Exchange and study abroad student policy
This page details the University of St Andrews' policy (the Policy) on the admission and registration of non-graduating exchange and study abroad students to undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes.
A student nominated to the University of St Andrews (“the University”) by one of the University’s Erasmus+ or international exchange partners as part of a reciprocal student exchange programme.
Study abroad student
A student who applies to spend a semester or academic year at the University through the international study abroad programme. A student may apply independently or through one of the University’s partner institutions and providers.
Information and communication
The University is committed to the provision of accurate and appropriate pre-entry information, support to prospective students and liaison with partner institutions and providers.
The University makes every effort to ensure that the information it provides is accurate at the time of publication. All information that is subject to change after publication, such as course content, selection criteria, University processes and financial matters, is available and kept up-to-date on the University website.
The University works with a number of partner universities and study abroad providers around the world. Students who apply through a partner institution or provider should note that some information, communications and decisions may be shared with the partner. This may include, but is not restricted to, information about an applicant’s status, information about a student’s hall of residence, contact details at St Andrews, module choice, academic progress and module results, any disciplinary or academic misconduct case involving the student. For further information, please refer to the exchange of student personal data privacy notice (PDF) .
In addition to the details outlined in this document, students who apply to and attend the University through specific partners may be subject to other terms and conditions as agreed between the University and the partner.
The primary contact for all enquiries related to exchange and study abroad programmes and partnerships at the University is the Global Office.
Monitoring and review
This Policy is reviewed annually to ensure any changes in legislation and University policies/regulations are reflected. Questions regarding the Policy should be addressed to the Director of the Global Office.
Application and admission
The selection process will include consideration of the following information as part of the candidate’s application:
- higher education academic record to date
- the context in which results have been achieved
- personal statement
- academic reference
- English language ability, where appropriate.
Applicants for the undergraduate exchange and the undergraduate international study abroad programmes must have completed at least one year in full-time higher education by the point of intended entry to the University. Candidates should have a minimum average grade of 3.2 (on a US 4.0 GPA scale) or equivalent.
Applicants for postgraduate taught programmes, whether exchange or study Abroad, are expected to have already completed a first degree programme. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree with Honours (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, with a final overall grade of 2.1 (UK), 2.2 or B+ (Europe), 3.6 GPA (USA) or equivalent. In addition, postgraduate candidates should have a strong average grade in their current degree programme.
Candidates who are not in good standing at their home institution (as defined by their home institution) will not be offered a place at St Andrews.
The University may from time to time review selection requirements as appropriate. Should this be the case, any additional requirements will be made available to applicants through the normal publication and communication channels.
Where competition for places on the undergraduate international study abroad programme is high, all other factors being equal, preference will be given to suitable candidates who are nominated to the University by a strategic partner or provider.
Nomination by a partner institution or provider does not guarantee an offer of a place at the University. All decisions on admission are made by the University.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide full and accurate information in support of their application when a submission is made. Only complete applications will be considered.
An application is considered complete when it includes:
- a completed University application form
- an up to date and official academic transcript.
- Applicants who have attended more than one higher education institution during the course of their current degree programme should include all relevant transcripts with their application to the University.
- Postgraduate applicants should also include a transcript of their undergraduate studies.
- an academic reference
- evidence of English language ability, where appropriate
- nomination by a partner institution, where appropriate
Applicants who require assistance when making their application should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete applications are considered on a rolling basis from the application opening date until the published deadlines. Applicants may normally expect to hear the University’s decision within four weeks of submitting a complete application. Applicants who submit complete applications before the opening date should not normally expect a decision until after the opening date, at which point the four-week decision period will commence.
The University will advise applicants where it is anticipated that a decision cannot be made within four weeks of an application having been received.
The opening dates and application deadlines are as follows:
- Opening date: 15 February
- Application deadline: 15 April
- Opening date: 1 September
- Application deadline: 31 October
The University will accept applications for deferred entry as outlined below. Deferred entry refers to applicants who, having applied in one admissions cycle, delay their entry into the following admissions cycle.
Deferred entry is only possible where an applicant has already received an offer. Applicants who request deferred entry prior to receiving an offer will be required to withdraw their application and re-apply in the next cycle.
Applicants who wish to request deferred entry after receiving an offer, should put their request in writing as early as possible. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide as much detail as possible to explain their request. All such requests will be considered on an individual basis, and, where relevant, in consultation with the partner institution or provider.
It is important to note that there is no guarantee that a request to defer entry will be granted as decisions are made within the context of a given cycle., Applicants may be required to withdraw their application and reapply in the cycle that is relevant for their semester of entry. Granting of deferred entry may have implications for an applicant’s offer of accommodation or any University scholarships awarded. Applicants should also be aware that programme/ tuition fees are updated annually, and so deferring an application is expected to increase the tuition and other attendance costs.
Where an applicant has declared a disability on their application form, this information is passed to the University’s Disabilities Team, who make an initial assessment of the declared information and follow up as appropriate. The disability assessment is completed separately from the admissions decision-making process, but is normally concluded within the same timescales.
The University will attempt to make reasonable adjustments in line with its legal duties to meet the needs of applicants with disabilities.
The University will not normally offer applicants a place if they have not met the stated entrance requirements for their programme. However, extenuating circumstances will be considered if associated information is supplied before a decision on an application has been made. It is recommended that information about extenuating circumstances that have affected or are likely to affect academic performance be included in the referee’s report or nomination information from the partner institution.
Extenuating circumstances could include, but are not limited to: an ongoing acute or chronic medical condition; a recent family bereavement or serious illness; ongoing significant caring responsibilities; or other disruptions to educational teaching at a school or college outside of the applicant’s control
Each case of extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis, according to the information provided with the application.
Applicants who been made and have received an offer of a place of study are required to declare specified criminal charges and/or convictions.
Find out more about declaring criminal proceedings.
This Policy covers relevant, unspent criminal convictions received by offer-holders and students in any country.
In addition, where an offer-holder or student is under investigation by the Police or where criminal proceedings have been initiated, it is the responsibility of the offer-holder or student to report this to the University. To facilitate this at the point that an offer is made, we will ask the applicant to declare any relevant information relating to unspent convictions, proceedings or investigations, as detailed below.
For the purposes of this Policy, relevant offences include the following non-exhaustive list of offences and/or the equivalents in other worldwide jurisdictions:
- Any kind of violence including (but not limited to) threatening behaviour, offences concerning the intention to harm or offences which resulted in actual bodily harm;
- Offences listed in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009;
- The unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking;
- Offences involving firearms; Offences involving arson; Offences involving fraud or embezzlement;
- Offences involving theft;
- Offences listed in the Terrorism Act 2006;
- Offences listed in Schedule 1 to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007;
- Offences listed in the Bribery Act 2010;
- Offences listed in the Criminal Finances Act 2017; Offences listed in the Computer Misuse Act 1990;
Any information received from declarations will be used to undertake a risk assessment to understand if any mitigating measures need to be put in place during the period of the student’s studies. This will also allow the University to put appropriate support in place. Where appropriate support cannot be put in place the University may withdraw an offer.
Applications from students who have declared a criminal conviction are subject to the same academic selection process as all applications and will be assessed using the admissions process outlined in this policy.
The declaration of live proceedings (i.e. charges made and have yet to come before a Court) or a conviction will be followed up independently by the Student Conduct Officer. The University reserves the right to make any decisions it considers appropriate in the light of all the information provided. These may range from ascertaining appropriate levels of support to withdrawal of an offer or place.
The University will not admit students based on fraudulent or plagiarised applications or documents, and will investigate any applicant/student found to have submitted any fraudulent material as part of their application, even when this information comes to light after an offer has been made or a student has matriculated.
Any cases of non-academic misconduct as defined in the policy will be addressed through the University’s Non-academic misconduct policy (PDF) . The University will take appropriate action up to and including the withdrawal of an offer or place.
Following the assessment of a completed application, applicants will receive one of the following decisions:
An unconditional offer – this means that the applicant has met all of the entrance conditions and selection criteria for the course and the University is holding a secured place for the applicant.
A conditional offer – the University wishes to make the applicant an offer provided that certain conditions (for example, a particular standard in future examinations) are met.
A rejection – the University does not make you an offer.
Offers made by the University to Exchange and Study Abroad programmes are usually unconditional, but conditional offers may be issued where:
- an applicant has not yet satisfied English language proficiency requirements
- the results of courses in progress at the time of application are required.
If an applicant who has received a conditional offer fulfils the conditions of the offer as specified, an unconditional offer will be issued.
The University is under no obligation to honour a conditional offer to applicants who have not met the conditions of their offer by the stipulated deadline.
Conditions must be met by 31 August for Semester 1 entry and 10 January for Semester 2 entry.
Application decisions will be sent to applicant partners via email.
When an applicant receives an offer of a place from the University, the University will provide the applicant with information to help make an informed decision. This includes key information about the programme and modules, visa information (where required), programme/ tuition fees and any other relevant costs for the course and attendance, arrangements for making payments to the University, the University’s complaints-handling process, and details of the applicant’s right to cancel the contract.
The University will also provide applicants with information about the terms, rules and regulations relating to student conduct, which explain the applicant’s and student’s rights and obligations to the University, as well as the University’s obligations to the applicant and student.
Applicants should read and understand this information before deciding whether to accept their offer.
Acceptance of an offer is binding and constitutes acceptance of the conditions outlined in the offer email.
If an applicant does not receive the required information, or if an applicant is not clear about anything relating to an offer of a place and the information provided, the applicant should contact the University directly to ask for further advice by writing to the Director of the Global Office.
Successful applicants are admitted to one of three faculties: Arts, Divinity, or Science. The applicant’s degree programme, background and indicated module choices at the University will be used to determine the most appropriate Faculty.
Applicants who wish to take modules at 3000 level and above are expected to have completed at least two years of higher education and must have sufficient background in the relevant field. Candidates who do not meet these criteria, but who are otherwise strong applicants, may be made offers for sub-honours study only (that is, module choice will be restricted to 1000 and 2000 level modules).
An offer of a place does not constitute a guarantee that the applicant may pursue the modules listed on the application. Final module choices will be determined as part of the academic advising process when the student meets with academic advisers on arrival in St Andrews.
If an application is unsuccessful, the applicant may re-apply in the following cycle. The new application will be considered against the standard entry criteria for that year of entry.
To request feedback on an unsuccessful application, the applicant should contact the Global Office within ten days of the decision being issued. Feedback will be provided in writing within a reasonable timeframe. Feedback does not constitute a reconsideration of an application.
Appeals and complaints
While the University will not accept appeals against the academic decision made on each application, any evidence of a material procedural error or irregularity taking place during the decision-making process will be handled according to the University’s complaints handling procedure.
Grounds for raising complaints surrounding this Policy are limited to issues of concern in connection with procedural error or irregularities in the application of the Policy. Unless maladministration against an admissions decision is claimed, the University will not investigate complaints that question an admissions decision, which the University is entitled to make, unless there are questions of maladministration. In the first instance, issues of complaint should normally be addressed to the Director of the Global Office.). Complaints will be managed according to the framework laid out in the University Complaint Handling Procedure.
Exchange and study abroad students from outside the EU who will study at the University for a full academic year are required to obtain a Tier 4 visa before entering the UK. Registry will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number and visa information to students once they have accepted their offer of a place.
Exchange and study abroad students from outside the EU who will study at the University for one semester are expected to enter the UK as a Short-term Visitor. Registry will issue a letter of support to students once they have accepted their offer of a place.
Students who will be studying at the University for one semester and wish to obtain a Tier 4 visa should contact Registry for advice. The University will not normally issue a CAS number to one-semester exchange and study abroad students.
All students must complete the matriculation process in order to become registered students of St Andrews. This includes completion of the academic advising process, completion of online Matriculation (including verification of personal details, confirmation of financial arrangements, and completion of the Matriculation Agreement) and attendance at the matriculation event during Orientation Week (including, if relevant, passport and visa verification). Entrant students who fail to complete the matriculation process on time will be subject to the failure to matriculate policy.
Students are registered in a Faculty for either one semester or a full academic year as indicated in the offer of a place.
Students are expected to remain at the University for the full duration of the semester or academic year in which they are registered.
While registered at the University, exchange and study abroad students have access to the same University facilities and services that are available to other registered students of St Andrews. In addition, the Global Office team run daily student consultation hours during term-time (2pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday), which are designed to provide an extra resource for exchange and study abroad students while in St Andrews.
While registered at the University, exchange and study abroad students are subject to many of the same rules and regulations as other registered students of the University. In addition to the University’s learning and teaching policies, students should note the information provided in relevant module and School handbooks.
Undergraduate exchange and study abroad students are not permitted to spend more than two semesters in total as non-graduating students at St Andrews.
Exchange and study abroad students are expected to complete pre-advising for modules before arrival at the University. Information on the pre-advising process will be available on the webpages for new undergraduate students. Details will be emailed to students who have accepted their offer of a place at the University.
Exchange and study abroad students are expected to enrol in a normal full-time course load. It is expected that they take modules available in their Faculty, however where the timetable allows and subject to having the required background for any given module, students may be permitted to take modules from other faculties (with the exception of Medicine). Exchange and Study Abroad students are not permitted to take modules offered as part of the Evening Degree programme.
Exchange students who attend the University through a subject-specific programme are expected to take at least one module per semester in the subject of the exchange.
In addition to pre-requisites for specific modules, students should note that entry to modules at 3000 level and above requires significant background knowledge of the subject (usually at least two years of study at university).
Module enrolments are finalised during academic advising and are a compulsory part of matriculation.
At the end of an exchange or study abroad period, the University will produce a transcript of results. Where appropriate, transcripts will be sent directly to partner institutions or providers.
While exchange and study abroad partnerships are based on mutual academic understanding of the curriculum and teaching and learning approaches, the University is not responsible for the transfer of credit back to students’ home institutions. Exchange and study abroad students should confirm credit and grade transfer arrangements with their home institutions prior to the commencement of studies at the University.
Students admitted to the University as exchange students will not be liable for tuition fees at the University. Exchange students may become liable for tuition fees if they extend their stay at St Andrews beyond the original period stated in their offer of a place.
All students admitted to the University through the undergraduate international study abroad programme will be liable for the standard programme fee, irrespective of nationality or domicile.
Where a student’s programme (or accommodation) at the University of St Andrews is sponsored by a partner institution or provider, the partner or provider will be liable for payment of the programme fee (or accommodation fees).
Study abroad students admitted to taught postgraduate programmes will be liable for the appropriate pro rata Home or Overseas fee of the relevant taught postgraduate programme.
There are a number of expenses that are not covered by programme/ tuition fees and all students will be liable for these as appropriate. Such expenses may include field trip costs, Music Centre and Sports Centre memberships, and photocopying costs. In addition, all students will be liable for the General Council and Graduation Fee or Completion Fee, payable at matriculation.
Exchange and study abroad students registered at the University for one semester only will not be eligible to request a leave of absence, but may request a withdrawal from their studies.
Exchange and study abroad students registered at the University for a full academic year may, during the course of the first semester, be eligible to request a leave of absence until the second semester. In such cases, the normal leave of absence rules and procedures will apply. A student will not be eligible to request a leave of absence in their second semester of study, but may request a withdrawal from their studies.
Any student considering a leave of absence request must discuss their intentions with their home institution. Where a student is from a partner institution or provider, St Andrews will liaise with the partner about the student’s request.
Exchange and study abroad students who are considering withdrawal from the University during the semester should seek advice immediately from the Global Office and their home institutions. Where withdrawal is necessary, students must seek permission from the Registry Officer (Student Support).
Students who withdraw after Week 4 of the semester will be liable for the full programme fee for the semester.
Students who are registered for one semester and wish to apply for admission to a second semester should email the Global Office at email@example.com by the end of Week 7 of the first semester.
The email should include:
- University student ID;
- reasons for applying for a second semester; and
- indication of module choice in the second semester.
Students attending the University through a partner institution or provider must ask their home institution or provider to write to the Global Office by the end of Week 7 to confirm their permission for the student to apply for a second semester at the University.
All applications will be reviewed and students will be informed by email by the end of Week 10 as to whether or not they have been successful.
The review process will include consideration of the following information as part of the candidate’s application:
- feedback from current tutors;
- reasons for applying and indicated module choice;
- consultation with the Associate Deans (Students);
- competition for places (including from new applicants);
- consultation with partner institution or provider, if appropriate and
- exchange balances, if appropriate.
Where appropriate, students who are admitted for a second semester are responsible for securing a Tier 4 visa. Student Services will assist students with the process.
Students whose application is unsuccessful may seek feedback by writing to the Global Office within ten days of the decision being issued. Feedback will be provided in writing within a reasonable timeframe. Feedback does not constitute reconsideration of an application.
It is expected that students return to their home institutions at the end of an exchange or study abroad period. However, every year a small number of students apply for admission to graduating status to complete their studies and graduate from the University.
Undergraduate students who are considered to have a ‘home fee status’ for tuition fee purposes must apply to transfer through UCAS, by the standard UCAS deadline (15 January). Transfer applications will be considered alongside all other UCAS applications.
Students who are considered ‘overseas’ for tuition fee purposes may submit an application for admission to graduating status to the Registry Undergraduate Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the published deadlines. If they are attending St Andrews through an exchange or study abroad programme for Semester 2 only, or are on their second semester of study, they may apply for admission to graduating status with the permission of their home institution.
Decisions on applications from overseas applicants will not be made until module results from the second semester are released. Candidates will be expected to have successfully studied modules that can build a clear pathway to a degree programme; for example, first year candidates may be expected to achieve a minimum average grade of 11 across all modules attended at St Andrews.
Where appropriate, students who are admitted to graduating status are responsible for securing a Tier 4 visa. Student Services will assist students with this process.
Students whose application is unsuccessful may seek feedback by writing to the Registry Undergraduate Team within ten days of the decision being issued. Feedback will be provided in writing within a reasonable timeframe. Feedback does not constitute reconsideration of an application.