Independent study abroad encompasses any international study at non-partner universities.

While Mount Allison's many exchange programs and summer study abroad opportunities offer a wide range of international options, some students may wish to study at universities in different countries outside the scope of Mount Allison's partnerships.

The International Centre works with these students to ensure they can access their desired international experience.

How to apply

1) Find a university and apply

To study at an international university of your choice and pay tuition directly to your host institution:

  • Do your research and find a university and/or program(s) that you are interested in.
  • Apply to the university and/or program as a free-moving or visiting student. 
What is a free-moving or visiting student?

You are a free-moving or visiting student if you are accepted to attend classes at a non-partner university on a short-term basis.

Similar to an exchange student, you intend to transfer your credits back to Mount Allison at the end of your program.

What is the difference between a free-moving student and an exchange student?

Mount Allison exchange students pay tuition to Mount Allison; free-moving students pay tuition directly to the host institution.

The credits earned by exchange students transfer back to Mount Allison as "in-house" credits and can therefore be fully used to satisfy a student's degree requirements.

The credits earned by free-moving students also transfer back to Mount Allison but there is a limit as to how many 3/4000-level credits can be used towards a student's degree program.

For more details about "Academic Residency Requirements," refer to Section 10.10.2 (d) of the Academic Calendar. 

2) Complete a Letter of Permission

Once you have confirmation of acceptance from the host university, you must complete a Letter of Permission through the registrar's office.

It is best to start early (e.g. 3-4 months prior to the start of your program). A Letter of Permission can take multiple weeks, sometimes months, to process depending on the courses that a student wants to take.

Details about the Letter of Permission

A Letter of Permission accomplishes two things:

  1. it officially notifies Mount Allison that you intend to earn credits (for transfer) at another university
  2. it confirms the transfer credit value of those courses prior to the start of your program

This way, there are no surprises when you return to Mount Allison. You know exactly what you will receive, providing you successfully pass all your courses.

IMPORTANT: the Letter of Permission process must be completed prior to the start of your program at the host institution.

For more details about Mount Allison's Letter of Permission process, refer to Section 10.5.1 of the Academic Calendar. 

For the online application, visit the Letter of Permission page on the Registrar's Office website.   

When to apply for the Letter of Permission

The Letter of Permission application process can often be very time-consuming.

It is best to start early (e.g. 3-4 months prior to the start of your program).

Why is it so time-consuming? As one of the first steps in the process, you must identify the courses that you intend to take while at the host institution.

This can often involve a lot of research and back-and-forth communication with the host institution.

You must also establish if the host institution will accept you as a free-moving student. Some universities will only accept students via the traditional exchange model. Again, more research and back-and-forth communication. 

Questions? The International Affairs Coordinator is your guide and will support you through all phases of the process. Email

What's next?


Plan your international experience

The moment you've been accepted for an international experience through Mount Allison, it's important to start planning and prepare.