Studying Overseas on Student Exchange

What is the difference between International Exchange and Study Abroad if I want to study overseas during my undergraduate degree?

If you’re a University of Sydney undergraduate student and you wish to study one or two semesters overseas, the first option is to participate in the Student Exchange program. Student Exchange is a tuition fee waiver program. The University of Sydney has an extensive range of Student Exchange Agreements with universities throughout the World (check the list of Student Exchange Partners on the International Office website). If you study at one of these universities you enrol in "Exchange" units of study here and enrol in approved courses at the overseas university, but you pay fees according to your usual fee arrangements at the University of Sydney (e.g. upfront HECS, deferred HECS etc).

For more about the outbound Student Exchange Program, check out the International Office web page at

http://sydney.edu.au/study/overseas-exchange.html

The International Office runs a series of information sessions, both general and country- or region-specific that you should attend before applying to go on exchange. The International Office looks after all the exchange program administration but asks students to contact their schools and faculties for academic approval. The School of Psychology has an International Exchange Advisor who will determine whether psychology courses offered at overseas universities can count for credit towards your University of Sydney degree. If you are seeking a major in psychology, you will need to follow the guidelines below.

The second option is to study as an outbound Study Abroad student. If you wish to study at an overseas university that does not have a Student Exchange Agreement with the University of Sydney you can study there as an outbound Study Abroad student, i.e. you pay fees to study at that university according to the rates they charge. This option requires you to apply to your home faculty and seek permission for leave of absence from the University of Sydney for the duration of your time overseas. You apply for credit for the courses you do as a Study Abroad student after you get back (but see below, it's a very good idea to discuss your planned program with the School of Psychology International Exchange Advisor before you go)

Timing

Start planning early! You need to start thinking about your application more than a year before you leave, because applications need to be in anywhere from 9 to 12 months before your departure date.

When is the best time to go if I want a PSYCH major?

For most students it is most straightforward to go on exchange in Semester 1 of their third year, which requires completing a unit of abnormal psychology on exchange instead of completing PSYC3018 at the University of Sydney.

Can I go on exchange in my second year?

To meet APAC requirements for your psychology major it's usually easier to go AFTER you've done Intermediate Psych (PSYC2011/2911, 2012, 2013, 2014) because you must do 18 out of the required 24 credit points at Intermediate Level (i.e. 3 out of the 4 Intermediate courses) here at the University of Sydney.

It is possible to go on exchange in the semester when you would otherwise do PSYC2011/2911 and PSYC2012 (Semester 1) or PSYC2013 and PSYC2014 (Semester 2), but likely to be more complicated for you. If you are on exchange in one of these semesters, you will need to complete a close equivalent of one of these units on exchange, and complete the other unit a year later at the University of Sydney.

What if I want to be eligible for entry to Psychology Honours?

If you go on exchange in Semester 1 of third year and have met your degree and major requirements, follow the usual honours application process, see

http://sydney.edu.au/science/psychology/future_students/honours/index.shtml

What if I want to go on exchange in Semester 2 of my final year before honours?
  1. You will have to complete an equivalent to PSYC3010 to be eligible for honours. If at all possible, plan to do PSYC3010 here, offered in each year in Semester 2. The easiest option if you will be on exchange in Semester 2 of your third year is to do PSYC3010 in Semester 2 of your second year, immediately after PSYC2012 (Semester 1). If you have not completed PSYC3010 and need it for psychology honours eligibility, you will need to find a close equivalent to complete on exchange and have the alternative unit approved in advance by the PSYC3010 unit co-ordinator.
  2. You must ensure your exchange university will make your final results available before the census date in Semester 1 of your Honours year, because completion of your other undergraduate units is a prerequisite to honours.
  3. Be aware that if you fail exchange units, you may not complete your undergraduate requirements as a prerequisite to honours.
  4. Ensure you apply for honours while on exchange, see http://sydney.edu.au/science/psychology/future_students/honours/index.shtml
  5. Ensure you are back in time to start compulsory Honours year activities. These include attending the psychology honours orientation day held in approximately mid-February, meeting any ethics requirements for your empirical project (early ethics submission for some projects, training for research with animals etc.). Ensure you stay on top of correspondence about important dates for honours while you are away, and communicate with your supervisor about the date you will need to be back to start your empirical project.

Academic advising for prospective outbound Student Exchange/Study Abroad students

If you’re a prospective Student Exchange applicant planning to do one or more psychology courses while you’re away, you will need to discuss your intended program with an academic advisor in the School of Psychology and get approval for the course(s) you wish to enrol in before you depart. This ensures that the overseas courses are consistent with requirements for the completion of your degree - it’s especially important if you’re intending to major in psychology or apply for entry into Honours in psychology (see below). If you’re a Psychology Major and you plan to do non-psychology courses while you’re away, these will need to be approved by the relevant School that teaches courses in those other areas at the University of Sydney.

If you intend to study psychology units overseas as an outbound Study Abroad student, it’s a good idea to seek advice before you go about which courses are most likely to meet requirements for your degree if you intend to apply for credit for your overseas courses when you get back.

You can also make an appointment early in the process to discuss possible universities or the timing of your international study.

Contact the International Exchange/Study Abroad Advisor in the School of Psychology to make an . It can get difficult to get an appointment if you leave it too close to the deadline, so get in early! There’s a bit of paperwork and legwork to do – another good reason to start getting organised early. The International Office pages at the link above have heaps of useful information about preparing for Student Exchange/Study Abroad.

Information required to approve enrolment for outbound Student Exchange

To get approval for the psychology courses you’ve chosen to do overseas, complete the form here and bring it along when you meet with the School advisor. If you don’t have the following information, you may need to get it before you can get academic approval for your programme.

  1. How many courses/credits per semester do students study in a standard full-time load at your intended university?
  2. What are the prerequisites for the course(s) you want to do overseasat that university? Have you done courses here that will be approximately similar? (You might be disadvantaged relative to other students in that course if not or they might not let you enrol.)
  3. How many credit points of Intermediate and Senior Psychology will you have completed before you leave for exchange? How many and which specific courses (if any) do you need to complete your degree/qualify for Honours entry? (Check your faculty handbook, available online from your faculty homepage.)
  4. What other courses are you planning to do while you’re away? (We know that students don’t only want to do psychology while they’re on exchange!) If these have been approved already by advisors in other schools at the University of Sydney, how many credit points are you getting for your non-psychology courses?

What do I have to study overseas to meet the requirements for my degree here?

The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) has requirements about the syllabus and standard of Psychology degrees awarded by Australian universities, so the School of Psychology at University of Sydney needs to ensure that the courses you do overseas meet APAC requirements as well as University of Sydney requirements. Requirements are the same at Intermediate level for everyone doing a psychology major, and then they differ for Senior Psychology depending on whether you want to be eligible for Honours or not, and whether you are enrolled in the BPsych/BA (Psych) degree.

1. Intermediate Psychology:
  • You are required to do a minimum of 18 of the required 24 Intermediate Psychology credit points (CPs) at the University of Sydney.

NB: If you do the other 6 CPs overseas, you will need to find a course/courses that are equivalent to the course you will miss here. (For example, if you will miss PSYC2013 Cognitive, Developmental and Social Psychology, you will need to find a 2nd-year-level course or combination of courses at the overseas university that covers at least two of these areas.) You will need to gain written approval from the relevant Course Co-ordinator at the University of Sydney that your intended course(s) overseas is/are equivalent to our course, so make sure you have enough information about the syllabus of your intended overseas course for them to determine whether it is equivalent to ours.

Some students prefer to study Senior-level psychology courses while they’re away and do all their Intermediate courses here to avoid the hassle of this.

Students who want to go on a full-year exchange AND complete their psych major and degree within three years are likely to have difficulty meeting this requirement.

2. Senior Psychology for students seeking a Major in Psychology but NOT proceeding to Honours:
  • You are required to complete a minimum of 12 of the required 24 Senior CPs at the University of Sydney. If you only do 12 Senior CPs at the University of Sydney then a minimum of another 6 CPs in your Psychology Exchange courses overseas must be equivalent to material taught in Senior Psychology at the University of Sydney. (For example, we have a 6 CP Senior course in Social Psychology, so if you haven’t done our 3rd year Social course you could do a 3rd year Social course overseas.) You will need to gain written approval from the Course Co-ordinator of the University of Sydney course that your intended course overseas is equivalent to our course, so make sure you have enough information about the syllabus of your intended overseas course for them to determine whether it is equivalent to ours. You are required to complete PSYC3018 Abnormal Psychology or an abnormal psychology course while you are on exchange.
3. Senior Psychology for students seeking a Major in Psychology WITH eligibility for Honours:
  • You are required to do a minimum of 18 of the required 24 Senior CPs in Psychology at the University of Sydney. You will need to complete PSYC3018 Abnormal Psychology or an abnormal psychology course while you are on exchange. You will also need to meet the other prerequisites for Honours including:
    • completion of PSYC3010 (from 2006 onwards) or PSYC3201 (prior to 2006)
    • if you intend to choose the Honours Theoretical Thesis option: HPSC3023 (from 2006 onwards) or PSYC3202 (prior to 2006)
4. Senior Psychology for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Psychology degrees:
  • You are required to do a minimum of 18 of the required 30 Senior CPs in Psychology at the University of Sydney. You will need to complete PSYC3018 Abnormal Psychology or an abnormal psychology course while you are on exchange. You will also need to meet the other prerequisites for Honours including:
    • completion of PSYC3010 (from 2006 onwards) or PSYC3201 (prior to 2006)
    • if you intend to choose the Honours Theoretical Thesis option: HPSC3023 (from 2006 onwards) or PSYC3202 (prior to 2006)
Are there courses that I could study overseas that I won’t get credit for here?

Yes – you should avoid psychology courses that are very similar to courses you will have already completed at the University of Sydney, as you may not be able to get credit for these. Similarly, if there is a course you are very keen to do at the University of Sydney when you get back, don’t complete a similar course while you’re on exchange. Also, you probably won’t be able to get Senior Psychology credit if it is a 2nd year level course at the overseas university, or 2nd year credit if it is an Introductory-level course and so on.

Any Questions?

Try here!