A year abroad as part of your degree gives you the chance to challenge yourself personally in a different academic and cultural environment.
It's also proof to employers that you’re adaptable, independent and globally aware.
Where you can go
Most departments offer opportunities for you to complete a year of your Imperial degree at an institution within Europe through the Erasmus+ exchange scheme.
It may also be possible to study further afield, for example in the USA, Australia or Singapore, through partnerships developed by your department with institutions beyond the EU.
We have chosen our exchange partners carefully. Not only do they include some of the world’s best universities, they offer a comparable level of teaching in your subject field. This means that the year you spend abroad will count directly towards your Imperial degree.
See our Placements website for a list of our current exchange partners in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.
If you are already learning a language, immersing yourself in the country where it is spoken is a great way to take your fluency to the next level. And in the multinational job market, graduates with language skills are in demand.
Knowing the language of the host country to an acceptable level is required before embarking on a year abroad in Europe, although we make exceptions for a year abroad in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.
Where teaching is in English rather than the host language, the level of proficiency you need to achieve is normally lower.
See our course list to find out about language admission requirements for the course you are interested in, and whether language tuition forms part of the curriculum.
We also offer a range of specialist Language for Science degrees in the Departments of Chemistry and Life Sciences for students who wish to pursue language study to an advanced standard alongside their scientific studies.
In addition, our Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication offers evening classes in French, German, Italian and Spanish – among many other languages such as Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian – at various levels.
There is also a language lab for self-study, and a Language Pairs scheme to partner you with a native or near-native speaker in the language you want to learn for practice on an exchange basis.
We also have many opportunities to study in English-speaking countries, like the USA and Singapore.
Who can go
See our course list to find out if a study/research abroad degree is available in the department you are interested in.
Places are normally offered on a competitive basis to students performing above a certain academic standard, usually a 2:1 at the time of selection in the year before the year abroad (a standard which must be then maintained until the end of the year before you go abroad).
Funding and finance
Students who spend an academic year abroad retain their student status at Imperial. This means they normally remain eligible for the same government support they would be at home (e.g. loans and grants).
In addition, UK students studying in Europe through either the European Union's Erasmus+ programme or Swiss-European Mobility Programme normally receive a grant (courtesy of the European Union or the Swiss Government, as applicable) to help with the additional costs of studying abroad.
As an exchange student, you do not pay tuition fees to the host institution abroad.
The College also offers significant discounts on its tuition fees for UK and EU students for the year spent abroad, so it could work out cheaper overall, particularly where the year directly replaces a year at Imperial.
Occasionally year abroad places are approved at universities with which we do not have exchange agreements and therefore you might be required to pay a tuition fee to the host university as well as a fee to Imperial.