What's Semester Exchange

A semester exchange program allows you to study at a UniSA exchange partner university for either one or two semesters, while earning credits towards your UniSA degree.

The program takes place during Study Period 2 and/or Study Period 5, and you’ll remain enrolled at UniSA while on exchange and continue to pay tuition fees to UniSA (no tuition fees are paid to the exchange partner university).

Below are some of the many benefits of why you should consider studying overseas!

  • Cultural Immersion: live like a local and immerse yourself in a different culture
  • Language Skills: opportunity to learn a new language
  • Academic Credit: earn academic credit towards your UniSA degree
  • Career Advantage: employers highly value the skills gained from living and learning in a different cultural context
  • Global Perspective: challenge and develop your global perspective and cultural understanding


Before You Apply

Completing a semester exchange is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a uni student, but there‘s a lot to consider, and it can be difficult to know where to get started. If you’re thinking about applying for an overseas exchange semester, or are just curious about the process, follow the steps outlilned below to get started.

  • 1. Check your eligibility minus-thick plus-thick

    The requirements are different for undergraduate and postgraduate students. For the full list of eligibility requirements, please see here.

    Eligibility to participate is assessed as of the application close date, not when you submit your application. Let us know If you don’t quite meet the eligibility requirements so we can help you work out your best possible options.

  • 2. Work out your study plan minus-thick plus-thick

    A study plan is a schedule outlining all the courses within your UniSA program and when it’s recommended you complete them.

    When on a semester exchange, you’ll need to be able to receive a minimum of 13.5 units or a maximum of 18 units from your overseas studies - so, you’ll need to work out if a semester exchange will fit in your remaining study plan.

    Where can you get a study plan?

    TIP: When requesting for a study plan, mention that you’re thinking of applying for a semester exchange. Your Academic Team will be able to give you some advice about whether any of your remaining courses must be completed within Australia, or if there’s any flexibility in the plan. Your Academic Unit will also be able to help you identify the best time in your degree to go on exchange. It might not be the same time that you were originally thinking, so keep an open mind and try to be flexible. This is one of the key reasons we say it’s great to start planning as far ahead as possible!

  • 3. Research what you can study minus-thick plus-thick

    Once you’ve determined the courses you have remaining in your degree, and have identified which semesters/study periods would be feasible, it’s time to start looking into your host institution, and which courses are available for you to take. This part of the process is one of the more labour-intensive steps. It can be tricky navigating all those partner university websites and decoding their lingo. Keep at it though and let us know if you need help. The final experience of being on exchange more than makes up for the time spent looking into courses.

    Use the Global Opportunities Course Planner tool to map out your exchange courses.

    You may already have a specific country or location in mind for your exchange program, but it's essential to consider that not all universities UniSA partners with offer courses in every teaching area. In fact, some countries may only offer a limited range of subjects. Therefore, it's crucial to remain open-minded about your host location. You might not find the subjects you need in France, for example, but you could have a similarly rewarding experience studying in Denmark or Hong Kong.

    Our exchange partners page lists all of UniSA's partner institutions by country, providing information on the level of subjects available (undergraduate, postgraduate, or both) and the general study areas offered. Each partner profile includes detailed study areas available for full semester exchanges, as well as a link to their course homepages.

    When searching for courses at partner universities, keep the following in mind:

    • Semester availability: Ensure the subjects you're interested in are available during the same timeframe at UniSA.
    • Language of instruction: While all our partners offer courses in English, some may have limited English courses. Unless you plan to take classes in the local language, focus on English-taught courses.
    • Credit equivalence: Refer to this page for more detail, but ensure you're looking at an equivalent study load, as UniSA's subject weighting is unique.


  • 4. Research your destination minus-thick plus-thick

    Some countries are going to be much more expensive to travel to than others. Something to keep in mind when deciding on a destination is the associated funding and grants that are tied to specific countries and regions.

    On an exchange program, you’re not required to pay tuition to the exchange partner - you will pay tuition to UniSA the same way you would normally. You will, however, need to budget for costs such as accommodation, living expenses, flights, student amenities fees, incidental travel, etc.

    Use this template to start preparing your budget.

    Is there additional funding available?

    Absolutely! The Australian Government currently offers travel grants to students who would like to travel to countries within the Asia-Pacific. This funding is awarded to university students under the New Colombo Plan (NCP) – an initiative that was designed to help strengthen Australia’s ties within the region. If you would like to know more about NCP travel grants, check-in with us to see what grants are available.

    There may be grants or scholarships that are available to help you further fund your time abroad. If you are approved to participate in an in-country Semester Exchange or Short Term program, delivered by one of UniSA’s established mobility partners, you will automatically be considered for a UniSA International Travel Grant.

    Read our funding and scholarship webpage for more information. 

  • 5. MEET WITH UNISA GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES minus-thick plus-thick

    Once you’ve investigated your overseas study options, come meet with one of our team members to discuss your plans.

    We can go through your Global Opportunities Course Planner and make sure you’re on the right track and help you navigate any particularly tricky parts of the application process.

    We’ll also answer any questions you might have about funding, application, semester timing, where to find the relevant information, and share any advice we may have specific to you or your anticipated program of study.

    Appointments are available in person at our office at Level 1, 101 Currie Street, Adelaide, or via Teams/Zoom. Let us know your meeting preference by emailing student.exchange@unisa.edu.au with your availability. In your email, please also explain what step you’re up to so we can better assist you.

  • 6. Speak to your Program Director/Academic Advisor minus-thick plus-thick

    As your Program Director will be approving your exchange credits, it’s advisable that you let them know that you’d like to go on an overseas experience and get their support before you formally apply. So before meeting with your Program Director, you should have:

    • Checked your eligibility for the exchange program
    • Determined which courses you have remaining at UniSA, including flexibility in the remainder of your program (e.g., obtain a study plan)
    • Identified the best study period(s) for you to participate in the exchange semester
    • Identified a number of courses at a few partner universities that you think would fit into your UniSA program (e.g., complete the Global Opportunities Course Planner), and
    • Met with UniSA Global Opportunities

    In your meeting with your Program Director, you should discuss things like:

    • how the exchange is going to fit in your study plan,
    • if you’re on the right track with your course selections,
    • whether you’re able to receive credit for your overseas courses,
    • if the overseas study will take the place of one of your UniSA core courses. or
    • it’s more likely to take the place of an elective.

    Remember, your course selection doesn’t have to be perfectly planned now, but you’ll need to ensure that should you be accepted to go on exchange, there will be suitable courses for you at your selected host university.

Application Process

Applications to participate in semester exchange opens one year prior to the semester you’d want to apply for.

To study overseas in Study Period 2 (Feb - July) applications are open from 1 May to 1 August.
​​​​​​​Applications close 11:59pm on 1 August of the year before you plan to go on exchange.

To study overseas in Study Period 5 (July- Dec) applications are open from 1 October to 11 January.

Applications close 11:59pm on 11 January of the year you plan to go on exchange.

As part of your semester exchange application, you’re asked to list at least three universities and the courses you may want to take at these universities. We’ll try to place you at your first university preference, however there’s a chance that you may be placed at your second or third university preferences. So, to avoid disappointment, make sure you’re happy to be placed at any of the universities listed in your application.

The application form can be found here. Ensure that you go through the steps in the 'Before You Apply' section prior to submitting your application form.

You can also register your interest here and we’ll let you know when applications open.


What happens after you apply?

All semester exchange applications are assessed in the weeks following the relevant application deadline, so be aware that you’ll likely be sent the application outcome from us in either mid to late August for SP2 experiences OR in late January/early February for SP5 experiences.

If your application is successful, you’ll receive an offer of place in the program which you’ll have ten days to accept/commit your participation.

Your offer will advise which university you’ve been allocated to and if you’ve been awarded any grants/scholarships.

You’ll be required to attend a compulsory acceptance workshop where we advise you on the next steps of your exchange journey. At the acceptance workshop, we’ll talk through the host nomination and application process, as well as your mandatory pre-departure tasks. Attendance at the acceptance workshop is essential for you to progress in the exchange program. We’ll advise the dates and times of your acceptance workshop in your offer email.

And as always, if you ever have any questions along the way, feel free to get in touch with us here.