Independent Study Away Programs for McGill Law students

Independent Study Away - Explained (From McGill Abroad):

How does it work?
Unlike an exchange, participating in an Independent Study Away means that you apply, and pay tuition, to your host university independently as a visiting student. This program is an opportunity to go abroad to a destination not covered by McGill's already existing global learning opportunities. If applicable, you may apply through your faculty to transfer credits earned during your Independent Study Away back to McGill.

When can I go?
You can complete an Independent Study Away during a regular academic term, or during the summer! [...] Make sure to compare your host university's term dates to McGill's, as academic terms vary greatly across regions.

How can I get started?
As Independent Study Away is a unique opportunity that exists separately from McGill's exchange program, you are responsible for driving your experience. This means that you will independently research, apply to your host university, and will take care of any additional requirements needed for your trip.

Things to Consider if you want to pursue an Independent Study Away

  • Students may obtain a maximum of 12 outside credits to count towards their BCL/JD Prgram: 6 Outside Law credits* and 6 Outside Non-Law credits**.
  • Students who do not wish to complete non-law credits may choose to take an additional 6 outside law credits (for a total of 12 outside law credits).
  • Courses must be offered at the degree level (i.e. bachelor level)

*Outside Law Credits are approved courses taken at other faculties of law.
**Outside Non-Law Credits are approved courses taken at other faculties at McGill University or other universities.

For more information, check our page on Non-course credits and outside credits.

  • During the summer term only, students may take up to 6 credits of non-law courses (electives only) via online learning or "at a distance”. Courses must be pre-approved.
  • Online learning or "at a distance" is a Pilot Project and the Curriculum Committee will re-evaluate in each year.

Set up an appointment with an SAO advisor to discuss your plans to study away and being the following materials with you:

  • Completed degree audit form
  • Tentative list of courses

Application Procedure

  • All applications are submitted online through MINERVA.
  • Log onto MINERVA, select Student Records Menu, then Exchange/Study Away Menu, then Request for Study Away.
  • Follow the steps and refer to the provided information text and/or help keys.
  • Processing time is normally 5 to 10 working days of submission.
  • If approved, you will be issued a Letter of Permission which you can download from your Minerva application.
    • This letter grants you McGill authorization to take courses at the specified host university during the specified term as a Visiting student for the purpose of transferring course equivalences and credits toward your McGill degree in progress.
    • This letter should be submitted to the Host University’s Registrar's Office, Enrolment Services or International Study Abroad Office.
  • If approved, your McGill record will be updated to “Term Away” for the summer.
  • After completing the Study Away application, students must also complete the Transfer Credit Assessment form on Minerva.

See here for Instructions for submitting the form: PDF icon McGill Law Transfer Credit Course Equivalency Database instructions

  • Courses traditionally offered by the Faculty of Law, McGill University, will not be approved.
  • Courses must be offered at the degree level (i.e. bachelor level)
  • All required and complementary courses must be completed at the Faculty of Law, McGill University.

Application Periods & Deadlines

Summer term: February 1 to July 15

Deadline for application: May 15

Apply to Host University

  • Apply DIRECTLY to the host university as a Visiting student (or their equivalent to a non-degree student status) according to their deadlines.
  • Do not use a study abroad company or organization for your application; otherwise you risk not receiving transfer credits for your studies. Refer to “Where can I go” tab then the “Study Abroad Companies and Organizations” notes for details.
  • With your application, submit the Letter of Permission and any other requested documents.
  • If offered admission, register in courses according to the registration dates and conditions given to you.

Pre-Departure Orientation

  • If approved for an Independent Study Away term outside Canada, you are required to attend a mandatory Pre-departure session.

International Travel Registry Form

  • If approved for an Independent Study Away term outside Canada you are required to fill out the McGill Travel Registry Form.
  • You will have access to this Form once your McGill record indicates “Term Away” for the specified term(s).

At the Host University

  • Complete the Minerva Transfer Credit Assessment Form and submit your Learning Agreement for approval.
  • Regularly check your McGill email for important notices.
  • Order an official transcript and have it sent directly to McGill University immediately after completing your studies. Refer to the “Transferring credits” tab below for the mailing address.

Transfer Credits

  • Order an official transcript and have it sent directly to the SAO immediately after completing your studies to the following address:
    Faculty of Law, McGill University
    Student Affairs Office
    Chancellor Day Hall
    3644 Peel Street, Room 433
    Montreal, Quebec
    Canada H3A 1W9
  • Grades for transfer credits do not enter into any McGill grade point calculations (TGPA/CGPA); however, the number of credits granted will appear on the McGill transcript.
  • Students who independently study away at a non-partner institution or via IUT must receive a minimum grade of “C” for credits to be granted. For details please see the McGill Calendar, University Regulations and Resources.
  • Deadlines for transcripts to be received at McGill:
    • For Summer term: October 1
    • You are advised to order a few official copies for your own future use – e.g. Graduate studies applications, job interviews, etc.
    • Upon receipt of an official transcript, successfully completed transfer credits are entered on the McGill transcript (without grades) and are credited towards the law program.

Cancelling your Application

  • If you wish to cancel an application which has not been granted “Faculty Approved” status, please open your Minerva application and cancel it.
  • If you wish to cancel an approved application you must submit your request to [at] as soon as possible. If you plan to stay at McGill for the term, please note that any courses on your record would have been deleted when your McGill record was updated to “Term Away”. It will be your responsibility to re-add your courses using Minerva.

Financing your Independent Study Away

  • During the term you are away you will pay the host university’s tuition (and any additional costs) but not McGill’s.
  • Plan your budget.
  • Look into funding options early and be pro-active in your research and planning.
  • Check if funds are available through federal or provincial-level government programs, foundations, private or public organizations, etc. Inquire about the application criteria and deadlines.
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