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Erasmus, Exchange & Study Abroad

Academic Issues

How does an exchange fit into my degree programme?

The Overseas Exchange Programmes run for the full academic year. Depending on the department, students will replace one year at Durham with one year at a partner university (usually this is the second year of a 3-year-programme) or will be able to transfer to a special programme that has an integrated year abroad (selected departments only). To find out which option is available please contact your departmental exchange co-ordinator for further information.

You will be expected to follow courses and undertake relevant assessment at the partner university. The accreditation mechanism for the year abroad depends on whether the year abroad is replacing the year at Durham or whether an additional year is added to the degree as described above. For further information please contact your department or the Exchanges & Study Abroad Team.

The academic system abroad

A course of study in another country may be quite different from what you know from your experiences in the UK so far. It is therefore important to keep an open mind and to be prepared for something new when you start your exchange period abroad.

  •  As in the UK you will normally find a division into undergraduate and postgraduate studies and most universities will offer qualifications in form of Bachelor and Master’s degrees. 
  • Depending on the partner you will find a semester, quarter or term system in place and some partners start their first term a bit earlier than Durham (e.g. Aug or Sep). Normally an exchange period will not include any summer or special terms.
  • Exams are normally held at the end of each teaching unit though you may find that you are asked to complete assessment during each semester/term.
  • You may also find that the teaching style and the contribution expected from students will vary from institution to institution. Some academic systems have a predominantly upfront teaching style in which a professor delivers a lecture; others will offer a mix of lectures and tutorials or seminars quite similar to what you know from the UK. 

Module and credit requirements

All overseas exchanges are currently full-year exchanges and you will be required to take modules and credits worth a full-year’s workload at the partner university. Since our partner universities operate a different credit and term system students will normally choose modules worth a certain number of credits per term/semester arriving at the required number of credits at the end of the academic year.

Students are required to fulfil a minimum number of credits per term/semester at the partner university which is also important to retain the study visa for the respective country. This normally matches the credit requirements for all students at the partner university. Corresponding guidance will be provided in the application and pre-departure information.