Benefits of French immersion

The benefits of pursuing bilingual studies within the uOttawa French Immersion Stream are plenty!

Qualitative grades

Eligible students in the French Immersion Stream can choose qualitative grades (Satisfactory (S) or Not Satisfactory (NS)) instead of letter grades for up to 8 courses (24 units) taken in French in your first 20 courses (60 units) or equivalent. The qualitative grades will not be counted toward your grade point average, which makes it easier to maintain average-based scholarships, obtain co-op placements or apply for an international exchange, for example.

You may use these grades for any course taught in French. In the case of an Immersion Course, the qualitative grade may be attributed to the content course taught in French, to the accompanying language course, or to both.

Note : Students in the Faculties of Science and Engineering cannot receive qualitative grades through the French Immersion Stream.

Note: B.Com.-JD and B.Soc.Sc.-JD: The Faculty of Law uses true grades, not qualitative grades, to assess admission into the Juris Doctor program.

Note: Courses completed prior to joining the French Immersion Stream, including transfer credits, are counted in the first 20 courses (60 units.)

Note: Faculties may choose to exclude certain courses from this option.

Note: A French course code has a 5, 6 or 7 as the 5th character, for example ADM 1700 or BIO 1530. 

Once your request for a qualitative grade has been approved, you will no longer be able to view your letter grade for the course. However, you may ask to remove a qualitative grade IF AND ONLY IF this is beneficial to you in order to renew a scholarship, to maintain your eligibility to the co-operative education program or to the international exchange program.

In the eventuality you would be enrolling in a master’s or professional program that needs all your grades, you may obtain this information upon request at the French Immersion Stream office.


TO REQUEST A QUALITATIVE GRADE: You must complete the online request or fill out the PDF request form and submit it to the French Immersion Stream office before the deadline in the University's Important Dates and Deadlines calendar (around the 10th week of class).

Write in English or French

The University of Ottawa's Regulation on Bilingualism allows you to write your assignments and exams in French or English in nearly any course. While we encourage you to practice writing in French as much as possible, we recognize that, in some circumstances, having the freedom to choose can make a big difference!

For example, many immersion students choose to write shorter assignments in French, and longer or more difficult assignments in English. You should also make use of the Academic Writing Help Centre when preparing your written assignments in either language.

Note that, in language courses, you have to write in the language being studied. For example, you cannot write your French-as-a-second-language assignments in English, just like you cannot write in English if you are learning German!

Immersion mentoring centre

The Immersion mentors are upper-year immersion students. When you have a question or a problem, start with them: they know exactly what you're going through, because they've been there themselves. During your first year at uOttawa, meet with a Mentor to discuss your options and obtain help for making the transition from high school to university.

Contact us by email, phone, visit or through social media.

Your mentors in 2022-2023




Ville: Oshawa, ON

Programme: Médecine moléculaire et translationnelle, 4e année 

Words of wisdom: La capacité de parler français est tellement avantageuse dans le monde d'aujourd'hui! Bien que cela puisse parfois sembler difficile, votre travail acharné sera bénéfique! Utilisez toutes les ressources qui sont disponibles et n'ayez pas peur de demander de l'aide. Impliquez-vous dans la culture française et amusez-vous!





Ville: Edmonton, AB

Programme: Criminologie, 4e année 

Words of wisdom: Croyez en vous et en vos capacités ! Bien que apprendre en français à l'université puisse être intimidant, vous avez travaillé tellement fort pour en arriver ici. Reconnaissez vos forces et vos faiblesses et ayez la confiance nécessaire pour participer aux cours, assister aux événements et demander de l'aide. Vous en êtes capable !





Ville: Ottawa, ON

Programme: Psychologie, 2e année

Words of wisdom: N'ayez pas peur de prendre des risques, d'essayer de nouvelles choses et de demander des conseils, car les années universitaires sont une période de connaissance de soi et de développement personnel! Suivez vos intérêts, explorez les différentes ressources disponibles et profitez de l'environnement bilingue!





Ville: Toronto, ON

Programme: Histoire et FLS, 4e année

Words of wisdom: Si vous êtes comme moi, vous êtes peut-être un peu obsédée avec le fait que votre français n’est pas aussi bon que celui d’un francophone, et cela peut être gênant quand vous devez parler en classe. Mais j’espère que ce conseil, de la bouche d’un de mes amis francophones, vous aide comme il m’a aidé: “ce n’est pas parce que tu as un accent que tu ne parles pas bien le français.” Ayez confiance et même si c’est difficile parfois, embrassez votre façon de parler et n’ayez pas peur de faire des fautes – c’est comme ça qu’on apprend!





Ville  : Markham, ON

Programme: Marketing, 2e année

Words of wisdom : Votre parcours avec uOttawa, c'est à vous de choisir alors, impliquez-vous dans la communauté et explorez toutes les possibilités disponibles pour vous. Il y a tant de clubs et activités sur campus, permettant plusieurs opportunités pour créer de nouveaux amis et souvenirs amusants. N'ayez pas peur d'utiliser les ressources ou demander d'aide si besoin, c'est pour cela les ressources comme les mentors sont là. Surtout, travaillez fort, étudiez bien, amusez-vous et profitez de votre expérience universitaire!





Ville  : Conception Bay South, NL

Programme: Sciences biomédicales. 3e année

Words of wisdom : L’université est un défi indéniable, mais c’est également une opportunité d’apprentissage et de croissance personnelle. Gardez un esprit positif envers vos études, même si votre parcours vers le succès n’est pas linéaire!



Contact us


Hamelin Hall, Room 135

70 Laurier Avenue East 


Book a virtual mentoring appointment 


Social media

Instagram: uottawa_fi

Facebook: French Immersion uOttawa

Opening hours

Monday 8:30 - 5:00  

Tuesday 8:30 - 5 :00  

Wednesday 8:30 - 4:30  

Thursday 9:00 - 6:00  

Friday 11:30 - 3:00  

Study workshops

Something we regularly hear from French Immersion students is that they have no idea how to do readings at the university level nor how to take notes during their lectures.

In response to these comments, the French Immersion mentors are proud to offer two different types of “Ateliers” or workshops, which are offered several times throughout the school year.

  • Prise de notes
  • Lecture efficace

Keep an eye on your uOttawa email account and our Facebook page for dates and times of workshops.

FI Buddy Program

The transition from high school to university makes you nervous? That's completely normal! The FI Buddy Program helps first-year students to adapt to life on campus.

First-year students, or "junior buddies", are paired with an upper-year student in French Immersion, or "senior buddy". First-year students receive advice about their program of study from a peer who has lived similar experiences not so long ago. Once the students are paired, it is up to them to decide of their means of communication - in person, e-mail or text, etc. Immersion Mentors also organize events for buddies (junior and senior) taking part in the program.

Conversation workshops

You try to speak French, but feel hesitant? Your French is rusty and you feel embarrassed to talk?

Enrol in a conversation workshop!

  • Offered daily, in small groups;
  • Offered by Language Mentors who facilitate a guided conversation about general topics;
  • In a casual context, among peers;
  • Designed for second-language students who wish to work on their skills;
  • Conversation groups for all speaking levels: beginner, medium and advanced;
  • Last 60 minutes.


French Studies Bursary


$ 4 000 ($ 1 000 per year)


The French Studies Bursary is an admission bursary awarded to full-time students in the French Immersion Stream who are taking at least 2 courses (6 units) each term that are taught in French (including French-as-a-second-language courses). This bursary can be renewed for the three following years provided the student maintains those conditions and maintains a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 5.5 at the end of each academic year. If a student does not meet all of those conditions, the French Studies Bursary will be lost irrevocably

Some exceptions to the conditions may apply to students participating in an international exchange or in a program where they cannot take the required number of credits in French. Contact Financial Aid and Awards for more details. 

There is no application for this award. This bursary is awarded automatically to eligible students and recipients will be informed. 

For the complete details, consult the Terms of Reference or visit the Financial Aid and Awards online portal.

Immersion Club

Students enrolled in the French Immersion Stream who wish to practice their French and socialize in French while doing interesting activities can join the Immersion Club. The Club organizes social and cultural activities throughout the year in order to allow students to discover Francophone culture outside the classroom.

Some events from previous years include:

  • Movie night in French;
  • Trip to Montréal for the Nuit blanche festival, a night-time arts festival;
  • French activities on campus (karaoke, semaine de la francophonie, board game nights, midi-découvertes, etc.);
  • Skating on the Rideau Canal and queues de castor;
  • Visit to the French embassy.


 Club d'immersion uOttawa - Facebook

Carrefour francophone

The Carrefour francophone is the ideal place to better your French skills! Located on the first floor of the University Centre, it freely welcomes students who wish to talk with peers, learn more about Francophone sociocultural life (on campus or in the Ottawa region), take part in events... or even organize their own!

Co-operative education

Co-op placements are an excellent way to gain hands-on work experience while studying. French Immersion students have the advantage of being able to apply to English or French positions, which increase their possibilities. Completing a co-op placement in a Francophone or bilingual environment allows you to increase your linguistic skills and bring your French out of the classroom. Students can even find their own placement!

International exchanges

Want to travel? Want to use your French abroad? The University's International Office arranges for full-time students to spend a session or full academic year abroad through a student exchange with one of our partner institutions in more than 50 countries. Your tuition fees remain the same, as you pay them to the University of Ottawa. Students going on an international exchange also get a $ 1 000 scholarship for one semester and a $ 2 000 scholarship for two semesters.

French-speaking countries to which you may go on an exchange include:

  • Belgium
  • France
  • French Polynesia
  • Guadeloupe
  • Luxembourg
  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Tunisia

By spending some time abroad you will gain perspective and add a valuable international component to your degree. What's more, with your French skills you will have better access to living and learning in French-speaking countries. French courses taken abroad can also count toward your program requirement.


The Community Engagement offers many volunteering opportunities in French.

The Centre promotes lifelong community engagement and social responsibility among uOttawa students. Integrating academics with meaningful volunteer service through community and faculty partnerships, the Centre supports students in contributing to stronger communities, positive social change and a more active university locally, nationally and internationally.

Back to top