Spending a period abroad as part of a degree programme is an intrinsically valuable process. It provides a framework in which students can develop by being exposed to a different culture and academic environment. There are also many practical benefits. Evidence suggests that students who undertake study abroad placements achieve, on average, a higher class of degree than their peers. Students also enhance their career prospects as the skills they acquire are highly prized by employers.
Because of this, Study Abroad programmes are very popular and, in order to accommodate increasing demand, we are slowly expanding the network of partner universities with which we have exchange agreements. The Faculty of Engineering Sciences participates in many exchanges with overseas universities, in Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere. For example, the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Columbia University in New York City and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Pasadena, California are all involved in these projects.
Students can normally spend their third or fourth year abroad, either as a compulsory part of their degree (which normally has “with Study Abroad” or “International Programme” in its title), or as an option. In either case their study plan must be approved by their Department and they must be accepted by their chosen host university. The number of students allowed on some exchanges is limited (two each for Columbia and CalTech, for example) and competition is fierce.
Students who plan to go abroad should contact the Study Abroad Office, where they will be given further information. They will also be enrolled on the (compulsory) preparation programme consisting of a number of workshops and briefings. Where necessary, language training is available from the UCL Language Centre.