Where to start

Before you begin

Please consult the list of our partner universities to find out if we have an exchange agreement with your university. You must have been nominated by your own international relations office.

The Telfer School of Management and the Faculty of Medicine have established restricted bilateral agreements with specific partner institutions abroad and administer their own exchange programs.  If you wish to participate in an exchange with those faculties, please contact them for more information.

Research your study options

Exchange students are required to be enrolled full time and maintain this status during their entire stay. It is possible for them to enroll in classes offered in different disciplines, however, please note that the following classes are not available for exchange students:

  • Classes offered by the Telfer School of Management;
  • Classes offered by the Faculty of Education (Undergraduate level only);
  • Classes offered by the Faculty of Medicine;
  • Classes in the list of restrictions by Faculty.

We invite you to browse our full listing of classes, see the following:

It is mandatory for all exchange students to be enrolled in a majority of classes in their host Faculty. Moreover, the choice of classes must be approved by the host Faculty.


Participation period

Students from partner institutions can take part in an exchange for:

  • One term
    • Fall Term: September to December
    • Winter: January to April
  • Two terms
    • Regular academic year: September to April
Internships while on exchange

Exchange students cannot do an internship at the University of Ottawa while participating in the exchange program.

If you wish to do a research internship at the University of Ottawa instead of an exchange, please refer to the Centre for Research Opportunities (Undergraduate and Graduate) website or email for more information. 


How to apply

Complete the application process

Determine your eligibility

Determine your eligibility

To be eligible students must:

  • Be nominated by their home institution;
  • Be registered in a program of studies at the undergraduate or graduate level (with the exception of PhD) at your home institution;
  • Have a good academic record (average of 70%, can be higher at graduate level and in some faculties);
  • Have completed a minimum of one academic university year (at the time of application);
  • Ensure that their home institution has approved their class selection;
  • Submit their complete online application by March 31;
  • Meet the language proficiency requirements, if necessary:
  • Please check the list of available dates for the TOEFL and the IELTS
  • It is very important to get your results on time in order to attach them to your application.  This will prevent it from been refused due to missing documents.
Nomination and application process

Nomination and application process

  1. Your home university must submit your nomination information by March 15;
  2. Complete your application online via MoveOn (external link). All students properly nominated by their home university will be emailed the link to our application system. Please take note that the deadline to submit your complete file is March 31, whether you apply for the Fall term, the Winter term, or the full academic year.
  3. All applications must have the following documents:
    • All of your official university transcripts in English or French, including grading scales.
    • Official language proficiency test results, if required (check language requirements)
    • A scanned copy of your valid passport or national identity document.
  4. Students in Common Law, Civil Law, Theatre, Visual Arts, Music and Graduate Students must also submit the following additional documents:
    • Letter of motivation (written in the language of instruction of the exchange, maximum one page). This letter should elaborate on your interests and academic objectives for your exchange program at the University of Ottawa.
    • Resume (maximum two pages)
    • Academic Reference Form (PDF) or a letter of recommendation 
    • Visual Arts students must submit a portfolio.
    • Music students can participate to the exchange program for the full academic year only and must submit a performance DVD with their application. 

Ensure language proficiency

Most classes offered at the University of Ottawa are given in English and French. Candidates must submit a language proficiency test at the time of application in the language that they wish to take classes in if that language is not their mother tongue.

Restrictions and exemptions from taking an english language proficiency test

Before consulting the language requirements, please note the list of tests which are not accepted by the University of Ottawa:

  1. Proficiency tests administered by home institutions
  2. TOEFLI (Institutional TOEFL)
  4. TOEIC

Also, please note that students from the following countries are exempted from English proficiency tests:

  • Students from the following countries
    • All countries where English is the official language (Canada, United states, England, Australia, New Zealand, etc...)
      • Denmark
      • Iceland
      • Netherlands
      • Norway
      • Puerto Rico
      • Sweden
      • Finland
      • Singapore
  • Student from the following universities or program:
    • University of Cooperative Education - Loerrach
    • University of Mannheim : must provide results from the University of Mannheim Language Certificate

Translation and English (undergraduate)students are exempted from submitting a TOEFL score except if they wish to take classes outside of the departments of English and Translation.

What are the language requirements for undergraduate studies?

For students who wish to study in French:

Scores indicated below are required for all programs offered at the University of Ottawa.

Even if you achieve the required score, we reserve the right to ask you to take language classes if we feel that your knowledge of one of the two official languages is not satisfactory.

Test scores are valid for two years.

  • DALF (external website, in French only)
    Required score: C1 or C2
  • DELF (external website, in French only)
    Required score: B2
  • TEF (external website, in French only)
    Required score: B2
  • TCF (external website, in French only)
    Required score: B2


For students who wish to study in English:

Scores indicated below are required for all programs offered in a direct-entry faculty.

Even if you achieve the required score, we reserve the right to ask you to take language classes if we feel that your knowledge of one of the two official languages is not satisfactory.

Test scores are valid for two years.

  • *TOEFL University of Ottawa Institution Code: 0993
    • Internet:
      Overall score: 86
      Required score in written section: 22
    • Computer
      Overall score: 237
      Required score in written section: 4,5
    • Paper-based
      Overall score: 580
      Required score in written section: 4,5
  • *IELTS
    Overall score: 6,5
    Required score required in written section: 6,5
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment
    Overall score: B2
  • Duolingo (external web site)

    Overall score: 120 

* Faculty of Law, Common Law applicants must have:

  • an overall score of 100 and a written score of 24 on the TOEFL test;
  • an overall score of 7 and a written score of 6.5 on the IELTS test;
  • an overall score of C1 on the Cambridge English Language Assessment test.
What are the language requirements for graduate studies?

In order to know what are the language requirements for Graduate studies, please refer to our page on Graduate language requirements by program.

Select desired courses

When applying to our Exchange program, you must submit a preliminary class selection approved by your home institution.  Before completing this step, you will find below information that will help you in this process.

European credit transfer system (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is used by several European institutions, particularly Western European institutions, with which the University of Ottawa has signed bilateral agreements.

As a general rule:

  • At the Undergraduate level: one term at uOttawa = 15 units or 30 ECTS*
  • At the Graduate level: one term = 6 to 9 units or 12 to 18 ECTS*

*It is important to note that it is up to the home institution to determine the exact equivalencies.

Select your classes
  1. In order to submit your mandatory class selection within your application, please refer to our class catalogue:
  2. When completing your application, here are the conditions you must know about:
    • Undergraduate students must submit a list of 5 classes per term and will be enrolled in a minimum of 4 classes per term or a maximum of 5 classes per term;
    • Graduate students must submit a list of 3 classes per term and will be enrolled in a minimum of 2 classes per term (2 graduate) or maximum of 3 classes per term (3 graduate or 2 graduate + 1 undergraduate).
    • You cannot enroll in classes as an auditor. Your classes taken during your exchange must be transferable to your program of study at your home university.
    • You must attend all your lectures (LEC), laboratories (LAB) and discussion groups (DGD).
    • Some of the classes listed in the faculty class calendar above are not offered every year. Please pay particular attention to the class timetable when selecting your classes in order to avoid scheduling conflicts.

      N.B.: The preliminary class selection submitted in your online application is not an actual registration to your classes. This step will be completed once you are accepted to the University of Ottawa as an exchange student.
  3. Your access to classes is limited by: 
    • Prerequisites. You will not be able to enroll in classes if you have not already taken the equivalent prerequisites.
    • Restricted faculties. You cannot enroll in classes from the Telfer School of Management (course codes ADM or MBA) the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Education (Undergrad level).
    • Restricted classes.  Mandatory classes in some programs may be reserved for uOttawa students only, and therefore not open to exchange students (see restriction lists below).
    • Language. Ensure that you satisfy the language requirements for the classes you choose.
    • Six-unit classes run from September to April; three-unit class are offered from September to December or from January to April. Please take into account the duration, start and end dates for each class if you register for one term only.

      The International Office at the University of Ottawa cannot guarantee your place in the classes selected, especially classes with limited enrolment and classes requiring specific prerequisites.  Therefore it is important that you enroll in your classes as soon as possible.


What to do before leaving


As an exchange student, you will have the status of a special student. You will be exempted from paying tuition and incidental fees. However, you may have to pay some fees for some learning material (e.g. visual arts material). You will be responsible for all other costs related to your stay in Canada. UHIP health insurance is mandatory for all exchange students; no exception will be considered.

Estimated costs** for a single exchange student (per 4-month term)

Expenses Estimated cost
Housing (from $650 to $1,200 per month) $2,600 - $4,800
Food (approximately $85 per week) $1,300
Mandatory University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)*** $240
Books and other supplies $600
Clothing, entertainment, and other items $1,000
Communications (telephone, Internet) $600

*Based on 2019-2020 costs

**This is an estimated budget to help you plan your expenses. Amounts will vary according to your particular situation (eating in restaurants, living on campus, and other factors).

***This is the cost for the compulsory period of 4 months for one person. Please note that no exceptions will be considered for the mandatory UHIP.

InformationWhen booking your flight, keep in mind that you might have an exam on the last night of the exam period. Unfortunately, it is impossible for exchange students to write their exams before the other students. Please ensure you check the date of the examination period by referring to the site of important dates.

Apply for immigration documents

Electronic Travel Authorization, visa and study permit

Start the necessary steps to obtain the appropriate immigration documents for your stay in Ottawa. Depending on your citizenship and the duration of your exchange, you will need to apply either for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) or a visa, and possibly a study permit. Please consult the list of Canadian visa offices to find the one that serves your country or region.


The processing time for a visa and/or study permit is much shorter if you apply online. Begin your application when you receive your acceptance letter to ensure that you can be on campus for the start of the term.


Academic matters

Class registration

The registration period for exchange students usually begins in May, including those coming for the winter term (January). Please note that the faculty cannot guarantee a place in classes unless enrolled, so it is important to complete your registration in the best possible time to maximize your chances of enrollment in the classes desired.

  • Refer to the section  Select your classes in order to make your choice;
  • You must complete, sign and send your registration form to your host faculty or academic unit as soon as possible so that the advisor can enroll you to your classes;
  • The faculty or academic unit will confirm your final class registration with you.
Student email

Within 48 hours of your class registration, you will receive an email addressed to your personal email account explaining how to access your @uOttawa email account.  It is your responsibility to check your university email account regularly. If you are having trouble accessing any of your uOttawa accounts after this time has elapsed, fill out an online request for computing assistance. All emails from the University of Ottawa will be sent to your @uOttawa account.


Student card

In addition to being used as your student identification, your uOttawa card can be used to quickly and conveniently pay for items at over 100 locations on campus. You can also use your card to borrow books from the library, access the gym, and book an appointment with an academic advisor. Visit the uOttawa Card website to order your card online, or pick up your card in person when you arrive on campus. If you lose your card, you must pay a replacement fee of $25. 

Register in university health insurance plan (UHIP)

InformationSince UHIP membership is mandatory, you do not need to purchase another insurance plan to cover you during the academic year. For more information, visit our UHIP information session.
Find housing
On-campus Housing

You have the possibility of living in a university residence on or near the campus. Please note that there are limited spaces in residence and they are offered on a first come, first served basis. There is no guarantee of on-campus accommodation for exchange students. Please follow the required steps should you decide to stay on campus.

Off-Campus Housing

A large number of students live in close proximity to campus, and sometimes in neighbourhoods densely populated by students. Please visit the Off-Campus Housing Office for more information.

If you’ve opted for off-campus housing, here are some tips to follow:

  • Many students live in the Sandy Hill neighborhood, adjacent to the University of Ottawa. Some houses located at the fringe of the campus are owned and managed by the University. Contact the Resource Centre for more information, and use the Housing Portal (via uoZone) to apply.
  • Many other options are listed on the Student Housing Billboard.  See how rent prices compare with the average monthly rent observed in the area. 
  • Unless you deal with the University, we recommend that you finalize your housing arrangements only once you have arrived in Ottawa. This will give you the chance to meet the landlords and visit the dwellings.  You should plan an early arrival and set a few days aside for that task.


Arrival in Ottawa

Orientation program

Your participation to the Exchange student orientation session is mandatory.  Please find the details below:

Welcome session in English

  • For students on exchange for the Winter 2022 term:
    • Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2022
    • Location:  TBA
    • Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11 a.m  (EST)

Missed the mandatory welcome session?  Please email to notify us.

Meet with a mentor at the international mentoring center

The majority of the international mentors who work at the International Mentoring Centre are also international students and have gone through experiences similar to yours, and since they can relate to your experience, they can often provide very useful advice during your transition. They are your main resource on campus, linking you to all of the different services offered by the university.  They are available to answer your questions on:

  • Canadian culture
  • Academic life
  • Learning strategies
  • Challenges you could face during your time at university

They also offer Intercultural Communication Workshops where international and Canadian students discuss and learn about their respective cultures in order to acquire intercultural skills. These workshops provide a great opportunity for you to meet other students and facilitate your integration on campus.

Meet with an acdemic advisor

Exchange students who encounter problems when enrolling for their classes, must contact the faculty as soon as possible to schedule a meeting with an Academic Advisor.

Visit the academic writing help centre

The Academic Writing Help Centre exists to help students develop strategies and writing skills that will enable them to:

  • Understand the requirements of academic writing
  • Develop their argumentation skills
  • Expand their critical thinking abilities
  • Master the written language of their choice

The Centre can also help you to avoid academic fraud, including plagiarism. Last year, more than 100 University of Ottawa students were accused of plagiarism and received various sanctions, including expulsion from the University. To plagiarize is to borrow someone’s words or ideas without mentioning their name and/or without using quotation marks (“...”).

Download an information booklet on plagiarism to make sure that you do not commit academic fraud, even unintentionally.

Get involved and meet new people

There are many ways to get involved on campus, but here are some that we think might interest you:

  1. Join a cultural club
  2. Participate in a socio-cultural activity, such as uOConnexion, organized by the International Office;
  3. Attend an event hosted by the International House (notably the International Gala or International Week);
  4. Learn while helping the community with the Centre for Global and Community Engagement;
  5. For all things non-academic, visit the Campus activites page;
  6. Stay active and in good health while at university by taking part in recreational activities or joining a Gee-Gees sports team.
Useful contacts on campus


Contact InfoService

Tel: 613-562-5800

Health Services Clinic

100 Marie Curie

Tel: 613-564-3950

Campus Pharmacy

100 Marie Curie

Tel: 613-563-4000

University of Ottawa Students' Union

Contact UOSU

Tel: 613-783-1380 ext. 101 or 102

Student Academic Success Service (SASS)

Contact SASS

Tel: 613-562-5101 

Sports Services

Contact Sports

Tel: 613-562-5789

Protection Services

141 Louis-Pasteur

Tel: 613-562-5411

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