Study abroad options

There are different ways you can study abroad, with choices about what you study and how long you stay.

Traditional study abroad year

For most students on a standard three-year degree course, a study abroad year is taken as an additional year. Once you've been successful in being selected to study abroad, your course will be changed to a four-year international variant of your degree. You'll study abroad in your third year and return to Leeds to complete your final year. Your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis, according to learning outcomes set by your teaching school. It will not count towards your final degree classification, but it will mean that you graduate with a different degree. Graduating with the international variant usually means you receive the word 'international' in brackets at the end of your degree title.

For students on a four-year integrated masters degree, the placement and academic assessment of a study abroad year varies by faculty. Your faculty or department will be able to advise on which of the following applies to you. For some, a study abroad year is taken as an integral replacement year in your third year and the marks you receive on your year abroad usually contribute to your final degree classification. For others, a study abroad year is taken as an additional year in either the third or fourth year of study and your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

If you are selected to undertake a traditional study abroad year, you'll be expected to take approximately two-thirds of your required credit load in your main degree subject. Remember this when you're researching your destination preferences.

Horizon study abroad year

Beginning in the 2015/16 academic year, students have the option of undertaking a new type of study abroad year. The Horizon study abroad year focuses on developing linguistic and intercultural competencies. It’s still academically rigorous, but you’re not limited to taking modules in your degree subject.

The academic content of a Horizon study abroad year focuses on language learning and intercultural understanding. You’ll be required to complete MODL3150 Intercultural Communication and Global Citizenship (on a distance-learning basis), which is a compulsory 20-credit Leeds module. You'll also be required to take at least 20 credits of beginner or intermediate level language modules in a local language - no language skills are required before you go abroad. You’ll select your remaining credit load from a selection of modules taught in English at the host university, which don’t have to be in your main degree subject. You're encouraged to choose modules that will improve your understanding of your host country's culture, but can also often choose independent study projects, and sometimes you can take modules in your degree subject, if they're offered in a language you understand.

A Horizon study abroad year is taken as an additional year. Once you've successfully been selected to study abroad, your course will be changed to a four-year international variant of your degree. You'll study abroad in your third year and return to Leeds to complete your final year. Your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis, according to learning outcomes and will not be counted towards your final degree classification, but it will mean that you graduate with a different degree. Graduating with the international variant usually means you receive the word 'international' in brackets at the end of your degree title.

Students on a four-year integrated masters programme can choose to undertake a Horizon study abroad year as an additional year in their third or fourth year of study. This option will not be available as a replacement year for students on an integrated masters degree course. 

You can only take a Horizon study year abroad at the universities listed on Horizon exchanges, not at any other partner universities.

Single semester study abroad

Most students who choose to study abroad must do so for a full academic year. However, there are a small number of degree programmes, which allow students to study abroad for a single semester during their second or third year of study. If you are studying in one of the following departments, speak to your school study abroad coordinator about the option of a single semester abroad:

  • Physics
  • Food Science
  • Theology
  • International Development

Short programmes

The Study Abroad office is able to offer several subsidised summer school opportunities for University of Leeds students.  There are also non-subsidised summer school options. Read more in Short programmes.