Students can pursue study abroad opportunities outside of the Exchange Program. When students study abroad independently, they apply to take courses through a recognized university via a Letter of Permission, and receive transfer credit towards their degree.
*McMaster is not affiliated with any particular institutions or programs through which students may complete independent coursework. Students are responsible for being aware of and following the policies, procedures, and regulations of the host school, as well as any travel advice and advisories issued by the Government of Canada.
Click to learn more about independent study through summer programs or other independent programs.
Students must meet the eligibility requirements of the host school, and are responsible for seeking out their admission criteria. Students must also meet the minimum criteria at McMaster to study at another school for transfer credit. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Good academic standing
- First-degree student (students pursuing a second degree are not eligible for transfer credit)
- Within the transfer credit limit (i.e. students are eligible for a maximum of 60 units of transfer credit towards their degree)
Application and Payment
Students must first meet with the Academic Advisor for studying abroad, Christine Kawerau, before applying to any independent programs or courses. All courses taken abroad must first be approved by the faculty in order for transfer credit to be considered. Normally, students may pursue only elective coursework through studying elsewhere, however special permission to take required courses may given upon approval from your program’s department (e.g. Department of Philosophy, Department of Communication Studies & Multimedia).
When and if approved, students must then apply for a Letter of Permission with McMaster, and also to the host institution for the respective program/courses.
Unlike the Exchange Program, all tuition and fees for independent study are charged by and must be paid to the host institution. Keep in mind that international fees and tuition can cost as much as 4 times the amount of domestic fees and tuition. Students are solely responsible for admission, registration, and payments to the host school.
The faculty will not guarantee approval for transfer credit for courses taken outside McMaster unless you have applied for a Letter of Permission and received approval before taking the course(s). If a student takes courses for which they have not received permission, transfer credit may not be awarded.
During your term abroad, the course(s) will appear on your transcript as ‘IP’ meaning In Progress. When the courses are complete, they will be marked as either ‘T’ for transfer credit or ‘NC’ for No Credit. Students must achieve a grade of at least ‘C-‘ in their course(s) to receive the transfer credit. Grades from courses taken at other institutions are not factored into your GPA at McMaster.
There are travel scholarships made available by generous donors for students interested in studying abroad. For details, see the Travel Scholarships page. Applications are normally due by the end of February. Scholarships for studying abroad independently may include:
- THE JOAN JACKSON DUNBAR TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP – $3675
- THE GABRIELE ERASMI TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP TO ITALY – $1000
- THE JOHN P. EVANS TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP – $1500
- THE LINGUISTICS & LANGUAGES TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP – $925
- THE E.T. SALMON SCHOLARSHIP – $2000
- THE ALBERT SHALOM TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP – $725
- THE HOWARD P. WHIDDEN SCHOLARSHIP – $1500