Exchange Opportunities

Considering Studying Abroad?

As a student enrolled in the B.Sc.(Env.) degree program, you have a wide range of opportunities available to you to experience other cultures first-hand as a part of your educational program. You can participate in one of many available Exchange Programs or study through the Semester Abroad program. Shorter Field Trip courses (1-2 weeks) are also available if you are looking for a shorter term international experience that can be integrated with your on-campus coursework.

If you are interested in going on exchange, contact your Program Counsellor early in the Fall semester of your second year to discuss exchange options, requirements, application processes and deadlines.

More information about exchange opportunities, requirements for application, and deadlines are available through the Centre for International Programs (CIP). The CIP Office can help you find study abroad programs and offers information sessions that you must attend before applying to go on exchange or a semester abroad.

Quick Facts about International Study Options:

  • You must have a 70% cumulative average in order to participate in an exchange.
  • You will need to apply and be selected to participate before being able to choose exchange courses. Application forms and deadline information is available through the Centre for International Programs (CIP).
  • You will pay your full-time tuition and fees to the University of Guelph, not the institution where you will be studying.
  • You must pay your tuition and fees in full before leaving on the exchange.
  • The grading system for credits taken on exchange is Pass, Outstanding Pass, or Fail. For a semester abroad, the usual University of Guelph grading system is used.
  • If you are interested in attending an institution where an exchange agreement does not exist, you will require a Letter of Permission.
  • You must apply by the deadline set by CIP early in the Winter semester (second year) to go on exchange in third year (Fall and/or Winter semester).

Before Going on an Exchange

Once you have been approved for an exchange program, read through the information below as well as the information provided by CIP and the host institution. After you have read all the information, then book an appointment with your Program Counsellor to discuss the academic aspects of your exchange experience, including course selection and course approval (and the required paperwork) as well as processes that must be followed before, during and after exchange.

You will be required to complete two course selection forms before leaving for exchange. These forms are available in the Program Counselling Office and should be left blank and filled out with your Program Counsellor. The first form is a pre-departure agreement for course selection; the second form is the post-exchange agreement for courses and grades.

You may also want to prepare for your returning semester’s course selection at this time. This includes checking on prerequisites and requirements of courses for your final year or next semester at University of Guelph. For example, if you are interested in registering field courses such as your major’s field course or ENVS 4001 after your exchange, you should check carefully before leaving that you have all the prerequisites (including credit/class level) for the course. If you do not have these completed then prepare the approvals and the appropriate paperwork prior to going on exchange.

Choosing Exchange Courses

Research your host institution to determine which of their courses are relevant to your University of Guelph degree. You must get approval via email from your University of Guelph Program Counsellor for the classes that you would like to take while on exchange. When finalizing your courses and seeking approval from your Program Counsellor, it is important to include your major, the host course codes and titles as well as what degree requirement (course codes) you are hoping the host course will be used for in your email. This is generally done during your first two weeks at your host institution’s campus. Your Program Counsellor will act as the liaison with your Faculty Advisor and Guelph instructors for your course approvals, so be sure to have early and regular contact with them.

Research your host institution’s academic system to identify what is a full course load well before the deadline for course selection for your exchange location. To obtain credit as a 100% full-time student for the semester(s) that you are away, you must be enrolled as a full-time student at the host institution. You will receive credit for being a full-time student at the University of Guelph only if you are considered to be a 100% full-time student at the host institution. For example, at the University of Guelph, you are considered full-time when you are taking 2.50 credits per semester. Although 2.00 credits is also within the range of full-time at the University of Guelph, it is important for you to take the equivalent of 2.50 credits (a 100% full-time course load) while on exchange to avoid falling behind in the completion of your degree requirements. It is important to understand the different credit systems because generally other institutions do not have the same credit system as the University of Guelph.

While You Are on Exchange

As you complete your exchange experience, make sure that you collect and keep all course outlines and graded coursework to help with the course credit evaluation and transfer of credits at the University of Guelph. Stay in touch with your Program Counsellor via email regarding course changes, relevancy and approvals.

While you are on exchange, your Academic Evaluation will read “FREE*2000” for credits in progress. This is a place holding course code that signifies that you are “on exchange”. It also indicates the tuition and fees that you pay for the semester.

All exchange courses will be transferred to your University of Guelph transcript as “generic”. For example, if you take a geography course on exchange we will review it and if approved it will be an unspecified third year geography course. It will show up on your transcript as GEOG 9301 [0.50]. This means that as you are completing your degree requirements, you will want to negotiate and have approved exchange courses before you “take” the course on exchange. (A lot of times, this means you are negotiating with your Program Counsellor “at a distance” or by email).

When seeking approval for courses you want to take while abroad stay in touch with your University of Guelph Program Counsellor. Your Program Counsellor will work as the liaison for your course approvals. Below describes the processes involved with your exchange course approvals.

Also, while you are away, you will still be required to select and register for your University of Guelph courses for the semester after exchange. If you have difficulty with course selection, please contact your Program Counsellor for advice.

Your Program Counsellor determines the approval of:

  • Electives towards your degree (although they are electives, the content must be appropriate for a science student and at university level);
  • Environmental Sciences core courses (the content must fit the nature of the specific requirement).

Your Faculty Advisor and Program Counsellor determine the approval of:

  • Restricted Electives for your major (the content must relate to your major);
  • “One of” Requirements for your major (the content must fit the nature of the requirement of your major);
  • Required courses (that is not a prerequisite) for your major (the content must meet the nature of specific requirement).

The Course Instructor, Faculty Advisor and Program Counsellor will discuss approval of:

  • Required Courses (that will also be used as a prerequisite) requires two different approvals. The instructor of the course for which your exchange course will be a prerequisite must determine whether it will be sufficient background for the course. Your Faculty Advisor and Program Counsellor must approve the course content as acceptable for the major or core requirement.

Before leaving on exchange, make sure that you have completed or are aware of any specific prerequisite courses that will be required for the courses you will be taking in the semester following exchange.

Post Graduate Programs

If you are planning to pursue post graduate programs after completing your undergraduate degree, you will be required to provide official transcripts from your exchange host institution as well as the University of Guelph. The Exchange transcripts will not be provided to you automatically so it will be useful to know how to order official transcripts from your exchange institution in the future.

Returning from Exchange

Make sure your transcript/grades will be sent directly to the University of Guelph – CIP office. After that transcript has arrived to CIP, arrange a meeting with your Program Counsellor to discuss course approvals and the transfer of credits. Course outlines and course work from your exchange studies will supply the content to help determine the University of Guelph credits you will receive. Grades for credits taken on exchange are evaluated as Pass (P), Outstanding Pass (OP) or Fail (F). Course substitutions will not be recorded on WebAdvisor’s Program/Academic Evaluation, so keep record of your Program Counsellor’s email or paper form with these approvals.