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Study abroad and exchange

Independent study abroad

If you’re not eligible for our exchange program or you’d like to study at an overseas university that doesn’t have an exchange agreement with Sydney University, you may be able to undertake independent study abroad.

In general terms, this means organising your own study overseas, and then applying to your faculty for approval. If your study abroad is approved, you’ll be required to suspend your studies here while you undertake your study overseas. You’ll pay your fees for this study directly to your host university and according to the rates that they charge.  

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for independent study abroad:

  • you need to have an academic average of 60 percent or more in the degree within which you are applying to study abroad. This includes if you have transferred courses or upgraded.
  • undergraduate students need to have completed at least 48 credit points in the degree within which they are applying to study abroad.
  • postgraduate students need to have completed 24 credit points in the degree within which they are applying to study abroad
  • you need to have sufficient credit (room) in your degree to undertake study abroad. Core units of study cannot be taken while abroad.
  • your degree must be in good order and consistent with the progression of your enrolled award course
  • international students are not permitted to undertake studies in countries where they hold citizenship
  • the study abroad destination cannot not be a university or institution where the University of Sydney already has an existing exchange agreement
  • you need to agree to abide by the University of Sydney Student Code of Conduct while studying abroad, as you’ll be acting as a representative of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and of the University.

How to apply

To apply for this option, you’ll need to complete an independent study application form (pdf, 133KB) and include:

  • a letter of offer or conditional offer from the intended host institution
  • a copy of the host institutions academic calendar, demonstrating the duration of study
  • a letter or handbook/website extract demonstrating how many credit points constitutes full-time study at the host institution per semester, and how many credit points your intended unit(s) of study is worth.

The units you provide in your application will be sent to the relevant exchange coordinator for academic approval.

Choosing your units

Academic pre-approval to undertake overseas study abroad is mandatory. We will not accept transcripts for consideration from students who undertook study without prior approval or from students who undertook study at any institution other than that which has been explicitly approved as part of a study abroad application.

When considering what overseas units to approve we ask the following questions:

  • Is the unit an appropriate level of study?
    The unit should be undertaken at an institution that awards an equivalent degree, ie, a bachelor's or master's program. All institutions are assessed using the Australian Government’s Country Education Profiles (CEP) Online, and the host institution chosen should be recognised in this system as providing appropriate level of studies.
  • Is it in an appropriate area of study?
    Units should come from an appropriate area of study, as per the Table A and Table B units of study for undergraduate students, or the Postgraduate Table of units of study.
  • What is the credit point equivalence?
    Subjects will generally be weighted in terms of an equivalent maximum, full-time credit load per year. For example, a full-time credit load at the University of Sydney is between 36 and 48 credit points per year, whereas throughout most of Europe the equivalent is between 42 and 60 ECTS (credit points) per year. Therefore academic approvals would be weighted on the basis of the maximum full-time study load (ie, 48 credit points at Sydney = 60 ECTS in Europe, or 6 credit points at Sydney = 7.5 ECTS in Europe).

Getting credit for your overseas study

Once you’ve completed your study abroad for the semester, you need to submit a credit application through Sydney Student, including an official overseas academic transcript and the study abroad approval letter.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for independent study abroad:

  • you need to be enrolled in either a bachelor or master's degree
  • you need to have sufficient general elective credit in your degree to undertake study abroad. Core/foundation, compulsory or major/specialisation units of study cannot be taken while abroad
  • your degree must be in good order and consistent with the progression of your enrolled award course
  • the study abroad destination cannot not be a university or institution with which the University of Sydney already has an existing exchange agreement
  • you need to agree to abide by the University of Sydney Student Code of Conduct while studying abroad, as you will be acting as a representative of the University of Sydney Business School.

How to apply

To apply for this option, you’ll need to first complete an Independent study abroad request form (pdf, 163KB). You’ll need to include electronic copies of the syllabus or unit of study outlines for the subjects you intend to study overseas.

When you have completed your study abroad semester you’ll need to apply for credit through Sydney Student and include a copy of your overseas transcript and academic approval form.

Choosing your units

Academic pre-approval to undertake overseas study abroad is mandatory. We will not accept transcripts for consideration from students who undertook study without prior approval or from students who undertook study at any institution other than that which has been explicitly approved as part of a study abroad application.

When considering what overseas units to approve we ask the following questions:

  • Is the unit an appropriate level of study?
    The unit should be undertaken at an institution that awards an equivalent degree, ie, a bachelor's or master's program. All institutions are assessed using the Australian Government’s Country Education Profiles (CEP) Online, and the host institution chosen should be recognised in this system as providing appropriate level of studies.
  • Is it in an appropriate area of study?
    Units should come from an appropriate area of study. For example, in the United States of America many universities will grant credit for participation in sports; however the Business School here in Sydney does not, so you could not expect credit for this type of study. Some other examples include: yoga, scuba diving, dance and cooking.
  • What is the credit point equivalence?
    Subjects will generally be weighted in terms of an equivalent maximum, full-time credit load per year. For example, a full-time credit load at the University of Sydney is between 36 and 48 credit points per year, whereas throughout most of Europe the equivalent is between 42 and 60 ECTS (credit points) per year. Your academic approvals would be weighted on the basis of the maximum full-time study load (ie, 48 credit points at Sydney = 60 ECTS in Europe, or 6 credit points at Sydney = 7.5 ECTS in Europe).

Independent study abroad is an opportunity to study as an international university in the Summer or Winter break periods, and to have that study count towards an undergraduate degree administered by the Faculty of Science in circumstances where the formal University of Sydney Exchange Program does not apply. The maximum credit available is 24 credit points of undergraduate study of which the equivalent of six credit points can be taken in any one July Winter break period and 12 credit points in any one December to February Summer break period. This study is treated in a manner similar to Outbound Cross Institutional Study, but the Faculty of Science imposes further requirements for approval.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for independent study abroad:

  • you need to be on track to have completed a minimum of 48 credit points towards your degree total, of which 24 credit points should have been successfully completed at the University of Sydney and undertaken in your current degree
  • you need to have achieved at least a credit average (65 percent or higher) over your academic record at the University of Sydney and should have passed all subjects
  • you should demonstrate that the unit of study content is not taught in any corresponding unit of study at the University of Sydney; or, that you are unable, for good reason, to attend a corresponding unit of study at the University of Sydney
  • international students cannot complete this study in their home country
  • units completed while on independent study abroad cannot count towards a major at the University of Sydney
  • units completed while on independent study abroad must fit within your course resolutions.

How to apply

You need to submit all of the following documents at least three months prior to departure:

  • an application for Outbound Cross Institutional Study (pdf, 76KB)
  • detailed unit of study outline for the relevant study abroad unit
  • a supporting letter outlining the reason why you intend to undertake study abroad.

If approved, we will provide a conditional offer of credit. When you have successfully completed your overseas study, you’ll need to apply for credit through Sydney Student, and include a copy of your overseas transcript and academic approval form. Approval for short term independent study abroad will not be granted retrospectively. 

Sydney Abroad

Address
Level 3, Jane Foss Russell Building, Darlington Campus
Open 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday
Last updated: 20 April 2017

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