Student exchanges


Our exchange programmes are open to most students in the Colleges of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, and Science and Engineering. There are various eligibility conditions, such as your subject and linguistic requirements.

Study and Work Away activities are likely to be disrupted for some time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the latest travel advice and restrictions please visit the Travel updates and guidance pages.

Students must have completed 120 credits in their first year. The application process for some exchange places and programmes may be extremely competitive and no student is guaranteed a place.

Subjects with limitations

Students on the MBcHB (Medicine) are not able to participate in exchanges, though other international opportunities or electives may be available - please contact the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine for more details. 

Biomedical Sciences students on the following programmes are eligible to participate in exchanges:

  • Pharmacology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Reproductive Biology

Students taking degrees in Social Work, Primary Teaching or Architecture should consult their Personal Tutor or School to check whether they might participate.

Students of languages are able to participate, but must ensure that they study in a country relevant to their degree.

Linguistic requirements

Students can study in English at the majority of our non-European partner universities but for study at most European institutions, competence in the native language will be required.

Instruction in English

If your exchange is with a university in an English-speaking country, then you will study in English.

Students of English Literature or English Language on an exchange in these subjects will be taught in English, wherever you go to study.

English-taught courses may also be available in other subjects at some of our partner universities in Scandinavia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Czech Republic.

Instruction in the native language

Where teaching is in a language other than English, you will usually be expected to follow lectures, write essays, and take exams in the language of instruction.

Applicants must evidence a recent qualification demonstrating a minimum of level B2 (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

In the absence of formal evidence, you will be required to take a language test, to be arranged through the Go Abroad Office. You will be required to achieve at least Level B2 (on the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) before taking up your exchange place.

Taking a language as an extra subject in your first and/or second years at Edinburgh is recommended as a means of ensuring that you are equipped, linguistically, for a year abroad. 

Improve your language skills

Besides taking a language as an extra subject in your first and/or second year, there are other opportunities within the University of Edinburgh for learning or developing language skills:

Learn a language

Direct entry students

If you entered directly into second year it may still be possible for you to apply for an exchange.

Selection for Subject-specific exchanges is a School level decision, and it would be at the discretion of the relevant School Exchange Coordinator whether a direct entry student would qualify for a place.

For university-wide exchange, this is a College decision:

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science will consider applications from students who transferred to Edinburgh having completed a full academic year at another UK university and who can provide a transcript to indicate their marks from that first year.

Unfortunately students who have entered directly into second year from secondary school cannot be considered for university-wide exchanges.

College of Science and Engineering

The College of Science and Engineering will consider applications from direct entry students. Applicants will be required to provide a full transcript from their previous education establishment and any offer will be conditional on successful passes in the December exam diet.

Joint honours students

Students taking joint honours can normally apply for exchanges - for clarification of any academic requirements or caveats, please double check with your School.

Students must check, before submitting an application via their main subject area, that the institution(s) they plan to apply to offer(s) courses in both of their degree subjects and that Exchange Coordinators in both their subject areas would support their application.

Due to the nature of Subject-specific agreements, we cannot guarantee access to courses at the host institution outside the agreement discipline, though most of our partner institutions are fairly flexible in this regard. It is your responsibility to research the course options at prospective host universities to ensure that you can satisfy your academic requirements for both subject areas.

University-wide exchanges may offer the most flexible option as these exchanges have been set up at institutional level, rather than School or departmental level.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply to study abroad.

Some destinations are more suitable than others so it would be useful to investigate options at an early stage with your Personal Tutor, the Disability Office and/or Edinburgh Global.

Please note that we cannot guarantee the same type or level of support offered at Edinburgh will be available at our partner institutions.