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Queen's University

So you're interested in studying abroad? Great! The Faculty of Arts and Science has arranged a number of formal exchange agreements with overseas universities, which provide an opportunity for third-year Arts and Science students to study abroad while paying Queen's tuition. Exchanges run for a full academic year or a semester depending on the host institution.

Applications for exchange programs are competitive, requiring academic, personal and financial dedication.

1. Find out More about Exchange

Are you wondering why an exchange would be a good fit for you? How will studying overseas contribute to your Queen's degree? What will you gain from living and studying in a different country? These are some questions you might be considering as you learn about the international options at Queen's. By going on exchange, you will have an opportunity to:

  • Internationalize your degree and resume
  • Gain intercultural skills, knowledge and attitudes
  • Improve your language skills
  • Take courses not offered at Queens, and study in close proximity to your subject
  • Expand your perspectives and meet new people
  • Challenge yourself!
  • Have an experience of a lifetime!

Types of Exchange Programs

Bilateral Exchanges: Formal partnership agreements between Queen's and another university where by students have the opportunity to study at a partner university while still paying their tuition and ancillary fees to Queen's. In other words, Queen's sends selected students to our partner institution, and they send their selected students to Queen's. The Faculty of Arts and Science maintains partnerships with over 100 universities in 30 different countries. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.6 is required for application. Selected exchange partners require a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Consortial Exchanges: Students may take part in one of five different exchange programs organized by provincial and national consortia that give them access to about 50 further universities in China, France, Germany, India, and the United States. In other words, consortial exchanges are arranged between groups of universities. A cumulative GPA of 2.6 is required for application. Financial support from the program may be available.

Who can apply

Exchange programs are available to all Arts and Science students partaking in an Honours (four-year) program at Queen's. Students must be in good academic standing, with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.6 (NOTE: selected exchange partners require a minimum GPA of 3.0 so check the exchange partner profiles for clarification). Classes are generally available in English, unless otherwise indicated. Because of the high demand for exchanges at Queen's, the application process is competitive, and placements cannot be guaranteed for all qualified applicants. See the Eligibility tab for more details.

When to apply

Students apply in the Winter term of their second year for placements in their third year of study. Applications become available online during the Fall term. The IPO assists students in ensuring administrative timelines are met and that students successfully transition both academically and culturally to and from their host institutions.

Can science students go on Exchange?

Absolutely! TASSEP is the Trans-Atlantic Science Student Exchange Program, which promotes the opportunity for science students to take most of their core science courses abroad and still graduate on time.

The aim of TASSEP is to provide science students the academic advising they need when choosing courses at the foreign university to ensure that they will receive the full credits while studying abroad. Each partner university in the TASSEP program has an academic coordinator who can answer questions about the science programs and courses that are available to TASSEP exchange students.

The universities involved in this program include those in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Similar to the bilateral exchange, students will pay tuition to Queen's University and enroll in the foreign university at no additional costs. The only fees that students are responsible for are transportation and living expenses.

Science students who wish to participate in TASSEP will apply under the bilateral exchange application. Review components and process for the bilateral exchange application.

For more information about the participating universities and the contact information for the academic coordinators, please visit the TASSEP website.

2. Come to an Event

In September and early October, the IPO will be running a series of presentations called Think International! that discuss a range of international education opportunities. For students interested specifically in exchange, students should attend ArtSci Exchange 101 in late October and the International Exchange Fair in early November. We also host an International Exchange Fair, and have work study students who can offer advice. Check out Events and Deadlines for session details.

3. Check Your Eligibility

Students applying for exchange:

  • Must be enrolled full-time in second year* of a degree program in the Faculty of Arts and Science and be returning to Queen's to complete an honours degree
  • Meet requirements of the exchange partner university regarding level of entry, term(s) of attendance and language competence where applicable
  • Be comfortable in university-level classes and, in most cases, require at least a 200-level university-level language or its equivalent for partner institutions where the language of instruction is not English
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.6 or higher at the time of the application deadline (January); selected exchange partners require a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.


Applications may also be accepted from third-year students who wish to spend a term abroad during their fourth year and from fourth-year students who wish to spend a term abroad during a fifth year of their program. Applicants currently in their third or fourth year should be aware, however, that:

  • The application must be accompanied by written permission of the Undergraduate Chair(s) of the Department(s) administering their Plan(s) to undertake an international exchange experience
  • The application must contain a detailed plan of proposed study at the intended host university, recognizing that entry to fourth-year courses in their area(s) of concentration may not be possible
  • An exchange term abroad would normally not be permitted during the final term of their degree program at Queen's**
  • Second-year applicants will normally be given priority**

Note to students regarding Dean's honour list and exchange

Students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the relevant academic regulation. Students seeking clarification are invited to visit Student Services, F200, Mac-Corry.

4. Select a Partner University

For the bilateral exchange application, each applicant is permitted to select up to six institutions on the application form, not necessarily in the same country or region.

The consortial exchange programs (i.e. Ontario Universities International (OUI) programs, Killam, etc) will usually ask students to list their top two or three preferred universities on their application so please make sure that you read the instructions carefully.

Take the time to do your research!

It is very important for applicants to match their expectations with reality and this is best done through talking with others who have taken part in the exchange program and to exchange students who are currently studying in the Faculty.

A number of factors should come into consideration before reaching a decision on which institution might be most suitable including:

  • academic program compatibility
  • interest in courses available at that institution
  • health and safety concerns
  • interest in a city or country
  • size of the institution or city
  • affordability
  • commitments in Canada prior to leaving or upon return

Why not use our Exchange Decision Matrix to help you decide where to go?

All students should set out in writing what their goals are for the year or semester of the exchange program. This can prove invaluable during challenges along the road, and upon returning to Canada. 

It is the student's responsibility to identify the courses that are required for the degree program in consultation with the Chair of Undergraduate Studies in their department(s) of concentration. A final course selection can be made once students arrive at the host institution.

5. Submit an Application

Bilateral exchanges

  • Agreements between Queen's University and a partner university
  • May only be available to Arts and Science students OR it may be open to other faculties as well
  • Students apply for bilateral exchanges through their faculty international office (IPO for Arts and Science)
  • European universities in the Trans-Atlantic Science Student Exchange Program (TASSEP) are also considered part of the bilateral exchange program, however these exchange partners are ONLY open to science students

Apply to the Bilateral Exchange Program >>>

Consortial (Multifaculty) exchanges

  • Agreements between selected groups of universities in different regions of the world (i.e. Ontario universities and universities in the province of Jiangsu in China)
  • Open to students from all faculties at Queen's
  • All students apply for consortial exchanges through the International Programs Office and files are reviewed by the faculty exchange coordinator for nomination
  • These exchanges may also be referred to as multifaculty exchanges
  • Some of the consortial exchange programs also have scholarship awards or travel stipends as part of the exchange

Apply to the Consortial Exchange Program >>>

University of St Andrews

  • The University of St Andrews exchange is a bilateral exchange however it requires a separate application due to the scholarship award which is part of the exchange

Apply to the St Andrews Exchange Program >>>


How do we evaluate the applications?

The criteria for selection are based on a combination of grades and academic preparation, extra-curricular activities and volunteer work, as well as personal suitability as assessed from the essay and reference.

The International Programs Office will assess the student file based on the following considerations:

  • Academic performance based on cumulative GPA at time of application (40%)
  • Statement of Interest essay (25%)
  • Academic reference form (15%)
  • Extracurricular/volunteer (10%)
  • Demonstrated research (10%)

Grades are a major factor, but they are not the sole criterion for selection. Students who are concerned about their academic performance do have the opportunity to improve their application score by taking extra care with their essay and other application components.

Successful applicants will receive an email confirming their selection for the exchange and an offer letter.

Please note: Upon acceptance of an exchange placement at the host university, students are required to remit to the IPO a non-refundable cheque in the amount of $150 (CAD) payable to Queen’s University, which covers the cost of the International Letter of Permission, courier fees to the host university, and transfer of academic credits upon completion of the exchange term or year.

6. Money Matters

What are the costs?

  • Students pay tuition and student activity fees at the home university (i.e. Queen's).
  • $150 exchange program fee
  • Students are personally responsible for:
    • Transportation to and from the partner university
    • Food and lodging at the partner university
    • Any additional travel undertaken while away

For additional living costs, students should consult the partner profiles and/or talk to past participants of the exchange program.

Financing Your Exchange

Exchange Bursary Application (recommended)

There are a limited number of Bursaries for exchange students. All applicants wishing to apply for a Bursary should complete the application form which can be found online on the Student Awards website and submit to the Student Awards Office by the published deadline. Successful applicants will then be considered by the Student Awards Office for financial assistance. The cost of living in each exchange destination is factored into the selection process so even if you do not normally qualify for bursaries in Canada, you may qualify for an exchange bursary where the cost of living in your host country may be higher.

OSAP/Government Loans

As full-time students, exchange students are eligible for OSAP and other government loans. For students receiving OSAP loans, a Confirmation of Enrollment form should be completed. For OSAP and all other student loans, a Power of Attorney should be arranged before leaving the country. Students should consult the Student Awards website for more information about this process.


Students can hold renewable entrance awards while on the exchange program. On their return, an official record of their academic performance must be submitted to the Student Awards Office to enable the committee to evaluate their performance for renewal of their scholarship for the following year. After the completion of their exchange year, students are also eligible to apply for the Dean's Special Scholarships for Student Returning from Exchange . Details can be obtained from the Student Awards Office.

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