Independent Study Away

Studies completed at another university MUST be pre-approved in order to be considered for transfer credit.

After-the-fact requests for transfer credit will be refused.


Interested in doing an Independent Study Away in Summer 2024, Fall 2024 or Fall 2024 & Winter 2025?

Register here: OASIS Booking

All Arts students applying for a McGill Independent Study Away are required to attend an Information Session.

The sessions will cover: the application process, eligibility requirements, the degree planning form, course assessments and the Minerva transfer credit assessment form.

What is Independent Study Away (ISA)?

Simply put, it's permission from Arts OASIS to apply, register, and take courses (and pay tuition) at an authorized accredited degree granting institution. Consult our listing of approved host universities (Step 2 of the Transferring Credit section on our website). During this pre-approved term away, your status at McGill will be "non-resident" and your status at the host university will be "visiting".

  • Important notes:
    • Requests involving study away opportunities via organizations or companies which act as intermediaries will not be approved.
    • Health and safety vary widely across the world, from country to country; accordingly, study abroad terms may be cancelled by McGill and/or its partners at any time.
      • Review all cancellation policies (e.g., travel, accommodation, insurance, etc.).
    • OASIS does not permit ISA to institutions currently listed as exchange partners (except during the Summer term).
    • To contact the Study Away Team, submit a request via the Arts OASIS Service Portal.


Application periods


Summer Term ONLY March 15 to July 15
Fall Term ONLY

March 15 to July 15

Fall & Winter Term March 15 to July 15
Winter Term ONLY September 15 to November 15


At the time of application:

Summer Term Application Have a minimum CGPA in the McGill BA, BSW or B.Th. degree of 2.0 and maintain this CGPA for study away eligibility.
Fall/Winter Term Application Have a minimum CGPA of 2.7 in the McGill BA, BSW or B.Th. degree and maintain this CGPA for study away eligibility.
  1. Make sure that your Minerva record is up-to-date:
    • Any transfer credit earned during an approved study away in a previous term of study must be articulated on your Minerva record.
  2. Be currently registered as a full-time resident student in the McGill Faculty of Arts - BA, BSW or B.Th. degree. This means :
    • You are currently enrolled in 12 or more credits;
      • Note: You will not meet this requirement if your Minerva record in the 2023/24 academic year indicates "Non Resident" as your status (eg. on Exchange or an Independent Study Away; on Leave of Absence; etc)
    • You must have completed at least 24 McGill credits by the start of your term abroad.
    • If you have missing grades on your record (eg. due to deferred exams, K extensions, or other), Arts OASIS reserves the right to await resolution of those grades before approving your Independent Study Away.
  3. For Winter ISA application ONLY: If you were admitted to McGill this academic year, are currently enrolled in 12 credits and have either a deferred grade, K grade or are taking a D1/D2 course, you must contact your professor and have them send us the midterm grade of that course. Please have them send the information directly to the Arts OASIS Service Portal with the subject line: LAST NAME/FIRST NAME; STUDENT NUMBER, Midterm Grade for ISA

             Important notes:

  1. Course withdrawals (eg. W grades) are not considered completed credits, and are hence excluded from the above.

  2. Courses taken under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option count as completed credits.

  3. If you are approved by McGill to participate on an Independent Study Away, should the host institution cancel or refuse your application due to failure to meet their conditions, your term away will also be considered cancelled and will not be reopened. It is your responsibility to adhere to the following:

    • You must resolve any and all delayed/missing grades on your McGill record (eg. Ls for deferred exams, Ks for course extensions, etc).
    • You must meet the requirements of the host institution. Individual partner schools may have different posted requirements than McGill’s, including such things as the following: language competency; different CGPA requirements; differing consideration of full-time status or graded credits; or a particular year/level standing.
  4. Make sure that the Faculty of Arts minimum credit and program and degree residency requirements are met. Students will not be permitted to exceed their BA credit limit to study away.
  5. Students returning to their McGill studies immediately after a Faculty approved Leave of Absence, must submit a request via the ARTS Oasis Service Desk Portal to have their Independent Study Away eligibility assessed well in advance of the Independent Study Away application deadline and to complete any required additional steps.

NOTE 1: Social Work and Theology students: You must first discuss your plans to take courses at another university with your program advisor (see Social Work program advisor or Theology program advisor). Your program advisor must contact us, confirming that you have departmental approval. Please have them submit a ticket via the ARTS Oasis Service Desk Portal BEFORE the Independent Study Away application deadline. They can select "Other", then in the "Summary" indicate: SWRK/Theology approval for LAST NAME/FIRST NAME; STUDENT NUMBER and INDEPENDENT STUDY AWAY TERM. 

NOTE 2- Graduation: Students who are taking one or more courses at another university during their term of graduation WILL NOT be eligible to graduate at the end of that final term. These students MUST select the NEXT available term of graduation.

NOTE 3 - Inter-Faculty Transfers: Students who transfer from another McGill Faculty to the Bachelor of Arts are not eligible to apply for a McGill Independent Study Away until they have successfully completed a minimum of 12 McGill credits in the McGill BA degree with McGill CGPA of 2.70 or greater.

NOT meeting the eligibility requirements or not submitting the information requested will result in an application REFUSAL.


Application procedure

Step 1: Degree Planning

Review the Plan & Prepare section of this website. A well researched degree plan is an important part of the study abroad process. Carefully read the Arts OASIS Degree Planning website for important information about planning your degree.

You are advised to complete an Arts OASIS Degree Planning Worksheet following the instructions in the Degree Planning Guide before submitting an application to study away to ensure that your plan meets your academic requirements. If you need help with this process, book a Degree Planning appointment with an Arts OASIS Advisor and make sure you meet with each of your departmental program advisor to carefully plan the courses needed for each program of study.

Keep in mind the degree requirements for the B.A degree when planning your study away:

  1. You must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 60 credits at McGill University.
  2. A minimum of two-thirds of all program requirements (Multi-Track, Honours, Faculty Program) must be satisfactorily completed at McGill.

Step 2: Select a University

  1. Consult our PDF icon Host University Checklist
  2. Read Step 2 of  “Plan and Prepare” to ensure that you meet the application criteria.
  3. Ensure that the host university you wish to attend is from our listings of approved host universities:
    • PDF icon Africa
    • PDF icon America
    • PDF icon Asia and Middle East
    • PDF icon Europe
    • PDF icon Oceania
    • PDF icon Online
    • Requests will be cancelled if they fall under the following categories:
      • Pertaining to schools that do not appear on our listing of approved host universities.
      • Involving study abroad organizations or companies which act as intermediaries.
      • Involving institutions currently listed as exchange partners (except during the Summer term).
  4. Ensure that the host university:
    • Is currently accepting students to study on campus as non-degree, fee-paying visiting students
    •  That you meet the host university's eligibility requirements.
  5. Consult the McGill Abroad Office and Canada’s Travel Advisory website.
    • Requests to study at institutions in countries with "Avoid Travel" advisories will be cancelled.
  6. Check the Course Equivalency System before applying to study away to see if the course(s) you wish to register for have previously been approved for transfer credit.

Step 3: Submit one application

    Important notes:

    • Submit ONE application for Independent Study Away per application period. The application periods are Fall only, Fall and Winter (full-year), Winter only and Summer only.
    • Your McGill email account and the Minerva Study Away module are our official means of communication during the application process and during your term away.
    • If you have a "HOLD" on your Minerva record, please consult this website for information on the impact this will have on your study away application.
      • If the hold is not cleared by the deadline you have been given in the "SAO comments" in your Minerva study away application, your application will be FACULTY REFUSED.

    Minerva Application:

    • Minerva: Student Menu > Student Records Menu > Exchange/Study Away Menu > Request for Study Away.
    • The application institution drop-down listing has hundreds of universities but you must select only those on the “Approved” listings (see step 2).
    • Submit a brief “statement of purpose” that explains your reasons for applying to study away.
    • Additionally for SUMMER ONLY:
      • Complete the Minerva Transfer Credit Assessment form linked to the Minerva Study Away application.
      • Course(s) listed on the Minerva Transfer Credit Assessment form:
      • Will be Faculty Approved as "elective only".
      • If you wish to use a course to meet a McGill program requirement, consult the departmental program adviser.
      • The maximum number of credits you may take during one Summer session is 12 credits. This credit total includes McGill Summer Studies courses and courses taken at another host university during the Summer term.
      • Do not register for concurrent courses (including online classes) that are scheduled at the same time or in the same term.

    Degree Planning Worksheet (optional):

    Tips & Tools for your Application:

    • Don’t rush through your application!
    • Click on the Question Marks or Help tabs in the Minerva Application for explanations.
    • The application will time-out after 90 minutes of inactivity.
      • Have your text/course lists ready to paste into the application so as not to lose your work or miss the deadline.
    • Once you submit your application it cannot be modified. You will not be able to change your choices of partner universities. If you want to make change, you will have to cancel your application and complete a new one before the deadline.

    Step 4: Apply to the Host Institution

    • Ensure that your registration at the host university will be as a “non-degree visiting student”.
      • Confirm that the host university has an undergraduate “visiting, non-degree, or free-mover” student status.
    • Ensure the courses for which you register are part of the host university’s undergraduate curriculum.
    • You are responsible to meet the host university’s application procedures and deadlines.
    • You will be billed tuition and related fees directly by the host university.
    • You must comply with the host country’s visa/immigration requirements.

    WARNING – Affiliated partners and 3rd party organizations: 

    • You may not enroll in courses at an affiliated partner university of the host institution, and are not eligible to receive transfer credit for studies arranged by or offered through study abroad organizations, third parties or intermediaries.
    • You are not permitted to be concurrently registered as an undergraduate degree student at two different universities in the Fall and Winter terms.

    Step 5 - Approval

    Once your application is “Faculty Approved”, download your “Letter of Permission" (LOP) from the application. The LOP:

    • Is your official letter granting 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.
    • May be required by the Host University’s Registrar's Office, Enrollment Services or International Study Abroad Office.
    • Is provided in place of any forms that must be provided to the host school confirming your permission to study away.

    Your Minerva record will be updated to non-resident “Term Away” status for the same McGill term(s) you will be away. If you are registered for McGill courses in the Fall and/or Winter terms and you are approved to study away:

    • These McGill courses will be dropped.
    • You will not be able to register for McGill courses in that term(s).
    • Your McGill courses WILL NOT be re-instated if your plans change.

    NOTE: If you are studying away in the Summer term:

    • Your Minerva record will be updated to non-resident “Term Away” in mid-July, to permit you to access summer course registration at McGill.
    • You will not have access to the McGill Travel Registry until your Minerva record shows “Term Away – Arts”.
    • Once your Minerva record indicates "Term Away - Arts", you will not be able to register for McGill summer courses on Minerva.

    ONLINE COURSES: If you plan to take an online education course, please read the information under Transferring Credit, "Online Education Policy".

    Step 6 - Next steps

    Pre-departure Orientation

    • You are required to register for a Pre-departure Orientation via the webform available on the McGill Abroad website in order to be granted access/enrolled into the course.
    • To register or acquire more information about registering for Pre-departure Orientation, consult McGill Abroad.

    Travel registry

    • You are required to register your Independent Study Away activity using the McGill Student Travel Registry app, as soon as possible and at least 4 weeks prior to departure.
    • Information about how to download and register using the app can be found on the McGill Student Travel Registry website.
    • If you are studying away in the Summer term:
      • Your Minerva record will be updated to non-resident “Term Away” in mid-July, to permit you to access summer course registration at McGill.
      • You will not have access to the McGill Travel Registry until your Minerva record shows “Term Away – Arts”.
      • Once your Minerva record indicates "Term Away - Arts", you will not be able to register for McGill summer courses on Minerva.
    • Failure to register your trip in the McGill Student Travel Registry and not completing the Pre-Departure Orientation will result in:
      • Your ISA being cancelled; and
      • No credits will be earned during your activity will be recognized or transferred.
    • Questions regarding the Travel Registry and Pre-Departure Orientation should be sent to /safetyabroad [at]
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