Student exchanges

Our exchange programmes

Learn about the exchanges offered at the University of Edinburgh.

Exchanges at the University of Edinburgh are  normally undertaken in the third year of  undergraduate study as an integral component of your degree programme. 

Usually, you apply during your second year, study abroad during your third year and return to Edinburgh for your fourth year. An exchange won’t mean adding an additional year on to your degree programme

Some students on five-year degree programmes may be permitted to go on exchange in their fourth year. Please check with your School for details.

Most exchanges are for a full academic year, though semester-only exchanges may be possible in some subjects. 

Students are expected to complete and pass a full course load whilst on exchange. You need to complete courses which are relevant and at an appropriate level to your Edinburgh degree programme.

Our exchange programmes are competitive. No applicant is guaranteed a place.

Where can you go?

Find out where we have exchanges

See our Exchange Destinations Guide to find out where you could go on exchange:

View all exchange destinations

Which exchange?

The University of Edinburgh offers two types of exchange:

University-wide exchanges

University-wide exchanges are open to students from most Schools and Subject Areas in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science (CAHSS) and Science and Engineering (CSE).  Places are managed centrally by the Study and Work Away Service (SWAY).

Most partner universities offer teaching in English.

Due to the diversity of academic programmes offered at Edinburgh, we’re not able to guarantee that every partner will be suitable for every student. You need to do some independent research to work out which options will be best for you.  You should only apply to an institution which clearly offers suitable courses for your degree programme.

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

Subject-specific exchanges

Subject-specific exchanges are restricted to students from just one School or Subject Area, and places are managed at School level.  So where you can go depends on what you are studying.

With Subject-specific exchanges you can be sure that the university you go to will offer courses suitable to your degree, as this is an agreement your Subject Area has established specifically with its students in mind.

Applications may also be less competitive as you will only be competing against other students from your Subject Area.

Both the University-wide and subject-specific routes include destinations for European exchange and International exchange (outside of Europe).  You can  apply through both the university-wide and subject-specific routes, but you can only accept one place!

Postgraduate students

If you are a Postgraduate Research student, you are also able to go on exchange.

Find out more about Postgraduate Research exchanges