Incoming students

International studentsBirmingham is delighted to welcome a large number of students from all over the world who have chosen Birmingham as their study abroad or exchange destination.

It is possible to study abroad at Birmingham via several routes. 

  • The Erasmus Exchange Programme - for European students studying at one of our partner institutions.
  • The International Exchange Programme - for International students studying at one of our partner institutions.
  • The Study Abroad Programme - our fee paying programme for students who don't come on an exchange programme. 

Prospective Students 

Exchange students usually have to go through a selection process at their home university before submitting an application to Birmingham.

Application deadlines

  • International Exchange: 30 April
  • Erasmus Exchange: 30 April
  • For January entry: 1 November

We aim to make an offer within 4 weeks of receipt of the application.

The study abroad and exchanges application form is now available online.  For students who wish to register on the Erasmus Exchange Programme or International Exchange Programme you can only apply once you have been nominated by your home university.  For further information about the Study Abroad and Exchange programmes which we offer you can view our incoming brochure (PDF - 1.13 MB).

Contact the Incoming Exchange Co-ordinators

Neil Driscoll - Study Abroad and Exchanges Co-ordinator (Incoming International)
Contact for international students on the International Exchange Programme and fee paying Study Abroad Programme.
0121 414 8613

Kaveri Barooah - Study Abroad and Exchanges Co-ordinator (Incoming Erasmus)
Contact for incoming Erasmus students on the Erasmus Exchange Programme.
Tel: 0121 414 7696

Jo-ann Lloyd - Contact for exchange student module co-ordination
Tel: 0121 414 7734

Partner queries (e.g. about agreements) should be directed to: Beverley Broll-International Mobility Manager
Tel: 0121 415 8427

Birmingham Study Abroad Programme

The Birmingham fee paying study abroad programme has a long-standing reputation for attracting high quality students from across the world, particularly from the United States and Asia.

We offer the Study Abroad Programme both with and without English. Details of both programmes including entry requirements, fees, start dates and application procedures can be found below.

Essential information

Start date:   September or January

Entry requirements

To attend the Study Abroad programme you must meet the following requirements:

  • Native speaker of English or English Language qualification equivalent to IELTS 6.5 (7.0 for Law)
  • Completed at least one year of university study
  • Achieved a grade point average of at least 3.0
  • Demonstrate a particular interest or background in subject of choice

Fees for 2016/17

International Study Abroad Programme

Sep 2016 - Jun 2017 : £13,860 

Sep 2016 - Dec 2016 : £6,930

Jan 2017 - Jun 2017 : £6,930

EU Study Abroad Programme:

Sep 2016 - Jun 2017: £9,000 

Sep 2016 - Dec 2016: £4,500 

Jan 2017 - June 2017: £4,500

How to apply

Our online application is now available. When applying, you will need to upload the following supporting documentation:

  • One academic reference;
  • A copy of an official transcript showing the courses taken and grades;
  • A copy of your passport/ID photo page;
  • Evidence of English Language (if applicable).

If you have any queries regarding your application please email the Study Abroad Team

The Study Abroad Programme with English

If you do not meet the English language requirements for entry to the study abroad or exchange programmes it is possible to attend a pre-sessional English course first. 

These courses are run by our English for International Students Unit (EISU) and you can find out the details, costs, and application process for those courses online. 

The English for Academic Purposes Pre-sessional course is for international students who have a conditional offer to study at the University but who do not currently meet the English language requirements. The course is tailored to your level of English and allows you to meet the English language requirement for your programme without retaking IELTS. 

You will need to complete the application for our Study Abroad programme and then apply separately for the presessional English course directly with the EISU. The prices are the same as the Study Abroad Programme without English but you will have to pay an additional cost of the EISU course directly to them. The fees for the EISU courses are listed on their Details page. 

Please note that unfortunately we cannot offer fee discounts for students who leave the programme in the middle of a University of Birmingham teaching term.

Contact Details for the Fee-Paying Study Abroad Programme

For information and queries about coming to Birmingham as a fee paying study abroad student please contact: 

Neil Driscoll - Study Abroad and Exchanges Co-ordinator (Incoming International)
Contact for students interested in the fee paying Study Abroad Programme.
0121 414 8613

English Language Requirement

All study abroad and exchange students who are non-native speakers of English must provide us with proof of English language ability. We always need a scan of any official results by email.

Applicants currently studying in a majority English speaking country will not be required to take an English language proficiency test for entry to the University of Birmingham.

The English qualifications below are what we can accept:

  • IELTS 6.5 with not less than 6.0 in any one component.
  • TOEFL iBT 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing.
  • A mark of 10 or more in English on the German Abitur.
  • A mark of 14 or more in English on the French Baccalauréat.
  • A level 2 or higher in the Certificat de Compétences en Langues de l'Enseignement Supérieur (CLES).
  • A mark of 10 or better in English in the Danish Studentereksamen.
  • A mark of 2 or more in English (written and oral) on the Austrian Matura/Reifeprüfung.
  • A mark of VG or better in English on the Swedish Fullständigt Slutbetyg från Gymnasieskolan/ Slutbetyg från Komvux/ Avgangsbetyg.
  • A mark of 5 or more in English on the Swiss Certificat de Maturité Federale / Maturitätszeugnis/ Attestato Di Maturità.
  • A mark of 5 or more in English on the Norwegian Vitnemål fra den Videregående Skole.
  • A mark of 8 or higher on the Dutch Voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs (vwo).
  • A mark of 5 or more in English on the Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto/ Studentexamen.
  • A mark of 7.5/75% or more in English on the Belgian Getuigschrift Van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs/Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Superieur/ Abschlusszeugnis der Oberstufe des Sekundarunterrichts.
  • A mark of 5 or more on the International Baccalaureate English, Standard or Higher Level, First or Second Language.

A Pass from a University of Birmingham presessional English course. If students do not have the required level of English or would like to improve their English before the start of the academic year, they can take one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These are courses students must pay for, and they have to be taken here at Birmingham before commencing the year or term abroad studies.

What we cannot accept:

  • A letter from the home university saying that a student’s standard of English is good enough, without a certificate of proof.
  • University of Cambridge ESOL test results.
  • DAAD (German Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) results.
  • BULATS (The Business Language Testing Service) results.
  • Any other test results other than the acceptable ones listed in the first list.

Accepted Students

Once you have been made an offer of a place you will receive an offer letter.  All of the information that you require prior to your arrival at the University will be sent to you electronically or it will be available on-line.  You can also visit the Welcome pages on the University's website which contain useful information for students starting at Birmingham.

All students who have had an offer will be sent full details of the orientation events by email. It is important that you check your emails regularly, as some of our events will be tailored individually for you.

Academic Information

Level of modules

Modules are numbered according to a University of Birmingham scheme which is not equivalent to the numbering schemes in American or other universities and colleges. In choosing modules, you should be guided by the year of study in which the modules are offered to British degree students, rather than the module number. Bear in mind that most bachelors degrees in the UK are of three years’ duration. In general, second and third year courses will qualify as upper division. First year courses should be regarded as lower division. 

If you have queries about the suitability of a particular modules or level of modules, the Study Abroad and Exchanges Office will be happy to give advice.

Availability of courses

The online module page  on our website, lists the modules which the University regularly provides. Most of the modules listed are available every year as they form a permanent part of particular undergraduate degree programmes. Some modules may be unavailable in a given year for various reasons, such as those affecting staff - leave of absence, resignation, or new appointments. Up to date information is available from the Study Abroad and Exchanges Office. If we have to withdraw a module for which you have applied, we will suggest alternatives to you. If the availability of a particular module is essential to your plans, please enquire specifically about its availability when you apply.


Many modules can be taken by all students but in some cases we require evidence of previous study of the subject or of a related subject. The pre-requisites are referred to in the module descriptions in the on-line catalogue. If you are in doubt about your eligibility for a module for which there are pre-requisites, please include brief details of your previous study when you apply. If a department considers that you are not eligible for enrolment for a module, they will suggest alternatives for which you would be eligible.

The academic year at Birmingham

The academic year is divided into three terms as follows:

  • Autumn Term:  September to December (11 weeks of teaching plus a welcome week)
  • Spring Term:  January to March (11 weeks)
  • Summer Term:  April to June (8 weeks)

Full details of dates of terms can be found here.  There is no teaching in the Summer Term; it is used for revision and examinations. The exam period begins in early May and ends in the first week of June. Although term extends until the middle of June, students are permitted to leave as soon as their exams are completed. This means that some students may be finished by the middle of May. It is understood that some students must return home for summer jobs, or summer sessions at their home universities but other students prefer to remain until the end of term as there are many social events on campus such as the Summer Ball. Students also use the campus as a convenient base for travelling around the UK or Europe. Please note that students electing to leave early will remain responsible for accommodation charges until the end of the term.

Teaching methods

The methods used in teaching vary; some modules are taught by lectures and tutorials, others by seminars alone and others involve laboratory or practical work. Seminars are normally groups of no more than 20 students. The period of each individual session is usually one hour though some modules have 90-minute or two-hour classes. A typical humanities or social sciences module would consist each week of a one hour lecture to the whole group which would then divide into sections of 15 to 20 students, each of which would have a one hour tutorial during the same week. Students are required to undertake a significant quantity of independent study in addition to time in class.

Methods of assessment

The various methods used by departments in the University to assess work include essays, examinations, individual and group presentations, on-line tasks, seminar, class, or discussion papers and laboratory reports.

Part-year students

Study Abroad students are assessed in the same way as degree students on each module. However, there are certain modifications for part-year students (that is, students who leave in December or who arrive in January).

All the examinations at Birmingham are held in May/June—even for modules which are taught wholly in the Autumn Term. This means that students leaving in December will need to undertake some additional assessment in place of the examination. In some cases, this takes the form of a special examination in the last week of term but in other cases there will be an additional essay, or an essay that is longer than normal.

Students arriving in January sit examinations at the usual time but of course where students have joined full-year modules part way through, they will sit shorter examinations that do not include material from the Autumn Term.

Credits and grades

Students must take a full credit load. This means that students who are at Birmingham for the full year must take 120 Birmingham credits. Students at Birmingham for part of the year must take 60 Birmingham credits.

The number of modules required to obtain that number of credits varies because different modules carry a different number of credits. Remember that if a module is worth, for example, 20 credits and it is a full-year module, a part-year student taking only half of the module will receive only 10 credits.

Please note, students who are registered for the Spring/Summer Terms or for the full year do not have the option of absenting themselves from exams for fewer credits.

In terms of ECTS credits, a full year at Birmingham is worth 60 ECTS. Part of a year will be worth 30 ECTS.

Transfer of credits and grades

In January (for December leavers) and July, marks are ratified by an Examination Board. After the Board, a transcript of results will automatically be sent to each student and also to each student's home university.

Of course, policy on the transfer of credits and grades is a matter for each student's home institution, but the following table is a guide to the translation of marks.

American Letter Grade   University of Birmingham numerical mark   UK Honours Class

A+                                                       70+                                                                 1st

A                                                         65-69                                                              2:1

A-                                                        60-64                                                              2:1

B+                                                       58-59                                                              2:2

B                                                         55-57                                                              2:2

B-                                                        53-54                                                              2:2

C+                                                       50-52                                                              2:2

C                                                         45-49                                                              3rd

C-                                                        41-44                                                              3rd

D                                                         40                                                                    3rd

F                                                          0-39                                                                Fail

Immigration and Visas

You MUST obtain a Tier 4 visa before attempting to enter the UK if your period of study is for more than six months. 

Even if your period of study is for less than six months you may still wish to obtain a Tier 4 visa. This is because students who enter the UK on Short-term Student Visas are not permitted to work or volunteer and are not permitted to extend their stay in the UK under any circumstances.

Please note that biometric data is now required for Tier 4 visa applications and that Tier 4 applications are expensive. Please visit the GOV.UK website for more information. Please also visit the University's page on Immigration and visas.

If you are coming to the UK for less than six months and you do not obtain a Tier 4 visa then you will enter the UK on a Short-Term Student Visa (formerly known as a student visitor visa). Students from some countries are able to simply arrive in the UK with the appropriate documents. Students from other countries must apply in advance even for a Short-Term Student Visa.

You will receive an offer letter providing proof of your place at the University which you will be asked to show to the Immigration Officer at your point of entry if you enter as a student visitor without prior entry clearance (and which you may be asked to show even if you have applied for a visa in advance). Please keep the offer letter in your hand  luggage to provide at the Immigration Desk before you reach Baggage Reclaim.

Please also keep in your hand luggage any financial documents such as proof of student loans entitlement, bank statements, or details of grants or scholarships.  These may be requested by the immigration authorities before they will stamp the visa into your passport.  If you cannot show evidence of sufficient funds for your period of study in the UK, you may be denied entry and will have to return home on the next flight.

Health Insurance

The University has a health centre on campus.  You should register with this service on your arrival.  If you will be in the UK for more than six months you will be able to use the National Health Service in the same way as anyone permanently resident in the UK.  However, pre-existing medical conditions requiring long-term medication or hospital treatment may not be covered.  Repatriation is definitely not covered.  It is therefore essential to take out health insurance before you arrive.

If your course lasts less than six months you will be treated as a private patient and will have to pay to see a doctor.  The charges for this are very high and will be considerably higher if you need medication or hospital treatment.  Dental and optical treatment must also be paid for, as is the case for those permanently resident.  It is therefore very important that you take out insurance cover before you travel.


It is wise to bring about £90 in British sterling for incidental expenses on the way to the University, although you can change money at the airport.  (The exchange rates at airports tend to be unfavourable, so you will generally be better off obtaining currency in advance from your bank.)  Credit cards can be used for the purchase of rail tickets.  Traveller's cheques are also useful to have as a standby though please note that unlike in the USA, traveller's cheques cannot be used to make payments at retail outlets (even if they are in pounds sterling).  The cheques must be changed for cash at banks.

Travel Information

Birmingham has an international airport and if possible you should try to fly to Birmingham.  There are direct flights from many European cities and also from Newark and Dubai amongst other places.  United Airlines offer daily flights from Newark to Birmingham.  If you are coming from Asia, Australia or New Zealand, you may wish to consider flying with Emirates.   For any other country you may find changing in Paris or Amsterdam is likely to be more convenient than flying to one of the London airports.  From Birmingham International Airport, it is possible to take a train to the centre of Birmingham (it takes less than ten minutes).  Change trains at Birmingham New Street station and take a train directly to campus (that part of the journey takes approximately seven minutes).  However, if you have a large amount of luggage you may prefer to take a taxi.

For further information and for help planning your journey please see the Travelling to the University section of our website.

If you are arriving by train on to campus, please note that the University's train station isn't very close to University accommodation.  We would recommend that you take a taxi from Birmingham New Street to your accommodation.

Course information for International Exchange and Study Abroad students 

Symphony hallCourses open to exchange students

The University of Birmingham has made a strategic decision to open almost all of its undergraduate programmes to incoming study abroad and exchange students. This means that students coming to Birmingham will now have access to one of the widest ranges of courses available at any UK institution. Providing you meet the pre-requisite entry requirements, you’ll be able to select courses across disciplines to develop an academic programme that is suitable for your level, interests and subject requirements.

Visit our What can I study? page to find out more about the complete range of courses on offer in each semester.  When choosing the level, Certificate denotes first year undergraduate, Intermediate denotes second year undergraduate and Honours level denotes third year undergraduate.  

Restricted Modules and Additional Fees

Incoming students are not permitted to take foundation level modules because those are sub-degree and are for students who are not yet sufficiently advanced to take university courses. 

With regard to Music modules, the Solo Performance module is only available to students who are taking music as a major.  If you are not taking Music as a major but have a high level of proficiency, then a fee will be payable (currently £550 per term). 

It is not possible to take modules at both the Shakespeare Institute and main campus because they are in different cities.  Please note the Shakespeare Institute teaches postgraduate students only.

Modules in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences are not available to exchange and study abroad students. Study abroad and exchange students are also not permitted to take Applied Golf Management modules. 

Special information for Erasmus students (from Europe)

Following the result of the recent EU Referendum we understand that you may have questions and concerns. We have created a dedicated web-page with the University's latest statement regarding the referendum. You can also find there, for your further assurance, an information sheet comprising a list of "freqently asked" questions containing the latest available information regarding the referendum's outcomes. 

English Dinner

Erasmus students should note that the exchange agreements that Birmingham has negotiated with their home institutions are based on department-to-department links, and for this reason module restrictions apply.

For administrative reasons, if you are attending Birmingham through a languages exchange, your 'host department' will be one of the foreign language departments. You will, however, in principle, be eligible to register for modules in the group of Departments within the College of Arts and Law, subject to normal restrictions such as academic suitability and space availability on modules. It will usually not be possible for students on languages exchanges to take courses in the College of Social Science or the Business School unless a specific arrangement has been negotiated with your home institution. Students will be allowed to take a maximum of 20 credits in the Business School if  you are coming to Birmingham on agreements that are not Business or Economics.

Erasmus students that wish to study Law must come for the full year and register on the Certificate in English Law and follow the prescribed curriculum for the Certificate.  Law students outside of the Erasmus programme have part-year options, and are not permitted to register on the Certificate.

If you are an Erasmus student in other subject areas you must choose the majority of your modules from the department or School with which your home university has established an exchange. In exceptional circumstances, you may be allowed to select one or two modules outside the exchange department in order to fulfil the requirements of your home institution. For example, if you are coming to the University through a Physics exchange we would expect that your major subject is Physics at your home institution and that you will study the majority of your modules in the School of Physics and Astronomy during your time at Birmingham.

The University does offer a wide selection of what we call 'modules outside the main discipline' (MOMD) which will enable students to enrol for a limited number of modules outside the main area of the exchange agreement. A 'module fair' is usually held at the start of the academic year to enable students to find out about these options.


Study Abroad and International Exchange Programme students from outside Europe are guaranteed accommodation if they satisfy our standard guarantee schemes.  EU students are not guaranteed accommodation.

Students from inside the EU need to apply by 31 May; non-EU students need to apply by 31 July.

When selecting the year of study, all students must select the option "UG New students 2015/16".

If Accommodation Services cannot find a place for you on campus, they will help you find a place in reasonably priced accommodation, very local to the University.

EU students are allocated accommodation after non-EU students depending on availability.

If you cannot get university-managed accommodation, then please note that in the UK the minimum length for rental agreements is six months. In many cases, especially in student areas, landlords will be very keen to sign twelve-month rental agreements; however, six months is the minimum for a normal tenancy.

Unfortunately, this has meant in the past that European students intending to spend the three-month long Autumn Term with us have struggled to find adequate private sector accommodation near the University.

We would strongly advise European students to factor this consideration into their study plans, and consider coming either for the full year or for the six-month Spring and Summer terms (from January-June), rather than just the Autumn Term.  This will make it much easier to find private sector accommodation.  In addition, EU students are more likely to be able to obtain University-managed accommodation in January than in September.

More information on the different accommodation options available at the University can be found on the undergraduate accommodation pages of the website.  For enquiries regarding accommodation please contact Accommodation Services.  Students must apply to Accommodation Services direct, the Study Abroad and Exchanges Office do NOT allocate accommodation.

Please note students can only apply for accommodation once they have received their formal study abroad offer letter which has the University of Birmingham student ID number.  Students cannot apply for accommodation without their student ID number.

Arrival at the University 

Accommodation Services normally have staff available 24 hours a day.  Once your accommodation has been confirmed you will be sent a booklet with further information.  If you are arriving outside of normal hours you will need to email Accommodation Services advising them of your time of arrival so that a member of staff is available to give you your keys.


In September each year and in January, the Study Abroad&Exchanges Team run an orientation programme specifically for students on study abroad programmes.  In September there is also a full programme of events known as Welcome Week aimed at introducing all new students to life at Birmingham.  Further details about Welcome Week can be found on the Information for new students page.

September Arrivals

  • Arrival day: 19th September 2016
  • Orientation day for international students: TBC 
  • Compulsory Orientation for EU students: TBC
  • Classes begin: 26th September 2016  

Module enrolment

Your academic tutors at Birmingham will arrange for your pre-registration for modules where possible on the basis of your choices as indicated on your application form (excluding Erasmus students who will not be pre-registered).  However, some modules may have been full or not running, or you may have timetable clashes or other reasons to change your module choices.  Thus there is always a considerable amount of changing of modules at the beginning of term after students have had the opportunity to discuss their needs with academic staff.  The procedure for changing modules will be explained during orientation.

Special information for students from Brazil

The University of Birmingham is delighted to be one of the UK institutions selected to participate in the Brazilian International Science Mobility Scheme-formerly known as Science without Borders (Ciencia sem Fronteiras).

The Brazilian government is providing funding for both undergraduate and PhD students in certain subject areas to spend 12 months in the UK as part of their degree at a Brazilian university. Students will spend 9 months studying in the UK followed by a 3 month laboratory placement. There is also funding for Brazilian students to undertake an entire PhD in the UK.

Please visit our Science without Borders page to find out more


All incoming exchange students will automatically receive a transcript once their assessments have been completed and the final marks released by their department.

In order for us to produce an official transcript of the modules you studied and the marks you received during your time at the University of Birmingham, it is important that you complete a transcript request form confirming the modules that you have attended and that you expect to receive a mark for.  Without this information we will be unable to verify that your transcript is an accurate record of your studies here, which may lead to errors in the reporting of marks to your home institution.

An original transcript will automatically be sent to both your home University and the home address that we have for you on record.  For students completing their exchange in the Summer, we aim to send the transcripts out by the end of July.  For students who are only attending the Autumn term (semester 1), we aim to send the transcripts out in February.

If you need further copies of your transcript you should order them from our online shop

You can find out more information about transcripts and a copy of the transcript request form by clicking on the link. 

Useful links

Accommodation-University managed rooms

The Guild of Students-Student run charitable organisation that organises: events, activities and campaigns on issues concerning students

Multi-faith Chaplaincy-Provide students with spiritual and pastoral support

Student support-provide a variety of support services to students, assisting with matter big and small

University of Birmingham Sport-university owned company that runs fitness, swimming and sports facilities

English for International Students Unit (EISU)-support for international students looking to improve their English

Term dates-Formal confirmation of the dates that the university is in session each year

Exchange student talks about her year abroad at the University of Birmingham

Erasmus Charter (PDF - 984KB)

If you are not eligible for the Exchange Programme you are welcome to apply for the Study Abroad Programme.