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Outgoing Erasmus and Other Exchanges

ErasmusThe Department of History encourages students to undertake, ideally, a year abroad — or in some instances a half-year abroad — at an overseas university under the exchange programme, as part of your studies. A year abroad is a great opportunity to live in a foreign country, study at another university, learn about a different culture, improve your language skills, and make new friends. It is also a valuable asset on your CV, and will enhance your employability.
Almost always, you go abroad in your Junior Sophister (3rd) year, but you apply in your Senior Fresh (2nd) year.

For all intents and purposes, three types of Exchange Programme are offered to History students:

  1. Erasmus exchanges established by the History Department with a number of leading European universities
  2. ELAN exchanges, also to leading European universities, as part of the European Liberal Arts Network
  3. Non-EU exchanges arranged centrally by College to some of the most prestigious universities outside Europe


As noted above, the Department of History encourages students to consider spending the Junior Sophister year studying at an overseas university. Therefore, the application process will have to occur in the preceding year when you are Senior Fresh, at a time when the main mechanism available to the Department for determining your qualifications will be your overall Junior Fresh performance.

Applications for the Erasmus programme are required to secure a minimum of a II.2 grade (in practice, since competition for the more sought-after echanges is considerable, the higher your JF mark the better). ELAN requires a II.1 and College-wide competition for non-EU places is such that, while you may be considered should you fail to achieve a II.1 in your first year, your options will be limited, i.e., students with the highest grades tend to secure the best exchanges.

As noted above, the basis on which places are offered is your overall Junior Fresh performance, but since places are allocated during the course of your Senior Fresh year, performance in the latter may also be taken into account.

In general, priority tends to be given to year-long applications, mainly because host universities will frequently only consider such, and, in practice too, it can be more difficult for the History Department to arrange to slot you into Junior Sophister modules of your choice if you are away for half a year.

1. The Erasmus Programme

The Erasmus programme is named after the philosopher, humanist and theologian Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1465-1536). Erasmus lived and worked in several parts of Europe, in quest of the knowledge, experience, and insights which only such contact with other countries could bring. Research shows that a period spent abroad not only enriches student lives in the academic field but also in the acquisition of intercultural skills and self-reliance.
The Department of History participates in Erasmus exchanges with the following:

History Department’s Erasmus partner universities

Autonomous Uni Barcelona (UAB)

Eötvös Loránd Uni, Budapest

University of Edinburgh

Università degli Studi di Firenze (Florence)

Universität Hamburg

Universität Konstanz

Paris-Sorbonne Uni (Paris IV)

Charles University Prague

University of St Andrews

National Research University HSE St Petersburg

University of Salamanca

Université Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès

Utrecht University

Universität Wien (Vienna)

In almost all cases, we can only send two students to any of the above. Most require that you attend for a full year. A small number will allow us, instead of sending two students for a full year, to send four for a half-year each. The majority offer teaching through English but some do not. So before deciding on any one of them, study their website carefully to see if you have the appropriate language competence.

If you are a Single Honours History student, the application process is relatively straightforward because you only have one Department with which to deal! If you are, for instance, Joint Honours it is slightly more complicated because both Departments must approve your exchange. Each Department will have its own exchange agreements with other universities, and you can pick from either list.

If you are, for example, studying History and Political Science, both departments will have Erasmus agreements with universities abroad and you can apply via either Department or both Departments (and then pick the best offer that comes along). But both Departments will have to approve your selection. In other words, the History Department will have to satisfy itself that you can attain an appropriate level of History-teaching at the university with which your other Department has an exchange, and vice versa. So, you must contact the Study Abroad Coordinator in each subject to check if there are any issues you should be aware of.

2. The European Liberal Arts Network (ELAN)

The European Liberal Arts Network (ELAN) is an interdisciplinary network of European higher education institutions designed to promote the mobility of students and scholars in the field of the arts and humanities. The following universities are members of the network:

University of Bristol (England),
Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal),
Universität Graz (Austria),
Universität Heidelberg (Germany),
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium),
the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris (France),
Charles University Prague (Czech Republic),
Universidad de Salamanca (Spain),
Università degli Studi di Siena (Italy),
Uppsala Universitet (Sweden), and
University College Utrecht (Netherlands).

Students from TCD may participate in an exchange with any ELAN university. These are part of the EU’s Erasmus network, and students receive the same support as students participating in any other Erasmus programme. (Note, however, the term and conditions for students going to Bristol will depend on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.) Student exchanges can be for one term only, for the whole year in the same institution or for two terms in two different institutions. TSM/joint honours students must study both of their subjects while abroad.

To qualify for an ELAN exchange, you must have an overall II/1 grade from your first year of study at TCD.

Several of the partner universities teach modules through the medium of English. These are: Charles University Prague, Utrecht University College, University of Bristol, University of Graz, University of Siena and Uppsala University. Previous cohorts of TCD students have successfully spent the year in each of these institutions. For the other partners, some knowledge of the local language is advisable.

Students visiting ELAN partner institutions, while continuing study of their own discipline(s), can also enrol in interdisciplinary modules or undertake a supervised programme of study exploring questions of broad importance in the humanities and society today. In some institutions short-term internships can be arranged for students while abroad.

You are encouraged to think about an independent study project which you can undertake while abroad. This can be a preparatory exercise to the dissertation which you complete in your final year at TCD. Your chances of being accepted are greater if you devise such a project, though a project is not a requirement, except for students who wish to study in Paris.

For further information, see the ELAN web pages at, or contact TCD’s ELAN coordinator, David Ditchburn (

3. Non-EU Exchanges

It is also possible to go on an exchange outside Europe, but these non-EU exchanges, or ‘College-wide’ exchanges, are not run by the History Department and, instead of competing with your fellow History students for a placement, this scheme is open to all eligible students from all Faculties at Trinity. These exchanges are agreed at College level with universities in the USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, etc. Trinity’s ‘College Wide’ (or non-EU exchanges) are academically competitive and allow students to demonstrate their initiative, flexibility, and willingness to adapt to new cultures – all of these skills are hugely transferrable to a work context after exchange, and are highly valued by employers!

We strongly encourage students thinking of going on non-EU exchange to investigate and research all of their options before choosing which exchanges to apply to. While non-EU exchanges can be integrated into many degree pathways, there are some restrictions. Please also note that the deadline for non-EU exchanges tends to be very early, so you should regularly check their web pages for updates:

Course requirements while abroad

Students going abroad normally take modules to the equivalent of 60 ECTS. The absolute minimum requirement for a full-year exchange is 45 ECTS in History (and 22.5 ECTS in History for half a year abroad) but students are strongly advised to take more than the minimum 45 ECTS in case of failure in some elements. Joint Honours and others taking two subjects must obtain a minimum of 22.5 credits in each subject in order to rise with their year (and those on half-year exchanges at least 12 ECTS in each subject while abroad).

Module choices at your host university

Make sure that you are clear about the modules your TCD Department(s) require you to take in your host university. Make sure you attend any information sessions for Erasmus students planned by the the History Department (and your other Department if you are Joint Honours, etc) and Trinity’s International Office. Meet with your Department Coordinator before you go away and you may be able to fill in part of your Learning Agreement (see below) at this stage. The Department of History in general will not accept non-History modules: however, modules can be discussed with the coordinator as there is generally some flexibility within reason (for example, relevant language classes).

As soon as you have settled on a module loading, complete the Learning Agreement, send it to your Department Coordinator at home and ask him/her to approve your choices by email. It is most important to ensure that you receive sufficient credit at your host university to rise with your year at Trinity following your return from abroad.

NB: When selecting modules, you must bear in mind that your transcript showing all grades obtained must be returned to the Department of History Office and the Study Abroad coordinator by 31 August 2022 at the latest. Without your grades from the year abroad it will be impossible to register in Trinity for the new academic year. It is your responsibility to meet this deadline.

What is the Learning Agreement?

The Learning Agreement is an important document which sets out your study programme at your host university. With the guidance of your Trinity Erasmus Coordinator you must fill in the modules which you wish to study at your host university and the ECTS weighting for each module. It must then be signed by the Coordinator at your host university, by you, and returned for final approval and signature by your Trinity Coordinator. Your Trinity Department should hold a copy of the Learning Agreement for its records, and forward a copy to the Trinity International Office for signature by the Institutional Coordinator.

It is a requirement of the European Commission that all students participating in the Erasmus Programme must complete this Agreement to gain credit for the year. The Learning Agreement will be included in an information pack sent to you before departure. It also ensures that there will be no misunderstandings regarding module choices at the host university when you return to Trinity.

Erasmus Mobility Grant

The Erasmus Mobility Grant is issued by European Commission through the National Agency in Ireland and the universities have no control over the amount allocated. The amount of the grant varies from year to year and from country to country. In some of the other EU countries the government subsidises study abroad schemes, so students from those countries are likely to receive larger grants than the usual Erasmus grant.

Students who are away for five months or more will receive the Erasmus Grant in three instalments. The first instalment will be transferred to your bank account shortly after Trinity receives both the Confirmation of Arrival form and the Erasmus Financial Agreement from you. These forms will be sent to you in an information pack before departure. The second (smaller) 'top-up' grant will be transferred in mid-March. The final (smaller) grant will be issued at the end of the academic year. Students who are away for less than five months will receive the Erasmus Grant in two instalments.

If for any reason you withdraw from the Erasmus Programme earlier than planned, and after you have been issued with the first Erasmus Grant, you must contact the International Admissions and Study Abroad Office to organise a reimbursement of the Erasmus grant, or part of it.

Registration at Trinity College/Fees

While abroad you are still a registered student of Trinity College and you must pay the usual Trinity fees or Student Contribution. If you are eligible for the Fee Remission scheme, you will pay the Student Contribution. Erasmus students do not pay fees at their host university. If you are a non-EU national spending a year abroad as an Erasmus student, full tuition fees must be paid to Trinity College. You will be able to pick up your Trinity ID card in College at any time following completion of online registration.

How to Apply for Erasmus

  1. In Michaelmas Term 2020, all Senior Fresh History students will receive an invitation to attend a meeting with History’s Study Abroad Coordinator at which the Erasmus scheme and application process will be explained. If you are Joint Honours, etc, you may have two such meetings to attend and bear in mind that both Departments may have different procedures and deadlines: but you will have the advantage that you can apply for a wider range of destinations, through both Departments, and can opt for the best offer, assuming you receive one. Also bear in mind, though, that you will need both Departments to approve your choice (the History Department, for instance, will hardly allow you to go, via your other subject, on exchange to a university where you cannot study History!).
  2. At the Erasmus meeting in Michaelmas Term, the History Study Abroad Coordinator will distribute an ‘expression of interest’ form which will allow you to register your interest in going on Erasmus in 2021-2, and indicate your choice of location in order of preference. The form must be returned by the deadline stated thereon.
  3. Early in Hilary Term 2021, the Study Abroad coordinator, having reviewed your application, based on your grades and demand for your choice of exchange, will contact you directly with the outcome of your application.
  4. If you accept the History Department’s offer, the Academic Registry will be in further contact with the next steps in the process, and will require you to fill in an online form. The details are needed for your Erasmus grant application.
  5. Only at that stage do you actually apply to your host university. The application procedure will be sent to you via email by the host institution. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they submit their application by the host university’s deadline. Check the website of your host university to make sure you are aware of any admission deadlines, to check if they have an application form, and if you can apply for accommodation at the same time.
  6. Subsequently, Trinity’s Erasmus office will organize a pre-departure meeting for all Erasmus students. Further details will be communicated to you in April/May. At this meeting, we will discuss the paperwork you need to sign for the Erasmus grant.

How to Apply for ELAN

Please contact Dr David Ditchburn for a formal application form ( It is likely that this will be required by early January 2021. The ELAN board meets in the final week of February to consider all exchange applications. They will ordinarily be able to inform you if you have been successful in your application by the first week of March.

How to Apply for Non-EU exchanges

As non-EU exchanges are established and run at a College-wide level, the History Department has little direct role in the application process (though it will have to approve your choice). For the most part, instead of dealing with History’s Study Abroad Coordinator, you will be dealing with College’s Study Abroad office. In practice, the deadline for non-EU exchanges tends to be considerably earlier that that for EU exchanges. Therefore, please consult, as a priority, the relevant College web pages:


Academic Year 2021-2022
Prof. Seán Duffy
History Department
Study Abroad Coordinator

NOTE: This information is provided as a general guide for students. Information on exchanges is constantly being updated, so it is vital to consult the Trinity Study Abroad website in the first instance for the most up to date information on the exchange programme:

If there is a conflict between information provided in this handbook and that on the official TCD site, the latter will have primacy, but do please consult the History Department’s Study Abroad coordinator (above) if you are in doubt.

Bon voyage!