Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity to experience a new country and culture while continuing your degree. There are various options for studying elsewhere in the EU under the Erasmus+ Student Mobility Programme, as well as for travelling further afield to one of our partner institutions in Asia or North America.
All of our study exchanges are faculty and, in some cases, course-specific, ensuring that you have suitable choices to match your academic pathway and receive credits for your study.
Courses are normally delivered in English, with local language courses also available, or in some cases required. Applications for study exchange places are competitive, and you will be selected on the basis of your academic performance, a personal statement, ambassadorial qualities and a suitable academic reference.
Everything you need to know
What partner institutions does BU have study exchange agreements with?
Exchange agreements are faculty-specific and in some cases subject area or course-specific. Download the relevant document to find out about the overseas opportunities in your faculty to see which institutions are open for exchange on your programme. You can study abroad at any of BU's current partner universities which are matched to your programme, bearing in mind it is ultimately at the partner's discretion whether they accept you as an exchange student.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for a study exchange you need to be in good academic standing at the time that you apply. If you want to go abroad in the second year of your undergraduate course, you’ll need to apply before the end of your first year.
You can also apply for an exchange at Master’s level, to be completed as part of your placement unit.
Overseas study exchanges during your final year are rare, although not impossible, usually for specific degrees (e.g. BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism). If you want to undertake an exchange in your final year, you need to apply before the end of your second year and you must have academic approval before you submit your application.
How can you apply?
There are different deadlines for applications for studying abroad depending on the faculty you’re studying with, but the application process is broadly the same. There are three main steps:
- Complete an Expression of Interest form (word 173kb) and submit it to your faculty’s Study Abroad Academic Coordinator (pdf 105kb) by 15 February for exchanges in semesters one and two of the following academic year. This deadline applies to all undergraduate students and postgraduate September starters. The deadline for postgraduate January starters is 15 May, for exchanges in semester two of the following academic year (only option).
- Expressions of Interest are assessed by Study Abroad Academic Coordinators, who may contact you for an interview. If you are successful, you will be nominated by your faculty to BU's International Mobility Officer within a month. They will then put you forward as a candidate to one of the universities you selected, and will contact you approximately within one month from the deadline specified by your faculty to confirm your status.
- The application stage of the process varies from university to university. In some cases, your host university will contact you directly to provide application guidelines. In other cases the International Mobility Officer will advise what documents to prepare, and once your application pack is complete the International Mobility team will submit it to your host university on your behalf.
Whichever application method you're following, it is your responsibility to be fully aware of your host university's specific requirements and deadlines to submit any document.
Please note that if you are going on exchange in semester two, there may be a delay of several months between the nomination and application stages, subject to your allocated institution's timelines. You will typically be contacted by the International Mobility Officer in August.
- Apply for funding once you have a) received your official acceptance letter from the partner university and b) produced your Erasmus+ learning agreement (word 102kb) or International learning agreement (word 445kb).
If your exchange is taking place in a country of the European Union (excluding Switzerland) please visit the Erasmus+ page If your exchange is taking place in North America, Asia or Switzerland please visit the International Study Abroad page.
If you are in receipt of a Student Finance England loan, please contact AskBU to check what arrangements you need to make to receive your loan during your time abroad.
If you have missed the deadline above and you wish to study abroad in semester two, you can still submit an Expression of Interest (pdf 173kb). Depending on availability of places and partner deadlines you may still qualify for a study exchange; this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Information and orientation sessions
Information sessions for students interested in studying abroad are held in each faculty, usually before the winter break. Orientation sessions for successful applicants are held twice a year to support outgoing students with their applications. Dates, times and places will be communicated in due course.
How does study exchange affect your BU degree?
The credits you study on exchange will be transferred back to BU so that they count towards your BU degree outcome. It is important to note that your units will only be recognised on a pass/fail basis, so that while you do not need to achieve the highest grade while on exchange you will need to pass the units to progress at BU. Any grades obtained while overseas will not count towards your final degree classification, instead the grades you receive for the remaining semester at BU will be doubled up to calculate your grade for the whole academic year.
If you have any queries of an academic nature, you should contact the Study Abroad Academic Coordinator (pdf 105kb) in your faculty.
If you have any other non-academic queries regarding the application process, please email the Global Engagement Mobility Officer or call them on 01202 965824.
Talk to a member of the Global Engagement Mobility team in our weekly drop-in sessions at the Global Mobility Hub, Poole House (next to the Student Shop): Monday and Wednesdays 1-5pm during term time. Outside term time the team can be contacted by email or by telephone on 01202 965824.