Academic Information

What courses can you take on exchange? 

Most students take courses that will work towards their SFU degree requirements: major, minor, elective, and/or WQB requirements.

During the application process, you will be required to meet with your academic program advisor. They will tell you which type of requirements you may work towards on exchange, and whether there are specific requirements that you must fulfill at SFU (eg. courses with Canadian content).

Browse through our partners' course offerings (often called something different like "modules" or "units") and see what is available. Note any areas that are restricted for exchange students.

What are the academic benefits to taking courses at another university?

  • Study your discipline from an international perspective. For example, study British history in Britain, or International Business in Hong Kong.

  • Take courses or subjects that are not offered at SFU (eg. introductory law or public relations). So long as the course is 'academic' and not a duplicate of one you've taken before, it will transfer back to SFU for credit. You just need to ensure that it will work towards your remaining degree requirements.

  • Test out a school for future graduate study. Going on exchange can be a great way to learn more about the university's program, connect with academics, and determine if that school and location will be a good fit for what you want to do.

  • Learn how to study in a new academic system. Navigating a new academic system with different terminology, teaching and assessment styles is a learning experience in itself, and is part of developing your communication and adaptability skills on exchange.

How does the credit transfer back?

All courses that you take on exchange will transfer back to your SFU record as "Exchange Credit", as long as:

  1. You pass the course
  2. It is an 'academic', credit-bearing course and is listed on your transcript
  3. It is not a duplicate of a course you have taken at SFU
  4. You apply for exchange credit

You will find that most universities are on different credit systems than SFU. You will see an "exchange credit ratio" posted on each partner profile to help determine how much each course would be worth here at SFU.

Depending on the content of the course, it will either transfer back as:

  1. An exact match to an SFU course (eg CMNS 331)
  2. A subject match, but not an exact course match (eg CMNS 3XX), or
  3. General credit only; in other words, SFU does not offer a related subject (eg GE 1XX)

The way that your courses come back will be determined through the formal Exchange Credit process, which you can begin after you have been nominated for exchange.

Your grades from exchange do not transfer back to SFU. However, they appear on your host university transcript which would be considered for any future academic program applications such as grad school. When you return from exchange, your SFU GPA is the same as before you left.

How many credits can you take and bring back?

You must be a full time student while on exchange (except for part-time Summer programs). However, the number of credits you take will depend on your host university. They will tell you the minimum and maximum course load but it is typically similar to SFU.

You may bring back up to 30 exchange credits to SFU for an undergraduate degree.

Transfer students: If you transferred between 46 - 60 credits to SFU, you will usually be able to bring back between 15 - 29 exchange credits depending on your circumstance. Speak with your academic program advisor to determine how many exchange credits you may complete.