Program Overview

The Explore Program is an intensive five-week French language bursary program which takes place during the spring or summer sessions at various institutions across Canada. It is designed to help you discover another region of Canada, meet new people, and exchange ideas while improving your knowledge of French.

It should be noted that knowing French is very beneficial in Canada as it opens up job opportunities that may not be accessible otherwise. For example, several job placements in the Canadian government require knowledge of French and being bilingual is often listed as an asset on job descriptions.

Program duration:

The program runs for five (5) weeks during the spring or summer session:

  • Spring: May – June
  • Summer: June-July or July-August


The program takes place at several institutions across Canada, specifically in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Minimum requirements

  • You must be a Canadian citizen OR Permanent Resident of Canada to be eligible for the $2,200 bursary. International students may apply but will be responsible for paying the full program costs to the host institution (please contact the ISC if you are an interested international student).
  • You must be a student in grade 11 or higher.
  • You must be a full-time student for at least one semester of the year you apply in.
  • If you are graduating before the summer, you are still eligible to apply for the program, but will not be eligible to earn transfer credits.

Transfer Credit Eligibility

It is possible to receive transfer credit if you:

  • Attend one of the Explore degree-granting institutions which is ALSO a university (not college).
  • Are eligible to receive a conversational French credit. You are allowed a maximum of 1.0 FCE in conversational French at each year level, including conversational credits taken at U of T. For example: If you took FREA17H3 (Conversational French I) before participating in a first-year level Explore program, you would only be considered for an additional 0.5 FCE in Conversational French at the A-level, even if the Explore program is the equivalent of 1.0 FCE.
  • Have a copy of your official final transcript sent directly from the host institution to the Office of the Registrar for assessment. Transcripts issued directly to you are invalid and cannot be used.

NOTE: Your French level will be determined by the Program Supervisor of the French Department at UTSC after you have confirmed your Explore participation.

Deadline and Applications

First choose which institution you want to go to for the program, then complete and print the on-line application. Note that you will have to register on the website to access the application. Attach a photocopy of your birth certificate OR proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status. Send this application package to the Program Coordinator in your home province by the end of February (Feb, 28, 2015). ***DEADLINE Extended until March 6, 2015

NOTE: you are required to provide a photocopy of your SIN card to the host institution to which you are accepted.

Selection for the program

A computer database randomly selects students for the program. Most students will be placed at their first choice institution, but once that institution’s capacity is reached, a drawn student may be placed at another institution. People who are not drawn will be automatically placed on the waiting list.
Please note that your placement is final, except in extreme circumstances.

Results of your application

In in early April, you will receive a letter from the provincial coordinator indicating your status in the program (whether you are accepted or waitlisted). If you are waitlisted, be patient as spots can open up if a candidate decides to drop out.
If you are accepted you will also receive an acceptance package from your host institution by email around the same time. You are expected to complete and submit the acceptance package (including the transfer credit procedure below, if you want to apply for credit during the program) within two weeks (10 days) to reply or risk losing the bursary to students on the waitlist.
*no acceptance package is received from U of T*

UTSC Explore Program Transfer Credit Application Process:

  1. Apply online to the Explore Program (deadline Feb 28th, 2015 ***DEADLINE Extended until March 6, 2015)

  2. If you are selected, you must complete and submit the Explore Program acceptance package to the host institution within 2 weeks (10 days) of receiving it from the Explore Program. If you do not respond to the Explore Program acceptance package within this time frame, your spot will be given to someone else on the waitlist
  3. AFTER you receive notice from the Explore Program of the university to which you have been accepted, apply for a Letter of Permission (LOP) from U of T Scarborough. Refer to the U of T Scarborough Calendar for rules and regulations concerning Letters of Permission. Click here to access the on-line LOP information and print off a copy of the LOP Transfer Credit Recommendation Memo (available in the on-line LOP application)

  4. Contact Prof. Jeri English, Supervisor of Study Elsewhere for French (room HW424, for advice about choosing courses of an appropriate level and that most closely correspond to the curriculum at the University of Toronto. Bring: A copy of your Explore Program Confirmation and the LoP Transfer Credit Recommendation Memo to the appointment so that Prof. English can sign the appropriate page.

  5. AFTER submitting your on-line LOP application, return the signed LOP Transfer Credit Recommendation Memo to Admissions and Recruitment in AA128 with the required LoP fee. Course descriptions are required with your completed application, but if you cannot get them, then you must hand in the course descriptions after returning from the program. DO THIS AT LEAST THREE WEEKS BEFORE YOUR DEPARTURE. If your LOP application is approved, you will be advised of the level of French in which you must register in order to be eligible for transfer credit. Enroll in courses that are at a level higher than the French courses you have already completed.

Costs and Bursary

There is no application fee, however if accepted, you are expected to pay a $$250 non-refundable registration fee and a deposit (amount of the deposit varies by institution) to your host institution. If you are applying for transfer credits to UTSC, you will need to pay the LoP fee.
Your host institution is given a bursary worth $2,200 which covers your costs for tuition fees for the course, instructional materials, meals and accommodation.
You are responsible for your transportation to and from the host institution, as well as spending money.

Applying as a non-bursary student (*option for International students)

Some of the institutions offer their courses to non-bursary students. If you are an international student and would like to participate in the Explore program, you may still apply but will have to pay for your own course materials, accommodation, meals and tuition (approximately $2200-$3000).


The host institution is responsible for providing you with accommodation, usually in student residence on campus or with a home stay family whose members speak French. You are not allowed to change your accommodations during the stay. You will be told exactly where you will stay prior to the start of your course by the host institution.

Placement tests

At the beginning of the program, you will be given a placement evaluation. This will help the host institution organize students by level of proficiency. It is important to do your best on the placement test, because if you are placed in a lower level than the level assigned by U of T Scarborough, you may not be able to receive a transfer credit. This is especially true if the level that you are placed in covers repeat material that you have already studied. A final evaluation will be administered by the instructor to see how much you have improved over the course of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of participating in the Explore Program?
The Explore Program will allow you to improve and practice your French in a francophone environment. You will also get to see and discover another culture in Canada.

Where do I submit the completed Application?

  1. The initial application for consideration must be sent to the relevant provincial coordinator before the February deadline.
  2. Once you have received the acceptance package, it can be submitted it in person to Admissions and Recruitment in AA128

If I’m a first-time applicant, do I have a higher chance of being selected?
Priority is given to first-time applicants. If you have applied in a previous year but were not selected to participate in the Explore Program, you are still considered as a first-time applicant.

Do I have to stay in the accommodation provided by the Explore program?
Yes. Staying in a student residence or with a home stay family allows for a better immersion experience. The cost for accommodation is covered by the bursary.