FAQ

International Students

THE QSEP

Gathering the necessary documentation is a fairly long and involved process. Finding the institution that best fits your project will take time, as you will have to scour through the websites of all participating universities. Once you have made your selection, you will need to assemble all the required documentation, as well as renew your passport and apply for a student visa, all while meeting the deadlines for the various steps in the application process. Thankfully, you are not the first to go through this grueling endeavour, and based on the feedback of the vast majority of previous participants, it’s definitely worth the effort!

In principle, the answer to this question is “No”, since the courses followed abroad will be credited to you upon your return. Just make sure to get the authorization of your academic adviser for the courses you want to follow — and successfully complete them, of course!

After completing the BCI application form, you must submit your full application to the head of your home institution.

The deadline for this is normally between late January and mid-February. The specific date varies according to your home university. The officials responsible for the internal handling of your application will also vary according to your home institution. You should check with your university’s Exchange Program Manager to find out more details about this. We recommend starting your process at least a year in advance.

No *. Whoever is handling the application process at your university should be the one sending your application. Any application sent directly by a candidate will not be considered.

* Unless otherwise indicated by the host university.

In your application, you should sort your potential host institutions in descending order of priority.

We’ll make every effort to accommodate your first choice, but when that is not feasible given the number of applicants and the institution’s capacity, we’ll go down your list.

Nine universities participate to the QSEP: Université Laval, University of Sherbrooke, UQAM, UQTR, UQAR, UQO, UQAT, ETS and Bishop’s University. If the institution you want to attend is not part of this list, there are probably other exchange programs or bilateral agreements that may allow you to study there; check with your home university for more information about this.

The complete list of foreign partners of the QSEP can be found at STEP 2 – FINDING THE PERSON IN CHARGE – of the International Student page.

It will be automatically rejected.

The blue fields on the application form are optional; the rest are mandatory.

You can access the online help located here, or by clicking the question mark (?) besides each question on the form.

There is no specific date. It depends on the universities, the program and the time period you applied. You can count on average 6 to 8 weeks after receiving your file from the host university before receiving an answer.

IMMIGRATION PROCEDURE

If, as part of a student exchange program, you are attending a Quebec university for a single semester, you do not need to apply for a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC) or a study permit for your stay. You must only obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a temporary resident visa.

Caution: If you think it is possible you might extend your stay for a second semester, we strongly recommend you obtain a QAC and a study permit before you leave your home country.

Since your stay will extend over a six-month period (two semesters), you must obtain a valid Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC) and a study permit before your arrival. We recommend you start this process as soon as you receive confirmation of your acceptance into your study program, as it can take up to three months to complete it.

You might be asked to provide biometric data alongside your application for a study permit or temporary resident visa, which could cause some delays in processing your file.

Please refer to this web page for more information on this process.

We also recommend you read these 7 steps for a successful immigration process by students.

This page provides the list of Canadian embassies or consulates throughout the world.

You must have a valid passport before leaving.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

We do not offer scholarships or any other form of financial assistance.

Instead, we recommend you check out the government of Canada, the government of Quebec, and the Admissions Office of your host institution for scholarships that might be available to you.

WORKING

In general, your student visa will not authorize you to work in any capacity while you are participating in an exchange program. Remember also that you must prove that you have the financial resources necessary to support yourself for your whole stay before you leave.

For all visa questions (studies or work), please refer to the following sites:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Department of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion of Quebec (IDIQ).

International students who come to Quebec to study are not allowed to take part in any internships while here. Furthermore, the Quebec Student Exchange Program only handles purely academic courses.

The answer will vary depending on your home and host institutions, as well as the credit value of your project. Your QSEP official will be able to provide further details regarding this question.

HEALTH AND HOSPITALIZATION INSURANCE PLAN

Yes. By law, foreign students must have a valid health insurance policy that can provide medical coverage in Quebec.

In most situations, you must obtain this protection before you leave. However, there are some institutions that instead require foreign students to obtain this coverage after their arrival in Quebec. Please check with your host institution to determine which situation applies!

In addition, Quebec has concluded reciprocal social security agreements — which include health coverage — with the following countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Romania and Sweden. You can find more information about these agreements here.

Foreign students from other countries (except those attending Bishop’s University) must purchase a group insurance policy for foreign university students offered by Desjardins Financial Security. You must go through your host institution (Student Services or International Relations) to obtain this coverage.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the cost of this protection is $900. This amount is subject to change every year.

THE QUEBEC UNIVERSITY SYSTEM

Quebec’s university system comprises three cycles of study. One becomes eligible for the first cycle after 13 years of schooling. The duration of a study program varies according to the chosen discipline and cycle of study, but the following time frames generally apply:

  • 1st cycle: Bachelor’s degree (3 to 4 years) and certificate (1 year)
  • 2nd cycle: Master’s degree (2 years) and 2nd-cycle diploma (1 year)
  • 3rd cycle: Doctorate (3 to 5 years)

The academic year is divided into three semesters:

Fall: Late August or early September until mid-December.
Winter: Early January until late April.
Summer: Early May until early June (concentrated semester) or until mid-August (regular semester).

Not all institutions have a summer semester; contact your host institution to find out if it uses one.

A “credit” is used to measure the workload required to achieve the objectives of a course or activity.

Generally, university courses in Quebec are worth 3 credits, which represents 45 hours of structured educational activities (lectures, practical work, laboratory work, internships, tests and evaluations, etc.) spread over one semester (15 weeks). For research activities or internships, the workload is established on a case-by-case basis.

The number of credits required to obtain a degree is generally the following:

90-120 credits for a bachelor’s
45-60 credits for a master’s
90 credits for a PhD
30 credits for a Certificate or a graduate degree.

To be considered a full-time student, a person must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 or 12 credits per semester (depending on the degree). To find out how many credits a particular course or program of study is worth, just look at its description — although most courses are worth 3 credits.

A credit in the Quebec university system corresponds to 2 credits in the European Credits Transfer System (ECTS).

You will find the requirements for admission and the equivalent degrees which are recognized by Quebec institutions on this page. This information should only be used as a guide; each host institution will determine your specific education level.

LIFE IN QUEBEC

All Quebec institutions have residences on their campus. That said, you are not guaranteed to have a room reserved for you in a residence when you apply. The best way to proceed is therefore to send your request for a room as early as possible after you have received confirmation that your application was approved.

You can also consider living in an apartment off-campus, but still nearby.

The office of Student Services or International Relations of your host university should be able to direct you to a list of available apartments.

While it may be difficult to find accommodations remotely prior to your departure, we strongly recommend that you book at least one temporary accommodation for the first few days upon arrival.

Of course! You will find support for international students, such as social integration activities, from the office of Student Services or International Relations of your host university.

In addition, Quebec universities offer a wide range of services to all their students : health and medical consultations, psychological help, educational and vocational guidance, French classes, housing, etc. Many student associations also offer help in those areas.

Useful link: Living and studying in Quebec

  • Immigrant Quebec is one of the best references for living in Quebec. Their guide “Étudier au Québec” (available in French only) is free.

ARRIVING IN QUEBEC

Yes, every year in August! “Accueil Plus” is a welcoming service for international students operating at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, from the beginning of August to the beginning of September. The exact schedule is announced at the beginning of the summer.

This service aims to facilitate the arrival of international students at Montreal-Trudeau Airport. It only operates in August of every year.

For more information, visit its website.

PARTNERS

To find out how your home institution could become a QSEP partner, contact us at: echanges-etudiants@bci-qc.ca.

Individual institutions or associations of institutions may become Quebec Student Exchange Program (QSEP) partners under the BCI Agreement by first sending an email to echanges-etudiants@bci-qc.ca.

They will then receive a membership application which they must fill out and return to that same email address. The BCI Coordinator will then review the application to make it is complete, and to gather the missing information if it is not.

Existing QSEP partners will then evaluate the membership application and then send a letter to the individual institution or the association of institutions informing them of their decision.

If the application is approved, the QSEP Coordinator will forward to the partner two copies of the BCI Agreement, in each of the languages agreed-to by the parties, for signature by the president of the institution or association of institutions. The signed copies of the Agreement must then be returned to BCI for signature by the president of QSEP partners. Finally, one of the signed copies will remain with BCI, while the other is forwarded to the new partner.

Once a Agreement has been signed by both parties, it remains in effect for a period of 5 years.