Frequently asked questions
Studying at Surrey
We have two semesters in our academic calendar.
Semester 1 (our autumn semester) runs from approximately late September to late January and Semester 2 (our spring semester) from approximately early February to mid/late June.
Take a look at academic dates for the current and next academic years.
The subjects available will depend on our exchange agreement with your home university - some are subject-specific, others are university-wide.
Please speak to your home institution, who can also provide you with our Incoming Exchange and Study Abroad Guide, which lists all the subject areas available to exchange students.
Otherwise this document can be requested from our Incoming Exchange team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses or study units at Surrey are known as ‘modules’. Most modules are worth 15 Surrey credits / 7.5 ECTS credits (equivalent to 3 USA credits).
Exchange students are expected to study full-time at Surrey. A full-time workload is 60 Surrey credits or 30 ECTS credits per semester, which is normally four modules. You may not take more than four modules.
In rare cases, a student may need to take a distance learning module from their home university whilst they are at Surrey, and in this instance they would be allowed to take just three Surrey modules.
Alternatively, our online programme/module catalogue provides detailed descriptions of all of the modules offered at Surrey, including the module content, the semester in which it is available and the method of assessment - please ensure you have selected the appropriate academic year.
On the catalogue, modules are grouped within programmes by department and level:
- Undergraduate/bachelor’s degree - Level HE1 (first year), Level HE2 (second year), and Level HE3 (third year)
- Postgraduate/masters degree - Level M
As we have a range of integrated masters degrees – e.g. MMaths, MEng, MChem – if you are an advanced-level undergraduate student in your own system, we may be able to consider you for certain M-level modules – please consult your departmental exchange coordinator before listing these on your learning agreement. You must have a subject-specific cumulative GPA of 3.0 or equivalent and a minimum of three years of subject-specific study.
As far as possible, you should try to select modules from one
- Degree programme
- Study level/year
As this will reduce the risk of timetable clashes. Timetables are not published until a month before the start of each semester so some students may need to choose one or two replacement modules just before or after their arrival.
Most modules are only available once a year, in either the first or second semester. You will need to be careful to only select modules that will be running in the semester in which you will be at Surrey. On the programme descriptions, the semester is indicated next to each module title, and on the module descriptions, it is indicated towards the top under ‘module availability’.
Some modules are not available to exchange students or require prior study of another module (prerequisite) or must be taken alongside a related module (co-requisite) or have restricted numbers of students in the class and so may not be available. This will normally be indicated under 'prerequisites/co-requisites' in the module description.
Students wishing to take electives at Surrey and who have little or no background in the subject, should select first year modules. For electives in more technical subjects and modern languages, students will need to provide evidence of previous study in the subject, even for first year modules, and may be tested in their first week at Surrey to ascertain the appropriate level for them.
Each academic department has a departmental exchange coordinator who can advise you on module content and whether you meet any prerequisites. There is also a departmental exchange administrator, who acts as the first point of contact and will finalise your study timetable and enrol you on your chosen modules. Find their contact details.
If you have difficulty contacting your coordinator or administrator, please email our Incoming Exchange team at email@example.com.
Students are expected to have a command of the English language suitable for their particular course, and exchange and study abroad applicants who are non-native English speakers will be asked to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
The level of English language required varies between courses. Please visit our undergraduate / postgraduate course overviews for the specific requirement for each (see the course's Entry Requirements). The English language evidence you must provide also varies depending on which visa you need to enter the UK, if any - see visa section below for more information. In summary:
- Students needing a Student visa before travel (study of more than 6 months or study for any period with part-time work/an internship outside your Surrey course) must upload with your Surrey exchange application one of our accepted English language qualifications at the required level for your chosen undergraduate/postgraduate course at Surrey. Once your application has been accepted, we will send you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number for your visa application.
- Students needing a Standard Visitor visa before travel (visa nationals) or entering the UK as a Visitor without needing to apply for a visa (non-visa nationals) may either submit one of the University's accepted English language qualifications at the required level for your course, if you have one, or a letter from your home institution confirming that you meet the English language requirement for your Surrey course and providing your CEFR level. Most undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences courses require CEFR B2/C1, whilst most Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences courses require CEFR B2. Many postgraduate courses require CEFR C1.
- Non-UK/-Irish health sciences students coming to do an Erasmus-funded clinical placement in a hospital, for which a Government Authorised Exchange - temporary worker visa is required, must upload with your Surrey traineeship application one of our accepted English language qualifications at the required level for your Surrey course (IELTS Academic 7.0, with 7.0 in each skill, or an equivalent qualification).
Non-native English speakers are required to provide evidence of your English language level as part of your exchange or study abroad application, so your English will not be tested when you arrive at Surrey.
European students who have been awarded an Erasmus grant may be asked by your home institution to complete an online test of your English to identify whether you would benefit from an online English course before your arrival, and you may be asked to complete another test on your return to assess your progress. The results of these tests will not be made available to Surrey.
Yes, our School of Literature and Languages runs an English Language Support Programme (ELSP) under which a range of courses are offered free-of-charge to all Surrey students. These include grammar and oral skills courses and English language courses specifically for students of management, economics, engineering and computing. We also offer courses for native speakers who wish to improve their academic writing or presentation skills.
Students may register online for up to three courses per semester. Classes last between 50 minutes and two hours. There is no homework or exams - at the end of each course you can download an attendance certificate as evidence that you have completed the course.
Find out more information and a complete list of courses offered.
For students wishing to learn a modern language, other than English, the University provides:
- Evening classes (fees apply).
- The Global Graduate Award Scheme (GGA) –The free GGA language courses are open to full-year students, who are awarded 7.5 ECTS credits for successful completion of the course. We offer 11 modern languages at different levels.
- The Language and Culture Exchange Scheme (LACES) – LACES enables students and staff to practice their oral language skills with a native speaker in a relaxed setting.
Assessment may be by in-person or online examination or by coursework or both. Most modules are assessed by examination, but each module description in the online Programme and Module Catalogue gives details (please select the correct academic year on the catalogue).
Exchange/study abroad students are expected to be assessed at the same time and in the same way as the other students on their course, so if the module is assessed by in-person examination, students must be able to stay at Surrey until the end of our exam period in January or June (see our key dates). Online exams and coursework can be submitted remotely.
Surrey exams can not be taken at a student's home institution.
Students who have a January semester start date at their home institution are advised to come to Surrey either for the full year or for Semester 2, as our semester 1 exam period is the last 3 weeks of January.
Exams and other assessments normally take place from Monday-Saturday (inclusive) over the last three weeks in January and from late May-mid June (see our key dates), so students taking modules assessed by in-person exams must be able to stay at Surrey to the end of the exam period.
The exam timetables are published about a month before the start of the exam period - i.e. late November/early December and late April.
Resits/re-submissions normally take place from mid-end August, including Saturdays.
Exam results are released online around five weeks after the end of the exam period. We aim to email your formal Surrey transcript to you and your exchange office within a day or two of results release.
Hard copies will not be provided unless there is a specific requirement by your home institution. If this is the case, a hard (original) copy of your transcript will be posted to your exchange office.
If you know you will need your transcript quickly in order to progress on your course or graduate, you should inform the International Engagement Office in good time.
If your university has a student exchange agreement with Surrey and they have nominated you for a study exchange, you will not have to pay tuition fees to study here, though you may need to pay some fees to your home institution. Find out here whether your University has an agreement with us.
If your university has a study abroad agreement with Surrey, either you or your home institution will pay your tuition fees at Surrey at the rate specified in the agreement. For more information about the fees, please contact your university's study abroad office.
If your university does not have an exchange or study abroad agreement with us, you may be able to come here as a fee-paying independent or ‘occasional’ student for one or more semesters. If you come for just one semester, you will pay half the normal annual tuition fees.
If your home institution does not have an exchange or study abroad agreement with Surrey, or you have not been nominated for exchange at the University of Surrey but are interested in coming as a fee-paying independent or 'occasional' student, please visit our ‘occasional’ student web page.
Exchange students are eligible to apply for University of Surrey accommodation and we can usually offer accommodation to all or most students, but it is not guaranteed. Successful exchange applicants will be sent their Surrey student number and a link to our online accommodation application form in July/November.
Project students – Student rooms can only be allocated for full semesters, so project students are advised to come to Surrey for the whole semester, or at the start of the semester if possible. Students coming outside the normal semester dates are advised to read our privately rented accommodation page and contact the Accommodation Office firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with renting in the private sector. It may be easiest to find a room to rent in a family home or at the local YMCA.
Nursing/midwifery/paramedic science students can apply for accommodation in Royal Surrey County Hospital keyworker flats, located next to the hospital and our Manor Park student village. Details of how to apply will be emailed to students once their exchange application has been accepted.
The University accommodation is arranged in groups of self-catered housing or ‘courts of residence’ on three sites:
- Stag Hill campus (the main university campus)
- Manor Park residential village (5 minutes by bus/20 minutes' walk)
- Hazel Farm (2 miles north/20-30 minutes by bus, depending on traffic).
See our campus map (PDF) showing the different courts of residence.
The University’s courts of residence are divided into accommodation blocks, each containing a number of self-catered flats/apartments. The students in each flat share a kitchen and some share a bathroom (some rooms are ensuite).
University accommodation is divided into different price bands to suit different budgets. You can see descriptions, virtual tours and images of the rooms in each price band.
If you have special requirements for medical reasons, we have a small number of rooms with adaptations. Our Disability and Neurodiversity service can discuss your needs with you.
Exchange and study abroad students must pay for their accommodation at Surrey. The University has rooms in different price bands.
When applying for University accommodation, students are asked to indicate their price band order of preference - it is not possible to specify a particular site or court of residence. However, if you need a particular band for financial reasons, you can specify this on your accommodation application form. We do our best to offer students one of their top preferences.
We will email all exchange/study abroad applicants with details of how to apply for university accommodation. This will include your Surrey student number, which you will need in order to apply. Application is by online form, which goes live in July and November.
Take a look at the advice and information on our privately rented accommodation page for guidance on how to go about finding accommodation in the private sector, be it a privately rented flat or a room in a shared student house or lodgings in a landlord's home.
Visas for the UK
A visa is a vignette or sticker in your passport that indicates that you have been granted entry permission to study or work in the UK. UK and Irish passport-holders do not need a visa to study or work in the UK.
Check whether you will need a visa to study in the UK by entering brief details into the UK Government visa checker. Study includes taking taught modules or project modules or doing a research-based traineeship.
UK study of more than six months or working whilst studying at Surrey
Non-UK/non-Irish nationals coming to study in the UK for more than six months (e.g. two semesters) or wishing to work as well as study for any period (including paid work, voluntary work, work experience, work placements or internships), will need to apply for a Student visa before travelling to the UK.
There is a visa fee and students coming for more than 6 months will also need to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge as part of the visa application (this entitles you to treatment under the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) on the same basis as UK residents). Non-native English speakers are required to submit one of the University's accepted English language qualifications with their exchange application as evidence that they meet the English language entry requirement for your chosen course at Surrey - the Entry Requirements are given in each undergraduate/postgraduate course overview.
UK study of six months or less
Depending on your nationality, non-UK/non-Irish students coming to study in the UK for six months or less will need to either:
- Apply for a Standard Visitor visa before travelling to the UK (the visa checker will say you need a visa).
- Enter the UK as a Visitor without needing to apply for a visa before travel (the visa checker will say you don’t need a visa). However, if you are planning to leave and re-enter the UK during your stay, you are advised to apply for the Standard Visitor visa.
Non-native English speakers must submit with your exchange application evidence that you meet the English language requirement of your chosen course at Surrey (as detailed in the Entry Requirements in the undergraduate/postgraduate course overview). We will accept one of the following: one of the University's accepted English language qualifications, if you have one, or a letter from your home institution confirming that you meet the English language requirement of your Surrey course and providing your CEFR level. Most undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences require CEFR high B2/C1, whilst most courses in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences require CEFR B2. Many postgraduate courses require CEFR C1.
Once Visitors have been formally accepted, we will email you a visa support letter for your visa application/a formal acceptance letter to carry in your hand luggage and show at UK border control as you arrive in the UK.
Hospital-based clinical placements
Non-UK/-Irish health sciences students (nursing/midwifery/paramedic science) coming to Surrey to do a clinical placement under the Erasmus+ traineeship scheme will need to apply for a Government Authorised Exchange - temporary work visa before travelling to Surrey. You will first need to provide additional information to the University of Surrey's HR department so they can issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship reference number (CoS) for your visa application. Non-native English speakers must submit one of the University's accepted English language qualifications with your exchange application as evidence that you meet the English language entry requirement for your course at Surrey (IELTS 7.0 overall, with 7.0 in each skill, or an equivalent qualification).
Find further information about visas and the supporting documents you need to provide:
For advice regarding visas, please contact the University’s International Student Advice team on email@example.com.
If you are a citizen both of a country outside and a country inside the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) or of Switzerland, we would recommend that you complete our exchange application form with details of your EU/EEA/Swiss passport and travel using that.
This is because their visa application process and non-visa entry as a visitor are simpler than for other nationals.
Travel and life at Surrey
Our key collection points at Stag Hill Reception and Manor Park Reception will be well signposted and there will be reception staff on hand during working hours and security staff out-of-hours to give you your key pack and help you locate your room. On the designated moving in days, student ambassadors will be around on campus to help you find your way to your room and minibuses will be available to transfer Hazel Farm residents to your accommodation.
Please refer to the arrival, orientation and welcome week parts of our important dates page.
Project students who are not able to arrive at the same time as the other Erasmus+ students should arrange meetings with your supervisor, your departmental exchange coordinator and Zoe Stevenson in the International Engagement Office prior to departure and make your own way to the University.
Nursing/midwifery/paramedic science students will be advised of your arrival and orientation dates separately.
Yes. Before students come to Surrey, they are invited to sign up for our Buddy Scheme, which puts incoming students in contact with a current Surrey student who can answer their questions and give them useful tips and advice to help them settle in and make the most of their stay.
The two-day exchange orientation immediately prior to the start of the semester is compulsory for all exchange and study abroad students taking modules at Surrey.
It includes talks and workshops on what to expect on exchange or your study abroad stay, visas, student support services, living in university accommodation, cultural awareness, making the most of your money, academic study skills for the UK. You also register with the University and collect your residence permit.
Additionally, there is a clubs and societies fair and an opportunity to try out our state-of-the art sports park, as well as a number of social activities, including a breakfast or dinner, local tours, a sight-seeing outing and events. You will also meet with the exchange coordinator for your academic department to finalise your module choices, and some students will have a laboratory safety talk.
The orientation programme is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have, familiarise yourself with your department and get to know some of your fellow exchange students before teaching begins.
The programme will be emailed to you a week or two before your arrival.
In the autumn semester, orientation is followed by 'Welcome Week', a week-long induction to the University, your department/s and the social scene on campus. You will be sent a link to our Welcome website and timetable in August.
Please bear in mind this information might not be targeted at Surrey exchange students, so not all the information will apply to you:
- British Council’s official website for international students who are interested in studying in the UK
- The University’s international and exchange pre-departure checklist is aimed at international students coming to study a full degree at Surrey, but some of the information will be relevant to you.
All exchange students at Surrey are automatically members of the University of Surrey Students' Union, a student body run by students for students.
The Union organises events, activities, and trips in the UK and abroad, as well as offering over 100 student clubs and societies.
Surrey Students’ Union, to which all Surrey students automatically belong, has a lively programme of events and activities for students at the University of Surrey and runs a lively programme of trips to cities and attractions in the UK and in neighbouring countries– to find out what’s coming up, visit the SSU facebook page.
The following websites also have information about places to visit and life in Guildford and the surrounding area:
The following websites provide information about places to visit around the UK:
Setting up new exchange agreements
Exchange partnerships are established where a relationship can be developed and sustained over time and so regrettably are not set up for individual students.
You may be able to come as a fee-paying ‘occasional’ student.