Frequently Asked Questions



Are there any shorter programs offered in the summer?

We do have short summer programs you can explore. You can go on a summer exchange program where you can take courses at a partner university from 2-6 weeks long and transfer credits to Guelph.

Apart from the summer exchange opportunities, you may also want to explore the summer language and summer research programs. 

As an incoming exchange student, what fees do I have to pay to the University of Guelph?

The major fees you pay to the University of Guelph for your exchange are fees for your residence, meal plans and student fees (that is, your health insurance and bus pass).

Can I apply for two study abroad programs occurring in the same academic year?

No, you can't participate in more than one semester-long study abroad program in the same year.

Can I go on exchange for a full year?

It depends on where you want to go! Locations, where you may be able to go for an academic year, include France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Spain. We would love to send students to study abroad for an entire academic year but due to the limited amount of spaces available we send most students for one semester only.

Can I participate in a study abroad program if I’m in Co-op?

There are over 100 programs in more than 30+ countries from which students can choose and this includes Co-op students. Students in a Co-op program must plan ahead of time if they wish to do a study abroad program. This means speaking to the Co-op office and your Program Counsellors ahead of time and attending Study Abroad Information.

Can I participate in the study abroad programs at University of Guelph if I am not registered as a student there?

Unfortunately, you cannot. You would have to be a registered full-time student at the University of Guelph in order to participate in any of the study abroad programs.

Can I receive OSAP while I'm on exchange or semester abroad? Are there scholarships available to Guelph students on a study abroad program?

Because you are still considered a University of Guelph student while you on a study abroad program you can still apply for OSAP for the semester or year you are away. Student Financial Services has scholarships and bursaries available for Guelph students travelling abroad for academic reasons.  For more information visit Financing your Study Abroad.

Can I still go on exchange if University of Guelph has no partnership with the university I am interested in?

If you would like to attend a specific university that Guelph does not have an exchange agreement with, you can do what is called a Letter of Permission (LOP). A Letter of Permission gives a student from the University of Guelph permission to take credits at another university and transfer the credits back to their degree at the University of Guelph.

On an LOP the student pays international student tuition and fees to the host institution (often 2-3x more than UG tuition) and is considered a student at the host university for the duration of the LOP. The student is responsible for applying to the host institution and the Centre for International Programs does not provide assistance. More information on an LOP is available through the Registrar's Office, and your Program Counsellor will be able to talk to you about Guelph's administrative process.

Can I study abroad at the University of Guelph even if my home university doesn’t have an exchange agreement with University of Guelph?

If you would like to come to the University of Guelph but your home university does not have an exchange agreement with us, you can apply to study on our campus as a visiting student through what we call a Letter of Permission (LOP).  A Letter of Permission gives a student permission from their home university to take credits at the University of Guelph and transfer these credits toward their degree program.

For more information on an LOP as an Undergraduate or Graduate Student to Guelph, see our Undergraduate Admissions and the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies LOP website.

Can I take a U of G Distance Education course if necessary while on my study abroad program?

It is possible to take a UofG Distance Education course while you're away on exchange. 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 UofG 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.

COVID-19 Questions

If you have questions regarding COVID-19 and how it may affect your study abroad program, please visit our COIVD-19 specific FAQ page.

Do I have to buy health insurance at University of Guelph?

The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) and the Student Health Plan are mandatory for exchange students at the University of Guelph.  Find out more information about these here.

Do I have to pay an application fee to apply to study abroad?

There is no cost attached to applying to study abroad. We will ask you to make any payments once you are nominated and you accept your placement.

Do I have to speak another language to apply to study abroad?

This depends on the study abroad program you decide to go for. The vast majority of our partners offer courses in English and all of our field school programs are offered in English. However, some of the courses (e.g. language programs) in some partner universities require some proficiency level in the local language, in such cases, you must meet the language requirement. If you have an intermediate (usually 2nd year) level of French, German, Spanish or Italian, then you can also consider studying in Latin America, France, Germany, Spain or Italy in the local language!  To study in one of these languages, you must submit a Language Assessment Form along with your online application.

Do I still need to buy Guard.Me Travel and Emergency Insurance if I have my own health insurance coverage or my host university requires me to buy a different health insurance plan?

All students who will be studying abroad must purchase the Guard Me insurance plan at least three weeks before their departure. 

Unfortunately, there are no exemptions from purchasing Guard Me insurance, even if your host university or country requires you to buy a mandatory health insurance plan (such as OSCH in Australia).  While other plans may cover you for basic medical care in your host country, they often do not cover students for such things as travel to other countries, emergency evacuation, repatriation, or flying a loved one to be with you if you are hospitalized. Therefore, having the Guard Me insurance is necessary at an affordable rate.

Do you help students with internship placement or work abroad opportunities?

Unfortunately, due to the large numbers of organizations offering work, internships, volunteer placements and study abroad options, we don’t give definitive information.  However, we have created a guideline that will help you evaluate and select an international program. 

Does my host university offer services to students with disabilities; how do I confirm that during my application?

Student Accessibility Services are available in our partnering universities. To ensure that University of Guelph exchange students have adequate and maximum accessibility, we invite students to speak to the Education Abroad Advisors prior to their study abroad application. This will help determine if the student will be able to have the necessary services at a particular partner university on their sojourn abroad.

Does University of Guelph offer services for students with disabilities?

Student Accessibility Services facilitates a variety of programs and services to assist students with both temporary and permanent disabilities to participate fully in university life and maximize campus accessibility.  Any exchange students who may require special services should register with the Centre for Students with Disabilities (preferably before arriving at the University of Guelph).  

How can I apply for exchange at the University of Guelph?

To apply to Guelph for exchange, you must first be nominated by your home university. Please visit the International/Exchange Office of your home university to find out more information about their exchange application procedures.  If you are chosen by your home university to come on exchange to the University of Guelph, they will then let you know how to access our incoming exchange student application.

How can I find housing off-campus?

If you have chosen to live off-campus, it is suggested that you begin searching for housing well in advance before arriving in Canada and arrive at least two weeks before the beginning of classes or more, so that you have enough time to search and secure a place to live before classes start.  

Most off-campus housing in Guelph is rented on 8- or 12-month lease contracts that start either May 1st or September 1st. The lease is an agreement between the tenant and landlord outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party for the term of the lease.  

You can view listings in Guelph at For more resources and questions concerning living off-campus and landlord-tenant issues visit the Off-Campus Living website.

How can I get copies of my transcript after my exchange?

The Centre for International Programs provides official grade reports for all students attending Guelph on exchange. Official grade reports for exchange students who have studied at the University of Guelph will be sent directly to the exchange office at their home institution following the completion of their final semester at Guelph. Grade Reports for students who attended Guelph for the Fall semester will be sent in January. For the Winter semester, transcripts will be sent in May.

If you need your own copy of your official transcript or need it to be sent to another university for a graduate school application, you must order the transcript directly from Enrolment Services.

How can I meet people and get involved in activities at University of Guelph?

There are a variety of clubs and activities specifically for exchange and international students, along with many clubs and sports catering to a wide range of interests.  Find out more about all the possibilities here.

How do I access the study abroad application?

Only students who have attended a Study Abroad Info Session can access the online application. To access the application, go to and log in with your University of Guelph central login and password (same ones you use for Gryphmail). Be sure you are logging in with your full U of G email address eg. 

How do I apply to live in residence?

Find out how to apply for residence here.

How do I apply to Study Abroad?

Students interested in applying for one of Guelph's international exchange programs must attend a Study Abroad Information Session. Only students who have attended a Study Abroad Information Session will have access to CIP's online Exchange Application.

How do I know if the courses I take while studying abroad will apply to my U of G degree requirements?

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 exchange.  This will give a rough estimate of the courses you intend to take as it is possible some courses may change while on exchange. It is important that this form is completed correctly, and signed by your Program Counsellor before the form is submitted to the Education Abroad Advisors at the CIP office. The signature of your Program Counsellor is the proof that the selected courses will apply to your U of G degree. 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.

How do I transfer my exchange credit back to the University of Guelph?

Once the Centre for International Programs has received your exchange transcript from your host institution, we will send a copy of the transcript to your Program Counsellor and notify you. In order for your courses to be transferred back to the University of Guelph, you must complete the Exchange Program Course Selection and Grade Submission (EPCS) form AGAIN to confirm the courses you took while on exchange and meet with your Program Counsellor to assess the courses and and assign a generic credit and a credit weight to each of the courses. You may also be required to get departmental approval for the courses you took while exchange. 

Once your Program Counsellor has completed and signed the EPCS, you bring it to the Education Abroad Advisor at CIP, who will then take the form to the Registrar’s office and the courses will be added to your University of Guelph transcript.


How long will I have to accept or decline my placement? Is there any penalty if I cancel my study abroad program?

You will normally get a one week window within which to accept or decline your placements after you receive your acceptance packages. The deadline to accept or decline is put in your nomination package. Depending on your decision, a penalty may then apply. 

Should you decide to cancel your exchange after you have accepted your exchange placement online, there is a $200 cancellation fee, or a $300 cancellation fee if you cancel after May 1st for a Summer or Fall semester exchange program, and after August 1st for a Winter semester exchange program. (Students who are cancelling must also pay the $80 Exchange Administration Fee if they haven’t already paid this.) Failure to pay the cancellation fee will result in a University financial sanction.  For cancellations due to serious extenuating circumstances, such as serious medical problems or a death in the family, students may apply for an exemption from the cancellation fee.

How many courses should I take whiles on an exchange?

The number of courses you will be taking while on exchange depends on your host university and your degree requirements as assessed by your Program Counsellor. 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 University of Guelph credits.  In the UK, many universities use the CATS credit system, and 60 CATS is equal to 2.5 UofG credits. 

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.  We recommend going to see them at least two weeks or more before the deadline for handing in the signed form to your Education Abroad Advisor.

How many credits / courses do I have to take at University of Guelph each semester?

Find out how University of Guelph's credit system works here.

How many programs can I apply for from the study abroad options available?

You can apply to as many as two programs in an academic year, with one in the summer and the other in the fall or winter semesters. For instance, you can participate in both a summer program and a fall or winter exchange or a semester abroad program. You cannot participate in two exchange programs in the same academic year

How much will it cost to go on an exchange?

On a study program your tuition is paid to the University of Guelph. Other costs to consider: airfare, food, residence fees or rent, travel costs within the country and books. Check the exchange rate and look into the cost of living for the country you would like to go to. How much you spend is also based on your spending habits and lifestyle. On average, students spend 1.5x what they would spend at Guelph for a semester.

If I’m not selected for one of my top choices, can I be put on a waiting list for another study abroad program?

We try our best to place students in one of their top 5 choices. However, if you cannot get in one of your top choices due to the number of spaces available for the host university and the number of applications we receive for that school, we do not offer an option to be put on a waitlist. At this point, students can only accept or decline their offers. 

If you are planning to apply to a competitive school it is recommended that you rank it first or second on your application and that you also choose some less competitive options to ensure you are placed somewhere. 

Is there a minimum grade average required to apply to study abroad? Can I still apply if my average is below the requirement?

A 70% cumulative average (the average of all your course taken at Guelph) is necessary to apply to a Field School or Exchange Program. Because study abroad programs are academic programs and the application process is competitive your marks do count. We will accept applications with cumulative averages lower than 70% if there are extenuating circumstances such as illness that resulted in a lower cumulative average, you must submit a Minimum Average Exemption Request form to CIP. Applications with an average lower than 67% will not be accepted.

Is there a special orientation for new exchange students?

START International, the orientation program for new international and exchange students, is held in late August (the week before classes begin) for the Fall semester, and on the day before classes begin in January for the Winter semester.  (You will be informed of the exact dates in your acceptance e-mail.)  We highly recommend that you attend the orientation as the sessions will cover useful topics such as cultural adjustment, the Canadian university academic system, dressing for the cold weather, health insurance and the various support services that are available to help students make a successful transition. It is also a good opportunity to meet the other exchange and international students through some fun social activities we have organized.  

What are my chances of being selected to study abroad?

As long as you have a 70% cumulative average, we will do our best to place you in one of the five locations that you indicate on your application form. If for some reason, such as space availability and the number of applications to a specific university, we can’t place you in any of your listed locations, we will contact you before the final decision is made.

In the past, the most competitive locations for exchange have been in Australia, England and New Zealand. The placements for these locations have been made based on the cumulative GPA of applicants.

What are the different types of study abroad programs I can apply for?

There are many Study Abroad Options from which University of Guelph students in any program can choose from. You can apply to go on an Exchange ProgramField School program, or  Summer Exchange Program. You can also explore our summer language and research programs.

What help does CIP offer if I have to go on research, fieldwork, an internship or to a conference as part of my University of Guelph degree requirements?

We offer great help even if your academic pursuit outside of Canada is not one of the Study Abroad Programs CIP promotes.  We offer an on-line pre-departure orientation called DepartSmart to all University of Guelph students travelling abroad as part of their academic program. We also ensure that an Emergency contact form is completed and returned to CIP.  CIP also promotes and asks all academic travellers to buy the compulsory comprehensive health insurance the University of Guelph has through Guard.Me Insurance. You can also get general Safe Travel Information from our webpage, and a copy of the Ready, Set, Go! (an interactive travel preparation handbook) book from CIP.

What is the deadline to apply to study abroad?

If you would like to participate in an Exchange, Field School program in the Summer, Fall and/or Winter semesters, application are due the last week of January in the current academic year (e.g. online applications for Summer 2019, Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 are due the last week in January 2019).

If you are applying for the ORA, OBW or OJS exchange program, you must submit both CIP's online exchange application and the provincial paper application forms sometime in January in the current academic year.

The paper application for the OJS Summer Research Program is due to CIP sometime in January in the current academic year.

The paper application for the ORA and OBW Summer Research Program is due to CIP sometime in January in the current academic year

Paper applications for the ORA, OBW or OJS Summer Language Programs are due to CIP a particular week in February (deadlines change depending on the academic year)

What is the probability that my exchange host university will accept my application after I’ve been nominated by University of Guelph?

You have a 99% chance of being accepted, as our partner universities know that we have already screened the students we are nominating for exchange. It would be highly unusual for one of our partner universities to not accept a student we have nominated. 

What preparations do I have to do after I accept my study abroad placement?

There are a lot of different steps that you have to complete and prepare for after you have accepted your placement, but these will all be outlined in your nomination package. The most important first step is that all students who are accepted for study abroad programs must attend "Safe Travel Essentials”, a mandatory pre-departure presentation, which will be offered sometime in March. The presentation is organized by CIP and covers many important topics such as health and safety abroad, cultural adjustment and administrative processes. Please keep this date free in your schedule.

What year do most students study abroad? Can I apply in my first year to go in my second year? Can I study abroad in my fourth year or final semester?

Most students apply in their second year to go on exchange in their third year. You can apply in your first year to go in your second year but priority will be given to students in higher years. You can go on exchange in your final year or semester but your graduation may be delayed as most of our partner universities are on a different semester schedule. You should check with your program counsellor first before you apply to go on exchange in your final semester to ensure that you know what courses you require to graduate.

When are the mandatory Study Abroad Information Sessions held and how can I sign-up for one?

The Study Abroad Information Sessions are held in the Fall and Winter Semesters of the academic year. In the Fall semester, it starts from the second week after classes commence, till the last week in November; and in the Winter semester, it starts the same week classes begins until a few days before the deadline to submit your application in late January.

You can call/email the CIP front desk to sign up for a Study Abroad Info Session, but it is a lot easier to go on the CIP webpage and click on the link that allows you to see the various time periods available. It can be found on the right side of the home page.

When will I find out if I’ve been selected for a study abroad program and which program I’ve been chosen for?

All applicants will find out their placements in February for the summer, fall, and winter terms.

When will I get my acceptance letter from the University of Guelph?

Exchange acceptance letters will be mailed to your home university in mid-May for students who have applied for a fall semester or full-year exchange, and in mid-November for students who have applied for a winter semester exchange.  At this time, you will also receive an acceptance e-mail with a scanned copy of your acceptance letter and other important information such as how to apply for residence, the orientation program and fees.

When will I receive my acceptance letter from my host university?

While it is really only a formality, some students find waiting for their acceptance from the host institution quite nerve-wracking. While you wait, keep in mind that many of our partner universities’ semester dates are later than U of Guelph’s. For example, if you are going to Australia for the winter semester, their semester doesn’t start until February and acceptances often don’t arrive until late October or early November.

If you haven’t heard from the host institution by June 30th for Fall departure or November 15th for Winter departure, please notify your Education Abroad Advisor and they will ask your host university for an update.

The majority of host institutions send the acceptance letters to students via e-mail (as a hard copy isn’t required for many visa applications). However, some host institutions send the acceptance letter via mail to the Education Abroad Advisors at CIP, who will then email you to come and pick up your acceptance. 

When will the list of the number of spots available at each exchange university be available?

Spots are reviewed with our partnering universities at the beginning of the academic year in September and the final list is posted on the CIP webpage by December.

Where can I find out what programs and courses are offered at the University of Guelph?


Find out about our programs and courses in the Undergraduate or Graduate Calendar. 


Where can I get medical help if I need it?

Students can see a doctor, personal counsellor and other health professionals on-campus.  Find out how to access these services here.

Where can I study abroad?

To find the best academic fit for you use our Study Abroad Program Search. Using the Program Search you will be able to find partner universities and study abroad programs that match your U of G academic program. There are also links to the host university websites so that you can take a look at each university and their courses. 

Will I be selected for one of my top choices that I listed in my application?

As long as you have a 70% cumulative average, we will do our best to place you in one of the five locations that you indicate on your application form. It is not a guarantee that you will be placed in your top choices even though it will be considered alongside the number of applications to the same destination, the cumulative GPA and the number of spots available for students to that particular host university.

Will I have to apply for a visa to come to Canada?

Due to immigration law in Canada, the University of Guelph can't provide advice to exchange students about visa requirements or applications.  However, helpful links to the Citizenship & Immigration Canada website information are provided below.  To ensure your visa(s) are processed in time, we advise you to start your visa application process immediately upon receipt of the original copy of your acceptance letter which we have mailed to the international or study abroad office at your home university.  If you do not need a visa to enter Canada, it is still a good idea to bring your exchange acceptance letter with you on your flight in case the Canadian immigration officials ask to see it when you arrive in Canada.