Exchange Course Selection & Approval

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If planned correctly, the majority of students are able to participate in a study abroad opportunity without delaying their graduation. The EPCS form is an important part of that planning. See the information below to find out more.

Below is a list of the dates pre-EPCS forms are due back to CIP. Please make sure that you contact your Program Counsellor well in advance of these dates to give them time to assess the courses for you. 

Semester Abroad Pre-EPCS Due to CIP
Summer April 15
Fall June 1
Winter November 1

A link to each host university’s course information is available through CIP’s Program Search tool - Horizons. Find your host university and then click on it to see specific information about that university and links.  It is possible that your host university may not have posted a course schedule for the semester you are looking for yet.  If this is the case, try to find their course listing from the current academic year and use that as a guide for now.  Most of our exchange partners offer many of the same courses every year.

Please be aware that different countries often use different terminology.  For example, at some Australian and UK universities, ‘course’ means the program of study (for example, Economics), and what we call courses may be called ‘modules’, ‘units’ or 'papers'.  In many other countries, what Canadians refer to as an academic calendar only means a schedule of semester dates, and any additional information about courses is found elsewhere (for example, in Australia, program information and course lists are often found in the university’s ‘handbook.’)  Where possible, we have indicated what terminology is used at each host university in the Program Search information on our website. 

Determining the Number of Courses You Need to Take While on Exchange

The number of courses you will be taking while on exchange depends on your host university. In order to receive full-time University of Guelph credits (2.5 for one semester, 5.0 for two semesters) when you return, you must take your host university’s equivalent of a full-time course load.

For example, in countries that are part of the European Union, universities use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). 30 ECTS credits per semester are equal to 2.5 UofG credits.  In the UK, many universities use the CATS credit system, and 60 CATS is equal to 2.5 UofG credits. 


  1. Go to the CIP website Program Search and find your host University.

  2. Find and click on your host university and information about the Credit System is provided in the description.

Before you go on exchange, you must complete an Undergraduate Exchange Program Course Selection and Grade Submission (EPCS) form for each semester you will be away on exchangeThe EPCS form(s) will be sent to you by email. Please use a separate form for each semester that you will be on exchange.  It is important that this form is completed correctly, signed by your Program Counsellor and handed in to your Education Abroad Advisor (EAA) at CIP by the deadline outlined on the Checklist in your nomination package, or your participation in exchange may be cancelled.


The completed and signed EPCS form is your contract with the University of Guelph that states what specific U of Guelph generic course credits you will receive for courses you pass while on exchange.

Your completed and signed EPCS form is also used to register you at the University of Guelph for the semester(s) you will be on exchange and generates your fees. If you don’t complete and submit the EPCS form, you will not be registered as a U of Guelph student for the semester(s) you are on exchange and you will not receive credit for the courses you take while on exchange.


Since the exact course information or timetable for your host university may not be available yet, or you may not be sure which courses you want to take, it is recommended that you choose more courses than you will actually be taking while on exchange and have these approved by your Program Counsellor on the EPCS form. Getting back-up courses approved in advance may help you avoid having to contact your Program Counsellor for last-minute approvals once you’re on exchange.


Don’t wait until the last minute to send your EPCS form to your Program Counsellor.  We recommend sending it to them two weeks or more before the deadline for handing in the signed form to your EAA. Your Program Counsellor will need time to review the exchange course information you’ve given them before they can decide what U of Guelph credits you will get. They may also require you to provide additional information or get departmental signatures, which will take extra time.


You will complete the EPCS form before you go on your exchange as an estimate of the courses you intend to take. Once you arrive at your host university, you may find that some of the courses that were approved on your EPCS form are not available or that you want to take different courses than you initially planned. If this happens, don’t panic, as it is common for students to make changes to their exchange course selection.  If you decide to change courses after you have handed in the EPCS form, simply make sure to e-mail your Program Counsellor to get approval for the new courses (you do not have to complete another EPCS form – the additional approvals can be done via e-mail). You will fill out the EPCS form again when you return from your exchange based on the courses you actually took, in order to receive credit for these. 

A) Complete the top part of the form including:

  1. Your name,

  2. ID number,

  3. Academic program (your program here at Guelph),

  4. Exchange dates (approximate is fine),

  5. Exchange program name (the host university you will be attending on exchange),

  6. Check the ‘Pre-exchange assessment (courses only)’ box.

B) List the courses that you want to take while on exchange in the left-hand column.  

Include the host course number (if possible) and the host university course title.

C) Get Program Counsellor Approval

Your Program Counsellor must approve the courses that you are planning to take while on exchange. Each Program Counsellor’s office has a different procedure for approving EPCS forms and exchange courses – contact them in advance to find out the details of their approval process. Some Program Counsellors may ask you to email your EPCS form to them and to pick it up when they have finished reviewing it. It is up to you to make sure that the EPCS, signed by you and your Program Counsellor, is delivered to your EAA at CIP before the deadline.


Many students confuse Program/Faculty Advisors and Program Counsellors.  Your Program Counsellor has to approve and sign your EPCS form at the bottom - NOT your Program or Faculty Advisor. A complete list of Program Counsellors can be found here.

Your Program Counsellor MAY ask you to:

  1. Provide course outlines for the host institution courses. You may be able to find course outlines or descriptions on the host institution website. If you are not able to find them, your Education Abroad Advisor can ask your host institution for this information.

  2. Get departmental approval first for some or all of the courses you have chosen (eg. BComm and language courses often require a specific professor’s approval first).

What your Program Counsellor will do:

  1. Tell you whether the courses you have chosen will count toward your degree requirements if you ask.

  2. a) Assign a generic Guelph course number and credit weight for each course on the right hand side of your form   OR

b) If you are not able to provide enough information about the courses for your PC to assess their equivalency at UofG, your PC may write ‘to be assessed later / upon return’ or ‘FREE 2000’.  In this case, if you want confirmation that you will be able to get U of G credits for the courses you end up taking while on exchange, it is up to you to follow up with your Program Counsellor via e-mail later on or during the first week of your exchange to provide the additional information they need, such as course outlines, in order to get the courses approved.

  1. Sign the form

D)  Return the completed and signed form by the deadline outlined in your checklist to your EAA at CIP. Your EAA will take care of the final steps. 

Your EAA will take your completed EPCS form to the Registrar’s office and you will then be registered in the system as being on exchange. WebAdvisor will show ‘FREE*2000’ for your course registration for the semester(s) you will be away - which simply means that you are on exchange.  For students participating in a short-term summer exchange program, WebAdvisor will show ‘FREE 1500’ if you will be getting 1.0 U of G credits, or FREE 1400 if you will be getting 0.5 U of G credits.  Please note that the courses listed on your EPCS form will not be displayed on WebAdvisor.  Once the FREE 2000, 1500 or 1400 code appears on your registration, your University of Guelph fees owing for the semester(s) you will be on exchange will be displayed on WebAdvisor.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Even if you have not yet received your official acceptance from your host university, you do not need to register for on-campus U of G courses for the semester that you will be on exchange. You will only be registered for FREE 2000, which means that you are on exchange.

Once the Registrar’s office receives your EPCS form any on-campus courses you have registered for on WebAdvisor for your exchange semester will be deleted.

In general, it is best if you can take all of your courses at your host institution.  However, students are sometimes unable to take enough courses while on exchange to equal 2.5 U of G credits and choose to also take a 0.5 credit Distance Education course or Independent Study / Research course through the University of Guelph while on exchange.


To add one DE course in addition to FREE 2000 (to a total maximum course load of 3.0 credits), a signature from your Program Counsellor is required. Complete an Undergraduate Course Request Form with the DE course listed, submit it to your Program Counsellor for signature and return the completed form to the EAA. You should submit this form at the same time as your EPCS form.  You will not be able to register for the DE course yourself on WebAdvisor – since you will be on exchange, the Registrar’s office must manually register you for any DE course.


Speak to your Program Counsellor to find out if there is an Independent Study or Research course in your program of study. Your Program Counsellor will need to sign an Undergraduate Course Request form to give permission for you to take the course while on exchange (to a total maximum course load of 3.0 credits). Independent Study or Research courses usually also require the signature of a professor who will be supervising your project on a Course Waiver Form.  You should submit your signed Course Waiver Form and Undergraduate Course Request to the EAA at the same time as your EPCS form.