Frequently asked questions

What exactly is the exchange programme?

The University Exchange Programme and the ERASMUS+ Exchange Programme give qualified students the chance to study abroad at one of our overseas exchange partner universities for either a semester or a full academic year during third year. Students obtain credit for their year or semester abroad and return to Stirling for the following semester. This is not a year out, or a semester out: students are required to follow a similar academic programme to their Stirling degree and continue to be enrolled at the University of Stirling during their semester or year abroad.

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Can anyone go?

We want to give as many students as possible the opportunity to study abroad, but the reality is that we have a limited number of places so selection is competitive - particularly for the most popular destinations.

In order to apply for any exchange programme you must be on course for an Honours degree and have achieved grades of 50 or higher in each module of your main degree subject(s) in semesters 2 and 3 (plus at least two other grades of 50 or higher in a second subject in the case of Single Honours students). Students who do not meet this requirement are not eligible to apply. First semester grades are not taken into consideration.

Degree Programme

Semester 2 marks

Semester 3 marks

Degree programmes with 1 core module and 2 option modules

50 or higher in core module plus one other module

50 or higher in core module plus one other module (does not have to be the same subject as semester 2)

Degree programme with 2 core modules and 1 option module

50 or higher in both core modules

50 or higher in both core modules

Degree programme with 3 core modules

50 or higher in two core modules

50 or higher in two core modules

Students will be scored and ultimately selected on the basis of their academic profile and the strength of their overall application.

Some students, primarily those undertaking language programmes who will study abroad in any case as a required part of their degree, are not eligible for an additional semester through the University Exchange Programme. In a few other cases, the integration of a professional qualification into the degree programme (e.g. Dip.Ed., HRM Single Honours) or incompatibility of programmes abroad (e.g. Nursing), makes participation inadvisable.

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Where can I study?

Not all academic programmes will be available at all exchange partner universities and students can only apply to study abroad at universities which are approved for their particular degree programme.  Students who are on joint degree programmes will need to choose from exchange partner universities that are approved for both subjects.  Please check the course approval listing below to find out what you can study and where:

Australian Partner Universities - Approved Programmes

Canadian Partner Universities - Approved Programmes

Hong Kong & Japanese Partner Universities - Approved Programmes

USA Partner Universities - Approved Programmes


Erasmus Exchanges - Faculty of Arts and Humanities - Approved Programmes

Erasmus Exchanges - Stirling Managment School - Approved Programmes

Erasmus Exchanges - Faculty of Natural Sciences - Approved Programmes

Erasmus Exchanges - Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport - Approved Programmes

Erasmus Exchange - Faculty of Social Science - Approved Programmes


Can I choose whether I go for a semester or a year?

You can indicate your preference for a semester or a year on the application form and this will be honoured where possible. Ultimately, whether you can go for a semester or a year will depend on the overall number of students who apply to study abroad, and the number of places available. The Study Abroad Office reserves the right to assign students to a specific semester (semester 5 or 6) for either academic reasons or to achieve a balance between semesters.

Politics students who will be undertaking a politics dissertation in their final year should apply to study abroad in semester 5 only so as not to miss the core politics research methods module taught at Stirling in semester 6.

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Can I go at any point in my studies?

Students study abroad in either semester 5 or 6, or for the whole of their third year if space permits. Language students who have a compulsory semester abroad will study abroad in Semester 6. Sometimes a student’s programme of study may dictate the semester they can spend abroad.  Students can only study abroad during their third year.

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Where can I go?

There are links to the websites of all of our exchange partner universities from the left hand sidebar. Please note that not all of of our exchange partner universities are compatible with all Stirling degree programmes so it may not be possible for you to study your course at your first choice of institution. Please refer to the course approval listings above when considering the universities that you would like to put on your application form. It is recommended that you select up to 5 universities (where possible) and you will rank these in order of preference on your application form.

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How do I apply?

The application form is made available after the annual International Opportunities Fair in early October. The form should be downloaded from the website and must be returned by the requested deadline. There is one single application form for all exchange programmes, and students can indicate preferences for ERASMUS+ and / or non-ERASMUS+ exchange partner universities on the same application form. The application form is removed from the website after the application deadline.

Students' applications will be scored by the Study Abroad Office and students will also receive an academic score based on their marks.  We aim to offer an exchange place to as many qualified students as possible but not all students will get their first choice of university.  For this reason, it is important that you allow yourself as much choice as possible, but do not put an exchange partner university down on your form as one of your choices if you would not be happy to spend a semester studying there.

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How am I selected?

The University regards participation in the exchange programme as an academic and personal honour and seeks to select the best of its students on the basis of merit. Selection is made on the basis of two criteria - academic and personal suitability. The application process is intended to help students make the best case for selection that they can. We want to find students who are committed to their programme, enthusiastic about the opportunities available and keen to take on new challenges. The programme is for everyone with a sense of adventure!

It is strongly recommended that you meet with the Study Abroad Office prior to submitting an application so that you can discuss the suitability of your choices, and your individual preferences.

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Does everyone who applies get a place on the exchange programme?

We try to accommodate all qualified students who want to participate in the exchange programme and who are suitable candidates, but there are a limited number of places at each destination and competition can be fierce. This is why we ask you to rank up to 5 partner institutions in order of preference so that if we can't offer you your first choice we will hopefully be able to offer you your second or third choice where possible.  It is very important that, if you are going to put 5 choices of partner university on your application form, that you research all thoroughly as you may be placed at any one of them.

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How do I decide which partner universities best fit my degree programme?

You need to give yourself time to research the academic suitability of your chosen universities. This isn’t something that can be done in an hour! Not all degree programmes are approved for all partner universities. First, you should look at the course approvals listed above for a general guide. Look at the websites for each institution and see if the courses offered there fit your semester 5 and/or 6 degree programme and are of interest to you. It is your responsibility to check if the host destination has appropriate courses. Online academic catalogues and course listings will be available on the exchange partners' websites but you need to allow time to check this. You can also consult the Adviser of Studies for your subject area if you have questions about what modules you need to take whilst on exchange.

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What are the costs involved?

A reciprocal exchange means that a student from the exchange partner university will come to the University of Stirling in your place. As we will be teaching this student, and as you will be receiving credit for your period of exchange, you still need to pay tuition (or apply to have your tuition paid) to Stirling as you usually would. However there will be no tuition fees to pay at the partner university. You will be responsible for accommodation and living expenses at your exchange location and these costs vary considerably between institutions. You will also have to fund international travel, insurance, incidental course fees and any other travel you may wish to undertake during your exchange period. Please take this info consideration before you apply to the exchange programme.

Students who study abroad on an ERASMUS+ exchange are entitled to a monthly grant of up to 300 Euros depending on the location of the exchange.  Please note that ERASMUS+ grant funding is intended to assist with the costs of studying abroad, not to cover the costs in their entirety.

You will still be an enrolled University of Stirling student during your exchange period and will still therefore be entitled to any loans/grants/bursaries which you already receive. Please check with your individual funding body and ask them to clarify their policy on students studying abroad. If you choose to go on exchange for a year, some LEAs will only pay for half of your University of Stirling tuition and you will be responsible for paying the balance. As the cost of living differs amongst our partner institutions, it is important that you include this in your research of exchange partner universities.

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Where do I live whilst I am on exchange?

Details of accommodation options will be given to you by the host university during or following the application process. Please be aware that not all of our exchange partners will guarantee university housing for exchange students. On most exchanges you can apply to live on campus or off campus but you may find it more cost effective to live off campus. You should apply for accommodation as early as possible following your acceptance by your host university. Once you have been offered a place on your exchange programme, you will be provided with contact information for current and former exchange students who can provide more information about housing at your particular campus.

Students who will be studying abroad for one semester are eligible to apply for University of Stirling accommodation for the semester they will be here.  Please note that these places are limited and it is important to apply as soon as possible.  All accommodation will be subject to availability. 

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Do I have to be fluent in the host language?

No! This is the most common misconception amongst students who ask about studying abroad. All of our exchange partners offer instruction in English – this includes our Hong Kong, Japanese and European partners. Some of our Japanese exchange partners offer students the opportunity to take intensive Japanese language courses as part of their academic programme, but all of the courses are taught in English. Language students who have a compulsory semester abroad in either a French or Spanish-speaking country during semester 6 will be required to take courses in French or Spanish.

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Once I am selected, am I on my own?

Absolutely not! The Study Abroad Office at the University of Stirling is available to assist with any non-academic questions or problems. Your Adviser of Studies at Stirling will also be available to deal with academic questions. There are three compulsory pre-departure orientation meetings for all selected exchange students where all aspects of the exchange programme will be covered. We will also put you in touch with current and former exchange students who are well-placed to tell you about their experiences as exchange students. In addition to the pre-departure orientation meetings, there are walk-in advising hours every Wednesday during the semester in Cottrell 2A1 from 11am until 2pm.

Once you’re studying abroad, our partner universities will normally offer an on-site orientation for all new exchange students. There will also be an International or Study Abroad Office with staff who can assist while you are there. There will always be someone available to help you.

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Do I get credit for the courses I take whilst on exchange?

All students must complete a learning agreement before participating in any university exchange programme.  The learning agreement will clearly outline the modules that the student must take during the semester abroad, will confirm that any core programme requirements are covered, and will indicate how the credit from the semester abroad will be applied to the student's degree programme.

From 2015/16, all students who study abroad will receive 60 SCQF credits per semester of exchange (120 SCQF credits for full year exchanges). This credit will be assigned upon confirmation from the host university that all required modules have been completed and passed. The modules undertaken during the exchange must reflect your programme of study at the University of Stirling and will count towards the progress of your degree, but the marks themselves will not count towards your final Honours degree classification. It is important for you to understand that failing courses whilst on exchange can have serious consequences for your academic progression at Stirling.

Your programme of study will be agreed with your Adviser(s) of Studies before you leave for your exchange. The SA1 Learning Agreement / ERASMUS+ Learning Agreement is used for this purpose.

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Can I stay and finish my degree at my host University?

No. It is a condition of your participation in the exchange scheme that you return to Stirling and complete your degree here.

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I am an American student and receive Title IV federal aid. Can I use this aid to study abroad?

Students who are currently enrolled at the University of Stirling and who are currently receiving US federal loans are not excluded from applying to study abroad under one of the university’s international exchange programmes.  However, students can only study abroad at an exchange partner institution that is also approved by the US Department of Education to provide Title IV aid.  So you can use your US loans to finance a semester abroad, but you may be limited in terms of where you can go under this aid programme.  Private loan eligibility is not affected.  Please email if you have further questions about this.

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I have more questions...

No problem! Email, or or come to Walk-in Wednesdays (Cottrell 2A1, 11am until 2pm each Wednesday during semester) and talk about exchange opportunities.

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