Saint Mary’s University Exchange Program

Going abroad on a university exchange is a great way to enhance your education. Whether you want to jump in with both feet by spending a full academic year at an international university, or just dip in a toe by going for one semester, you could find yourself immersed in a new culture, language, and way of life.

Where can I study?

Continue your education abroad by studying at one of more than 100 partner universities in 26 countries around the world. Download the list to browse your exchange opportunities available, or contact us to discuss your international experience goals.

Not ready for a full year abroad? Many of our partners also offer summer abroad programs that last four to eight weeks.

How does it work?

Many of the institutional agreements we’ve signed with our partner universities include “tuition swaps” where you pay your regular tuition fees directly to Saint Mary's University for your study abroad, making the exchange process much smoother for you.

Terms start and finish on different dates at many of our partner institutions, but generally this is the timeline for the application process:

  • Late fall — Narrow down your choices of partner schools and decide how long you want to study abroad (e.g., a semester, a year, or for a shorter-term summer abroad).

  • Early winter — Apply for the exchange program(s) of your choice.

Going on exchange in the third year works best for most undergraduate students, but the program is open to students in other years of study and graduate students as well.

Am I eligible?

The SMU exchange programs are open to students who:

  • Are from any academic discipline and possess a GPA of 2.5* or higher.

  • Have declared a major or are in the process of declaring a major prior to the start of the exchange program.

  • Are eligible to receive transfer credit towards their SMU degree program (check with your academic advisor).

  • Will have completed 30 credit hours of Saint Mary’s courses before leaving for an exchange program.

  • Are registered as a full or part-time Saint Mary’s student.

*A lower GPA may be accepted, if some or all of the following factors are successfully demonstrated:

  • Leadership

  • Participation in extra-curricular activities

  • Genuine interest in global issues

  • Academic merit

  • Clear personal and career goals

Some partner institutions may have additional academic requirements.

International students can participate in exchange, but are usually not able to go on exchanges in their home country.

Do I need to know another language?

Not necessarily. Many courses are taught in English at our partner institutions.

Exchange students often take the host country’s language and culture courses while on exchange. Prior knowledge or fluency in the host country’s language may be required to take some courses or programs offered in that language.

How much does it cost?

The host institution's website usually provides information about typical living expenses but you should set aside a budget for:

  • $100 administration fee

  • Regular Saint Mary’s tuition (payable to Saint Mary’s University), usually based on the number of transfer credits. This includes tuition, international differential (if applicable), and campus renewal fees.

  • International and in-country travel

  • Supplementary health insurance (mandatory)

  • Accommodation, food, and basic necessities

  • Any host institution fees, such as student fees

  • Communication, incidental costs, and miscellaneous expenses

  • Passport and visa application

  • Immunization(s) (if applicable)

Who can I talk to?

Our Exchange Advisor will help you navigate your options. She can:

  • Provide program advice

  • Facilitate the application process

  • Liaise with partner institutions

  • Conduct pre-departure orientation

To make an appointment, call call 902-496-8725 or email mobility.international@smu.ca.

Your Academic Advisor can check which courses you have left to complete in your academic program requirements, and whether any of those remaining courses can be taken abroad. They will also help you obtain approval for your transfer credits by completing a letter of permission after you get accepted to SMU Exchange and nominated to a partner institution.