Erasmus - European exchange programme 

The ERASMUS scheme supports the exchange of students between universities in different member states of the European Union (EU),  with students taking away experiences and friendships that last a lifetime.  This programme provides a unique and wonderful opportunity for our Physics’ students to live and study in another European country for a complete year, significantly contributing to broadening students’ horizons, skills and potentials. 

The UK's future access to the Erasmus+ programme will be determined as a part of the UK's Brexit negotiations with the EU. However, the University of Birmingham is working across the UK Higher Education sector to call on Government to ensure that UK universities still have access to this valuable student exchange programme after the UK leaves the EU.

For the ERASMUS exchange programme Physics has agreements with the following universities:

Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck

Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III
Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble 1

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Universidad de Murcia
Universidad de Salamanca

The first two years are spent in Birmingham following the same course as the single-honours BSc or MSci programmes. For students following the BSc course of study, the emphasis during the year abroad is on developing ability in the foreign language and on understanding the cultural, historical and social aspects of the host country. For students on the MSci programme, the emphasis is on Physics – modules must be chosen carefully to cover material needed to enable the student to perform well in their fourth year of study in Birmingham. Thus MSci students taking an exchange in a foreign country need to be able to speak the language of that country reasonably fluently.

During the first year, students learn an appropriate language as part of their studies. We strongly encourage second-year students to follow an additional language course in their own time, taught by the School of Modern Languages. The School of Physics and Astronomy pays the registration fees for students on such a course, provided that they take the appropriate exam, but the course does not count towards the year mark. The third year is spent abroad on an approved programme of study at a university in Europe as part of the ERASMUS exchange scheme. We have established, in consultation with other British universities, a sound method of converting marks and/or grades awarded by the European university to comparable marks within the British system. The degree classification for the BSc programme is calculated from marks obtained in the final three years of study in the ratio 2:1:9; for the MSci programme, the ratio is 1:2:2.

For the BSc route, the year abroad is designed for students to experience life in another country, but for which the final mark obtained in examinations abroad will not contribute significantly to the final degree classification. For the MSci route, the year abroad is counted as the third year of a degree programme and therefore contributes to the degree classification in the normal way.

Other information can be found at

Under the exchange scheme, no tuition fees are charged by the host institution. Students are eligible for their LEA maintenance grant/loan during their year abroad (usually students are eligible for a slightly larger grant/loan). Students should apply for an ERASMUS Mobility Grant. 



What our students say:

Matt – B.Sc. Physics (International Study) Full-time, Year 4


The year I spent studying in Toulouse, in the southwest of France, on the ERASMUS Year Abroad scheme was without a doubt the best experience of my life. I had known I wanted to spend one year of my university studies abroad since I applied during A Levels, but I never imagined just how great it would be.

I arrived expecting to improve my French, learn physics from a new perspective, and to experience living in a French city. On top of that, I met a great bunch of other students, not only English and French, but from all across Europe and from the rest of the world. I visited some beautiful cities in France and Spain, and I went on five days out skiing in the Pyrenees. Through my classes, my accommodation, the ERASMUS association events, and literally bumping into other British students and expats in the street, I made friends for life.

A year abroad is something I couldn't recommend highly enough. Whether you go to a country where you can speak a language you're learning or you go to an English-speaking country, you're sure to have many amazing experiences and meets lots of wonderful people.