International Exchange Policy

This policy is for exchanges managed by the International Programs Office. Unless otherwise stated, Academic Regulation 14 of the Arts and Science Academic Calendar and references to Letter of Permission shall apply to the international exchange programs referenced herein.

Eligibility and Application to Exchange

A student applying for the exchange program must be at least at Level 2 standing of an Honours program at the time of application. Preference will be given to Level 2 Honours students when applying to the Faculty of Arts and Science exchange program.

Students in a General degree program may participate in all international programs administered by the IPO with the exception of the Faculty of Arts and Science exchange program.

A student who is at Level 3 or Level 4 standing at time of application to the exchange program must receive written permission from their Undergraduate Chair(s) following a review of the student’s proposed plan of study. Both the written permission and the proposed plan of study must be submitted to the International Programs Office as part of the student’s application. A Level 2 student applying to or nominated for exchange to spend all or part of the third year of an Honours program at another post-secondary institution does not need to appeal to the Associate Dean (Studies).

A student applying to the exchange program must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8 at the time of application. Some partner institutions and exchange programs vary in their minimum GPA requirements and may require a GPA higher than 2.8.

It is expected that students will apply to host universities for which they meet the requirements, including but not limited to academic and language requirements.

Students participating in the Semester in Shanghai program may not also participate in the Faculty of Arts and Science exchange program in the same academic year.

Once a student has submitted their exchange application, they are not permitted to make any changes to their school selections.

Late applications will not be accepted. If a student has extenuating circumstances, their circumstances will be considered by the IPO on a case-by-case basis.


Students are assessed and ranked on criteria published in advance by the IPO on the IPO website.

Students will be placed at host universities in accordance with their application score, preference, and program eligibility with the assumption that the student has conducted thorough research about their selected institutions.

Students will be offered one placement. In extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of the IPO a student may be offered an alternative placement.

Students Nominated for Exchange

A student nominated for exchange must be of Level 3 standing or higher by the time the exchange commences.

A student nominated for exchange must remain in good academic standing (see Academic Regulation 13), maintain the minimum GPA required by the host institution, with no failures nor be a candidate on academic probation, must have no more than 3.0 units of incomplete grades in a previous term (grade of IN) up until the commencement of their academic exchange. If a student fails to meet one or more of the above-listed criteria, the exchange offer may be revoked.

Meeting the minimum academic requirements does not guarantee participation in an international exchange. A student may be deemed ineligible for international exchange if they are not currently a suitable representative of Queen’s University and the Faculty of Arts and Science. Reasons a student may be deemed ineligible include, but are not limited to, misrepresentation or omission of facts on any part of the exchange application, academic misconduct, breach of the Student Code of Conduct, conviction of a criminal offence, or any conduct that would bring the reputation of Queen’s University or the Faculty of Arts and Science into disrepute. The decision that a student is ineligible for international exchange is made by the Manager of the International Programs Office, in consultation with the Associate Director, Student Services (Registration, Admission and Service). A decision may be appealed to the Associate Dean (Studies).

Students are subject to the policies, regulations, and requirements of Queen’s and the partner school while they are attending. It is the responsibility of every student to read and understand these policies, regulations, and requirements.

Nomination of a student by the International Programs Office to a host university does not guarantee admission to that university.

Courses at Host University

Students are expected to consult with their Undergraduate Chair prior to departure to formulate an intended plan of study.

Enrolment in specific courses at host universities is not guaranteed.

Some host universities offer courses in multiple languages; the availability of courses in English may be limited. Students are expected to research academic offerings at host universities before applying to the exchange program.

Examinations at Host University

Students are expected to complete their mid-year and final examinations at their host university. Queen’s University will not proctor exams on behalf of the host university.

It is recognized that there are some exceptional circumstances that may prevent students from completing their host university examinations, for instance illness. In these circumstances, students are asked to contact their host university exchange office and the International Programs Office for alternative options.

Number of Units in a Term and Academic Year

Students participating in exchange are expected to enroll in a full course load at the host university. Tuition is based on full-time status: 15.0 Queen’s units for a semester or 30.0 Queen’s units for a full year. To be eligible to be awarded a full course load of 15.0 transfer units for a semester or 30.0 transfer units for two semesters, students must be enrolled in a full course load at their host university as determined by the International Programs Office. If a student chooses to take a reduced course load, their tuition will not be adjusted.

International Letter of Permission

The International Programs Office may, at its discretion, waive the requirement for students to obtain an International Letter of Permission for students enrolling in international programs approved and administered by the IPO. In such instances, successful entrance into the program will be considered permission to take courses elsewhere.

Transfer Credit

In all circumstances, Academic Regulation 14.6 – Obtaining Transfer Credit applies. Course equivalencies are determined by the relevant academic units within the Faculty of Arts and Science. Courses must be of an academic nature and not of a practical nature. Students who are unsure should consult the IPO as soon as possible.

Exchange Balance Credit

A full course load may be less than 5 courses at some host universities. To acknowledge successful completion of a full course load and award sufficient transfer credits, an “Exchange Balance” transfer credit will be awarded. Where all courses taken are from the same academic discipline and awarded transfer credit with the same 4-letter department course code, it is possible but not guaranteed that the “Exchange Balance” transfer credit would have the same 4-letter department designation.

Courses composing the Exchange Balance Transfer Credit cannot count towards substitutions within a degree plan. The awarding of the “Exchange Balance” transfer credit and its designation is at the discretion of individual academic departments.

Final decisions regarding transfer credits are only made once the host university transcript has been received.

Host University Transcripts

Host university transcripts are retained by Queen’s University. The International Programs Office will not forward transcripts on behalf of students to internal or external agencies including but not limited to graduate, medicine or law schools.

Cancellation of Exchange

In order to ensure student safety, Queen’s University may cancel an exchange program at any time.

Placement List

Students who qualify for participation in the exchange program but cannot be placed at one of the host universities they listed on their application due to limited capacity can await placement at a later date on the Placement List.

The Placement List typically operates from March-August. It is activated when a space at a host university becomes available. Students on the Placement List are individually contacted with a placement offer in accordance with their application score when space at one of their originally requested host universities becomes available. The IPO retains the right to suspend the Placement List at its discretion.

Alternative Placements

Alternative placements are typically offered in two instances:

(1) Alternative Placement Process

All students on the Placement List are provided with an opportunity to forgo their original host university requests and request an alternative placement at a host university with available space through a formalized process that typically takes place in late February/early March.

(2) Exceptional Circumstances

Our goal is to find alternative placements, where possible, for students who are unable to participate in their intended exchange owing to exceptional circumstances outside of their control, such as cancellation of the exchange by the host institution. Poor planning on the part of the student shall not be considered a valid reason for requesting an alternative placement. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Maintaining Eligibility and Withdrawal from the Exchange Program

Students must retain a CUM GPA that is at least equal to or higher than that required for entry to the specified exchange program. Students must be eligible to enroll in courses for the semester specified for their exchange.

The Office of the University Registrar will review students’ fees and the IPO will review students’ CUM GPA prior to students being enrolled in the exchange block on SOLUS.

Where a student with unpaid fees at that time in excess of $500 and/or whose CUM GPA has fallen below 2.8/3.0 (depending on program) and/or has dropped significantly since the time of application, the IPO reserves the right to consult with the Office of the University Registrar (regarding outstanding fees), and the Faculty of Arts and Science (regarding a change in GPA), to determine the student’s eligibility to remain in the exchange program. Following outreach to the student and/or consultation as outlined above, the IPO retains the right to remove the student from the exchange program.

Financial Obligations

Queen’s University students pay standard tuition fees to Queen’s for 15.0 units, in accordance with fees that are posted on the Office of the University Registrar website. Students are assessed tuition according to their home faculty/school and student status. Please visit the Office of the University Registrar website for details. It is the student’s responsibility to opt out of any optional fees and to be aware of the process and deadlines for doing so.

Students are required to assume all anticipated and unanticipated travel-related costs associated with their exchange. This includes but is not limited to any vaccination, quarantine, or testing costs incurred prior to travel, on arrival in the host country, and/or upon return to Canada/your home country; flight changes; early termination of rental leases; or financial costs associated with the issuance of any travel notices by the Canadian government or others.

Program Fee Refunds

The IPO will refund the exchange program fee in the following circumstances:

  1. A student changes their mind within 30 days of providing proof of payment of the exchange program fee.
  2. Queen’s or the host university suspends/cancels exchange.
  3. A student is unable to participate in an exchange as a result of circumstances beyond their control (e.g., relating to the Covid-19 pandemic).

The IPO will not refund the program fee for reasons that could have been reasonably anticipated, or after the 30 days have elapsed (the above points notwithstanding).

The IPO will also consider refunds on a case-by-case basis. If in doubt, please contact the IPO.

Last updated: 25 October 2023