Skip to main content

How to apply

What to consider during the application process

A successful application to study abroad takes preparation and research. We recommend planning your trip well ahead of the departure date. Start today by getting your application ready.

Choose a university

We have more than 300 formal exchange agreements with universities in 35 countries, covering different academic disciplines and languages.

Programs taught entirely in English are available in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, and in some countries within Europe and Asia. Where courses are taught in a language other than English, you will need to demonstrate proficiency in that language.

While we have many partnership agreements, exchange placements may not always be available at every destination, every semester. Some partnerships are open to particular disciplines or faculties only.

Your application allows you to nominate up to five university preferences. Cast a wide net and research the possibilities thoroughly before settling on your top five. The best destination for you may not always be the most obvious.

Gather information

Browse our University partner list to view the programs available.

The annual Sydney Abroad Fair in April is a key event for anyone considering embarking on exchange. Connect with representatives from host universities and get information and advice.

Once you have done your research, speak with an exchange adviser in person. Drop-in advice sessions are available every Thursday, 2 to 4pm, during semester.

If you have an idea of where you want to go, an adviser can offer you valuable guidance on whether you meet the basic criteria. An adviser can provide feedback on your research, and talk through any questions you might have about specific options. Feel free to drop in for a consultation after you've done some research.

When thinking about where you may go, consider:

  • the language of instruction
  • availability of suitable courses
  • the host university's reputation
  • overall competition or demand for the course
  • how your personal, academic and recreational interests fit with the lifestyle offered by that campus
  • when the academic year runs within your host university's country
  • how much it will cost, and whether there are scholarships available for that course.

Academic calendars abroad

As many of our international partners run to a different academic calendar, you need to be aware of how their semester dates align with your degree schedule.

North America:

  • Semester 1: August or September
  • Semester 2: January

United Kingdom:

  • Semester 1: September
  • Semester 2: January


  • Semester 1: September
  • Semester 2: February


  • No national standard

Selection criteria and competition

Most host universities in English-speaking countries receive more applications than there are places.

Competition can be intense, particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Almost 50 percent of all applicants nominate these countries as their only preferences.

An exchange adviser will assess your application against the eligibility criteria as specified by your preferred host university.

We will assess your academic performance and personal suitability. A high distinction average does not guarantee a placement.

Your statement of purpose and academic reference will also play a large part in determining the outcome of your application.

If your first preference is not successful, the selection process will be repeated with your secondary preferences.

In some cases, you may need to reallocate your choices. Unsuccessful applicants may be invited to reapply the following semester.

If your application is successful, you will receive written notification from your exchange adviser. You will then complete several more documents to finalise your nomination.

Host universities have the final authority to accept or reject applicants. It can take two to three months for an outcome to be confirmed.

Preparing to apply

Before you apply you will need to attend an information session and register. 

For students who are interested in undertaking an exchange in a particular region, destination focus sessions provide further information about the requirements and opportunities in these regions. Faculty specific sessions will highlight opportunities and requirements for students from those particular faculties. You only need to attend one session.

Submitting your application

When you submit your application, you also need to include:

  • a statement of purpose
  • your study plan for each of your five destination preferences.
A study abroad adviser can help you understand what's required.
See our exchange program list for information on exchange opportunities in Semester 2, 2016.
Registration for exchange in Semester 1, 2017 closes on Sunday 22 May. You will need to submit your application by Friday 10 June.
If your application is successful, we will nominate you formally for exchange. You then complete the host university's application form, including formal academic approval from your faculty to have your selected units of study credited to your degree. 
The host university will contact you with a formal letter of acceptance if you are selected. This will normally include information about courses, accommodation, visa and immigration requirements and health insurance. 
We hold predeparture sessions to help you prepare, and the government's Smart Traveller website contains a lot of useful information about travelling. 

You can apply to us directly or via our range of partnerships and registered University of Sydney agents, who may be able to lodge your application on your behalf.

If you've been nominated for exchange by your university or institution, or you are applying directly as a Sydney Abroad candidate, you can submit your application online, as outlined below.

Please check your eligibility before you apply.

Admission to the exchange program is not automatic and we will assess each applicant against the various requirement.

If you are interested in the Study Abroad Internship Program, please indicate this on your application form at the appropriate section.

Undergraduate students

Apply online through Find a course. We have some hints to help you complete your application.

Study with us for one semester:

Study with us for two semesters:

Postgraduate students

If you are a postgraduate coursework and research applicant, you need to have completed the equivalent of an Australian bachelor’s degree. You will also need to provide your academic transcript as part of your application.

Research applicants also need to include a one-page research proposal, along with written confirmation of support from a supervisor both at the University of Sydney and your home university. You can look for a research opportunity or a potential supervisor using Research Supervisor Connect.

We invite you to apply through Find a course. We have some hints to help you complete your application.

One-semester programs:

Two-semester programs:

If your research period with us will last less than a semester, our human resources department will handle your application. You can also contact your intended supervisor for more information.

Application deadlines

The academic year in Australia begins in early March. Applicants intending to start in first semester should apply no later than 30 November the year prior.

If you plan to start in July for the second semester you need to apply by no later than 30 April.

Application deadlines

Study abroad students (inbound)

  • To start in March semester: 30 November
  • To start in July semester: 30 April
  • To submit an expression of interest for a study abroad internship: late January for March intake

Exchange students (outbound)

You can apply anytime, but your start date will vary by the semesters in the country you're going to.