How to apply for Study Abroad

This page explains and guides you through the application process. Please read all information carefully.

The Study Abroad office Minerva organisation and our researching destinations web page contain useful information to guide you in selecting your options. By enrolling on the Minverva organisation, you will be granted access to vital information on our partner institutions. As well as this, it will allow you to consult useful resources which show how popular each of our partner universities have been in the last few years, helping you draw your list of destinations in preparation for the application process.

Our Minerva organisation allows you to access further guidance material on the application process and contains the link to the online form you will need to complete as part of your application for the Study Abroad programme.

Enrol on the Study Abroad organisation now!


Application period opens at:  11am on Monday 22nd October 2018
Application period closes at:  4pm on Friday 16th November 2018

In order to be considered, complete applications must be submitted by no later than 4pm on the above deadline. Please note this deadline is strictly enforced.

If you have special circumstances that lead to submitting an application past the above stated time and date, you will need to:

  • Contact the Study Abroad office and request an extension in writing
  • Show evidence of the circumstances that affected your ability to apply by the deadline

Extensions to the above deadline will be treated on a case-by-case basis. There is no guarantee that your application will be accepted past the above deadline.

Submitting a complete application

To submit a complete Study Abroad application, students you must complete the steps below in the following order:

  • Step one: Submit hard copies of all supporting documents to the Study Abroad office in person
  • Step two: Complete the final online application.

Once both parts of your application have been submitted, please check your Leeds email account every day in case of questions about your application.

Both components must be submitted by the published deadline. Failing to submit one of the two components by the deadline means that your application will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered.

See more information on supporting documents required and online application below.

STEP ONE: Submitting your supporting documents

Hand in your supporting documents early during the application period, and before submitting the online form. Handing in your supporting documents in person will give you a chance of going through your list of preferred destinations with a member of the Study Abroad team and finalise your choices before submitting the final online application. 

Applicants must hand in supporting documents to the Study Abroad office in person. Documents handed in by anyone other than applicants themselves may not be taken into consideration unless previously agreed in writing with a member of the Study Abroad team. Should you need to arrange for your documents to be handed on your behalf by someone else, please contact the Study Abroad office.

Please make sure that your full name and student ID number are printed clearly on each of the following documents:

1) A copy of your first year results. You can print your results from Minerva or from your Leeds for Life Living CV.

2) A provisional list of partner universities you wish to apply for. Please detail your choices in order of preference. You can list more than seven universities on this list, if needed.

3) Evidence of language skills (if applicable). This is a compulsory document if you are applying for any university with a language requirement. Language requirements for each partner university are listed on host universities’ profiles on Minerva and on the paper partner lists available from the Study Abroad office. Guidance about the different language levels and demonstrating your language proficiency can be found in Languages.

 We accept the following documents as evidence of language skills:

  •  Leeds language modules (this will be shown on the print-out of your first year results)
  • A Level Certificates, AS Level Certificates, GCSE Certificates 
  • Certificate of completion of a language course issued by private language schools

If you are enrolled on a course at Leeds or elsewhere at the time of applying, please submit proof of your enrolment and the expected level at the end of the course.

4) Mitigating circumstances evidence (if applicable). Please see the “Policy On Submitting Mitigating Circumstances For Study Abroad Applications” section at the bottom of this page for further information on further documentation to be submitted as evidence of mitigating circumstances as part of your application for the Study Abroad programme.

STEP TWO: online application

Complete the online application. The online application can be accessed through the Study Abroad Minerva organisation. Please note that this is last step to your application and thus, once finalised the application cannot be changed.

The list of preferred destinations specified on your online application may not be changed after submission. You must be prepared to spend a year at any of the universities you list on the form, as it is possible you may be placed at any of them. This includes your bottom-ranked choices. It is important that you speak to a member of the Study Abroad team before submitting your online application in order to get advice on your list of preferred destinations. If you need to change your choices after submitting your online application, you must request this in writing by emailing the Study Abroad office. However, please note that there is no guarantee that your changes will be accepted.

On the application form, you will be asked for the following information: 

  • Your personal details
  • Academic details: including your degree title, parent school, and the name of your School Study Abroad Coordinator 
  • Your final list of up to seven universities in order of preference. You are not required to list seven universities if there are not seven at which you would be happy to spend a year.
    Listing less than seven will not jeopardise your chances of being selected for those you do list, but neither will it increase your chances of being placed at your first or second choice. 
  • Whether you are intending to take the Horizon programme at any of your preferred universities. 
  • A statement about your language ability (if applying to any institution with a language requirement). This statement should mention: your current language level, how you reached that level and what plans you have to improve your language skills prior to departure. 
  • A personal statement. The word-limit is 500 words maximum. Your personal statement should be used by you as an opportunity to reflect on your reasons for applying to the Study Abroad programme. You should describe both your academic and personal development goals, as well as any other aims you may have for the year. You do not need to justify your reasons for choosing particular destinations, but can refer to locations if you have specific goals for specific university preferences.
  • Whether you would like to apply for the programme with mitigating circumstances. Please refer to the “Policy On Submitting Mitigating Circumstances For Study Abroad Applications” section at the bottom of this page for more information.

Notes on submitting the online application

You can save your answers and exit and return to your application form as often as you want before submitting it. Once submitted, your application will be final and you may not be able to make any changes to the list of destinations specified in the application, unless this has been requested to and approved by the Study Abroad office in writing.

You can only submit one application. Please do not submit your online application until you have submitted your supporting documents to the Study Abroad office in person. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your university preferences with an adviser before submitting your online application.

Write your list of destinations and come and speak to a member of our team to get advice on your destinations before submitting your online application. Applications are not considered on a first come, first served basis and there is no advantage to submitting an early application.

The Selection Process

Please see the “Submitting a Complete Application” section at the top of this page for more information.

Please note that the selection process is academically competitive. The University of Leeds Study Abroad Selection Committee reviews all applications and allocates students a place at one of their preferred universities, considering them as listed in order of preference.

Placement at a particular university will be principally based on academic merit. Where you are placed will depend on your academic standing and on the competition levels for your preferred universities. Your level 1 average will be considered together with your ranking within your school and degree programme. You can get advice about your ranking from the Study Abroad office.

This is an internal selection process and your application will not be sent to your potential host universities at this stage.

Selection Results

The Study Abroad office will send you notification by email and letter whether or not your application has been successful. You should expect to receive this over the University Christmas holidays. The date will vary depending on various checks being carried out post-selection by the Study Abroad office, however you should expect to receive notification by email around 20th December in the first instance.

Student allocations to a particular institution cannot be changed once the selection process has ended. Due to the complex nature of the selection process, and the popularity of the Study Abroad programme, students may not change their placement once selected without demonstrating exceptional circumstances in writing.

Policy on submitting mitigating circumstances for study abroad applications

Eligibility for mitigating circumstances applicants

You should only apply for mitigating circumstances if your circumstances have not already been taken into account by your School granting coursework extensions, or August re-sit examinations as first attempts, for example. In this case, your level 1 grades will be assessed as a fair reflection of your ability and your mitigating circumstances.

If your academic performance in the previous year was affected by mitigating circumstances, please make sure you declare this as part of your online application to Study Abroad. This will allow our office to consider these circumstances when assessing your application.

For more information on the situations in which it might be appropriate to submit a claim of mitigating circumstances, please refer to Mitigating circumstances form and guidance. You can also come and speak to a member of our staff during our drop-in hours to assess your case.

Submitting and application with mitigating circumstances

Should you want to submit a case for mitigating circumstances to be considered as part of your application, you should complete all of the below steps:

  • Tick the mitigating circumstances box on your online Study Abroad application
  • Submit a complete and signed paper copy of your mitigating circumstances form in person
  • Submit evidence of the response from your School indicating any action taken

Failure to include the above documentation with your application papers by the Study Abroad application deadline will mean that the circumstances will not be considered by the Study Abroad office.

Assessing applications with mitigating circumstances

Your mitigating circumstances will be considered by the Study Abroad Office mitigating circumstances committee and shared with your parent School. The committee will consider the following points when arriving at a decision regarding the extent to which the circumstances will be taken into account in the competitive selection process for Study Abroad places:

  • Completeness of documentation provided 
  • Seriousness and circumstances of evidence provided
  • Likely impact on studies
  • Pattern of academic performance

Please note that submission of a case for mitigating circumstances is not a guarantee of a place on a study abroad programme.