Study and Research Abroad

You don’t need to wait until you graduate to travel and explore your options abroad. Through the McMaster Exchange Program, you can gain a global perspective while earning credits and staying on track to meet your goals. We offer more than 100 opportunities with leading universities around the world.

Why study abroad?

Study abroad allows you to immerse yourself in another culture while continuing to earn credits toward your McMaster degree. Research has shown that a global education can help students develop career-ready skills, including problem solving, resilience, interpersonal communication and adaptability. Check out this section to explore your options and learn about eligibility.

What kind of global experience are you searching for? We can help you weigh your options and make an informed decision. The McMaster Exchange Program offers the following global pathways:

  • Semester/year: Go on a semester- or year-long exchange.
  • Summer: Spend two weeks or two months over the summer studying abroad.
  • Research: Contribute to a research project with a host supervisor overseas.
  • Virtual: Take part in an online course or virtual research stay.

View our opportunities to find out which pathways are available at each of our university partners.

For external programs like the McCall MacBain International Fellowship, U21 Global Citizens and KILLAM Fellowship program, review the individual program website for deadlines and relevant application information. Students in these programs are selected by an external committee. If your application is successful, we’ll follow up with you with additional information and support.

Undergraduate students

To be eligible for an exchange, you must:

  • Be enrolled in an Honours or a combined Honours program.
  • Be in the third year of a four-year program or the fourth year of a five-year program.
  • Have completed at least 60 units with a cumulative average of at least 7.0. You must have at least a 6.5 CGPA when you apply, with a plan to meet the 7.0 requirement by the end of the summer. (Note: Individual programs may have additional requirements.)
  • Not study abroad in your home country (international students).

Note for undergraduate students: If you’re a part-time student at McMaster, you can still go on an exchange. However, you must take a full-time course load during the exchange.

Graduate/MBA students

If you’re a graduate/MBA student, you should check with your McMaster department to ensure you qualify for a four- or eight-month exchange.

Additionally, to be eligible for an exchange, you must:

  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Meet the academic requirements of the receiving department abroad.

Note for all students: If you intend to study abroad in your second language, language proficiency will also be required.

Planning your exchange

There’s a lot to consider when going abroad. However, the McMaster Exchange Program is here to support you along the way.

Although applying for exchange takes place in your second or third year, planning for exchange can start much earlier!

First-year students interested in study abroad can get ready to study abroad in three ways:

  1. Plan your academics: Meet with an academic advisor in your first year to discuss how you can best set yourself up for a study abroad experience. If your program is very restrictive, this can be really important. Some strategies may include saving electives to take while you’re overseas, rearranging your schedule or taking some summer school classes to lighten your load abroad.
  2. Start saving up: Saving for the future is a great habit to get into, whether you end up going abroad or not. Start putting away a little each month, and consider what other resources you can take advantage of — scholarships, part-time work, RESPs, OSAP, etc.
  3. Be curious: Intercultural learning doesn’t start when you get on a plane! There are great opportunities at McMaster to get you started on your global journey. Consider McMaster courses with an international perspective, join an MSU club with a global focus or chat with a fellow Marauder whose background may be different than your own.

Get started by viewing our general exchange information session. All students interested in studying abroad must view this recording before they apply. Also, check out the other recordings provided by our international partners for more information. The general session is updated each year in early October.

Microsoft Teams community for prospective outbound exchange

Do you have questions about applying for exchange? Join the MS Teams community for prospective outbound exchange students in the 2022–2023 academic year. Connect with global opportunities staff and students going through the application process.

Exchange socials

Our socials occur each year and allow prospective, inbound and returned exchange students to connect. These events include the Exchange Fair in November and the Final Boarding Call event in January. Check OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Events for dates and registration.

Exchange reports and blogs

In addition to our one-on-one peer advising, you can also read about student experiences by searching our student exchange reports or reading posts from our Stories From Abroad blog series.

McMaster, International and eXchange Club (M.I.X.)

M.I.X. is an MSU club made up of recently returned and outgoing McMaster exchange students, members of the larger McMaster community and international students. Meet other global-minded students in a fun, social setting.

If you have a disability that may require accommodation at your host institution, please contact a counsellor at Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to help you consider relevant supports before you submit your exchange application. Services and supports abroad will vary, so we recommend that you plan in advance. You can contact the exchange office at the institution abroad to find out which supports are available. Or the McMaster Exchange Office can do this for you, whichever is preferred.

SSC global opportunities staff

If you’ve attended an exchange information session, but you still have questions, we have one-on-one advising to help you further explore your options. We can help with most questions, with the exception of your study plan. For course-specific academic questions, you will need to meet with an academic advisor.

To meet with a member of the SSC Global team, book an appointment on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Appointments > Global Opportunities.

Academic advising (Faculty/program-specific)

Before you apply for an exchange, you need to understand how the courses you take abroad will fit with your McMaster degree requirements. Your academic advisor can help you understand the transfer credit process and where you should focus your course search.

DeGroote School of Business

MBA Program

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Social Sciences

Faculty of Engineering

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Health Sciences

Arts & Science Program

Apply for an exchange

Are you ready to apply? Check out this section to get all the information to support the process.

As of the 2021 application year, a $100 application fee will be charged to all semester abroad students with a fully submitted exchange application following the final deadline.

You can find the link to the online application for the McMaster Exchange Program in the Microsoft Teams community for prospective outbound students. Use the password provided at the exchange information session to sign in and start your application.

Preparing your application

Collect supporting documents and meet with an academic advisor.

You may need to provide supporting documents to complete your application. These documents are due by the application deadline.

Upload to your McMaster exchange application:

  • Statement of Interest: The Statement of Interest is your opportunity to tell us why you’re interested in studying abroad and how the program will help you to meet your personal, academic and professional goals.
  • Resume: Upload your current resume.

Email to macabroad@mcmaster.ca:

  • GPA Review Form: Complete this form with your academic advisor if your cumulative average (cGPA) is between 6.5 and 6.9 at the time of application. This will allow you to apply for conditional acceptance into the program.
  • Language Assessment: If you plan to follow courses in your second language, you must pass a language assessment.
  • Letter of Reference: Some exchange programs require a letter of reference as part of the application process — ORA/OBW/OJS programs, for example. Please read the individual program websites closely.
  • OBW/ORA/OJS application: In addition to your online application with McMaster, these programs require you to also submit their own respective applications. Visit the appropriate program website for relevant forms.

You can find the link to the online application for the McMaster Exchange Program in the Microsoft Teams community for prospective outbound students. Use the password provided at the exchange information session to sign in and start your application.

Preparing your application

Research positions abroad are competitive and not guaranteed. To be successful, you will need to have a relevant academic background. Research stays may be for-credit or simply experiential.

To apply for a research position abroad, you’ll need to provide the following supporting documents to complete your application.

Upload to your exchange application:

  • Statement of Interest: In this form, let us know about your specific research interests, relevant background information and any supervisors/labs at the institution abroad you have a particular interest in. Please download the document, fill it out and save it on your device. Then, upload it to your online exchange application.
  • Resume: Upload your current resume.

Email to macabroad@mcmaster.ca:

  • Academic Letter of Reference: Ideally, this will be from someone in your area of study/research who can comment on your academic and/or research suitability.
  • Academic transcript: Please send us your official transcript by selecting McMaster University (Exchange) as the institution.
  • OBW/ORA/OJS Application: In addition to your online application with McMaster, these programs require you to also submit their own respective applications. Visit the appropriate program website for relevant forms.

Mitacs Globalink Research Award (GRA)

The GRA provides funding for research experiences abroad in select countries. Learn more about the award on the Mitacs website.

To apply for one of our global opportunities, please refer to the following deadlines:

  • Research opportunities: December 9, 2021
  • Semester or year-long exchange: January 20, 2022
  • Summer study programs: February 24, 2022
  • Late program deadline: July 15, 2022

Late deadline: Applications open April 1 — seats are first-come, first-served. Apply at this time if you:

  • Missed the on-time deadline.
  • Want to study abroad for a semester during term two only.
  • Are flexible with your exchange destination.
  • Plan to study in English only (i.e. do not require a language assessment).

Note: Faculty offices are closed the entire month of May. You will need to coordinate your application accordingly.

What's next? FAQ

What happens after I submit my application?

After you submit your exchange application, we’ll contact you if anything is missing or needs follow-up. Assuming everything is good, your application will be reviewed, and we will consider you for one of your preferred placements. We may request an interview if additional follow-up is needed around your choice of destination or if we have specific questions about your application.

Keep in mind that seats at our partner universities are competitive. However, we try our best to place all students at their first choice whenever possible. If we can’t consider you for one of your top three choices, we will come back to you for other university options.

When will I know if my application has been accepted?

For the semester/year abroad, you can expect a decision from us around mid-March.

Can I get support from another student who’s gone on an exchange?

As part of accepting your nomination, you’ll have the option to be paired with a returned student to answer any immediate questions you might have about studying abroad at your host university/country. We’ll also give you the option to connect with McMaster peers going to the same institution. These peer-to-peer connections are a great way to get excited for your upcoming exchange abroad.

What do I need to do to prepare for my exchange after my application has been approved?

Upon nomination, all students will be added to our pre-departure course on Microsoft Teams where you’ll have access to additional information and receive on-going announcements from the global opportunities team.