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Durham University

Natural Sciences

Year Abroad

How does the Year Abroad work?

The way the year abroad works depends on whether you are an MSci student or a BSc student. Information about the choice of courses at the host university of the Overseas Exchange Programme can be found on host universities’ websites. News: from 2020/21 we have two ring-fenced places at POSTECH in South Korea. Exceptionally, students may take a european placement with the agreement of a Durham single honours department where students study at Durham, see opportunities for Science students. Students cannot be transferred onto the year abroad programme programme until their place has been secured (it is a competitive process) and they have successfully completed Level 2 of the degree with an average mark of at least 55% so as to be eligible to progress to Level 3 of the Honours degree programme. For this reason students are unable to make a direct application for year abroad degrees through UCAS.

BSc in Natural Sciences with Year Abroad
Within the 4-year BSc degree with Year Abroad, the placement is an extra year of study added to the normal programme of study of the 3-year BSc Natural Sciences degree. The learning outcomes of study placements in this context are the experience of having studied in an overseas institution and the experience of having lived in a foreign environment. While there is no need to meet any other learning outcomes, it is departmental policy that the programme of study undertaken during the year abroad must be (1) sufficiently ambitious, and (2) deepen or broaden the student’s knowledge of the subjects, or/and contribute to prepare him/her for graduate employment. The programme of study should also aim at maintaining the student’s skills.
Students will be assessed by the host institution in the same way as their own students. The marks awarded will be used by the Board of Examiners to decide whether the year abroad has been passed or not; however, they will not be transferred onto the Durham scale. If the year abroad is deemed to have been failed then you will be transferred onto the BSc and the Year Abroad will not be mentioned in your degree title, otherwise failure will have no consequence on your final degree class. If the Year Abroad is successful then it may be taken into account by the Board of Examiners when deciding on your degree class by exercising discretion.

MSci in Natural Sciences
Placements abroad within an MSci degree are in replacement of the third year of study in Durham and the title year abroad does not appear on the degree certificate. While their primary aim is to provide the experience of having lived and studied abroad, their learning objectives are the same as those of the replaced modules. The courses taken abroad, complemented by additional self study if necessary, will thus need to cover the same range of material and meet the same learning outcomes.

Students will be assessed by the host institution in the same way as their own students. At the end of the placement, the marks or grades students will have obtained abroad will be transferred onto the Durham scale as per a grade transfer document and aggregated into an overall mark. The latter will be the mark for the third year of your degree. Students will receive a copy of the grade transfer document in advance of departure. Poor performance in courses taken abroad resulting in a low overall mark may compromise students final degree class or even students progression to the final year of the degree; however, any such case will be scrutinized by the Board of Examiners, which may take into account extenuating circumstances and exercise discretion.