Apply for exchange
We recommend you attend one of our information sessions throughout the year to learn about the program and how to apply. The dates for these sessions are posted on our La Trobe Abroad Facebook Page. Otherwise, if you already have some overseas university options in mind and familiar with the process, it is never too early to apply.
The next round of exchange is in Semester 2, 2020. There are two dates you must meet for your application:
- Sunday, 24th November 2019 to apply for your subject and credit approvals online (see Apply for subject approvals online via SOMSAS section below).
- Sunday, 15th December 2019 for emailing us your exchange application form & documents (see Exchange application & documents section below).
Attend an information session
We hold information sessions throughout the semester and you are welcome to attend any of these without reservations. These sessions are held in the Melbourne (Bundoora) campus and also the Bendigo campus (with video conference to other regional campuses). You are strongly encouraged to attend at least one of these.
Some of the topics that we cover are:
- the benefits of studying overseas
- what overseas programs are available
- how to choose the right program for yourself
- what funding you will receive
- the costs
- how to apply
The next round of upcoming information sessions are below:
Melbourne (Bundoora) Campus
|Tues, 26 Nov 2019 (General Information Session)||1pm - 2pm||Library Seminar Room 1.34|
|Wed, 20 Nov 2019 (SOMSAS Workshop)||12pm-1pm||Education Building 1 (ED1-109)|
Bendigo Campus (with video conference to other regional campuses)
|Thur, 28 Nov 2019 (General Information Session)||12pm - 1pm|
Education Building Room 226 (with video conference to):
Albury Wodonga Campus: Board Room 4211
Mildura Campus: Meeting Room BGR 135
Shepparton Campus: Conference Room SHS102
Check your eligibility
All domestic and international students doing a degree are eligible and we encourage you to apply. We recommend that you begin your application in your first year.
To be eligible, you must:
- Have completed at least 120 credit points for your current LTU degree or will have completed this by the time you start your exchange.
- Have at least a 65% WAM (see how to calculate your WAM here). Please note some partner universities require a higher requirement.
Please note: if you fail one or more units in the semester before your exchange, you may not be accepted into the program.
Conditions of Exchange
- If you are planning your exchange during the final semester of your LTU degree, you may not be eligible for an OS-help loan. Please see the OS help loan eligibility criteria.
- Be enrolled in a La Trobe University degree at the time of application, the semester before the exchange, and also during the exchange program.
- Complete an equivalent full-time study load of 45 - 60 LTU credits during each semester of exchange.
- Your subjects are approved for credit as part of the first stage of the application process. It is your responsibility to find suitable subjects from the relevant institution website and ensure they are available during your program.
- If you are a sponsored student, please check with your sponsor before applying to La Trobe Abroad to see whether or not you are able to participate in an semester exchange or short programs outside Australia.
- For international students who intend to apply for post-study work visas, please note that your participation in an semester exchange or short programs may impact your eligibility to meet the Australian study requirement.
Plan your subjects & choose your universities
Start preparations as early as possible. The overall process may take up to 3-6 months leading up to the application deadline.
1. What can I study overseas?
During your exchange semester, your LTU subjects will be replaced by matching subjects offered at the host university. However, not all subjects in your course can be replaced with overseas subjects. It is your responsibility to check your course study plan and determine which subjects you may replace. After which you can start looking for possible replacement subjects at the host university website.
Take a look at your Study Plan in StudentOnline to find out which subjects you still have available. If you have any difficulties understanding your study plan, please contact the ASSC or SHE College Study Advisor by submitting an online query to ASK La Trobe or by visiting them in the Library for advice.
Please note the process below for specific programs:
Japanese major programs - students must map out their degree structure and see Dr Emerald King to discuss their study options prior to application.
- Law, Accounting and Criminology students: Can only do electives as part of their Exchange program.
- Health Science students: Please make an appointment to speak with your Course/ Discipline Coordinator about which LTU subjects you can replace overseas. Find your Course/Discipline Coordinator by searching your course in the current Handbook.
- Psychology students: Please refer to the Psychology Study Overseas Guide which is available on your LMS
2. Where can I go?
Research the Exchange Partner Universities by exploring their websites for subjects and facilities. Based on the advice you have gained through the step above, you need to choose a maximum of three that offer suitable subjects related to your degree. It is recommended to only select one host university preference with a “limited placement chance” to increase your chances of being placed.
Please note: Keep a record of the subject links and descriptions/syllabi as you will need to provide and upload these during part 1 of the application. It is best to get at least 8-10 subjects approved for each institution to ensure you have sufficient back-ups.
Study abroad at a non-partner university:
If the university you wish to study at isn't a LTU partner university, then you will need to consider independently studying abroad. Choosing your own independent study abroad option could allow you to complete courses overseas and count them towards your LTU degree. However, you will need to pay international fees directly to your host university and take a Leave of Absence from LTU during that semester. Study abroad is not a formal program and as such students enrol as an international fee-paying student at their host university. All administrative and academic arrangements need to be made on an individual basis with your home LTU academic college/s prior to participating.
Apply for subject approvals online via SOMSAS - Due 24th November 2019
Come to our SOMSAS Workshop on Wednesday 20th November if you need any help with submitting your application. This session runs in the Bundoora campus from 12pm-1pm at Education Building 1 (ED1-109). If you cannot make it to this session, you are still welcome to come and speak to us during our drop-in sessions.
This is the first part of the application process which requires you to seek subject and credit approvals for your overseas exchange. For this you need to research the websites of your choice universities for subjects that match your La Trobe University degree subjects. The subjects must be the same year level and cover similar assessment outcomes. See the above section Start planning early for more information about matching your subjects.
All information regarding the subjects need to be entered to your online subject approval application portal called SOMSAS. The more information you include, the easier and faster your application will be assessed by Ask La Trobe (and Course Coordinator where relevant).
We recommend using Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser to complete your Study Plan application.
Not on campus? Type “students\” before your ID number.
- Login to SOMSAS.
- Upload documents such as your study plan (compulsory), unofficial transcript (obtained from StudentOnline), any emails with your college or course/subject coordinator regarding your subject options. (refer to ‘Start Planning Early’ Step 1.)
- Add individual subjects for approval on SOMSAS.
Note, you can leave and come back later to add more information as long as your application is in “Draft” status.
- Edit credit equivalence (refer to partner university website - linked).
- Click ‘Submit Application’ by the relevant deadline. Once you click submit, you cannot make further edits. Note, if you need to make any further edits, please contact us.
- Start working on Application Part 2 as soon as you have submitted SOMSAS.
- SOMSAS Student FAQs [361 KB]
- SOMSAS Quick Reference Guide: Semester Exchange [PDF 684 KB]
- SOMSAS Student User Manual: Semester Exchange [PDF 970 KB]
Your college works together with your course and subject coordinators to approve your subjects. If you need to follow up on the status of your SOMSAS credit approval, please submit a question through Ask La Trobe online with all the necessary details. They will assist you with following up with your College for the status. You will receive an email to your La Trobe student email account once your credit approval application has been finalised by your College.
I want to change the order of my university preferences
You may reorder your preferences in Application Part 2 (not in SOMSAS). For changes after lodging application part 2 please contact Study Abroad.
Exchange application & documents - Due 15th December 2019
This is the second part of the application process. You need to complete all of the documents below and email them altogether to La Trobe Abroad at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Outbound Exchange Application Form
- One Academic Reference Form (Can be completed and sent to La Trobe Abroad by a La Trobe Academic – including casual academics / lecturers or tutors).
- Copy of Passport ID page or University ID card.
- Personal statement (no more than 1 page) explaining why you want to go on exchange and what you want to gain from the experience academically, personally and professionally.
- Language proficiency letter - if any of your selected host university preferences require you to speak a certain level of a non-English language (refer to the individual web pages of the universities on our exchange partner website), you must provide a formal letter from your language academic that indicates your current level of proficiency in that language.
- Unofficial transcripts - These can be accessed through your StudentOnline. Please note that you may be required to also supply an original official transcript for your nominated host university application if required at a later stage.
Your application must be complete before submitting for assessment. Incomplete applications may not be considered.
It will take approximately 2 months from the last application deadline listed above to finish assessing applications. La Trobe Abroad will email you for the outcome and next steps in February 2020.
Next steps and pre-departure preparation
At this stage, your application nomination should have been confirmed – congratulations! Along with the confirmation you receive, you will be invited to attend 2 compulsory sessions (Next Steps and Pre-Departure). This is where we will walk you through your next steps before leaving Australia.
Next Steps session and documents
You will receive an invitation to the Next Steps session, once you have been accepted into the La Trobe University exchange program. During this session, we will give you information on your host university application and the conditions and responsibilities of taking part in the exchange program. This is a mandatory session.
Soon after this session, you must submit the following documents before the upcoming pre-departure session:
(for Mobility Grant/SMS/other scholarship recipients – ISEP Exchange students do not need to submit)
|Exchange Proxy Form (optional but highly recommended)|
Pre-departure session and documents
This session prepares you for your departure overseas and covers important topics including health and safety, academic requirements, culture shock and more. This is another mandatory session where all accepted students must attend.
After this session, please ensure to download and read through the Pre-Departure Guide [PDF 869KB]. This guide contains important information to assist you with your preparations and throughout your journey.
You must submit the following mandatory forms at least 28 days before your departure from Australia.
Variation of enrolment (VOE) form - online
All postgraduate and undergraduate students are covered under the University’s travel insurance for all La Trobe University approved international activity.
All postgraduate and undergraduate students are covered for a domestic or international journey* approved by LTU.
For the summary of the insurance policy with the key benefits and exclusions and other information please refer to travel. Please ensure to carefully read through this information.
Insurance cover for non-LTU approved activity is limited to 10 days prior and 10 days following an LTU activity. You are advised to purchase your own travel insurance for any additional days of non-LTU approved activity.
No cover applies to destinations advised as “Do not travel” by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Travel Advisory Levels explained: http://smartraveller.gov.au/resources/travel-advice-explained.html
If the duration of the program or personal travel fall outside of the coverage period as stipulated above, all students are mandatorily required to take additional travel and health insurance to cover for the duration of their stay. Please follow the guidelines when purchasing additional insurance cover.
Optional forms (due before departure)
(if applicable i.e. you have an arrangement with Centrelink and need to advise them about your exchange)
Supporting documents are also required
(if applicable i.e. you wish to change your mailing address while on exchange)
Departure arrangement tips and information
All flight, visa and accommodation arrangements are the responsibility of the student. Please ensure to read through all information provided by the host institution and relevant country consulate carefully before proceeding with your arrangements. We highly recommend that you read our Pre-Departure Guide and Pre-Departure Checklist  before you depart.
While studying overseas, you must remain enrolled at La Trobe to ensure that you only pay tuition fees to La Trobe University. This is accomplished by submitting a variation of enrolment.
Flights, visas and accommodation
- Keep an eye on cheap flights to your destination. However, we do not recommend that you book flights until you have received your host university acceptance. La Trobe University takes no responsibility for any financial loss associated with flight and/or travel insurance bookings.
- Due to the large number of countries we deal with and constantly changing visa requirements, we are not authorised to provide visa advice. Please contact your host country’s consulate/embassy for information regarding the visa you will need. You will most likely be required to apply for a student visa. Please note: in some cases, the Consulate/Embassy requires you to fly to Sydney to apply for your student visa. Make sure to get in touch with them early so you don’t get surprised by additional airfares or waiting lists to make an appointment for your application.
- In most cases, accommodation can be organised through your host university (please refer to the acceptance documents they send), but it is your responsibility to research and confirm your accommodation. Most students choose to live in residential colleges, dormitories, or apartments close to their host university campuses. This offers you greater integration into student life and tends to be the most affordable option. Some universities do not have on-campus housing but do have services to help you find accommodation.
- La Trobe University offers travel insurance cover to all postgraduate and undergraduate students. Please note: Your cover won’t be activated until you have submitted your Travel Insurance Form.
- For the summary of the insurance policy with the key benefits and exclusions and other information please refer to travel. Please ensure to carefully read through this information.
- Insurance cover is limited to 10 days prior and 10 days following a La Trobe University approved credit-bearing international activity. You are advised to purchase your own travel insurance for any additional days of non-LTU approved activity.
- No cover applies to destinations advised as “Do not travel” by the Department of Home Affairs. The University advises students to refrain from travelling to these destinations. Advisory Levels explained: http://smartraveller.gov.au.
- If you are travelling to a destination that has been identified as ‘Reconsider your need for travel’, you must also complete a Risk Assessment Checklist
- You must have comprehensive travel and health insurance before going on exchange. Some host universities may also require that you take out their health insurance policy. Carefully review your acceptance information for insurance requirements.
- All travel and insurance documents must be submitted to your education abroad advisor at least 28 days before your departure from Australia.
Health and medical check-ups
- It is very important that you undergo a health check-up before departure and ensure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations.
- Be careful with what you pack in terms of medication as certain drugs may be prohibited by some countries. If you are carrying any medications for an existing health condition, please ensure that you carry a doctor’s certificate/prescription with you.
- If you do have a pre-existing medical condition or a disability, it is highly recommended that you have informed both La Trobe Abroad and your host institution. This is very important to ensure you are provided with the right facilities and assistance as needed.
Take advantage of the Buddy Program where you’ll be matched with a La Trobe graduate (alumnus) based in your destination country. Get local tips on everything from navigating the public transport system to the best places to buy your coffee.
‘Having a buddy in my host country made me feel more confident moving to Malaysia for my semester exchange. Fara made me feel very welcome, helping me settle in and get the basic goods I needed for my residence. When I needed country-specific insights, her knowledge was invaluable.’ - Alyssa Brittnell, exchange to Malaysia.
Discover more about how the buddy program helps exchange students adjust to their new surroundings.