Plan & Prepare

A successful study abroad starts with a good plan that defines your vision and goals. Review the steps below to find out how to prepare your study away.

Step 1: Set a goal

There are many reasons why students pursue study away opportunities. Have you given any thought as to what you wish to gain from this experience? Setting a goal is the starting point for planning a successful study away experience. Reflect on the goals listed below to assist you in thinking about what you would like to achieve by studying away.

• Learn a new language, experience a new culture and gain a global perspective
• Experience a different system of education in order to expand your knowledge and interests
• Benefit academically by taking courses that may be taught from a different perspective
• Explore future educational opportunities at another university
• Broaden your horizons, travel internationally and build connections
• Add an international experience to your resume
• Enrich your personal development Take the time to reflect on your vision, goals and priorities.

Making a solid plan is time-consuming, but it is well worth the effort! A well-researched plan will save you time and money and prevent costly mistakes. Can you imagine making a plan to study away at a university that does not offer any courses that you want to take? We have provided you with some questions that will help you to assess whether you are well suited for a study away experience.

1. Do you adapt easily to new circumstances and environments?
2. Are you prepared to put in the time required to research complex details such as the host school’s admission requirements, course offerings, methods of evaluation, credit and grading systems and housing options?
3. Are you comfortable living in an unfamiliar environment with potential language barriers or different societal norms, or in a location with a different climate?
4. Do you have the personal and academic confidence necessary to succeed at a new school without a familiar support system?
5. Do you have the financial means to support yourself throughout this experience? Will you be eligible to work in this country if needed?

Consider your goals and the duration of your study abroad. Can you achieve your goal(s) by taking a course or two at another university during the summer? Would studying for entire semester be more beneficial?

Keep in mind that longer study terms will require more research and involve more complexities. If you answered “no” to any these questions, some further research may be required on your part. Remember that studying away is not the only method of gaining international experience. For example, can your personal goals can be achieved through an Arts Internship, Arts Research Internship, McGill Courses Abroad, Field Study Semesters Abroad or a co-curricular experience?

Step 2: Know eligibility criteria, important policies

  • Eligibility criteria by activity:


CGPA, minimum and maintained

Be currently registered full-time

Have completed at least 12 McGill credits at time of application

Have completed at least 24 McGill credits by the start of activity

McGill Exchange, Fall/Winter


Independent Study Away, Fall/Winter


Independent Study Away, incl. Online, Summer


QC University, Fall/Winter


QC University, Summer





  • Degree residency requirement: You must satisfactorily complete at least 60 credits at McGill University.
  • Program residency requirement: At least 2/3rd of all program credits (Multi-track, Honours, Faculty program) must normally be completed at McGill; thus, a maximum of 1/3rd of all program credits may be completed at another university.

Departments may require that specific program components must be completed at McGill. Consult with your departmental program adviser.

  • Course load at the host university: You must register for the equivalent of a full-time course load, not more than the equivalent of 15 McGill transfer credits.
  • U3 students and graduation: Studying abroad in your final semester will delay your graduation to the next available term of graduation. You cannot graduate in the same term in which you are taking course(s) at another university.

For further information, see Transferring credit and the Arts OASIS graduation checklist.

Step 3: Plan your degree

A degree plan is an important part of the study away process. A completed Arts OASIS Degree Planning Worksheet will:

  1. Help you to optimize your McGill course selection to reflect your academic strengths and interests.
  2. Make it easier for you to understand the McGill course content that you must cover in each of your terms of study.
  3. Assist you in planning the number of terms it will take you to complete your McGill degree.
  4. Benefit you if you wish to take courses at another university and need to establish if the McGill course content you need to cover in a particular term is available at another host university.

Read more about Degree Planning.

Step 4: Meet Departmental Advisors

Departmental Program Advisors provide academic advice on departmental programs and approve course selection for U1-U3 students. You have a departmental advisor for each program. Your Departmental Program Advisor will:

  1. Provide you with a departmental audit sheet to help you plan your program courses.
  2. Ensure that you are satisfying the requirements of the McGill program of study.
  3. Ensure that you are meeting McGill’s program residency requirement.
  4. Verify which program requirements have yet to be completed.
  5. Recommend the course content that you should be covering in the program course(s) that you intend to take at McGill or at another host university.
  6. Recommend the optimal term for you to complete courses at another university.

Consult Departmental/Program Advising Information.

Step 5: Planning Checklist

Use this PDF icon Study Abroad Planning Checklist before you submit your application.

Step 6: Financing your study away

Plan a budget, taking into consideration all your expenses – such as, tuition, accommodation, airfare, food, medical insurance, passport, visas and personal spending.

If you are receiving a scholarship, loan and/or bursary, discuss the financial implications of studying abroad with McGill Scholarships and Student Aid Office.

The Mobility Bursary for Exchanges is a McGill program that defrays a portion of the cost of student exchanges. The award is available to undergraduate students (Quebec, Canadian and International) who have been nominated by McGill to participate in an eligible exchange outside Quebec and who demonstrate financial need. Students who are granted a Mobility Bursary for Exchanges can expect a value between $750 and $1500 per month of exchange.

You may be eligible for other funding opportunities, including external scholarships. Browse our funding page to learn more about the Mobility Bursary for Exchanges or other funding that is available to you!

  • Tuition notes:
    • McGill Exchange at a partner institution – you pay McGill tuition directly to McGill. You are charged 15 McGill credits and related fees per term irrespective of the number of credits or courses you register at the host school.
    • Independent Study Away – you pay the host university’s tuition and related fees. You do not pay McGill fees during this term.
Back to top