Through an exchange program, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students can study overseas at a partner university while remaining enrolled at, and supported by, the University of Adelaide.
Tuition fees are waived by the host institution, allowing you to continue to take advantage of your tuition arrangements at home, while having an amazing, immersive overseas experience. If you are interested in short-term exchange opportunities, such as summer and winter schools, visit the short programs page.
Applying for exchange
Applying for a semester exchange program is a process that takes place over a number of months, and includes both an internal and external application process guided by Study Overseas.
Read more below about how to apply for a successful exchange.
Before starting your exchange application, please check these simple requirements to ensure you are eligible to go away.
These eligibility criteria are for entry into the Study Overseas exchange program and allows Study Overseas to nominate you for an application to a host university. Meeting them does not necessarily guarantee an offer for a particular university or final acceptance from a host university. The application to a host university is a separate process which takes place after you have received an initial offer from Study Overseas.
Some host universities will have additional requirements for students such as requiring additional study to have been completed, a higher level of grades, prior language study, and there may be discipline-specific restrictions or requirements. This information is provided in the partner pages. Your University of Adelaide Faculty may also have specific requirements, these are linked to at the bottom of this page under Faculty Specific Eligibility Requirements.
IMPORTANT: Eligibility for exchange is not the same as eligibility for OS-HELP. If you intend to take out an OS-HELP loan to support your exchange, you must ensure you meet the OS-HELP eligibility criteria in addition to the exchange eligibility below. Check the OS-HELP page for details.
Faculty pre-approval for a minimum of 9 units for each semester of exchange
4.5 GPA or above for the degree/s for which you want to go on exchange.
- Some host institutions require a higher GPA. Check individual program brochures before selecting preferences.
- Only a University of Adelaide GPA for the relevant degree/s, as published on a University of Adelaide transcript, will be considered.
On track to complete 9 units of study by the end of the semester in which you are applying.
- With 18 units to be completed by the time you start your exchange for the degree/s you want to go on exchange.
- As verified by your Faculty/ies in the Faculty pre-approval questionnaire in GLAS.
- Some host institutions require more units to be completed, either for all students or just for specific disciplines. Check individual program brochures before selecting preferences.
- At least 9 units of study must be completed at the University of Adelaide in the year of application (i.e. the semester in which you are making your application to Study Overseas and/or the semester before). In all cases you need to be active in the degree/s against which you wish to go on exchange.
- Previous study (discontinued) from the University of Adelaide, any study from another Australian university, or transferred credit from an overseas institution, can contribute towards the total number of units required. However, the credit needs to be formally transferred towards the degree/s for which you want to go on exchange.
- Where a student has completed a University of Adelaide degree in the previous semester, or has internally transferred into a new degree, without a break in enrolment, previous study can make up all of the unit requirements. Students will need to be admitted into their new program before an offer can be made.
- Double degree or concurrent degree students can count units across their programs towards the total, but will still need to be able to demonstrate at least 9 units in the degree/s they wish to go overseas for.
Postgraduate students must be on track to complete at least 9 units at the postgraduate level when applying for exchange.
- Exceptions to this rule may be granted if students are transitioning immediately from a University of Adelaide undergraduate to postgraduate program and have approval from their Faculty to undertake an exchange in the first semester of their postgraduate studies. Final offers may not be given until students are formally admitted into their postgraduate program.
- Undergraduate results from a University of Adelaide degree may be considered when determining exchange eligibility for postgraduate students i.e. total units completed.
Additional eligibility requirements
- Students who have already participated in an exchange must complete at least one semester of study back at Adelaide before departing on another exchange.
- Sponsored students should check their eligibility to participate in the exchange program with their sponsor prior to commencing an application.
Please note: The information above only applies to undergraduate and postgraduate (coursework) students. MBA students are advised to speak directly with their Business School advisor. PhD students should speak with the supervisor in the first instance.
Faculty specific eligibility requirements
Engineering students should thoroughly read the exchange guidelines and faculty process as laid out by the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences on the ECMS student exchange page.
The Faculty of Arts has provided exchange advice for Arts students which can be viewed on their Faculty of Arts exchange page.
Please note: Students seeking credit for Japanese language study while on exchange should see the Faculty of Arts eligibility requirements for Japanese on exchange.
When applying for exchange you are required to list three partner institutions, in order of preference, where you would like to be placed for your exchange semester or year.
It is part of Study Overseas' job to place you at a partner institution. There is a limited number of places available at each institution, based on the balance of students sent between the two institutions over time. This can mean a wide variation in the availability of places at our partner institutions.
Study Overseas provides place availability indicators on each partner’s application brochure:
‘High competition for places’ indicates that there are usually many more applicants than places available for that partner institution and that often only one or two applicants per round will be successful in receiving a place there.
For this reason, you are required to choose at least one preference which has either a Moderate or High availability of places so that we have the best possible chance of successfully placing you. When completing your Preferences and Credit questionnaire in the Global Learning Application System (GLAS), you will find that your third preference option will be restricted to only those institutions with a Moderate or High availability indicator to prevent students from selecting all High competition institutions, which may render you unable to be placed. Your first two preferences are unrestricted.
Students are selected for places on the basis of academic merit in addition to other components of their application, partner requirements and University data.
Click the buttons below to view all partners with:
How to search for suitable preferences
You will need to do a significant amount of research in order to make sure your preferred universities are suitable for you.
Browse the partner pages
Use the 'View full partner list' or 'Browse by region' buttons at the top of this page to navigate to individual pages for each partner university. These pages include important information and links relating to exchange opportunities with that partner.
In particular, you can see the study areas taught by that university (a guide only, you should investigate the partner’s website for more detail), the number of units you will need to have completed by the time you apply and by the time you depart, and most importantly the Exchange Place Availability indicator. Remember that you won’t be able to apply for an institution that says ‘No places this round’, and must select at least one preference that says ‘High availability of places’ or ‘Moderate availability of places’.
Things to consider when choosing preferences
You should be able to tick the following boxes for each of your preferences before you apply.
- The institution offers enough appropriate courses in my academic area, in the semester(s) I will be there on exchange, that are available to exchange students. Students need Faculty Pre-approval and ultimately Faculty Approval for a minimum of 9 units of credit per exchange semester in order to be eligible for exchange.
- The institution offers courses at the appropriate level to my study ie undergraduate or postgraduate and the Academic Level indicator in GLAS reflects this.
- The institution teaches in a language I speak competently
- I am on track to meet the minimum units required upon application and at time of commencement, and the minimum GPA
- The institution offers a student culture and accommodation options that suit my lifestyle and needs
- The estimated cost of living at the destination for the duration of my exchange is manageable for me. Refer to the finances tab for information about costs you will need to consider and funding options. You can also refer to our partner university pages which may have links to estimated costs for individual partners.
- The institution offers any additional services that I require (e.g. disability support)
- I can meet my personal goals for my overseas experience if I attend this institution
- I have ascertained the above through proper research on the Study Overseas and partner institution’s websites.
Students often focus on only one part of the world when considering their exchange destination. We encourage you to consider a wide variety of locations. If you need to study in English, you don’t have to go to the USA, Canada or the UK. Most of our exchange partners offer a wide range of courses taught in English. You can check individual partner pages for further information. You’ll find other international students like you from around the world at all of our partner institutions, and support services on campus to help you settle in.
Duration and timing
Will you go on exchange for a semester or a year? Here are some things to help you decide:
- You need to be able to maintain a 75% (9 Adelaide unit) workload in every semester you’re on exchange, so you need to have space in your degree to receive full time credit for overseas study. Some partners will require a 100% load. This can be a challenge if you do not have many electives left.
- Some partner institutions are only available for exchange in certain semesters or certain combinations of semesters (eg will accept Full Year (July-July), but not Full Calendar year (Jan-Dec)).
- International students will need to ensure that they are preparing to take a study load that still allows them to complete their degree within the duration of their Australian CoE (speak to International Student Support if you're not sure).
- There are other reasons you might choose either one or two semesters for an exchange. Factors such as friends and family, financial considerations, cultural factors, obligations at home, and many other things should be taken into account.
The exchange application process can seem complicated, but just requires some planning and organisation. Read the steps below to understand how it all works and what you'll need to do at each stage.
We've included some advice to help you make sure you get credit for your experience. Study Overseas doesn't decide whether or not you get credit, though - that's up to your Faculty, and you'll need to contact them if you have any questions about your credit.
Step 1: Before you apply
Following the advice found in the choosing preferences tab, research our partner institutions and determine three suitable preferences, of which one must be of High or Moderate availability.
Ensure you will be able to receive credit:
Look closely at the university’s academic offerings and make sure there appear to be enough courses that you could receive a full time credit load. Students need Faculty Pre-approval and ultimately Faculty Approval for a minimum of 9 units of credit per exchange semester in order to be eligible for exchange.
Step 2: Applying for exchange (Pre-Decision phase)
You can open an application by clicking the ‘Apply to the Outbound Exchange Program’ button on any program's page, which will take you to the Outbound Exchange Program application page. Click 'Apply Now' and log into GLAS. The system will prompt you to log in with your University of Adelaide credentials. (You can always log back in through the ‘Log in to GLAS' link on the Study Overseas home page or clicking the Study Abroad button in Unified.)
Once logged in, you will be asked to select the term for which you are applying. Semester 1 or Semester 2 applications are just for a single semester. If you want to go for two semesters starting in Semester 1, select Full (Calendar) Year. For two semesters starting in Semester 2, select Full Year.
You will now see the Pre-Decision phase of your exchange application. You should complete all components of your application before the application deadline. Take special note of all instructions!
Note: There is no final 'Submit' button to complete your application. You just need to ensure that everything is submitted before the deadline, excluding your Faculty Pre-Approval, which just needs to have all 'STUDENT' sections completed and the questionnaire saved.
Ensure you will be able to receive credit:
When you’re completing the Faculty Pre-Approval questionnaire, answer only the questions marked ‘STUDENT’ and indicate to your faculty advisor what you’re intending to do on exchange. This may be something like “I would like to use my 4 remaining electives” or “I will be trying to match core courses such as Course X and Course Y.” Save the questionnaire and your faculty advisor will complete and submit it on your behalf. Your faculty will have many of these requests to complete so please allow 3-4 weeks for completion. Students need Faculty Pre-approval and ultimately Faculty Approval for a minimum of 9 units of credit per exchange semester in order to be eligible for exchange.
Step 3: Assessment by Study Overseas
After the application deadline has passed, Study Overseas will assess all applications and allocate students to exchange destinations. All students will be notified of their allocation through GLAS on the decision date. Make sure you have researched and are happy with all of your preferences – many students will receive their second or third preferences and in some cases, additional preferences will need to be considered.
Ensure you will be able to receive credit:
Study Overseas will take into account the response from your faculty advisor regarding your eligibility to go on exchange. If your advisor doesn’t pre-approve your application, unfortunately you will not receive a placement. Students need Faculty Pre-approval and ultimately Faculty Approval for a minimum of 9 units of credit per exchange semester in order to be eligible for exchange.
Step 4: Commitment and application to the host (Post-Decision phase)
You can choose to ‘Commit’ to your offered place, or ‘Decline’. You are now in the Post-Decision phase of your application, and more application components will appear for completion.
This is an important time to be monitoring your application in GLAS and checking your emails as Study Overseas will be contacting you regularly and there will be many forms and documents to complete.
All exchange students will also complete an application to their host university. Study Overseas will contact you directly regarding the application process. You should wait for instructions before attempting to apply to or contact the host institution.
Ensure you will be able to receive credit:
As soon as you have committed to your program, you should start looking for specific courses offered by your partner institution that fit into your degree. You should attach information such as course descriptions, credit loads, and assessment requirements to your Faculty Approval questionnaire. We recommend you seek approval for more courses than necessary in case some are not available. Again, only complete the questions marked ‘STUDENT’ and your faculty advisor will complete the rest.
Make sure, when choosing courses, that:
- They are available to exchange students
- They are offered in the study period you will be on exchange
- They are offered in a language of instruction for which you are eligible
- You meet any prerequisites associated with the course.
Some universities do not release their course catalogues until quite late. In this case, you could base your research on courses offered in the previous year and be open to revising them later.
Again, your Faculty will have many of these requests to complete so please allow 3-4 weeks for completion. If you have not received a response after 4 weeks, you can contact your advisor directly. We do not recommend that you make travel arrangements in advance of receiving final confirmation of your acceptance from your host institution, and credit approval from your Faculty. Until you receive these confirmations, your acceptance and credit is not guaranteed, and you may find yourself out-of-pocket for any arrangements you have made.
Students need Faculty Approval for a minimum of 9 units of credit per exchange semester in order to be eligible for exchange.
Step 5: Acceptance by host
Finally, your host institution will send notification of your acceptance, either to Study Overseas or directly to you. Now it is time to finalise visas, arrange your finances and everything else involved in applicant support!
You will still need to maintain contact with Study Overseas as there may still be steps for you to complete, especially if you are hoping to receive funding for your program.
Always remember that you can review your whole application, including information provided us and the exchange terms and conditions, by logging into GLAS.
Ensure you will be able to receive credit:
Make sure you enrol in the correct dummy courses at the University of Adelaide, and when able, enrol in only your approved courses at your host institution. Students need Faculty Approval for a minimum of 9 units of credit per exchange semester in order to be eligible for exchange. You can read more about what you need to do before you go in applicant support.
Step 6: After you return
At the conclusion of your exchange, your academic transcript will be sent directly to the University of Adelaide. Once you have completed the returnee survey visible in GLAS at the conclusion of your program, your transcript can be released to you and your Faculty for the transfer of appropriate credit. If you receive an exchange transcript direct from your host university, please send it directly to Study Overseas for verification, and not to your Faculty who will not accept transcripts from students directly.
Credit will be awarded based on successfully completing/receiving a passing grade for courses at the host university as will a grade of NFE (No Formal Examination). Please note: Time-frames for receipt of both results and transcripts from different universities vary.
Whilst your overseas grades are not assessed by your Adelaide faculty and therefore have no effect on your GPA, you may be asked to produce exchange transcripts and academic results for employment applications and as supporting documentation in other formal processes. Accordingly, you should endeavour to keep your marks as high as possible.
We are often asked which costs are the student's responsibility while overseas. Your tuition fees at the host institution are waived, which can save you thousands of dollars, but otherwise your travel, living and entertainment costs are your responsibility.
We ask that all students consider the cost of exchange and how this would differ between partner universities before finalising exchange preferences. There are numerous study abroad budget calculators available online or you may choose a simple excel document. You should look for something which allows you to input your estimated expenses and subtract this from your estimated available funds, the required outcome being to have sufficient funds to cover your expenses.
To assist you with budgeting, we have developed a budget template for exchange preferences which lists the sources of funding and expenses you should consider for each of your preferences. The template is available as an editable Excel document to facilitate the use of hyperlinks and formulas.
Costs you will need to consider
- Your home course fees (at the University of Adelaide). Course fees at your partner university are waived by agreement, however you must still pay course fees as you normally would at home (through HECS or direct payment). In addition, you will still be liable for the Student Services Amenities Fee each semester you are away, which can also be paid through HECS or directly to the University.
- Airfares and travel costs - flights to and from your exchange destination, and side-trips or excursions you may undertake whilst on exchange.
- Accommodation - this varies widely depending on your destination. Most partner universities will provide an accommodation guide.
- Food and meals.
- General living expenses - entertainment, public transport, personal items, etc.
- Passports and visa costs.
- Some partner universities will require students to pay the equivalent of a SSAF direct to them. This will be in addition to your University of Adelaide SSAF. There are some cases where this fee is greater than the SSAF at the University of Adelaide.
In creating a budget for your exchange, you should consider both the length of time you intend to spend overseas and the cost of living at your destination. Our partner pages provide information about cost of living and other institution-specific expenses as provided by partner universities. There are also resources you can access online such as destination guides and visitor information that will provide an additional indication of how much it will cost to live and study in at your destination.
As an exchange student, your travel insurance is covered under the University of Adelaide's Travel Insurance policy. However, if study for a period that exceeds the maximum allowed by this travel insurance, or undertake activities that are outside the policy's coverage, you may need to pay an additional amount (before you depart) to ensure you are fully covered, and for which you should budget.
In some cases, students will be required to purchase specific health insurance as directed by their host institution. For more information, read about insurance.
For more information about paying for your exchange, see the Study Overseas funding page.
Fee-paying study abroad semester programs
While most students participating in a semester program will engage with one of our exchange partners, you may wish to consider participating in a study abroad program through a program provider or by enrolling directly at an overseas university. This will involve a direct application and you will be responsible for tuition fees payable directly to the provider or host institution.
Exchange student stories
Ellen Schulz completed a Law School study tour to China; an exchange to Shanghai Jiao Tong University thanks to the Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship; and in 2018 she completed both an internship in Sri Lanka and a study abroad program to the University of Colombo thanks to the New Colombo Plan.Read more about Study Overseas Alumni #13 - Ellen Schulz
18 Mar Bridget Smart is currently on exchange at the National University of Singapore. Bridget is studying a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Advanced). As a recipient of a 2019 New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Bridget has been funded for her exchange in Singapore as well as an additional internship in Japan. 14 Mar
Bridget Smart is currently on exchange at the National University of Singapore. Bridget is studying a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Advanced). As a recipient of a 2019 New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Bridget has been funded for her exchange in Singapore as well as an additional internship in Japan.