How early should I start planning for my exchange?

It is ideal to plan for your exchange early, and wherever possible, we recommend that you consider your exchange options when you commence your UQ program.

It is good to discuss your options with the BEL Faculty International Mobility Coordinator and an academic advisor as this will allow you to plan your UQ course selection with exchange in mind.

If you haven’t been able to plan that far in advance, you should begin preparing for your exchange at least three months prior to the application deadline.

Researching your preferred host university and developing a study plan are the most time consuming aspects of the exchange process. Remember, it is recommended that you save your general electives, or most flexible courses, for your exchange semester. Please also note that you are only required to complete a study plan for your first preference institution. 

UQ Abroad application deadlines are:

  • 31 May 2018 (11:59pm) for exchange in UQ's Semester 1, 2019
  • 31 October 2017 (11:59pm) for exchange in UQ's Semester 2, 2018

Late applications will not be accepted.

How many courses am I required to take on exchange?

While on exchange, you are required to be enrolled in a standard full-time load each semester (equivalent to 8 units at UQ) at your host university.

Tertiary education credit systems vary between countries and even between universities within a single country; therefore, your full-time study load enrolment will depend on the institution you are attending.

The table below shows the most common standard full-time study loads by country/region.

Please refer to the host institution webpage on the UQ Abroad website for Asian and institution-specific full-time load equivalencies.

Please note: If you enrol in or pass less than the required full time study load (as indicated on UQ Abroad’s website), you will not receive a standard full time semester of credit (8 units) towards your UQ degree.

Countries Standard full-time study load/semester Number of courses
Latin America 20 credits 5-6 courses
USA / Canada 15 credits 4-5 courses
UK 60 credits 3-6 courses
Europe / Nordic countries 30 ECTS 3-8 courses
Asia Varies Varies
Japan Varies Varies
South Africa 72 credits 2-4 courses
New Zealand 60 points 4 courses
Israel 15 credits 4-5 courses


Do I have to speak a foreign language to study in a non-English speaking country?

Not necessarily. Many UQ exchange partners in non-English speaking countries offer many courses taught in both English and the native language of that country. Please visit the host university webpage to find out whether your preferred institution offers courses in English.

If you would like to study at a university which does not teach in English, or you would like to study courses instructed in a language other than English, you will need to demonstrate that you are proficient in the language of instruction before your application is approved.

If you plan to study in a foreign language on exchange you will need to complete an Assessment of Language Proficiency form and submit it with your UQ Abroad application.

I am taking courses towards a dual degree: Do I get my courses for exchange approved by both Faculties?

If you are planning to take courses on exchange which count towards both degree programs you will be required to submit a separate study plan to each faculty. Please ensure that you make note on your study plan that you are applying for course approval with both faculties, so each faculty is aware that you intend to complete a full-time study load whilst on exchange. Please also ensure that you have provided UQ Abroad with a copy of both study plans as part of your application. For more information, see How to Apply.

I am undertaking a dual degree: Do I have to complete courses on exchange from both disciplines?

You can choose to take courses from either or both of your disciplines whilst on exchange as long as your host university allows enrolment across different faculties.

Please note the following:

  • Some host universities may restrict your study to only one school/faculty within their university. This may result in you not being permitted to study across different disciplines
  • You will need to submit a study plan to both UQ faculties, if your dual degree program is across two faculties. See the Additional Information on the page host university on the UQ Abroad website for any exclusions.

Tip - try and save up your elective courses for your exchange overseas. These will be much easier to get approved by your faculty, and it provides you with more flexibility when you arrive at the host university.

Will going on exchange extend the duration of my degree?

The duration of your UQ program should not be extended if you study courses that have been pre-approved for credit by your faculty, you are enrolled in the required full-time study load of courses that meet program requirements and you successfully complete all courses that you are enrolled in.

Please note however that studying overseas in your final semester will mostly likely delay your graduation date by a semester, as it can take several months to receive your host university transcripts. Also, if you fail any courses while you are overseas in your last semester, you will almost certainly be required to return to UQ to complete your degree requirements.

I am an international student at UQ (on an International Student Visa): Can I participate in an exchange?

Yes, you can participate in the exchange program however you will not be permitted to study on exchange in your country of citizenship.

International students, should also note the following:

  • International students studying at UQ receiving funding through AusAid are unable to participate in UQ Abroad
  • International students sponsored by their government should check with their sponsor to see whether they are able to participate in the student exchange program
  • International double degree/articulation arrangement students should check with their home university to make sure an exchange semester will not affect their ability to graduate
  • International students from Singapore undertaking a Bachelor of Laws degree are not permitted to participate in the exchange program due to the regulations set by the Board of Legal Education in Singapore

Post-study Work Rights (Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa: The current eligibility requirements stipulate that students “cannot count any studies outside Australia towards the Australian study requirement. The only courses you can count towards the Australian study requirement are those that are completed in Australia.” Therefore, if you are enrolled in a 4-semester postgraduate degree at UQ and wish to study overseas for one semester, you will not meet the eligibility requirements for a Post-Study Work Rights visa. Further information on eligibility requirements for the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa is available on the Department’s website.

Can I go on exchange if I am enrolled in a Postgraduate Degree program?

If you are a coursework Masters student you are eligible to apply for the UQ Abroad exchange program; however, there may be restrictions to your program. Please ensure that you meet with an academic advisor from your School to confirm if you are eligible for exchange. You should also be aware that not all partner universities will accept postgraduate coursework Masters students for exchange, so please make sure you discuss your destination options with UQ Abroad prior to applying. Postgraduate students use the same application process as undergraduate students. For more information on whether you are eligible for an exchange program, see UQ Abroad.

Please note that going on exchange in your final semester will delay your graduation.

What Scholarships and funding options are available for BEL students going on exchange?

There are a number of scholarships, grants and loans available to assist UQ students to go on exchange. All students who submit their exchange application by the deadline will be considered for competitive UQ Abroad grants and scholarships and BEL Faculty Funding (eligibility is based on cumulative GPA in current program).

If you are accepted into the UQ Abroad program, you will automatically be considered for:

It is necessary for you to apply for other funding listed here:

  • OS-HELP Loans
  • Centrelink
  • New Colombo Plan Scholarships
  • School and Faculty Funding
  • St Leo’s College Scholarships
  • Emmanuel College Piping Scholarships
  • Language Teaching Travel Scholarships
  • Nicolas Baudin Grants for Studies in France
  • Spanish Language Travel Scholarships
  • St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School Exchange Scholarship
  • Study Overseas Foundation Travel Grants
  • Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Asian Exchange Scholarship
  • Scholarships to Study in Germany

How many student exchange places are available each year?

The UQ Abroad exchange program is a reciprocal arrangement, which means that the number of incoming exchange students sent to study at UQ determines the number of places available at any partner institution.

Students interested in the UQ Abroad Exchange program should consider the following when selecting a host institution:

  • Minimum GPA: To participate in the exchange program, you must have a minimum 4.5 cumulative GPA in your current program. Some partner universities or specific academic programs at a partner university may have a higher GPA requirement. Partner universities with limited places and high demand may require a higher GPA than their published minimum in order to secure a place
  • High Demand: Some universities frequently receive more applications than the number of places available. Partner universities with limited places and high demand may require a higher GPA than their published minimum in order to secure a place
  • Length of Exchange: Due to limited places, some partner universities may only be available for a single semester exchange. Partner universities that indicate two semesters are available for a year-long exchange

Students who have never participated in the UQ Abroad Exchange program will be given preference above those students who have. There are also limitations to which universities you can undertake an exchange with, depending on your degree program. Due to these restrictions and popularity of some partners it is best to be flexible with your preferences, this way you will be more likely to have an enjoyable exchange experience. For more information, please see Places Available.

Which host university is the best place for me to go on exchange to?

Choosing a host university for your exchange is a personal decision, one which will depend on a number of factors.

You may like to consider the following points when deciding where to go on exchange:

  1. Country: What part of the world are you interested in?
  2. Language: Do you want undertake your exchange in an English-speaking country or a non-English speaking country? Many of our exchange partner institutions teach in English. Please refer to the availability of courses taught in English at our partner institutions.
  3. Culture: Do you want to gain exposure to people from different cultural, religious, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds and in so doing develop a greater understanding of diversity and participate in new and unique experiences beyond your own community? Living and studying abroad assists students to develop positive relationships with others, understand a broader range of perspectives, and develop the knowledge and skills needed for participation in our multicultural society.
  4. Climate: Do you want to experience a Northern Hemisphere Winter or do you prefer the warmer weather of some of our Asian partner institutions?
  5. Host Institution reputation: Does the university have a strong academic or research reputation? Is it a BEL strategic or premier partner institution?
  6. Community: Do you want to be in a big city, or a small town? Or do you want to experience a typical university town?
  7. Length of stay: Do you want to study for one or two semesters?
  8. Travel opportunities: Do you plan to travel during your university holidays and spare time?
  9. Costs: What is the cost of living? Does it fit your budget? Are there funding opportunities available?
  10. Lifestyle: Do you want to live on-campus? What sporting or cultural facilities do you want?
  11. Academic benefits: What are your academic goals for exchange? Does the university have a strong academic or research reputation? Are there course or program restrictions at this university? Talk to the BEL International Mobility Coordinator regarding the best place to study your field of specialisation.
  12. Co-curricular opportunities: What activities can you take advantage of in different parts of the world? For example, do you want to do an internship in Germany? Or volunteer in Mexico? Attend summer school in Korea?
  13. Future employability outcomes: Do you want to become more independent, challenge yourself and discover new career opportunities and skills that will greatly enhance your future employability? Do you want to gain valuable practical experience through internship and volunteering opportunities? Do you want to gain a network of contacts abroad? 

You may find the following resources helpful as you research your host institution and country:

What courses should I undertake whilst on exchange?

You will need to complete a Progression Check to determine what courses are required for you to meet the requirements of your BEL program or BEL component of a dual program. These sheets allow you to tick off the courses you have successfully passed whilst enrolled in your program (including credit from previous UQ study or through a credit transfer from another institution). If you wish to have the non-BEL component of your dual program checked, please consult the relevant Faculty. These sheets are available on the BEL Faculty website.

Students are strongly advised to save their general electives or courses towards a major/s to take overseas, as these courses will be the easiest to obtain approval from the Faculty and will provide the most flexibility when it comes time to enrol at the host university. Flexibility in program requirements and course selection are essential to a successful exchange.

Please make sure you are also aware of any academic considerations or professional accreditation requirements when selecting courses to undertake on exchange.

Once you have identified the courses you can take on exchange, research appropriate courses available at your preferred host institution.

You can use the UQ Credit Precedent Database to research courses at your host university that may have previously been approved for credit at UQ. The UQ credit precedent database is to be used as a GUIDE ONLY in preparing your study plan for exchange. The database shows courses at UQ and overseas institutions that have been approved for previous students on exchange, yet they may no longer be available at your host university, nor offered in the correct semester for your exchange.  Please always confirm your course choices by visiting the host university course catalogue directly.

If you do not find the course you are looking for/any courses for the university you are interested in, please refer to the individual course catalogues on the host university pages here.

If you need assistance to determine which BEL courses you can take on exchange you should consult with the BEL International Mobility Coordinator.

How do I prepare my Study Plan?

For step by step instructions visit Complete a study plan.

Complete a study plan

What if I can’t enroll in my pre-approved course/s at the exchange host university?

Tertiary education systems vary between countries and you may notice that your host university operates differently to what you are used to at UQ.  It is quite common for students to experience difficulties enrolling in courses which have been preapproved for exchange. In some universities, courses fill up and extra classes or lectures are not added, or programs change and the courses you originally selected as part of your study plan may no longer be offered.

If you are experiencing problems as a result of not being able to enrol in courses that were indicated on your study plan/credit approval letter, you may find the following tips helpful:

  • If you cannot get into a certain course, find out why
  • If you cannot register for a course due to your academic background or the number of students already registered for the class, try to negotiate a way in by talking to the lecturer and explaining you have come a long way to take their course
  • Provide a recent transcript to demonstrate that you have taken the equivalent pre-requisites and have sufficient academic background to add weight to your argument 

If you cannot get into the courses that you had planned on taking while on exchange, you will need to find substitute courses and request approval from your faculty. To do this, please send an email to your faculty explaining your situation and outlining the new subjects with detailed course information you wish to be approved and cc: Keep a copy of all correspondence with UQ regarding course approvals to ensure ease of credit transfer on return to UQ