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Semester and year-long exchange

Faculty-specific options

Most courses will allow you to participate in the student exchange program, but the arrangements and options available to you will vary depending on the requirements of individual faculties/schools.

If you are enrolled in a Bachelor of Design Computing, you can go on exchange for up to one year. You may find it easiest to incorporate creditable units overseas by applying to a university-wide program focusing on arts, economics or science electives.

Computer science, design, film, animation and graphics courses are often limited or restricted in terms of allowing exchange options.

If you are enrolled in a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, you can complete up to one semester on exchange from as early as the second semester of your second year.

Exchange information specific to your degree can be found under your course in your handbook.

If you're an Arts and Social Sciences student enrolled in other disciplines, you generally have a broad choice in exchange destinations. Most students apply for a university-wide exchange place.

Bachelor of Arts (Languages)

If you’re undertaking compulsory exchange as part of your degree, you need to select a university where the language of instruction is the same as your language major.

Overseas study is usually undertaken in the third year of your degree or after you have completed three semesters.

Some majors have additional exchange requirements:

Sydney College of the Arts

If you are a visual arts student, we recommend that you participate in an exchange program during the later stages of your undergraduate degree (excluding honours) or in the early part of your postgraduate research program. Exchange can be for up to one semester or two research periods.

There are several discipline-specific partnerships available to business students considering exchange.

The study undertaken on exchange does not count towards any of your degree core, compulsory and major requirements. You are expected to undertake only elective units on exchange, so you should keep a minimum of one semester’s worth of elective study (24 credit points) aside for the exchange semester. This would be your mobility window, the most ideal time in your degree to study overseas.

You should plan the progression of your degree so that you complete as many core and compulsory units (including your major) within the first three semesters of your study.

If your course structure allows it, you may be able to take studies at the host university from areas outside of business.

As an education and social work student you are encouraged to take elective units on exchange, especially if you are in a combined course.

Semester-long education exchanges are available for students in combined-degree undergraduate programs:

  • Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Humanities and Social Sciences) and Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Science) and Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Mathematics) and Bachelor of Science.

Education credit often focuses on human movement and health education units, such as overseas courses in exercise sports, nutrition, kinesiology or public health.

You can also take language courses on exchange.

Most overseas universities are not familiar with combined courses, so you may need to focus on only one of your course areas while on exchange. We advise you to select the area that is most flexible for exchange.

Different schools within the faculty have slightly different recommendations and requirements.

Work placements and other project requirements may impact on the timing of when you go on exchange.

Fourth-year exchange is not usually recommended.

We recommend you first explore the exchange programs offered by the faculty.

The eligibility requirements for law exchange programs can vary from those outlined above. You should speak to your faculty adviser for more information:

As a law student you can spend one semester (24 credit points) on exchange in the last year of your Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD).

You may only complete elective credit overseas, and cannot satisfy any compulsory requirements of either of the above degrees while on exchange, including the Jurisprudence and International/Comparative and Transnational requirements.

You can only enrol in law units offered by a recognised law school and that count towards an accredited law course, for example an LLB, JD or equivalent.

Combined law students

If you’re studying in a combined law program you can complete an exchange in your first degree. While on this exchange you cannot enrol in any law units.

You will still be eligible to complete exchange in the final year of your second (law) degree.

If you're a Biomedical Science student, you can participate in a discipline-specific exchange agreement with Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. If you are considering an exchange there, please discuss this with your course coordinator early in your course.

Sydney School of Health Sciences

You’re encouraged to apply for exchange if you’re enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Sciences or any Applied Science program.

You can apply for all university-wide programs as well as two health sciences-specific undergraduate exchange partnerships: Maastricht University in the Netherlands; and Oregon State University in the United States.

You should contact your course director or year advisor to plan your exchange application.

Sydney Pharmacy School

Through exchange, pharmacy students are able to gain experience in other healthcare systems.

Both faculty-specific and university-wide exchanges are available as long as you can take coursework among the listed options.

Course offerings at host exchange universities should focus on the following areas:

  • bioethics
  • biostatistics (‘big data’ analysis; analyses of large administrative data sets)
  • chemistry
  • clinical trials
  • epidemiology
  • genomics/ personalised medicine
  • health care services and pharmacy services
  • health policy
  • health sciences
  • pharmaceutical policy
  • pharmaceutical sciences
  • pharmacoeconomics
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • pharmacology / clinical pharmacology
  • public health
  • research methods relevant to health care.

Most students choose to go to the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland and Germany (German speakers). The following universities are popular:

  • University of Auckland
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Helsinki
  • Queen Mary College, London
  • Northeastern University (Boston)
  • University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
  • Ludwig-Maximilans Universiteit (Munich) – for German speakers only.

Most health-related courses in Canada and the United States are taught only as professional degrees at the postgraduate level and will be closed to undergraduate students.

However, there may be some undergraduate options in Canada, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

If you are an undergraduate student, you can apply for an exchange semester from as early as midway through second year. However, we generally prioritise third-year or senior level students.

If you are a postgraduate student continuing from an undergraduate course, you may apply to go on exchange in the first semester of your master’s degree. If you completed your undergraduate studies elsewhere, you can apply in the first semester for exchange later on in your master’s degree.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music offers several faculty-specific exchange agreements in Austria, Germany, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Because of the high volume of applicants, we encourage Bachelor of Music Studies students to consider placement at university-wide exchange destinations.

If you are an undergraduate science student, you will generally have considerable choice of exchange programs, though there are restricted enrolments in some academic areas at partner universities. Most students apply for university-wide exchange places.

It is generally difficult to undertake computer science at universities in Canada and the United States due to intense competition for places from local students.


With faculty approval, undergraduate agriculture students can apply for exchange from as early as second year. However, most students apply in third year for a one-semester long program.

Course offerings at host exchange universities should focus on the following areas:

  • Agricultural Science
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Agricultural Genetics
  • Agronomy
  • Animal Production
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Science
  • Food Science
  • Forest Science
  • Horticulture
  • Hydrology
  • Plant Production
  • Soil Science.

Postgraduate students can go on exchange with faculty permission. Postgraduate research students can undertake exchanges that are targeted to specific experimental or training needs of the student’s research program.

Medical Science

If you’re enrolled in the Bachelor of Medical Science, you can apply for exchange no earlier than third year. This is because you need to complete compulsory core units in second year.

School of Chemistry and School of Physics

If you’re a senior undergraduate student you may be eligible to participate in our Nanjing Research Exchange.

School of Psychology

If you’re completing a psychology major and considering exchange, it’s important to understand the options available to you.

The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) has requirements about the syllabus and standard of Psychology degrees awarded by Australian universities, so we need to ensure that what you study overseas meets APAC requirements as well as University of Sydney requirements.

Find out more about when you can go overseas during your course and what the study requirements are.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Strict degree requirements mean you are not typically able to participate in semester-based exchange programs.

However, if you are enrolled in the Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience, you may be able to participate in exchange after consultation with your course coordinator.

For Veterinary Science and Animal Science students, short-term practical placements may be arranged at a partner school or partner organisation overseas.

Sydney Abroad

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Last updated: 11 December 2019

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