Student exchanges

Our exchange programmes

Learn about the different types of exchange offered at the University of Edinburgh.

Optional student exchanges temporarily cancelled for Semester 1

Optional student exchanges scheduled to run in Semester 1 of 2020/21 have been temporarily cancelled for health and safety reasons.

Exchanges due to start in semester 2 are expected to go ahead. 

The University is monitoring the situation closely and will update if this changes. 

Check the latest information

An exchange is normally undertaken in the third year of 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.

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

Find out more about Postgraduate Research exchanges

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. There is no guarantee that all applicants will be offered a place.


The University of Edinburgh runs two exchange programmes:

European exchange programme

Erasmus Plus logo

The Erasmus+ programme provides study and work opportunities within Europe. A grant is available to most students as a contribution to the cost of travelling and living abroad. 

Edinburgh has Erasmus exchange agreements with around 250 universities in more than 20 countries.

Most of our Erasmus exchanges are Subject-Specific, though we do have a small number of General agreements. 

Opportunities are available in most subject areas.

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!

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

International exchange programme

The International exchange programme provides study opportunities to partners beyond Europe. With over 100 partners worldwide, covering 17 different countries, there really is a whole world of opportunity available to you!

Subject specific and general exchanges

International exchanges may be subject-specific or general. Most partners offer teaching in English.

Subject-specific exchanges

Subject-specific exchanges are set up between a particular Subject Area here in Edinburgh and a particular Subject Area at the partner institution. They are only open to students studying a degree in that particular Subject Area. 

With Subject-Specific exchanges you have much better certainty that the university you go to will offer courses suitable to your degree, as this is an agreement your Subject Area has established with their students in mind.

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

General exchanges

General exchanges are open to (most) students in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, and Science and Engineering. We have around 50 General exchange partner universities worldwide.

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

Find out more about Erasmus

Erasmus Student Charter

Erasmus Charter

Erasmus Policy Statement

Study Abroad with Erasmus+