Taking part in an exchange programme may be one of the most exciting and rewarding challenges a student can face during their studies. A semester abroad will earn credit towards your degree while allowing you to travel and immerse yourself in a different culture, making lasting personal and professional connections. A semester abroad will enrich and diversify your QM degree and your life.
With great links across the world, you can choose to study part of your degree in Europe, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia or New Zealand. Living in another country and studying with another institution will allow you to meet new friends from across the world and acquire invaluable life skills as well as a greater feeling of independence and confidence. Not only does an exchange programme allow you stretch your wings, it will bring you benefits for years to come. Employers are impressed with students who take on the challenge, and a higher level of cultural awareness is considered an important factor when hiring employees, particularly for a global role.
If you still need convincing of the benefits of spending a semester abroad, see our “30 reasons to study abroad” for even more reasons to take on the challenge.
A British Council survey found over 50% of people under-25 felt they had missed out by not studying abroad, and felt they would have had better job prospects if they had taken a semester abroad. Studying abroad is not for everyone, but if you would like to take part or are just are curious to see where you can go, this page will help you learn about the opportunities, carry out research and start planning to make that dream come true.
There are two types of exchange opportunity available at QMU:
- Those in Europe arranged through the Erasmus+ programme
- Subject specific
- Additional funding available
- Those arranged with non-European Universities
- Open to more subject areas
We have a number of exchange agreements with universities in Europe, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Our exchange links allow students to study for periods of three months to one semester in another country. For more information on our exchange partners please see our Exchange Links page.
Students may take part in an exchange in Level 2 or 3, depending on your degree programme. Some courses can offer an exchange in Level 2, others will only permit exchanges to take place in Level 3. To find out when you can go, your Department Exchange Coordinator or the International Office can tell you. Exchanges cannot occur in Level 4, as your Honours year must be studied fully at QMU.
We have carefully selected exchange partners who offer modules taught in English, although with some of our exchange partners the choice of classes taught in English may be limited.
If you would like to study at one of our exchange partners in a European country, you may wish to take advantage of language courses in advance of your semester abroad with the assistance of Erasmus+ funding. Language classes can help teach you the basics or improve your language skills before you go on exchange. There are a number of different language classes offered in the Edinburgh area, but we particularly recommend evening classes run through the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in signing up for language classes, please email email@example.com for further information.
Many students may be put off taking part in an exchange programme as they believe it to be really expensive, but this is not necessarily the case. Firstly, one of the major benefits of taking part in an exchange programme at a partner institution is that students do not have to pay additional tuition fees to that partner. You arrange for your tuition fees to be paid as normal to QMU.
The costs students will incur are their own personal expenses (travel, insurance, accommodation, general living expenses, etc.), which you would mostly have to pay living away from home anyway. For countries such as Australia, Canada and the USA, you could estimate costs of £3,500-£4,000 for a semester exchange programme. European exchanges may benefit from an Erasmus+ bursary, so you could expect to have additional spending around £1000-£1500. This would obviously be dependent on your spending habits, and if you intend to travel during your time abroad. You may have to show evidence of funds for some visa applications, so you should check the country immigration guidelines to be sure.
If you take part in an Erasmus+ exchange you may receive some funding to help with daily living costs. This money is paid into your bank account by the University in two payments – 80% at the start of your exchange and 20% when you return and have completed all necessary paperwork. Students who fall under the widening participation criteria or have a disability are entitled to a supplement grant in addition to the Erasmus award.
Any students who are in receipt of SAAS funding should apply for SAAS funding as normal, indicating that you are going abroad. RUK students (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) will be charged the full tuition fees for the year as normal. If you are going abroad as part of your degree programme, you are still entitled to a student loan. Generally, you should still also be eligible for means tested bursaries and grants.
There are various funding options for students looking to take on an exchange, so make sure you read up on the criteria and get your application in with plenty of time. Here are a few examples, although this is not an exhaustive list so you may want to do further research to find out more:
- Lisa Persdotter Simonyi Fund can help students fund an exchange with funding of up to £5000.
- Santander Scholarships have funding available for students looking to undertake study overseas with awards of up to £1500.
- Vice Chancellors International Travel Fund is specifically for students looking to go on exchange and broaden their horizons, with funding of up to £500 available.
- The Stevenson Exchange Scholarship is available for students looking to apply to France, Germany or Spain and is available if you are also taking part in an Erasmus exchange, with funding of up to £2000 on offer. Deadlines for the Stevenson Awards are the 31st January for the next academic year, email the International Office to get more information and the application form
- The ‘Dream NEW’ scholarship presents the unique opportunity to receive a scholarship for a semester abroad in New Zealand. Learn more about these scholarships to be awarded for studying at one of New Zealand’s top 10 universities.
- There are also 12,000 more scholarships for you to discover at:european-funding-guide.eu/.
- You may also find funding from the host institution which you can apply for. You can contact your host institution to find out if there are any additional funds or scholarship programmes available.
You can use a student calculator to estimate the costs based more on your own spending habits. Enter your estimated outgoings and any money you expect to receive (loans, Erasmus+ grant, scholarship award, etc.) and see how things compare. Remember though, you are likely to spend more on travel and leisure while abroad, so it’s best to overestimate this to ensure you have the funds to cover an exchange.
While QMU will try to inform you of any funding opportunities available, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure they have adequate funds in place to support an exchange.
For those of you who are interested in an exchange opportunity, please read through the information below which details the requirements you need to take part in an exchange. Not everyone can be given a place on exchange, so to have the best possible chance we recommend you read through all the information thoroughly and carry out research on your exchange options.
Exchange applicants are expected to hold an average grade of 55% or above, with no module graded below 50%. We have this as a requirement to assure our exchange partners that the students attending are academically sound. This will also reassure us that academically you would be able to undertake study overseas, as a different environment and learning style can be challenging to grasp.
You should ensure your degree programme is offered at the exchange partner institution. For an exchange to go ahead, you will need to show your core degree modules are offered during your time abroad. We are unable to allow you to take part in exchange if you are not able to study your core modules, as these are necessary for your degree to be awarded.
If you are unsure if you would meet the academic requirements, or would like some more guidance on this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Students who wish to take part in an exchange must first research the exchange opportunities available to them. Some Erasmus+ exchanges are organised within their own department. Please check with email@example.com before following the process below.
Students are required to complete a Pre Selection Form which must include top three choices of institution and a supporting statement. Forms must be signed by your Departmental Exchange Coordinator and submitted to StudyAbroad@qmu.ac.uk by 31 January for exchanges in the next academic year.
If you are interested in an exchange but miss the closing date, please email firstname.lastname@example.org asking if there are any exchange places still available. Late applications will be considered on a first come first served basis.
Pre Selection Application Form
After the closing date and upon receipt of all pre selection applications for exchange the International Office will process the applications and if there is competition for places interviews may need to be carried out. You will be informed of the outcome of your application by the end of February.
If successfully selected to go on exchange, the International Office will inform you of the institution which you can apply to and provide you with the application details for that exchange partner. Some of our partners have online applications and others will require you to complete a paper form. Completed paper exchange applications must be returned to the International Office as our partners prefer applications to be submitted from the Exchanges Coordinator.
Success at Pre Selection does not guarantee that the student is accepted at the exchange institution, although we do have a very high application success rate.
Please note that exchange opportunities are subject to availability. In addition, please note that where exchange opportunities are arranged in the EU, Erasmus+ funding is available subject to the UK remaining in the Erasmus+ scheme.
Once you have been selected for exchange, the next step is to think about what you will study while you are away. You will have done some of this research prior to applying for exchange, but now is the time to get the module choices approved and signed off.
You should arrange to discuss your module options with your Departmental Exchange Coordinator to ensure the modules chosen are the best fit. It will be very unlikely to find an exact match to the modules you would be taking at QMU, however we do ask they match as close as possible to your core modules.
You may need to take more than three modules at your host institution to gain the required credits towards your QMU degree. You must ensure you are undertaking a full time course load on exchange, which may comprise of more modules than the typical three here at QMU. For European institutions, 5 ECTS credits are the equivalent of 10 SCOTCAT credits, and you need 120 SCOTCAT credits per year at QMU to be awarded a degree. That would convert to 30 ECTS per semester. Worldwide institutions have different equivalences so please check with your Departmental Exchange Coordinator or the International Office to ensure you are covering a full-time course load whilst abroad.
Once you have selected your modules from the exchange partner’s options, you will need to complete a Learning Agreement form, which should be signed by your Departmental Exchange Coordinator and the exchange partner then submitted to the International Office.
For further information, please contact