Student exchanges

Our exchange programmes

An exchange is normally undertaken in the third year of study as an integral component of your degree programme.

In general, you apply during your second year, study abroad during your third year and return to Edinburgh for your fourth year.  Most exchanges are for a full academic year, though semester-only exchanges may be possible in some subjects.

The different exchange programmes offered at the University of Edinburgh are outlined below, they can be divided both by who can apply for them, and the region in which they are located.  When you come to apply, you may submit a Subject-Specific and/or General Exchange application. 

General exchanges

These programmes are open to most students in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science and Science and Engineering, providing the partner institution offers suitable courses for your degree programme. We have are around 50 General Exchange partner universities - mostly, though not exclusively, outside Europe.

Given the diversity of academic programmes offered at Edinburgh we’re not able to guarantee that every partner will be suitable for every student, so you will need to do some independent research to work out which options will be best for you.

Places on our General exchanges are allocated centrally and can be extremely competitive as they are open to students from across the University. 

Subject-Specific exchanges

These exchange programmes are set up between a particular Subject Area here in Edinburgh, and a particular Subject Area at the partner institution, and are only open to students studying a degree in that particular Subject Area.

With Subject-Specific agreements you have much better certainty that there will be suitable courses, as this is an agreement your Subject Area has created. They can also be less competitive as you will only be competing against other students from your Subject Area.

International or Erasmus exchange?

International exchange

International Exchange refers to partners located outside of Europe and agreements may be General or Subject-Specific. With over 100 partners world-wide covering 17 different countries there really is a whole world of opportunity available to you!


Erasmus Plus logo

The Erasmus+ programme includes study or work opportunities within Europe and provides a grant to most students.  Edinburgh has Erasmus agreements with around 250 universities in more than 20 countries. Erasmus Exchanges tend to be Subject-Specific and opportunities are available in most Subject Areas.

Erasmus activities are carried out with the support of the European Commission within the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme.

Erasmus isn’t just for language students - in fact, fewer than half of Edinburgh students on Erasmus exchanges are studying on language degrees and we have a number of exchange partners where students may study in English. Of course, if you do have skills in a language other than English, this may open up even more options for you!

Related links

Study Abroad with Erasmus+