Exchange opportunities for Plymouth students

If you want to come and have a chat please email us to make an appointment.

Appointments are generally available Monday to Friday between 10.00 - 11.30 and 14.00 - 15.30 on a pre-arranged basis.

How study abroad works

There are two options for combining a year abroad with your degree at the University of Plymouth: study abroad and/or an optional placement year. This page is concerned with study abroad options, you can get further information on placement years from the Careers and Employability team or your Personal Tutor. 

You can choose to study abroad for one or both semesters and this will normally take place in your second year (study abroad is not available in your first or final years). You will take modules at your host university that are equivalent to those you would have studied in Plymouth and your choices will be researched by you and discussed and agreed with your academic exchange advisor in advance. If your period of study abroad is optional, marks awarded by your host institution will not contribute to your final degree classification, which will be based on first and final year marks only.

To be accepted for an exchange you must be in good academic standing and have passed all your assessments in your first year, not having committed an academic offence, and have no outstanding debts with the University of Plymouth.

You can study abroad with one of our Bilateral exchange partners or, if you are unable to find a suitable bilateral partner, you may be able to find a host through ISEP. More information about these options is on the panels below.

Our internal exchange application deadlines are:

  • 15 January for full year and semester one exchanges
  • 15 May for semester two exchanges

You will be notified of the outcome of your application within two weeks of these deadlines. If you are successful, you will then be nominated to your allocated partner who will contact you directly with further instructions on completing your exchange admission. Plymouth Global will check that you meet the eligibility criteria for exchanges and help you with any questions you have.

Find every English taught degree at a top university on this interactive map.

The exchanges team have put together a presentation explaining the benefits of taking part in an international exchange and the opportunities available to University of Plymouth students, take a look.

Bilateral exchange

A bilateral exchange is a swap between two students under the terms of special partnership agreements with individual overseas universities, agreed by our faculties, departments and courses. They are usually subject area specific – for example a swap between two history students - and are tuition fee-free at your host.

Bilateral exchanges take place with partner universities that we know well and they know us well. This means our courses are complementary making for productive exchange opportunities for our students. 


If you exchange with one of our partners in the EU, you may be eligible to apply for an Erasmus+ grant to help you with the costs of your mobility. Erasmus+ is a mobility programme that provides EU-funded grants to students to study or work abroad for up to a year in any of the member states of the EU. Find out more on the European Commission's website.

ISEP exchange

ISEP is a non-profit educational community dedicated to helping students overcome the financial and academic barriers to overseas study. The University of Plymouth has been a member of ISEP since 1984, exchanging an average of 11 students per year through ISEP during this time. You could spend your second year at one of over 300 member universities worldwide.

You can search for suitable partners and programmes at ISEP Program Finder

The main deadline for ISEP applications is the middle of February, so if you're studying abroad with ISEP you have at least two weeks to complete your application after your exchange has been approved by us.

Summary of ISEP costs and support


The general principle for exchange is that tuition fees at your host are not payable but you will usually be responsible for your maintenance, travel, visa and insurance costs whilst you are abroad. Student Finance provide grant support towards these costs as outlined on the Student Finance website.

Our Student Funding Unit can advise you on all aspects of student funding when you study abroad, including home tuition fee reductions, bursaries and scholarships.

Tuition fees

Whilst you do not pay tuition fees at your host university you will still be responsible for University of Plymouth tuition fees. However if you select to undertake an exchange for a full academic year, your home tuition fee is reduced by 85% - it stays at 100% if you go for only one semester.

Maintenance costs

For Bilateral exchanges you will have to cover your food and accommodation costs.

For ISEP exchanges, we will charge you an ISEP Exchange Program Fee for the food and accommodation costs of the student taking your place here and, in return, you will get an equivalent housing and meal benefit from your host for your living costs. Our fees for 2021/22 are £7,760 for the full year, £3,760 for semester 1 and £4,000 for semester 2. You will be invoiced by us for your fee shortly before you depart on your exchange and you can pay it by instalments as you receive your maintenance loan instalments.

Notifying Student Finance

You must make sure you notify Student Finance, in June/July, of your intention to study abroad in the following year. When you do this, they will send you a Course Abroad form which has to be filled-in by you, signed by a representative of the University, usually Plymouth Global, and sent back, by you, to Student Finance. Receipt of your completed form triggers the tuition fee reduction (for full-year exchanges only), access to the means-tested, enhanced maintenance loan and the availability of a travel grant, again means-tested, whereby you can claim back a significant proportion of your travel, visa and insurance costs incurred on your year abroad. 


Your host university will usually offer you accommodation in their halls. However, if you prefer to go elsewhere:

The Global Graduates website has location-specific accommodation advice as well as more general advice on studying and working abroad.

The Guardian’s Global Student series published, in May 2015, an article on “How to find accommodation for your year abroad”.

These websites offer student accommodation, mainly in Europe:


There are no ‘admin’ charges arising from either a bilateral or an Erasmus+ exchange. If you exchange through ISEP you will pay a non-refundable application fee, and a placement fee when you accept a placement. If, after you have accepted a placement, you then withdraw this fee will not be refunded. You are also obliged to take out and pay for ISEP Student Insurance.


The following links provide possible scholarship opportunities that may help you to finance your exchange:


It is your responsibility to make sure that you have adequate and valid personal accident, liability and medical insurance cover for the duration of your exchange, including any period spent abroad before and after. The University of Plymouth is not able to provide you with accident or liability insurance, neither in relation to your exchange nor to your personal accident, liability and medical cover.

The NUS recommend Endsleigh as insurers who are familiar with students’ study abroad insurance requirements.

Student European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

It is essential that you have appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover in place before you begin your exchange.

If you are exchanging in Europe after 2020, the EHIC will no longer be valid for most UK citizens. The government website says you should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.

Pricing up a year abroad 

We've provided a useful summary of costs and support, as outlined above. 

The opportunity to spend a year abroad as part of your studies is an exciting, potentially life changing, prospect. Understanding the expected costs before you immerse yourself in another culture can help you really make the most of your time without unnecessary money worries. Even ‘though you might not be exchanging with ISEP, their Budget Calculator can help you to price up your year abroad.


Work experience with Erasmus

While studying BSc Psychology, Alan Selman took advantage of the Erasmus scheme to spend a year working as a Research Assistant at the University of Aveiro in northern Portugal.

"Taking the plane to Portugal was pretty much the scariest moment of my whole life ... but as soon as I arrived there I was welcomed by the Erasmus crew."

In this short video Alan explains why he is really pleased to have had this opportunity to expand his horizons.

International opportunities for psychology students.

Study with Erasmus+

Since its inception in 1987, the Erasmus Programme has become one of the most successful and iconic programmes in Europe.

Traineeships with Erasmus+

After starting an Erasmus+ Traineeship Cláudia Vale Da Silva was offered a full-time job and career development opportunities.