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Durham University

Erasmus, Exchange & Study Abroad

How Does it Work?

Durham University offers a range of fantastic study and work abroad opportunities for both undergraduates and postgraduate students. Study abroad allows you to spend part of your degree programme at an institution in a different country. You could spend a year studying at one of our European partner institutions through the Erasmus+ scheme or outside Europe at one of Overseas Exchange partners.

For the two exchange programmes: Overseas Exchange and Erasmus+:

  • All degree programmes allow for a student to do an exchange (including combined / joint honours);
  • Students can do one of two options, depending on their course:
    • Additional year (go in year 3 and will add a year in to their programme i.e. 3 to 4 year);
      • This is a pass/fail year and the grades do not affect the final degree classification;
      • The final degree programme will be BA XXXX with Year Abroad and they will receive a transcript from their host university to prove what they did whilst abroad;
      • 90% of exchanges are additional year
    • Replacement year (go in year 3 and grades count towards final Durham degree)
      • This is offered by 4 year courses in the Science Faculty - please check with your Departmental Coordinator for details;
      • Not an option for students on a 3 year course;
      • Modern Languages (MLAC) students have a compulsory 3rd year abroad. They can take multiple placements for a maximum of 12 months, e.g. they could work for 3 months over the summer in France, and then do a 6 month study placement in Spain. Placements in Europe would be eligible for Erasmus funding (see below);
      • Most students would apply for an additional year abroad during Michaelmas term in their second year. They don’t have to apply through UCAS, and they don’t have to declare their interest during first year.

From Canada, Czechia to China, the Erasmus+ and Overseas Exchange progammes offers study placements across the world. Please visit the Where Can I Go? page for a full list of our partners.

You do not have to speak a foreign language to take a year abroad. Almost all Overseas Exchange partners and many Erasmus+ universities teach in English. However, some universities will teach in the language of that country. The languages requirements for each university is listed on the Where Can I Go? partner pages. The Language for the Year Abroad page gives further details about language requirements and support, along with the opportunities that the Centre for Foreign Language Study gives to students to learn a language alongside their degree.

Erasmus+ does offer work placements for students, but at DU, these are currently only open to students on Modern Languages or Education courses.

Non-Modern Languages Students are able to do a 'Placement Year' (as opposed to a Year Abroad) in the UK or overseas. The Careers Office have specific Placement Officers based in each faculty that can help you organise a Year in Industry, which are usually conducted within the UK. Further infromation is available from the Careers Office and Global Opprtunities page.

Student Finance

  • Student finance should continue as normal. Students would receive maintenance loan as well as additional means-tested grants;
  • Means-tested travel grant available from Student Finance England; currently allows students to pay the first £303 of flights, visas and health insurance and then claim the rest back;
  • Students would pay for their own accommodation, flights, visas and health insurance whilst on exchange at their host.

Overseas Exchange Funding

  • Unlike Erasmus+, funding for Overseas Exchange is limited. Please visit the Funding your Year Abroad page for more details.

Erasmus+ funding

  • Erasmus students receive funding of approximately €350 per month from British Council depending on which country they are going to;
  • Means-tested top up of €100 per month available for ‘Widening Participation’ students;
  • Students are eligible to receive the funding provided they complete all paperwork and their placement meets British Council criteria;
  • Non repayable and non means tested – can still receive maintenance loan from Student Finance;
  • Paid in 2 instalments (NOT monthly) – 70% at the start of the placement, and 30% at the end.
  • All Erasmus+ or Overseas Exchange students only pay 15% of UG fee to Durham. This works out at roughly £1350 for the year for Home/EU students. This amount will change year on year and depends on the exact fee rate of your Durham programme;
  • Students do not pay fees to host university – the exchange works on a reciprocal fee waiver basis;
  • Most Overseas Exchange partners would offer campus accommodation; for Erasmus some partners do but most students would be responsible for sourcing their own accommodation. You should be prepared to find accommodatin if none is available and be prepared to live off campus in this situation.
  • All partners are obliged to assist students with finding accommodation.
  • All exchanges are for the full year, due to Durham’s academic structure. It is currently not possible to go abroad for just one term;
  • Recommended level for students going abroad is 55% minimum in second year;
  • Students can apply to both Erasmus+ and Overseas Exchange;
  • Students applying to ‘x with year abroad’ at Durham would be guaranteed a place at a departmental (i.e. Erasmus) partner university, e.g. a student on ‘Theology with Year Abroad’ would be allocated a place at one of the specific Theology links. However, students on these courses would not be guaranteed a place on the Overseas Exchange programme (although they are welcome to apply);

Think beyond university! The world is an increasingly global market- your time abroad will allow you to equip yourself with a range of skills which will make you more employable. Why not give your CV the edge with a study abroad experience?

Each department has an exchange coordinator that will advise on academic issues and options available in your Department (please click the banner for the full list).