Your exchange forms a key part of your degree, so it's important you understand exactly what the academic requirements and implications will be.
The specifics of what you will be expected to achieve whilst on exchange depend on what you're studying. Your School's Exchange Coordinator is the key academic adviser for students going on exchange so make sure you check with them, well in advance of your exchange, what you need to achieve while you're abroad.
- How many credits do I have to take?
- What types of courses can I take?
- I'm a joint honours student - how am I expected to balance both subjects?
- How will my work be transferred back to my Edinburgh degree?
Please bear in mind that your Exchange Coordinator may change so it's important to check via the link below before getting in touch with them. If you’re a joint honours student, you may have two Exchange Coordinators.
To proceed with your exchange, you must pass all your second year courses at first sitting before the start of your exchange. If you have not passed a full 240 credits upon the receipt of your exam results at the end of the May exam diet of your second year, you will not be permitted to proceed with your exchange. We will email your Exchange Coordinator to check that you are eligible to proceed with your exchange after the May exam diet.
|You should be aware of the following academic requirements of exchange before you apply:
Yes! Providing that you successfully complete your exchange, the work that you undertake at your host institution will be credited towards your Edinburgh degree. Precisely how this happens may vary depending on whether the exchange period is a mandatory or optional part of your Edinburgh degree programme.
Students on mandatory exchanges (including Modern European Languages)
If your study abroad period is a mandatory part of your Edinburgh degree programme, grades obtained whilst on exchange may count towards your degree. Ensure that you know how many credits you need to return to Edinburgh and how your grades will be translated.
Some programmes, such as Modern European Language programmes, may not require students to take a full credit load at the partner institution if credits are gained through courses assessed in Edinburgh.
Please speak with your Exchange Coordinator who will be able to advise on the specific course and credit requirements of your programme and how your year or semester abroad will impact your Edinburgh degree.
Students on optional exchanges
Students undertaking study abroad as a non-mandatory part of their degree programme will transfer only credit to their Edinburgh degree. Grades for courses taken whilst on exchange will not be included in the calculation of your degree classification and will not be listed on your University of Edinburgh transcript.
On returning to Edinburgh, presuming you pass your year abroad, you will proceed to your fourth (or final) year of study. Your degree will normally be classified only on the basis of the work you complete in your fourth year at Edinburgh.
If you are undertaking a five-year programme of study, you should check with your School as to how your degree classification will be calculated.
Students doing a research placement or a PhD
If you’re doing a research placement at your host institution (rather than taking courses) or you are a PhD student you should check with your School how your credits/grades will be awarded.
University of Edinburgh policy requires that in order to proceed with your exchange in third year, you must pass all your second year courses at first sitting, before the start of your exchange. Students who have not passed a full 240 credits of courses at the end of the May exam diet will not be permitted to proceed with their exchange.
The basis for this is primarily supportive. Participation in a year abroad is a significant undertaking which requires considerable resilience. The University has a duty of care to ensure that students travelling abroad are sufficiently equipped both academically and individually to succeed while studying away from campus.
If you know that you have failed an exam it is important to notify your relevant exchanges team and your exchange coordinator as soon as possible so we can look into the impact this may have on your ability to proceed with your exchange.
Where students nominated for exchange have had special circumstances approved, please contact your Exchange Coordinator, who will consult with the College and SWAY regarding the feasibility of proceeding with your exchange plans. Please note, as this credit requirement is a degree regulation, any exceptions have to be granted by the College and cannot be made by SWAY. We can only take into account special circumstances which have been applied for and approved through the official channels.
Unfortunately, the timeline for exchanges will not allow for resits during the August exam diet.
You are normally expected to undertake and pass the equivalent of 120 Edinburgh credits for the year (60 per semester) in order to progress to your final year at the University of Edinburgh.
Although requirements may vary slightly depending on your degree programme (and you should always check with your Exchange Coordinator), in general you should normally take whatever constitutes a full academic credit or course load at your host university. Your course selections should be relevant to your subject area. In order to calculate how many courses constitute a full course load at your host institution, you may need to be aware of the credit system your host university uses.
Credit systems will vary from institution to institution. To find out the required credit/course load requirements for your host institution, please view the documents below.
Students studying in the 2023/24 academic year
Students studying in the 2024/25 academic year
If your host institution doesn’t have a semester system but rather quarters, you will be able to see how many credits you should take per term/quarter.
Most European institutions use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), awarding credit which is comparable and equivalent throughout Europe. A standard annual course load at most institutions is 60 ECTS credits - this equates to 120 Edinburgh credits.
Please note that DELC students should instead refer to the DELC Year Abroad handbook for information about credit requirements.
While you are abroad, you are expected to take equivalent courses to those you would have taken had you remained in Edinburgh, and which will allow you to meet the outcomes of your degree programme.
Your Exchange Coordinator will help you to ensure that your course selections satisfy requirements for your degree programme here at Edinburgh. They will be best placed to inform you of your requirements and any compulsory courses you have for which you may need to find equivalents at your host institution. If you are a joint honours student, you should contact your Exchange Coordinators to enquire into how your school/degree programme would like you to split your courses whilst on exchange.
Not all of our partners offer courses in all subject areas, so it is very important that you research the different options available to you before you apply. You can do this by exploring the websites and course catalogues of your proposed host institution(s). Subject-specific exchanges provide a degree of certainty with regards to availability of courses in your subject area, as each School has specifically established these exchanges for their students. You should therefore be able to enrol on sufficient courses to meet your academic requirements.
However, course offerings vary from institution to institution and from year to year, so before applying, you should do some research to check there are plenty of courses on offer that you are interested in and that you meet any pre-requisites, including language skills. If your host institution does not yet offer a course catalogue for the year you plan to go, have a look at the course catalogue from the previous academic year to help inform your application for exchange.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you select institutions where appropriate courses are available.