Study abroad as part of your degree
St Andrews has a long tradition of sending students abroad: for hundreds of years students have ventured abroad in search of new academic challenges.
Whether it is exploring Australian marine life as part of a Biology programme at James Cook University in Queensland or gaining a new perspective on International Relations at the University of Hong Kong, Study Abroad programmes play an important role in the University’s commitment to a learning culture that is challenging, imaginative and flexible.
Why study abroad?
The University is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America. Uniting all the Study Abroad programmes is the quality of academic provision, ensuring that studying abroad offers a new a valuable academic experience at another world-class institution.
Study abroad is a wonderful opportunity to explore your intellectual interests in another academic setting and to open yourself to new experiences.
You can find out more about the study abroad experience by reading the profiles of students who have studied abroad previously.
Broaden your academic experience
Studying your degree subjects from a different perspective and in a different academic culture is an intellectually invigorating experience. By studying overseas, you may have the opportunity to study specialisms not offered at St Andrews. Courses may complement your St Andrews studies but offer a new dimension, whether it is geography field trips in North America, modern European history in Strasbourg, or learning Arabic in the Middle East.
Develop life skills and enhance your employability
Study abroad demonstrates your self-motivation, willingness to embrace new challenges and your ability to adapt to new situations. It can develop your confidence and independence and teach you a lot about your own capabilities, personally and professionally. Study abroad will set you apart in competitive job markets and potentially open doors to new ventures and contacts that could influence your career.
Experience another culture and improve your language skills
Immersing yourself in another culture is a great way to learn a new language, enhance your existing language skills and discover a new world. Even cultures which may initially seem very close to your own will surprise you in many ways. However, you don’t always need a language to study abroad. Many of our European partners offer courses in English for students from disciplines other than languages, while offering the opportunity to try language classes alongside your studies. Whether or not you are taking classes in a foreign language, you education will definitely be extended beyond the classroom.
Where can I go?
If you apply to study abroad, you will be able to choose from a vast range of locations. Some students choose to visit other countries within Europe, such as France, Denmark, Italy, and Spain, among others. Other students apply to go further afield, and have studied in the USA, Hong Kong, Australia, Morocco and Uruguay.
Types of programmes
The University has a range of exchange and Study Abroad programmes, all of which are carefully selected and monitored. You can study at one of the University's partner institutions through an exchange or through a specific programme selected by your School. Alternatively, there are work placement options as part of a Biology, Chemistry or Modern Languages degree.
Semester dates and vacation periods range across all of our partner institutions. Some programmes are available for either one semester or a full academic year, while others involve a commitment to a full year of study.
There are options for both undergraduate and postgraduate students who wish to study abroad. Study abroad for credit is only permitted on existing University approved programmes.
Study abroad is fully integrated into your course of study; approved credits and grades obtained overseas at partner institutions are converted upon return to St Andrews and will count towards your St Andrews degree programme and degree classification.
Most Study Abroad programmes are aimed at Junior Honours students (typically third year on a four-year degree course), though study abroad at Senior Honours level is permitted in some subject areas. While abroad, students take a normal full-time course load at the host institution.
It is important to remember that the academic culture, how you are taught and how you are expected to study, will vary across all of our partner institutions. Differences might include the academic advising system, class sizes, contact hours and the availability of academic staff, methods of assessment and expectations around written work.
Before you go abroad, you will sign a Learning Agreement which is an academic contract that sets out the courses and credits you will take abroad. Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the academic opportunities on offer at the host institution, while ensuring that modules chosen are in subjects recognised as qualifying towards the St Andrews degree programme, at the correct level, and which will provide suitable preparation for return to St Andrews. School Study Abroad coordinators guide you through the process of module choice so that you get the most out of your academic experience abroad.
Current students can find further information about the Learning Agreement, the credit and grade conversion policy and the standard conversion table on the academic information for outgoing students webpages.
Selection to study abroad is competitive, and the University is looking for students who are academically strong, independent, highly motivated, responsible and mature. We're also looking for students who will be good ambassadors for St Andrews, who will make the most of opportunities at the host institution and integrate with the host student community. Study abroad is, above all, an academic experience, and often the best applications are those which also demonstrate particular interest in the academic opportunities available at a host institution.
The application process for most programmes begins during first semester of second year, so it is important to start thinking about your options early. The Study Abroad team will provide more information about applications and help you with this process.
Current students can find out more about study abroad entry requirements and the selection process on the how to apply pages.
Fees and scholarships
Your tuition fees for your year abroad will depend on the type of programme you undertake. For most programmes, you will pay your normal tuition fees to St Andrews, and will have no tuition fee liability at the host institution.
You should research what your funding body offers with regards to tuition loans and grants for Study Abroad programmes.
You will be responsible for other costs related to study abroad, such as accommodation, travel, and personal expenses.
The University offers a range of scholarships to help with the additional costs of study abroad. Some of these are linked to specific programmes, while others have different eligibility criteria.
Students studying abroad on an Erasmus+ programme may have different funding options.
Current students can find more information about study abroad fees and scholarships.
Preparing to go abroad
Every April there is a compulsory pre-departure meeting held for all study abroad students. This meeting provides full details of academic, financial and practical information.
While you are away, you will remain a registered St Andrews student. The University keeps in regular touch with you, and there is a strong support network available to you. CSA, your School, Student Services and the Study Abroad intern are all available to help with any questions or concerns during your Study Abroad placement.
St Andrews students studying or working abroad are covered by the University’s travel insurance policy, which includes unlimited medical expenses, cancellation and curtailment, and repatriation. However, some host institutions, particularly in the USA, will also require you to purchase their campus insurance, which can amount to a few hundred dollars.
The majority of students will enjoy their study abroad without incident. However, it is important that you take the same safety precautions while studying abroad. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has very helpful online travel guides by country. The University monitors all of our study abroad destinations and reviews programmes regularly.
You are responsible for finding your own accommodation abroad, although the Study Abroad team at St Andrews will be able to provide advice and support in this matter.
Many partner universities offer, but do not guarantee, university accommodation to exchange students. Some universities will provide advice on renting in the private sector or direct students to accommodation agencies.
Upon your return to St Andrews, Student Accommodation Services will do their best to accommodate you, provided you submit your accommodation application by the published deadlines.
The Erasmus+ programme is a European project run by the European Commission. It is intended to support activities in education, training, youth and sport in all sectors of lifelong learning, including higher education. The Erasmus+ programme enables you to study or, in come cases, work in Europe for a semester or full year as part of your degree.
To be eligible for an Erasmus+ Study Mobility or Placement Mobility, students must be on an approved, credit-bearing study or work placement to a country participating in the Erasmus+ programme. You must spend at least three months abroad, and no more than 12 months. You will also need to complete a number of documents before you go. Current students can find out more about Erasmus+ eligibility criteria.
Fees and funding
As an Erasmus+ exchange student, you will not pay tuition fees to your host university, though you may be asked to pay extra costs like lab expenses. Most students are also eligible for an Erasmus+ Mobility grant. You should ensure that you notify your funding body of your intention to go abroad. Current students can find more information about Erasmus+ fees and funding.
Erasmus+ and the EU Referendum
At this time, the UK’s ability to participate in the Erasmus+ programme from 2019 onwards is uncertain, following the result of the UK referendum on EU membership in June 2016. Further information and updates are available from Erasmus+ and the University of St Andrews.