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How to Apply

Listed below are 10 easy steps on how to apply for Study Abroad/Exchange. Please read each step carefully and do your research before booking an appointment with an Exchange Student Advisor.

1. Understand your options

a. Read through the website, attend an info session, talk to someone in the International Centre.

b. Meet with your academic advisor (you'll have to do this a few times!). Make sure you understand your degree structure so that you can answer the following:

  • Is a single term or a full year best?
  • Are there mandatory courses you can take early or that can wait until you return from your exchange?
  • Is it in your interest to try to save electives for when you go abroad?

2. Choose the departmental or university-wide stream

a. The university-wide program will allow you to take courses in a variety of subject areas, and you would be taught in English (unless you elect to take a course in another language).

b. Departmental or faculty-based programs will allow you to take courses in the specific subject area. Courses may not be taught in English. 

3. Apply (to Dal) for your exchange

a. The university-wide program has its own application process that includes an interview. The International Centre is responsible for that selection process.

  • Choose your top 3 options.
  • Fill out the application (includes a signature from your academic advisor, a budget and course selection for your top choice institution and a reference form).
  • Write a cover letter.
  • Supply your unofficial academic record.

b. Departments and faculties have their own processes. Consult with the department offering the program.

4. Receive your nomination

If you are selected to participate in an exchange or study abroad program, you will receive a nomination letter. Keep this letter on file, as you may need to provide it to immigration officials or your host university to demonstrate that you have been chosen to participate in the program.

5. Attend the orientation meeting

a. The university-wide program has a group meeting.

b. The departmental or faculty-based programs will have their own orientations—these can be group sessions or individual meetings.

6. Select your courses for your host institution

Make sure you're clear about what they call a course (modules, papers, subjects etc).

Be clear about how many courses constitute a full course load. At some of our partner institutions, a full course load is 2 courses per term, and you take each course one at a time. Select accordingly.

7. Arrange for academic transfer

Before you leave, follow the procedures for receiving academic credit from Dalhousie for the classes you take abroad.

a. Obtain a letter of permission (LOP)

This form confirms that the classes you take abroad meet Dalhousie’s departmental standards. Visit the Registrar's Office Letter of Permission section for complete information on Dalhousie's process for accepting classes from other institutions.

Fill out the necessarry inofrmation and print off the LOP.

b. Meet with an academic advisor

Along with your LOP, bring the syllabus or course description to the department at Dalhousie that might accept the course for transfer. 

Departmental advisors will need all relevant materials for the classes you want to take. Please provide them with an explanation of a full class load at your host institution, class outlines, hours per week of class time, labs or tutorials required, etc.

c. Plan for last-minute errors

Have more classes approved by Dalhousie than you can actually take at the host institution so you can make changes when you arrive. It's more difficult to get classes approve equivalencies once you are abroad.

If you must register for a class that you don't have pre-approved, email studentonline@dal.ca with your new course selections and syllabi for assistance.

d. How academic credit gets transferred

Once you complete your term abroad, and the Registrar's Office receives your final transcript, they will give you credit according to the LOP you sumitted.

8. Apply to host university

Once you've been nominated, you apply to the host university to obtain a student number, get an admission letter and be provided with all the instructions on preparing for life at your host institution. You'll receive an admission letter along with any other special instructions related to things like health insurance and applying for a visa.

You must apply according to their stated deadlines and you must meet their academic standards.

Be prepared to provide several documents that they request for their admission process. These might include: transcripts, passport-sized photos, a letter of intent, a reference letter, a copy of your passport, etc.

9. Meet Dalhousie's pre-departure requirements

As soon as you've been nominated, you can start the your pre-departure work. Visit Preparing to Leave Canada for details. 

10. Apply for bursaries, scholarships, and grants

Once you're nominated, accepted, and are beginning to think about booking plane tickets and your visa, you should consider the funding options available. Visit Financial Support for more details.


What are you waiting for?

Have questions or need help?

To book an appointment with the Exchange Student Advisor, please email international.centre@dal.ca or call 902-494-1566.