1. What is an Academic Exchange?
  2. Application Deadlines
  3. Eligibility and Your Academic Plan
  4. Researching Carleton’s 170+ Partner Institutions
  5. Course Equivalencies
  6. Language Proficiency
  7. Information Sessions
  8. Budgeting

female student standing on a terrace with a cathedral in the backgroundThere are many reasons to go on Exchange — Exchange is an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and experience of another culture and/or language; experience your academic subject or worldview through a new lens; and develop transnational competencies and cross-cultural communication skills (which are of increasing value to employers). Exchange is also an opportunity to develop independence, flexibility, resilience, and the ability to adapt to new circumstances.

The ISSO and the Exchange Team are here to support and guide you; however, in preparing for your Exchange, you will be responsible for managing most aspects of your application, travel, and academic processes independently. These responsibilities must be carefully considered as you begin to research, apply for, and embark on your Exchange.

Download a general overview of Your Responsibilities as an Outgoing Exchange Student (PDF).

It is never too early to begin planning your Exchange — in fact, you can start preparing as early as first year! Below is information to help get you started:

What is an Academic Exchange?

The Carleton University Exchange Program allows students (undergraduate and graduate) to study full time at a partner institution for a single semester (fall or winter) or for a full academic year. Exchange students pay tuition to their home institution (Carleton University). Credits earned at the partner will be transferred back toward their Carleton degree.

Carleton University also offers many other opportunities to study, intern or volunteer abroad beyond the Exchange Program. The ISSO website is a great place to start researching these programs.

Application Deadlines

Applications to participate in the Exchange Program in the next academic year open each fall for a limited period of time in Carleton Central. It is very important to be aware of the application deadline.

Note: The Ontario Universities International (OJS; ORA; OBW; OIN) Exchange Programs and the Killam Fellowships Program require additional application packages and supporting documents. It is important that you review these requirements carefully and begin your application well in advance of the deadline.

Eligibility and Your Academic Plan

1. Review the eligibility requirements carefully.

2. Meet with your departmental advisor.

  • Are you eligible for exchange?
  • How will an exchange fit into your degree program? Some students may find that exchange is not right for them. Explore other international opportunities on the ISSO website.
  • How can you arrange your study plan to best accommodate an exchange? Review our tips below and discuss them with your departmental advisor. Remember, most students complete their exchange during their third year of study. If you are considering an exchange during your fourth year, you will have additional considerations to discuss with your advisor.

3. Strategize to ensure a successful completion of your degree

To incorporate an exchange into your degree, some strategies you might consider are:

  • Saving your electives for your exchange semester/year. This may make it easier for you to transfer courses back to Carleton. It is important to consider that you may not have access to specific required courses (e.g. major/specialization requirements) at a partner university.
  • Taking summer courses. Some students complete summer courses at Carleton before or after their exchange to fulfill degree requirements they missed while abroad and to minimize impact on their anticipated graduation date.
  • Planning to stay at Carleton for an additional semester/year to wrap up your degree.

These are all decisions your departmental advisor can help you work through.

We also recommend visiting the International Exchange: FAQ page maintained by the Registrar’s Office to get a better understanding of how credits earned during exchange transfer back to a Carleton degree.

Graduate Students must receive approval from their graduate department in order to be eligible for an exchange placement abroad. We recommend you consult with your Faculty Advisor to discuss the possibility of exchange.

The Exchange Team does not offer academic advising. 

Researching Carleton’s 170+ Partner Institutions

The partner institution list maintained on this website is a starting point only and the information listed is a general guideline. Students are responsible for thoroughly researching their partner institutions of interest (you will be asked to identify your top 3 choices on your application). We recommend starting with a partner institution’s website.

Some factors you may consider while doing your research are:

  • The language(s) of instruction. Are any courses offered in English? If so, in what subject areas? Do you have the proficiency to study in another language?
  • The school’s academic strengths (some of our partner institutions are world-famous in certain specializations). Are you looking to study in a specific subject area while abroad?
  • Support services. Does the institution offer support for international/exchange students? What is the campus environment like? If you are a PMC student, you should be sure to research the support services offered by the partner institutions you are interested in (not all partners will be able to provide accommodation is the same manner at Carleton).
  • Semester start and end dates (including exams). Not all partner institutions follow the same academic year as Carleton. It is very important to consider approximate start and end dates when planning for your exchange.
  • Your travel interests.
  • The local culture and climate.
  • Estimated cost of living (and travel expenses).
  • Restrictions. Not all our exchange agreements are open to all students. Please review the legend on the partner institution list carefully for more information.
    Note: Students wishing to study at one of Carleton University’s exchange partner institutions are required to apply through the formal exchange process and study during the fall and/or winter terms.
    *It is important to note that Letter of Permission does not apply to exchange partner institutions, further information is available through the Registrar’s Office.
  • Visa requirements. Some destination counties may require students studying on exchange to apply for and receive an entry visa and/or study permit. Requirements, application procedures and eligibility vary by country. Many host institutions will provide students with information on these processes after you have been accepted on exchange, however, it can be useful to have  a general grasp of requirements, timelines, etc. as you begin your research.

Course Equivalencies

The Registrar’s Office maintains a Course Equivalencies Database which includes any courses from our partner institutions that have been assessed for Carleton credit in the past three years. Please read the disclaimer carefully before exploring this resource. Not all courses offered by a partner university will be listed in this database. We recommend also visiting the partner university’s website and researching their current/past course offerings to get a more complete picture of what might be available to you during your exchange. It is important to remember that the availability of specific courses at a partner institution can vary from year-to-year and semester-to-semester.

Language Proficiency

Many of Carleton’s exchange partners offer courses taught in English so learning another language is not a requirement to go on exchange. However, taking a language course as an elective before going abroad can be a fun way to help you feel more comfortable travelling in a country where English is not the first language. In addition, if you are proficient and comfortable enough to study in another language, you may find even more partner universities open to you.

We also recommend checking out the conversation groups offered by the Language Resource Room to help practice your skills.

You can also find information on Summer Language Programs on the International Student Services Office website.

Information Sessions

Exchange Information Sessions are 60 minutes in length and typically run from September to December every year. We strongly recommend that you attend an information session before applying for exchange.

The ISSO also hosts an Exchange Fair in the University Centre (4th floor) which takes place annually in early October. This is a great opportunity to learn about our partner universities and programs. You will also be able to meet with students who have been on exchange.

Check out our Stories from Exchange page to learn more about other students’ experiences. The Sprott blog also features stories from business students who have gone abroad and is another great resource.

Follow Ravens Student Life on Twitter, and Instagram for more information on exchange and other international opportunities.


Outgoing exchange students pay tuition to their home institution (Carleton University) while on exchange at a partner institution. Some additional fees may be required by the partner institution (e.g. health insurance; residence fees; etc.). While your tuition expenses remain the same, one of the biggest tips we hear from returning students is that it is important to plan your budget carefully before going on your exchange. Expenses like cost of living (e.g. rent; groceries; cell phone; etc.), travel (e.g. plane tickets), passport/visa applications, and tourist/social activities should all be considered when planning your budget for your semester or year abroad. Outgoing exchange students are responsible for the cost of their own accommodation, travel, and living expenses. Awards or bursaries may be available from some host institutions but are not guaranteed.

We also recommend you visit the Awards Office website to get a better understanding of:

  • How your renewable Carleton scholarship might be affected by an exchange.
  • Bursaries for undergraduate students on exchange
  • How your provincial student loan might be affected by an exchange.