The University of Cambridge has participated in Erasmus since its inception over 25 years ago. In recent years there has been a substantial increase in participation in student exchanges, with over 160 Cambridge students participating and 90 incoming students in 2016-17. Staff exchange opportunities are also becoming more popular.
A number of Faculties and Departments including MML, Law, Chemistry and Engineering have student and staff exchange agreements in place with a range of institutions across the EU.
At present Erasmus exchange opportunities are only open to certain undergraduates in MML, Law and Engineering. Some science departments allow their students to go abroad for research projects in the long vacation but they are only eligible to go through the Erasmus programme if the project will count towards their degree. MPhil students cannot participate with the exception of those studying for the 2 year MPhil in Architecture and Design. PhD students in a number of departments can spend time abroad for research purposes as long as they have approval from their supervisor; the relevant Degree Committee and have applied for permission to work away.
Students from institutions with whom we have an Erasmus inter-institutional agreement (see below for details on how to set up an agreement) can come at all levels; undergraduate, Masters and PhD and for one, two or three terms. Applicants must achieve the same entry requirements as students applying for a full degree, this includes an English language requirement. An overview of the process for an incoming student is as follows:
- Student nominated by their home institution
- IST sends student details of the language test and application database
- If language test passed, application sent to the dept for consideration
- If dept accepts the student, details are referred to Colleges for selection
- IST informs students of their College affiliation and finalises paperwork
All incoming students must be matriculated members of a College. This is to ensure that they are fully integrated into life at Cambridge, and have full access to libraries and other facilities. They should be appointed a tutor, and for undergraduates, a Director of Studies. Whilst incoming students do not pay tuition fees, they should pay accommodation and living costs.
All incoming students will need to set up a learning agreement which outlines the course choices they have selected during their time at Cambridge. This needs to be agreed by the home institution, the department and the student. The agreement can be amended throughout the year if required.
At the end of the period of study, students are required to obtain a transcript showing which courses (or marked essays etc) they have taken and the grades orTripos exam results if taken. For undergraduates this should come from their College and for post-graduates or undergraduates who are just undertaking research projects, the transcript should come from the department or faculty.
The University of Cambridge does not operate the ECTS credit system. If students are required to obtain ECTS credits by their home university, we can state on the transcript what the courses studied would be equivalent to (usually 20 ECTS credits per term).
Departments and Faculties are able to accept incoming students to carry out a work placement. There does not have to be an inter-institutional agreement in place. These arrangements are not made through the International Student Team and are the responsibility of the department in question.
Please use the factsheet for FAQs about hosting these students.
Key points to note when considering a request for a work placement are:
- A work placement can last for between 2 and 12 months.
- The student would not be registered at the University, receive a Cambridge qualification or be entitled to College affiliation.
- The incoming student cannot be charged tuition or college fees
- The student should not receive a salary
- The department/faculty will be required to set up a training agreement for the student as well as ensure they sign a Visitor’s Agreement. Both should be signed off by the relevant Head of Department and copies sent to the International Student Team.
University teaching officers, administrative staff and College teaching officers can take part in staff mobility through Erasmus+.
Academic staff are eligible to participate on the Erasmus+ scheme for teaching placements. These should be between 2 days and 2 months, excluding travel time, with a minimum of 8 hours teaching per week or part of the week. The placement must be with a partner HEI where there is an inter-institutional agreement in place. A formal teaching programme must be agreed which is recorded on a Staff Teaching Agreement
Training placements support the professional development of HEI staff. All University employed academic and administrative staff as well as College Teaching Officers can take part in a training placement. This type of mobility can be in another HEI or appropriate organisation abroad and there does not need to be an inter-institutional agreement in place. Activites could include job shadowing, observation periods of training to aide transfer of knowledge and good practice; sharing experiences and acquiring practical skills for teaching and learning. Attendance at a conference is not included unless there is evidence that the purpose is to acquire new skills and knowldge for the modernisation of the University. The training plan must be recorded on a Staff Training Agreement
An Erasmus grant may be available to assist with the travel and subsistence costs incurred by staff during their time abroad.
Please see the Staff Mobility page for more information.
Any department considering setting up an Erasmus exchange should contact the Erasmus Co-ordinator and request an inter-institutional agreement checklist. This document has been approved by the Standing Committee for Student Mobility and is designed to ensure that departments take a standard approach to establishing partnerships. It should be signed off by the Head of Department and returned to the International Student Team
- The Dept/Faculty requests an inter-institutional checklist from IST
- The completed checklist is returned to IST for referral to the Standing Committee for Student Mobility (if applicable)
- IST drafts agreement and sends to proposed partner institution for consideration and signature
- Agreement finalised and signed off by Head of IST
- Student/staff mobility can begin
Please consider the following when establising an agreement with another HEI:
- The University aims to establish strategic, long term partnerships and prefers not to sign an agreement for the benefit of just one individual.
- The mobility of students and/or staff must be in both directions
- The partner institution, or at least the Faculty concerned, must be on an academic par with Cambridge.
- Incoming students must have access to the same facilities and learning opportunities as a Cambridge student including College affiliation and supervisions.
- There must be a designated coordinator within the Cambridge department who is responsible for admitting incoming students and providing support throughout their stay.
Following receipt of the checklist, the International Student Team will work with the department to draw up a proposed inter-institutional agreement which will then be forwarded to the partner institution for consideration.
Any inter-institutional checklists which suggest that the agreement would not meet the University’s strategic aims will be referred to the Standing Committee for Student Mobility for review.
All inter-institutional agreements must be signed off by the Head of the International Student Team before an exchange can occur. Please note that inter-institutional agreements do not need to be in place for work placements.
All agreements will be valid for 1 year in the first instance and subject to regular review.
The Standing Committee for Student Mobility meets termly and is responsible for developing a strategic approach to student mobility. The Committee’s remit includes the Erasmus+ Charter and is particularly concerned with establishing long term partnerships that are of benefit to both the University and students.
Colleges will receive a College fee for each Erasmus student they matriculate.
For incoming graduate students, Departments are now liable for the college share of the graduate fee and can expect to be invoiced by the Finance Division. Colleges should report incoming undergraduate students as Home/EU students in the usual way via CamSIS.
Cambridge undergraduate students who are classed as Home/EU and are going on their year abroad in 2014/15 or 2015/16 are no longer subject to a fee waiver and should be charged 15% of the tuition fee if they are under the new fee regime. Overseas undergraduates are charged 50% fee. Students should not be charged tuition fees by the host University. Any student who spends less than 24 weeks abroad will be liable for full fees
Graduate students from Cambridge continue to be charged 100% fee during their year abroad.
Outgoing Erasmus students are eligible for tuition fee and maintenance loans as usual.
For information on the monthly grant and the various other sources of financial support available to outgoing students please go to the Erasmus Finance section
Staff and student mobility opportunities under the Erasmus+ programme have been expanded to countries outside of the EU known as partner countries. The expansion allows for students and staff to enter into an exchange with a particular institution in a partner country and receive funding in the form of a monthly grant and a travel contribution to support this. Key features include:
- Students on a study exchange can go abroad for between 3-12 months.
- Students on a traineeship can go abroad from between 2-12 months.
- Staff can take part in a teaching or training opportunity for between 1 week and 2 months.
- Any study exchanges must be reciprocal and requires incoming students to be treated exactly the same as a Cambridge student (College membership, access to facilities etc)
- The assumption is that any mobility would be building on a pre-existing academic relationship with the institution.
The next funding application deadline is likely to be in February 2017 for activity commencing in June 2017 onwards. To carry out activity with an institution in a partner country and for individuals to receive funding, departments must submit a proposal to the International Student Team for consideration by the Standing Committee for Student Mobility. The International Student Team has responsibility for submitting a funding application to the British Council for partner country activity on behalf of the University.
Proposals must contain details of the number of staff or students involved in the exchange, the level of study for student exchanges, the anticipated duration of each mobility activity and the justification for the arrangement with the partner instution under the following headings:
1. Relevance of the strategy
2. Quality of the cooperation arrangements
3. Quality of the activity design and implementation
4. Impact and dissemination
All of this information will be used to complete the funding application.
Please contact the International Student Team should your Faculty or Department have an interest in establishing an Erasmus agreement with an institution in a partner country.
For further details of the programme as well as a list of the partner countries can be found on the British Council website