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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go?

You can go on exchange to a variety of different countries. Check out our partner pages to find out more about where you can go.

What is the difference between International Exchange and Erasmus?

International Exchange sends students to China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Latin America. The Erasmus programme sends students to countries within the European Union.

How long can I go away for?

You can study abroad for a semester or a year. Check with your academic co-ordinator to find out which works best for your course. Many of our partner universities also offer shorter summer courses.

How do I apply to the International College Wide Exchange?

To apply for International College-wide exchange, you need to have achieved a 2.1 in your Junior Fresh (1st year) exams and be currently in your Senior Freshman (2nd) year. This is different for Engineering students who apply in their third year and are assessed on their second year grades. On the application form, you list your top six universities in order of preference. You need to have your form signed by your academic coordinator before you submit it to the International exchange co-ordinator in the Academic Registry. If you are a Joint Honours student pr study across multiple disciplines/schools/faculties, you will need all relevant coordinators to countersign your form and approve of your exchange.

Where can I get an application form?

For college-wide exchanges, you'll find the application form on the study abroad webapge here. For departmental exchanges, the applications vary by department, and you should refer to your Trinity department webpage and/or Coordinator for more information.

Can I apply if I do not have a 2.1?

Students can go on European exchanges provided they have a minimum 2:2 in their examinations.
For International exchanges, places are highly competitive and restrictions on allocation of places apply. Only students with a proven history of being in ‘good academic standing’ will be eligible for places. You may be considered for extenuating circumstances should you fail to achieve a 2:1 in your examinations in first year. Please contact the Student Mobility Officer at for more information about International exchanges, and the Academic Registry for more information about EU exchanges.

What do I need to know if I am a TSM, BESS or PPES student?

In Trinity, students often take broader courses in their first two years. When you go on exchange, you will have to pick a field as a ‘major’ to specialise in. Choosing a major usually involves taking more modules in one subject than the other(s). Credits gained during your semester or year abroad will transfer back to Trinity and count towards your final year so you can complete your degree as normal. However, some Trinity courses require you to take specific courses during your time abroad so you can re-enter classes with your friends who have stayed at Trinity.

For TSM students, you must study both subjects equally while abroad. We would normally expect students to take classes equivalent to 60 ECTS per year. TSM students must achieve a minimum of 22.5 ECTS in each subject for a full year and at least 10 credits in each subject for a half year, with an equal minimum amount of credits in each subject.

You will need to make this decision in advance of your application and research the universities you wish to apply to so that you can complete your degree with any required courses. Talk to your Departmental Coordinator and the International exchange coordinator in the Academic Registry for more information.

When and where can I attend information sessions?

Registrations for information sessions can be found on the study abroad webpage here.

What happens after I make my application?

After you make your application, you may be nominated to one of your six choices. If you choose to accept your nomination, you then make a direct submission to your exchange university.

Does my year abroad count towards my degree?

Whether you spend a semester or year abroad on a College-wide exchange, your time and grades will count as an integral part of your Trinity degree. If, for example, you are away throughout your Junior Sophister (3rd) year, you will rise to Senior Sophister (4th year) upon your return, assuming you have passed your exams at the host university. Your grades abroad contribute directly to your final degree. Summer courses do not contribute towards your degree.

How do I convert my grades when I get back?

Your school/department will convert your grades in accordance with Trinity grading standards.

What happens if I fail an exam abroad?

Students are expected to maintain good academic standing while on exchange. In the event that your exam results are lower than expected, please speak to your academic coordinator immediately. A minimum of 45ECTS, or equivalent credits elsewhere, are required to progress to the next academic year.

Do I have to pay fees?

As you register as usual with Trinity at the beginning of the academic year of your exchange, and pay either the student contribution charge or fees as normal, tuition fees at the host university are waived. All other expenses such as travel, accommodation, health insurance and general living costs are the student’s own responsibility. Fees for summer courses, being outside the academic year, are generally payable by the student, although some partners offer generous discounts or waive tuition.

What will my course load be like when I study abroad?

Your course load will depend on how many classes you need to take to satisfy Trinity’s credit requirements as well as the usual course load at your exchange university. Course loads vary from university to university and from country to country. To meet Trinity’s credit requirements, students on a full year exchange must take a minimum of 45ECTS or equivalent for to progress on their return. Semester exchange students should take a minimum of 22.5 ECTS or equivalent to progress on their return.Your School/Department may have their own requirements. We would also generally advise that although 45 ECTS is the minimum course load, it may be a good idea to take an extra module to cover yourself.

How much does it cost to go on exchange?

As you register with Trinity as usual at the beginning of third year, and pay your usual fees, your International exchange does not incur extra tuition costs. However, you must cover associated costs like flights, accommodation, health insurance and cost of living overseas. You can learn more about cost of living at individual universities and in each country by checking their university fact sheets on our Where Can I Go? page. Where can I go? Summer programmes, being outside the academic year, do incur separate tuition charges payable to the individual university.

The cost of going on exchange can vary enormously from country to country, and depending on how long you plan on being overseas. Some students return to Trinity and say they were able to save significantly on their day-to-day costs by being outside of Dublin. Others, for example, at universities in New York City, have said that an exchange year can cost up to 20,000€ for the full year when visa, flights, accommodation, and day-to-day expenses are included.

Can I work while I am on exchange?

Depending on your visa type, you may be able to work when you are on exchange. Check the terms of your visa before you go.

Is there a grant for International exchanges?

There will be funding opportunities provided for International Exchanges through the Global Mobility Bursary.

I was nominated for an exchange. Is there a minimum mark I need in my Senior Freshman exams in order to keep my place on the exchange?

Departments/Schools will have a grade requirement you must achieve in your Senior Freshman exams before you are allowed to go on International exchange. Please ensure that you are familiar with the grade requirement. Specific requirements are available from the Department/School coordinators.

Do I need to maintain a 2.1 throughout my Senior Fresh year?

In most disciplines you will have to maintain a 2.1 throughout your Senior Fresh year, attaining a 2.1 in your end of year exams. Some disciplines will not allow you to go on exchange if your marks drop below a 2.1. Make sure you speak with your Departmental Co-ordinator to find out the requirements in your department.

How do I stay in contact with College while I’m away?

Students should check their College email regularly during their time abroad along with their spam folder. Once abroad, students also need to provide an alternative email contact to the Academic Registry, e.g. their new email address from the exchange university.

When can I go abroad?

Students usually go abroad in their third year (Junior Sophister) of four year degrees. Special arrangements apply for certain programmes such as Engineering. Speak to your coordinator for further advice!


For additional information about international exchanges, please contact the Student Mobility Officer at For more information about exchange within the EU, contact the Exchange Coordinator in your School/Department (Erasmus exchanges are allocated at School/Department level)