Independent Study Term

If you wish to spend a term at a university that is not one of SFU's exchange partners, you can do so through an "independent study term."

What is an independent study term?

An independent study term allows you to take courses at another institution (locally, nationally or internationally) and apply to use the credit towards your SFU degree. It is very different from an exchange program and is not administered through International Services for Students.

There are many things to consider when planning an independent study term, and it is highly recommended that you discuss your plans with your departmental advisor(s) at SFU.


What should I consider when pursuing an independent study term?

During your independent study term you will be an independent visiting student at the host university and will not be registered at SFU; this may impact your financial aid eligibility among other things. International students interested in pursuing an independent study term are highly encouraged to speak with an International Student Advisor about potential immigration implications.

An independent study term, you will pay tuition and fees (possibly international student tuition fees) directly to the host university and may not be eligible for financial aid from SFU.

Undergraduate Students: If successfully completed and approved, you can apply for transfer units for any courses you take on an independent study term (these are different than exchange units). Please discuss this with your departmental advisor(s) as most departments will accept a maximum of 60 transfer units towards your degree, of which only 15 can be upper division.

Graduate Students: Please speak with the Dean of Graduate Studies, and your supervisor regarding the process in which course credit will be transferred.

How do I apply for an independent study term?

You will need to apply directly to the host university for admission as a visiting student, abiding by their application deadlines and requirements.

Undergraduate Students: Request a Letter of Permission (LOP) from the Registrar at SFU to obtain permission to enroll in courses at another institution and to request credit for that work.

Graduate Students: Application to take Courses at Another University for Credit at SFU  (student must pay applicable fees at both institutions) Please contact the Dean of Graduate Studies for more information regarding taking courses at another university.

Independent study terms are not administered by International Services for Students.

Where can I get more information?

Please refer to the "Registration" and "Admission and Readmission" sections of the SFU Calendar for detailed information regarding Letters of Permission and transfer credit.

Any further questions should be directed to the Registrar and Information Services desks at the Burnaby, Surrey, or Vancouver campuses.