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According to the U of O’s International Office, the UCL was chosen as a partner university for the new degree because of its excellent criminology program. Photo: Remi Yuan.

U of O International Office hopes to foster sense of community between students

On Nov. 18 the University of Ottawa hosted a delegation from Belgium’s Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), the largest French-speaking university in Belgium, where the two schools officially introduced a new master’s double-degree in criminology.

According to Regine Legault-Bouchard, assistant director at the U of O’s International Office, the UCL was chosen as a partner university for the new degree because of its excellent criminology program, along with the strong research ties that exist between professors at the two schools.

What made the new program work in Legault-Bouchard’s eyes was that the U of O was already familiar with the UCL’s curriculum, and many of the staff, and so the partnership “made sense.”

“UCL is one of the top universities in the world, very highly ranked, and that is something we want to give to our students, obviously a very good learning opportunity” said Legault- Bouchard.

In the 2017 ranking by the Times Higher Education the UCL placed 128th worldwide, and claimed the 243rd spot on the Centre for World University Rankings’ 2016 list.

This program differs from typical exchanges, which is what Legault-Bouchard and her team intended, “because UCL students and U of O students wouldn’t see each other if we were (just switching places).”

Therefore, the double-degree program was designed so that U of O students wishing to participate would spend their first year at the UCL, and then students from both universities participating in the program would study in Ottawa during their second year.

At the end of the two-year program, students would end up with two separate degrees—one from the U of O and one from the UCL—as opposed to a joint degree between the two schools.

U of O students wishing to apply for the program must apply directly to the master’s in criminology program, as well as submit a letter of intent explaining why they would like to participate in the double-degree program.

“I think it is paramount for students to be able to have that experience abroad, and to be able to get a diploma out of it is extremely interesting … for someone that has that background, to have two different perspectives,the European perspective and the Canadian, in one,” said Legault-Bouchard.

While the program is only offered in the Department of Criminology, the U of O’s International Office hopes to expand this experience to other faculties in the future.

“I think, as a representative from the International Office, it is something that we will try to duplicate, do in other fields, with other countries and other top institutions. It only makes sense,” said Legault-Bouchard.

For more information on the program, students can visit the criminology section of the U of O’s official website.