Exchanges

Discover the opportunities to Go Abroad during your undergraduate degree.

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Outbound Exchanges (Western students going on exchanges)

Interested in an exchange? If so, then follow these steps ...

Find out general information about exchanges

  • Check Western International's webpage for Exchange for the benefits of going on an exchange, general program details, and the application and post-acceptance processes.

  • Go to an Information Session or meet with an International Learning Ambassador.

  • Search Programs on Atlas:
    • filter by Type to find the host exchange institutions
    • add filters for Language of Instruction and Destination to narrow your search
    • add a filter for Term to find out if the exchange is for the fall or winter term, only, or available as a full-year exchange
    • adding a filter for Subject Area may not be particularly effective/informative since this section has not been vetted by the BMSUE Office

Connect with a BMSUE Coordinator

Connect with one of the BMSUE Coordinators (Kathy Boon or Jen Chambers) to talk  about:

  • the impact an exchange may have on completing your module(s)

  • how admission to Honours Specialization modules in Year 4 is affected by completing one term/both terms of Year 3 on an exchange

  • the process for having courses at exchange institutions evaluated and why you might want to do this before applying for an exchange

  • which modules lend themselves more readily to a one-term exchange
Connect with a Coordinator .

Find out if the institution you want to attend offers the courses that you need

To find out if the courses available to you at the exchange institution match up with courses that you need:

  • Using Atlas, select an exchange institution and find the link to the courses that they offer

  • Consult with the department at Western that offers similar courses (in-person or by email) to determine if the course(s) offered at the exchange institution can be used in place of your modular courses. You will need to provide the departmental counsellor with a link to the course description in the academic calendar of the exchange institution and, ideally, a link to the course syllabus.

Ideally, you should find out if the exchange institution offers the courses that you need during the term that you will at that institution.

Direct questions about your search for courses to a BMSUE Coordinator who will also approve your selection of courses at the exchange institution on your Course Approvals Form after you are approved for an exchange.

Apply for an exchange

Check Western International's webpage for Exchange for:

  • How to apply

  • When to apply (deadlines vary - check the institution's information in Atlas)

  • FAQs about scholarship and funding opportunities, what to do after you apply, when do you find out if you are approved, etc.

  • Submit your request for an Academic Reference, choosing Kathy Boon as your referee if you are pursuing a BMSc degree

Direct questions about the application process, etc. to Western International

Things to do after you have been approved for an exchange

Have your courses evaluated and submit your Course Approvals Form to a BMSUE Coordinator:

  • If you had your courses pre-evaluated by departmental representatives, then submit your evaluations to a BMSUE Coordinator

  • If you did not have your courses pre-evaluated (or you don't have anything in writing or an email from the departmental representatives), then contact or take your form to the departmental representatives from Science and/or Basic Medical Science departments, as well as other departments at Western offering the optional courses you wish to take, and then submit the evaluations to a BMSUE Coordinator.

  • The BMSUE Coordinator will review the evaluations from the departmental representatives, determine how the number of courses taken at the exchange institution will transfer back to Western, and sign off on the Course Approvals Form

There are other things that Western International will need you to do such as pre-departure training and safefy abroad, etc. Check the Next Steps on the Exchange webpage for more details.

Connect with a BMSUE Coordinator .

Year 4 exchange at VUmc Amsterdam 

This exchange is available to a limited number of students in the BMSc program and takes place in first-term (September - December) of Year 4 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The Minor Literature Essay from VUmc must be completed in January, in addition to Western courses, when students return to Western.

Eligibility

BMSc students going into Year 4 of a Double Major Combination are eligible to apply. Students completing Double Majors must ensure they are in a combination for which required modular courses are offered in second term at Western

Note: the 2023 Academic Year will be the last opportunity for students in the Honours Specialization IMS to participate in this exchange.

Application Deadline

The deadline to apply for September 2024 is January 15, 2024.

Students approved for the exchange must then submit an application to VUmc for the Minor Module they wish to complete between February 15 - March 31, according to the information on the VUmc webpage for the International Minor.  Registration in a particular Minor module is not guaranteed - see VUmc webpage for details.

Exchange Details

Students will take one "Minor Module" at VUmc and then complete the Minor Literature Essay in January, when they return to Western. These will transfer back to Western as 2.5 credits as indicated under each Minor Module below.

  • one "Minor Module" - 2.0 credits (see below for details)
  • Minor Literature Essay - 0.5 credit (see details)

Minor Modules at VUmc

Students will complete one of the Minor Modules below (VUmc will determine if a particular Minor module is available and suitable for each student). See below for a brief description of each Minor Module and the credits (including the subject areas) that will transfer back to Western

Amsterdam Global Health

Global Health Amsterdam (GHA) focuses on primary and community care from a gender and diversity perspective. Based on the principles of Community Service Learning, students will conduct student-generated participatory projects in collaboration with community partners, gain meaningful learning experiences, and provide practical support to community organizations.

More details are available on the VUmc website for Amsterdam Global Health.

Amsterdam Global Health will transfer to Western as:

  • 1.0 4000-level Epidemiology
  • 0.5 4000-level Medical Sciences
  • 0.5 3000-level Science

Minor Literature Essay will transfer as a 0.5 course (3000-level Writing).

Cancer-Immune Diseases-Personalized Therapies

The minor is completed with the new role of Medical Imaging and Nanomedicine in the context of personalized therapy. Patients are different in their genetic DNA profile, immune system, microbiome and metabolism, so if possible, treatment should be optimized by accounting for these personal characteristics. You will learn advanced imaging techniques such as Nuclear Medicine and MRI, which are used to assess if your patient is responding to the given therapy.

More details are available on the VUmc website for Cancer-Immune Diseases - Personalized Therapies.

Cancer-Immunity-Personalized Therapies will transfer to Western as:

  • 0.5 4000-level Microbiology and Immunology
  • 0.5 4000-level Biochemistry
  • 0.5 4000-level Medical Biophysics
  • 0.5 3000-level Science

Minor Literature Essay will transfer as a 0.5 course (3000-level Writing).

Cardiovascular Challenges and organs

The minor is composed of various topics, which are related to research themes within the Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences (ACS) research institute. In interactive lectures and working groups, knowledge will be gained about state-of-the-art diagnosis tools (imaging, biomarkers), and current and new treatment options.

More details are available on the VUmc website for Cardiovascular Challenges and Organs.

Cardiovascular Challenges and Organs will transfer to Western as:

  • 0.5 4000-level Pathology
  • 0.5 4000-level Pharmacology
  • 0.5 4000-level Physiology
  • 0.5 3000-level Science

Minor Literature Essay will transfer as a 0.5 course (3000-level Writing).

Hot Topics in Neurology and Psychiatry

Neurological topics include the histopathology, clinical findings and treatment options for disorders such as epilepsy, childhood white-matter disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuro-oncology, Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease. You will meet patients and their treating physicians, visit a juvenile justice institution, a center where they treat depression with ECT, the epilepsy center “SEIN”, learn all about how brain networks relate to cognition and disability, learn how to look under the microscope at brain tissue and how to interpret functional and structural brain scans.

More details are available on the VUmc website for Hot Topics in Neurology and Psychiatry.

Hot Topics in Neurology and Psychiatry will transfer to Western as:

  • 0.5 4000-level Anatomy and Cell Biology
  • 0.5 4000-level Medical Sciences
  • 0.5 4000-level Pathology
  • 0.5 3000-level Science

Minor Literature Essay will transfer as a 0.5 course (3000-level Writing).

Move Your Body

Move Your Body will start with defining and analyzing normal movement and musculoskeletal health and fitness. There will be focus on the prevention of sedentary behavior and physical inactivity and the moving healthy body during sports and physical performance. We will continue with clinical biomechanics and address how to optimize movement and physical performance of adult patients and children with musculoskeletal and neurological  disorders. Diagnostics of the body in motion, surgical and therapeutic options to optimize movement and physical performance, will be presented by both physicians and researchers from several clinical fields.

More details are available on the VUmc website for Move your body.

Move Your Body will transfer to Western as:

  • 0.5 4000-level Medical Sciences
  • 1.0 4000-level Physiology
  • 0.5 3000-level Science

Minor Literature Essay will transfer as a 0.5 course (3000-level Writing).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many BMSc students go on exchange each year?

As few as four and as many as ten BMSc students have completed exchanges in each of the last ten years.

Some of the reasons that students have given for being discouraged about considering an exchange include:

  • too many specific courses were needed for my module and I couldn't find all of them at an exchange institution
  • thought it would take an extra year to complete my module/degree if I went on an exchange
  • finances prevented me from doing an exchange

All of these are valid concerns but students are encouraged to contemplate the benefits of an exchange and:

  • consider a module that provides more flexibility in course selection, as well as the length of exchange (full-year and one-term)
  • plan ahead and look into summer courses, if necessary
  • explore scholarship and funding opportunities, and find out from past exchange students about the realistic expenses involved in an exchange

Where have BMSc students gone on exchange?

BMSc students have gone to:

  • Australia: University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, Australian National University
  • Denmark: University of Copenhagen
  • Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong
  • Netherlands: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 
  • Singapore: Nanyang Technological Univesrity, National University of Singapore
  • South Korea: Korea University, Yonsei University
  • Sweden: Stockholm University, Umea University
  • United Kingdom: King's College London, University of Birmingham, University of Leeds, University of Nottingham, University of St. Andrews

Which year do students go on exchanges - Year 2, 3 or 4?

BMSc students usually complete exchanges in Year 3 but a few students  have gone on exchanges in Years 2 and 4.

When contemplating an exchange for Year 2, keep in mind that:

  • you must complete the courses listed in the Admission Requirements for the module to which you apply before Year 3
  • there are certain conditions that have to be satisfied for admission to Year 3 BMSc, and that these conditions are a bit different for students in Medical Sciences 2 and students in the competitive pool

Realistically, you can only consider an exchange for Year 4 (and only one term of Year 4) if you are going to complete the Honours Specialization in IMS or Double Majors:

  • you may not complete a Year 4 capstone course (research project or Medical Sciences 4990E or 4995E and 4930F) at an exchange institution.

  • you must complete at least half of your 4000-level courses at Western, keeping in mind that the capstone course(s) must be completed at Western

  • completion of a second-term exchange in Year 4 will defer graduation to Fall Convocation

Which is more popular - one term or full-year exchanges?

One-term exchanges have become more popular than full-year exchanges for BMSc students.

When considering the length of an exchange (one term vs. full year):

  • look at the module you wish to complete and consider a full-year exchange if most of the required courses are offered as full-year courses at Western

Are some modules better suited to an exchange?

The modules in the BMSc Program are quite structured with certain courses that must be completed by the end of Year 2 (the Admission Requirements) and by the end of Year 3 (all courses in the Weighted Average Chart for the Honours Specialization modules).

Modules that tend to be better suited for students completing an exchange are those that:

  • allow for more flexibility in course selection, or
  • require mostly half courses in the year that you'll be on exchange (if you want to do a one-term exchange), or
  • have some required courses that are offered in the summer

Feel free to book an appointment on the Connect with a BMSUE Coordinator page about the module you wish to pursue while completing an exchange.

Is there a list of courses that have been approved on exchange for BMSc students?

Unfortunately, there is not a list of courses available for you to see which courses have been approved for BMSc students at exchange institutions.

The BMSUE Office does, however, keep track of the courses taken by BMSc students on exchange.

You can make an appointment with a BMSUE Coordinator  to find out if evaluations have previously been made for courses at the institution in which you are interested.

Is it likely going to take me an extra year of university if I go on an exchange?

Most BMSc students have found that they do NOT need to take an extra year of university to complete their module/degree requirements.

Does an exchange impact my application to medical school (or graduate school, etc.)?

You will have to check with the medical school, graduate program, etc. to find out how they will consider your term/full year on exchange.

  • as an example, see "Exchange Courses" under the heading of Grade Point Average (GPA) on Schulich Medicine's webpage for admission.

You will likely have to arrange for a transcript to be submitted from the exchange institution:

What's the difference between an exchange and study abroad?

See Western International's webpages for Exchange and Study Abroad to find out the general differences between these two ways in which you can earn academic credits at a different institution.

You can find both exchange and study abroad destinations/partner institutions in Atlas by applying the appropriate filter for the Type of experience you wish to explore.

Only a few BMSc students have chosen to study abroad with one of Western's affiliated partners since these institutions do not tend to offer many science/basic medical science courses.

How do my exchange grades show up at Western?

Grades from your exchange will appear as either "Pass" or "Fail" on your Western academic record and transcript.

If you apply to a professional or graduate program, then you will likely have to arrange for a transcript to be submitted from the exchange institution.

If I'm admitted to an Honours Specialization and go on an exchange in Year 3, am I guaranteed my spot in the module for Year 4?

If you are admitted to a particular Honours Specialization module for Year 3 and:

  • go on a full-year exchange in Year 3 and complete ALL of the courses listed in the Weighted Average Chart prior to Year 4:
    • then you are assured your spot in the same Honours Specialization module for Year 4
    • this assurance is given because, unlike students completing all of their courses at Western, a Weighted Average cannot be calculated for you

  • go on a one-term exchange in Year 3 and complete ALL of the courses listed in the Weighted Average Chart prior to Year 4:
    • then you may or may not be assured a spot in Year 4 of the Honours Specialization module to which you were admitted in Year 3
    • if a Weighted Average can be calculated for you, then your continued registration in the module for Year 4 will not be assured but will be determined in the same manner as students who complete all of their modular courses at Western. 

Book an appointment with a BMSUE Coordinator for clarification about your situation.

If I'm NOT admitted to an Honours Specialization and go on an exchange for Year 3, can I apply for the Honours Specialization, again, for Year 4?

You may apply for admission to the Honours Specialization module for Year 4 but you might not be considered for admission even if you complete ALL of the courses listed in the Weighted Average Chart prior to Year 4.

  • if you complete the majority of the courses responsible for 2/3 of the Weighted Average at Western, then a Weighted Average will be calculated for you and you will be considered for admission to this module during the adjudication cycle in May

  • if you complete the majority of the courses responsible for 2/3 of the Weighted Average while on exchange, then a Weighted Average will NOT be calculated for you. If admission to the module to which you wish to apply for Year 4 is competitive (i.e. there are more qualified students than there are spaces available), then you will not be considered for admission.

Book an appointment with a BMSUE Coordinator for clarification about your situation.

What is the Global & Intercultural Engagement Honour?

Western's Global & Intercultural Engagement Honour "recognizes and rewards students' experience and engagement in global and intercultural acitivities during their time at Western".

See the details about the Honour and how an international exchange works towards the "Global Experience at Home or Abroad" component.

Is there funding to help finance an exchange, study abroad, etc.?

See the information about funding on Western International's webpage for Scholarships and Funding.

Check out Schulich's information about Undergraduate International Funding Opportunities.

International Research

Visit the Internationalization website to learn more about undergraduate international funding opportunities for research-based exchanges and summer internships.

BMSUE International Experiences Session from November 17, 2023: SLIDES AVAILABLE HERE

Incoming Exchange Students

Basic medical science courses available to incoming exchange students

Please note that not all basic medical science courses are available to incoming exchange students. See the list of the basic medical science courses offered at Western University that may be available to incoming exchange students.

General Information for Incoming Exchange Students

See Western International's webpage for Incoming Exchange Students for general information.