Student exchange

Make the world your campus

Global programs are an opportunity to see the world and graduate with an international perspective. You’ll improve your communication and practical skills, build confidence and cross-cultural understanding.

Experience Australia's largest global mobility program

Whether you're looking to develop language skills, study at one of the world's top universities, live in a whole new city, or just travel to a new country on the weekend, there's a global experiences to suit you.

'Exchange' programs can be for a year, semester or short-term (2-6 weeks) and is just one of many different types of global programs, other include:

Quick FAQs

The different types of global experiences are usually split into:

  • Semester or year-long programs, or
  • Short-term programs usually between 2-6 weeks long.

The short-term programs can be exchange and non-exchange (see difference below) and can include professional placements, field work & schools, internships, run by faculty and schools. Your options, including the which countries, cities, host universities you can select will depend on your Sydney course, personal circumstances and whether it would be for academic credit.

Exchange and non-exchange programs vary in the way you pay tuition fees.

  • Exchange programs: you remain enrolled at Sydney and continue your usual fee arrangement. Most semester/year-long programs are exchange. All exchange programs are for credit.
  • Non-exchange programs: requires you to enrol at a host university or program provider and pay fees to that them directly. Many of these programs are held over the summer or winter break. Applying for academic credit for these programs is optional.

The Sydney Abroad team manage exchange programs and a range of non-exchange short-term programs.

Generally speaking, to be eligible for semester, year-long and short-term programs (exchange and non-exchange):

  • You need to have a weighted average mark (WAM) of at least 50
  • You need to have completed at least 24 credit points of study at the University of Sydney (for exchange programs only)
  • You need to meet the progression requirements of your relevant University of Sydney course and the Coursework Policy.

There also additional eligibility requirements around language, nationality, virtual vs in-person, host university conditions and more that may impact your eligibility.

Going on an overseas program generally should not delay the completion of your course requirements and/or graduation. If you go on an exchange programs, you remain enrolled to Sydney during your exchange and receive credit for your studies. For non-exchange programs, you can apply for credit after you return. The key is to plan it out and give yourself enough time.

Going overseas for a program doesn’t have to be expensive – the most important thing is to understand there will be costs and plan your finances to help you have an enjoyable and stress-free experience. A global experiences means you will be living and studying abroad, not travelling on holiday where expenses can be higher. Living costs vary across the world, even in different regions of the same country. The duration of your program and extra travel plans will also impact the expenses. Find out more about the costs and scholarships available, including grants and loans to assist financially.

A benefit of spending a period at an overseas institution is that you can access units of study that may not be taught at the University of Sydney. For example, at the National University of Singapore, a film studies major could take an elective on South Asian Cinema, which is not offered at the University of Sydney. One tip when planning any global experience for credit is to save up your elective units so that you can complete them overseas. Find out more information on applying for academic approval including the process and type of program.

Yes, both postgraduate and international students can go abroad. For postgraduate students, it is possible provided there is scope in your course and/or approved by your supervisors.

How student exchange works

When you go on exchange, you 'swap places' with a student at one of our partner universities. This means you pay your usual tuition fees to the University of Sydney.

If you would like to study at university that isn't one of our partners, you may be able to complete a study abroad or non-exchange program. This means that you enrol and pay fees directly to that institution.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate students can go on exchange — undergraduate students can go anytime from Semester 2 in your first year.

You'll just need to check that it works with your degree — student exchange is open to most students, but not all. Some faculties have rules around what can be studied overseas, or when it's best to go. 

Financial support

Don’t let the cost of student exchange put you off applying — there's a range of financial support options that you may be eligible for. This includes Centrelink support, an Australian government loan scheme and several scholarship options.