpone your graduation!
  • Check your academic records or consult an advisor to ensure that you have fulfilled all program requirements.
  • Reflection questions: Unpacking your exchange experience

Funding opportunities for students studying abroad