What types of exchange agreements are there?
As a student in the K-program at Uppsala University, there are three different ways for you to go on an exchange via the university; Through UU’s Unit for International Mobility, the Faculty of Technology (Teknat) and the Department of Chemistry.
The unit for international mobility is the unit of the university with overall responsibility for exchange activities. They have exchange agreements with over 400 universities in around 50 different countries, most of which are so-called general agreements, which means that they are not linked to any specific subject and can therefore be applied for by all students at UU. Unlike the Teknat faculty and the department of chemistry, the unit for international mobility has many agreements outside Europe and allows you to take courses that have no connection to your programme. So if you want to get to the other side of the world and take a break from chemistry studies, it is smart to seek exchange through this unit. However, it is important to remember that they also have exchange agreements with many different technical universities around the world. It works just as well to apply for an exchange in chemistry or technology via the unit for international mobility as it does through the faculty or department.
In addition to the exchange agreements you can apply for that are mentioned above, there are also agreements through the faculty of Teknat and the department of chemistry. These agreements are between UU and various technical universities as well as chemically oriented universities, mainly in Europe. The faculty may also have individual agreements with universities outside Europe such as Canada or Japan. Which universities you can go to can vary slightly from year to year. Unlike the unit for international mobility, the faculty and the department require that you take courses that are more closely linked to your programme, which simplifies the process of crediting the courses. The faculty also has exchange agreements within the NORDTEK cooperation, which is a network of technical colleges in the Nordic region. For civil engineers there is a NORDTEK scholarship to apply for in order to aid in the financing of your exchange.
Most universities that can be applied to through the faculty and the chemistry department are included in the European Exchange Programme ERASMUS. As an Erasmus student, you go to a college or university in Europe on the same terms as the native students, but without having to pay a tuition fee. If you go on an exchange via Erasmus, you will receive a scholarship from the European Commission as long as you then take care of your studies during the exchange itself. You can also go on an Erasmus exchange through the unit for international mobility. You can read more about Erasmus studies HERE.
Worth mentioning is that there is also something called freemover, which means that you completely arrange your exchange on your own. Fixing exchanges on your own requires much more work, but also provides more freedom when it comes to the choice of universities and courses.
Where can I go?
Where you can go on exchange depends on the type of exchange agreement you decide to go through. The Teknat Faculty and the Department of Chemistry mainly offer exchanges to various universities in Europe, while the Unit of International Mobility offers exchanges all over the world. Below you can see which countries are offered. For more specific information about which areas you can go to and to which universities, you can click on the hyperlinks below.
Department of Chemistry: Selected chemically oriented universities in Europe. Mainly France, Spain and Germany, but also Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Austria.
Teknat: Selected technical universities mainly in Europe. In the Nordic countries, the UK, Germany, Belgium, but also in Portugal, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada (NOTE, current (2020) exchange in Canada is taught in French).
If you are applying in the autumn: Applyable universities are located mainly in Asia, Europe, Canada, the Middle East and the United States. (Possibly some universities in Africa, Latin America and Oceania).
If you are applying in the spring: Applyable universities are located mainly in Oceania and Latin America. (Possibly some universities in other regions)
When is the best time to go?
In theory, you can go on exchange already after the first semester. However, the most common in civil engineering education is that you go away in your fourth year, which is due to several reasons. When applying, you are ranked by the number of credits with the highest grades and how strong your Acedemic Purpose Statement (APS) is. APS is the personal letter you write, in which you justify how your choice of countries, universities, and courses will affect your development of academic and personal skills relevant to your education and future career. If you go on exchange later in your education, the chances of having a larger number of top grades are higher. If you also have completed a bachelor’s thesis before departure, you have the opportunity to take courses at both undergraduate and advanced levels. Since there are fewer compulsory courses in the fourth and fifth years within the K-programme, it will be easier to credit the courses you read abroad if you go on exchange during this period.
How do I fund my exchange?
When you go on an exchange, you can apply for study grants from CSN in the form of grants and loans. You also have the opportunity to borrow money for extra costs such as travel and insurance. You can read more about this and what requirements and conditions are imposed on you HERE.
- For most exchange agreements within Europe, you can apply for an Erasmus grant in addition to CSN.
- Nordplus is a scholarship that funds students within the framework of several networks at which Uppsala University is involved. The agreement is broad and allows for studies in many areas. For civil engineering students there is a scholarship. Nordlys is a wider network that includes the Nordic and Baltic countries. NORDTEK is administered by TekNat and Nordlys by the Unit of International Mobility.
- There is a smaller range of other scholarships. For the general exchanges, they are advertised on each region’s website. It may also be worth while looking for odd scholarships yourself.
- Uppsala University also has a range of scholarships. Few are focused on exchange studies, but sometimes it is possible to find a suiting one. You can also apply for a more general scholarship that can aid in the financing of your exchange. See the scholarship office for more information.
How do I apply?
Detailed descriptions of how the application process is done can be found through the hyperlinks which you will find in the subheadings below. Broadly speaking, you start your application process by:
Decide which universities you prefer to go to and rank these in order of interest. Universities available for exchange can be found via the links under “Where can I go?”.
Find courses you would want to take at each university. Different universities may have different requirements for what you as an exchange student can read. Be sure to read about what is allowed at the universities you are applying to, but also remember that it is not the end of the world if some courses collides or similar. In this application, you only need to provide a preliminary plan. The exchange coordinators will later help you apply for courses for real.
Consider why you specifically should be elected to go to this university and take these courses. How will it help you achieve your goals? What academic and personal skills will it give you that are relevant to your future career?
Once you have done the above, it is time to start doing the application itself. The application process from this point looks a little different depending on the exchange agreement you apply through. Below you can read the main steps in the application process for the different agreements. For more specific information, you can click through the links.
The Chemistry Department
To apply for an exchange through the chemistry department, you need to fill in an application form that you can find HERE, where you indicate the choice of university and suggestions for courses to read. In addition to this, you need to provide the following:
- Current register extract from Ladok.
- Short essay in English (about 500 words) where you tell about yourself and justify why you want to study abroad.
- High school grades that show your level of language skills.
- Other certificates to be invoked.
Completed form is emailed or given to Christer Elvingson who is international coordinator for the Department of Chemistry. You may also be invited to an interview.
The TekNat Faculty
To apply for an exchange through the Teknat Faculty, you need to fill in an application form that you can find HERE, where you indicate the choice of university and suggestions for courses to read. In addition to this, you need to provide the following:
- Personal motivation letter in requested language.
- Certificate of any studies outside UU.
- Recommendations from examiners and subject examiners if the exchange requires bachelor thesis work performed.
Completed forms are given to the Office of Science and Technology or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Unit of International Mobility
Applications for exchange through the Unit of International Mobility are made online HERE. There you can also read more about the process and what it takes to apply. In essence, the application consists of the following:
- University selection.
- Course proposals for all universities applied for.
- Academic purpose statement.
- Grade report card.
- Study certificate.
- Registration certificate.
- Possible results from relevant language tests.
- Any certificates of engagement at Uppsala University in sponsor/mentor/welcome activities.
- Any certificates of certain student engagement posts.