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Study Abroad and Exchange Programs Procedure
1. Purpose:
  1. This documents sets out the procedures for the University of Canberra's international mobility programs for students.
2. Scope:
  1. These procedures apply to UC students undertaking mobility programs internationally for credit towards their University of Canberra award course. It also applies to inbound students from overseas who enrol in exchange, study abroad or short-term programs at the University. They are intended for students and academic and administrative staff involved with study abroad and exchange programs for students. It does not apply to Australia Awards students undertaking reunion travel.
  2. An international mobility program is defined as an international study experience involving travel to another country that has associated pre-approved academic recognition and has been approved by the University’s Study Abroad Office or the Placement Office. Programs include student exchange, study abroad, and short term study experiences of less than one semester that may be taken for academic credit.
  3. International mobility programs that do not have pre-approved academic recognition or are not approved by the Study Abroad Office are outside the scope of this policy.
  4. Users of these procedures may also need to refer to the, Field Trip Policy and Procedures, WorkIntegrated Learning Policy and Procedures and the Course Delivery by Third Party Policy and Procedures where applicable.
3. Procedure:
Organisational overview
  1. UC International is responsible for international matters including instigating, developing and maintaining international partnerships and oversight of international mobility programs. UC International works closely with faculties and manages resource and risk issues as well as program administration on their behalf.
  2. The Study Abroad Office in UC International, in consultation with other units as required, develops and administers student mobility programs on behalf of the University and provides student and staff support. Services include administration of outbound and inbound study abroad and student exchange, partner development and ongoing management, and short-term program advice and administration. All UC-approved international mobility programs for students are administered by or in conjunction with the Study Abroad Office.
  3. Faculties in consultation with the Study Abroad Office develop international mobility opportunities for students, approve all programs other than student exchange and study abroad, and take responsibility for academic matters including proposed study programs and academic credit for groups and individual students.
Kinds of mobility programs
  1. International mobility programs for students include student exchange and study abroad for a semester or longer and short term programs that are academically relevant to the student’s course and for which the student receives academic recognition in the form of credit.
    1. Student Exchange programs allow students to study for one or two semesters in another country at a University of Canberra exchange partner. Students remain enrolled full-time and pay tuition at UC while overseas. Students obtain prior approval for credit for the subjects they study. Students from partner institutions may study at UC in the same way.
    2. Under Study Abroad programs students undertake study at an overseas institution and pay fees to the overseas institution. Studies are pre-approved for credit by the course convener towards the course in which the students are enrolled at the University of Canberra. Inbound students may study at UC in the same way.
    3. Faculty-led short programs are group programs developed by a faculty to provide students with international study experiences usually less than one semester. Student groups are typically accompanied by a UC academic staff member to undertake a study experience relevant to their course, with pre-approved academic credit. Students who apply and are accepted for the program will pay for the UC unit of study recommended for the program and additional fees and program costs.
    4. Third party short programs are developed and operated by UC-approved external providers which may be university or non-university. Programs may be available for individual students or groups with or without a UC academic staff member in attendance. Programs have pre-approved academic recognition.
    5. Independent short programs involve students seeking out an international study experience for themselves, gaining approval for credit recognition from their course convener or program director then registering their intent and seeking approval from the Study Abroad Office.
    6. Work integrated learning (WIL) placements or internships allows individual students to undertake approved practical experiences overseas with pre-approved academic recognition. Students undertaking international WIL programs may seek pre-departure advice from the Study Abroad Office.
    7. Volunteering programs enable students to undertake overseas volunteering experiences with pre-approved academic recognition. Students may seek pre-departure advice from the Study Abroad Office.
    8. Conference participation enables students to attend and/or present at conferences overseas, with pre-approved academic recognition. Students may seek pre-departure advice from the Study Abroad Office.
    9. Research activities that may be undertaken include international conference attendance, field work and data collection. Students may seek pre-departure advice from the Study Abroad Office.
Eligibility and participation
  1. Subject to specific requirements of each program all students, including domestic and full-fee international students enrolled in UC award courses and incoming international study abroad and exchange students, may participate in international mobility programs.
  2. International students enrolled in award courses at UC are eligible to apply to participate in international mobility programs where they meet program eligibility requirements provided that the study experience is not undertaken in their home country.
  3. Incoming study abroad and exchange students may be eligible to apply to participate in short-term international mobility programs provided that their home institution agrees, they meet eligibility requirements and the study experience is not in their own country.
  4. To be eligible to participate in an international mobility program, a student must:
    1. be currently enrolled as a UC student;
    2. be able to meet visa requirements of the country of the program, including holding a valid passport;
    3. meet any other requirements as advised by the Study Abroad Office; and
    4. pay the advertised fee for the program.
  5. Applicants for international mobility programs may be required to pay a program fee on application for assessing eligibility and administration of the program.
  6. Eligibility for each kind of program, and individual programs where applicable, is set out on the University website.
Selection and admission
Outbound student exchange
  1. The Study Abroad Office will determine the number of student exchange places at partner institutions available for UC students each semester, in consultation with each institution and in accordance with the relevant partnership agreement.
  2. Where the number of eligible applicants for exchange at a partner institution exceeds the number of places available, applications will be ranked and places allocated according to:
    1. academic merit;
    2. academic necessity (for example, students in certain disciplines may be preferred for partner institutions offering studies in that discipline, with a view to ensuring that all applicants have the opportunity to go on exchange);
    3. academic reference, statement of purpose and interview;
    4. whether the student has previously been on exchange (taken into account as appropriate for the circumstances);
    5. evidence of the likelihood of the student being a good ambassador for the University of Canberra; and
    6. other relevant criteria, such as language skills where applicable.
  3. UC students not selected for exchange at their first preference partner institution will be considered for their second or third preferences and offered the chance to apply for exchange with other partner institutions where necessary.
Outbound study abroad
  1. Admission of a student to an overseas institution for the purpose of study abroad is determined by the host institution.
Inbound exchange and study abroad
  1. The Study Abroad Office will coordinate the admission process for overseas students seeking to undertake a study abroad or exchange program at UC. Applications will be assessed and processed by the University Admissions Office.
Short-term mobility programs
  1. Application and selection processes for short-term programs vary according to the program. Details for each type of program are on the UC website.
Length of mobility programs and study loads
  1. UC students on student exchange or study abroad must study full-time. The recommended study load is 12 credit points a semester or 24 credit points a year. The minimum study load is 9 credit points a semester or 18 credit points a year. Students must also comply with any minimum load prescribed by the overseas institution.
  2. Students undertaking programs shorter than one semester will have individual minimum prescribed loads determined by the faculty in consultation with the Study Abroad Office.
  3. UC students may extend their time overseas with the permission of their faculty, the Study Abroad Office and the overseas institution, and subject to an approved study plan.
  4. Inbound overseas students undertaking exchange or study abroad at UC are advised to take 12 credit points of study for one semester or 24 credit points for two semesters, based on program and visa conditions. Minimum loads are 9 and 18 credit points respectively. Permission must be granted by the student’s home institution and the UC Study Abroad Office for loads less than the recommended 12 or 24 credit points and for any extension of time at the University.
  1. The UC Study Abroad Office will:
    1. arrange enrolment of students undertaking exchange at an overseas institution in international exchange units at UC for the period of the exchange;
    2. arrange enrolment of students undertaking study abroad in cross-institutional study units at UC for the period of the study abroad program; and
    3. assist inbound study abroad or exchange students with their enrolment at UC.
Academic recognition (credit)
  1. The academic recognition (formal credit) granted for a UC international mobility program is a matter of academic judgement at the discretion of the faculty. Credit must be agreed upon prior to a student participating in the program.
  2. Credit for units undertaken in a student exchange or study abroad program may be specified or unspecified. Processes and responsibilities to determine credit are in accordance with the
  3. Academic staff who approve credit for units against an international mobility program must consider:
    1. whether the unit a student intends to take overseas is offered at an appropriate level from an appropriate institution;
    2. whether the unit meets the learning outcomes of the UC unit for which credit is sought (for specified credit), or is academically equivalent to open electives available to students in the course at UC (for unspecified credit);
    3. whether a unit to be granted specified credit forms an appropriate basis for later units in the UC course where applicable; and
    4. other relevant factors such as confirming that credit will not affect any external accreditation of the UC course.
  4. Where academic recognition is determined on an individual basis, the student is responsible for confirming credit arrangements with the course convener or program director before undertaking the mobility program.
  5. Students must submit their approved Course Credit Transfer Agreement (approved study plan) to the Study Abroad Office before they leave Australia.
  6. Variations to Course Credit Transfer Agreements after departure must be approved by the host institution and the course convener or program director of the student’s UC course. Students must notify the Study Abroad Office of any variations.
  7. After completion of a student exchange or study abroad program, the host institution overseas will forward an academic transcript to the student or directly to the Study Abroad Office. Transcripts must be provided to the Study Abroad Office to enable credit for overseas study to be applied to the student’s UC course.
  8. Overseas (inbound) students who complete student exchange or study abroad at UC receive an academic transcript. Students are responsible for seeking credit for their UC studies with their home institution.
Withdrawal, deferral and cancellation
  1. UC students approved for exchange or study abroad must re-apply if they are unable to proceed with their program in the planned semester.
  2. UC students who commence exchange and wish to withdraw are subject to normal University enrolment and fees procedures in relation to their UC enrolment. Relevant policies and procedures of the overseas institution will also apply.
  3. Deferral of short-term mobility programs may not be possible and will depend on the individual program.
  4. Students who wish to defer or withdraw should inform the Study Abroad Office as early as possible.
Extenuating circumstances
  1. Extenuating circumstances may be taken into account in student matters relating to international mobility programs, within the limits imposed by laws, legal agreements and institutional requirements and policies of Australia and the host country and both partner institutions where applicable. The Study Abroad Office will consider student claims and determine the supporting documentation that is needed to demonstrate extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
Financial assistance
  1. The Study Abroad Office will identify and advise students on sources of financial assistance within the University and externally. Information about the types of funding available will be published on the website. Where applicable, students will be directed to the University’s Scholarships website.
Student conduct
  1. Students on international mobility programs must abide by the rules and requirements of the partner institution, program provider or host party, and the laws and regulations of the country in which the program is held. While overseas, UC students remain subject to UC Student Conduct Rules and all relevant policies applicable to UC students.
  2. Where a student is found to be in breach of any law or regulation, or requirements of the program, or acts in a way that brings the University into disrepute, participation in the mobility program may be terminated by the host institution, the program provider or the UC Study Abroad Office. The Director of UC International must be notified as soon as practicable. Students who have breached requirements may be removed from the program and requested to return to Australia at their own expense.
  3. Students whose participation in an international mobility program is terminated on the grounds of misconduct or failure to abide by program requirements may be required to repay any funding provided by the University or another funding body which supported their participation in the program. Granting of credit for the program towards the student’s course will be assessed by the faculty on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Overseas students undertaking mobility programs at UC are bound by all applicable University statutes, rules, policies and procedures. Where an allegation of misconduct has been upheld for an inbound student on an international mobility program, the Study Abroad Office will provide details to the student’s home institution as appropriate.
Complaints and grievances
  1. Students enrolled at the University may submit a complaint or grievance regarding an international mobility program or implementation of this policy and procedures in accordance with the Student Grievance Resolution Policy.
Safety and risk management
  1. The Study Abroad Office and other areas involved with international student mobility programs will identify and manage risks in accordance with the relevant University resilience and risk management framework, policies and procedures (including the International Mobility (for students) Procedure) and any other policies that may apply.
  2. The Placement Office in Student Administration will advise students undertaking authorised international work-integrated learning (WIL) programs, professional placements or internships on safety and risk matters as part of the assessment and authorisation process.
  3. Inbound student exchange or study abroad students are required to take out Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC). Three countries (Norway, Belgium and Sweden) are exempt from this requirement. Students should seek insurance advice from their home institution. The UC Study Abroad Office will provide students with a briefing on health, safety and cultural issues on commencement of studies at UC and reasonable assistance on matters relating to health, safety, housing and transition including referring students to other University services where appropriate. The Study Abroad Office will provide relevant information to an overseas student’s home institution if the student is involved in a critical incident while at the University, subject to privacy legislation and policies.
  4. The University provides comprehensive pre-departure advice regarding health, welfare and security to all students participating in approved international mobility programs and activities including advice about culture, customs and laws in the host countries, travel insurance, security and emergency requirements and contacts.
Establishment of programs
  1. Arrangements for student exchange programs involve a formal institution-to-institution agreement, developed and approved in consultation between UC International and the partner institution. The Director of UC International under delegated authority, or the Vice-Chancellor, will sign exchange agreements.
  2. Study abroad programs may involve a formal agreement between relevant institutions.
  3. Short-term international mobility programs are developed and approved by UC International or faculties. Arrangements may be covered by formal written agreement depending on the type of program and the provider, host organisation or institution.
  4. Faculty-led international mobility programs for students are approved by the dean or dean’s nominee in the relevant faculty. Faculties should seek advice from the Study Abroad Office when developing proposals. Standards for short-term programs which carry course credit include:[1]
    1. clearly defined purpose including academic and/or experiential goals and program description;
    2. appropriate program length in terms of workload to the amount of credit to be granted;
    3. program design demonstrating academic rigour and an inter-culturally enriching learning experience;
    4. program is academically integrated with students’ courses or disciplines as applicable; and
    5. in terms of organisation, supervision and all other respects compliant with this and other University policies.
  5. The Vice-President (Students and Partnerships) or nominee must approve international mobility programs offered by third party providers. This includes faculty-led programs where third parties are involved. The Course Delivery by Third Party Providers Policy and Course Delivery by Third Party Providers Procedure will apply.
  6. Information required from prospective third party providers of mobility programs, to assess the provider and programs to be offered, includes risk management procedures, housing arrangements, fees, refund policy, support offered to students, supervision and student management, academic content and the process for establishing and maintaining academic credit of the programs. All third party arrangements will be covered by contract. Refer to the Course Delivery by Third Party Providers Policy and Procedures for further information.
  1. The Study Abroad Office will keep records including:
    1. registers of exchange partners and international mobility programs;
    2. numbers of students who participate in different types of mobility programs;
    3. list of students and University staff currently participating in programs with appropriate details to monitor their welfare and manage any risks; and
    4. students receiving scholarships and loans.  
  2. Participation in international student mobility programs will be reported against the University’s strategic student mobility targets.
  3. Compliance with this policy and procedures will be monitored through UC International and by Academic Board through the University Education Committee. The Director of UC International will provide an annual summary of international student mobility programs including data on programs, participation, performance and any relevant issues.
[1]   See, for example, Forum on Education Abroad Standards of Good Practice for Short-Term Education Abroad Programs.
4. Roles and Responsibilities:
Roles and responsibilities
Further details on specific responsibilities may be in relevant sections above.
Role Responsibilities
Director, Global Student Recruitment
  • Encourage international student mobility
  • Approve and sign Student Exchange Agreements with international partners and institution-to-institution agreements where applicable for study abroad programs, on behalf of the University
  • Consider safety and risk matters relating to mobility programs in accordance with the relevant University resilience and risk management framework, policies and procedures and in consultation with the Governance and Development unit
  • Manage and monitor safety and security for staff and students overseas and deal with crisis management as required.
Study Abroad Office
  • Seek opportunities, develop/initiate/coordinate, advertise and promote all types of international mobility programs, to increase and encourage growth in participation and actively market programs to attract inbound and outbound students to further internationalise the University
  • Advise students on eligibility and all aspects of the application process
  • Review applications, select and accept students and make placements, dependent on the type of program
  • Manage mobility programs for participating students before, during and after programs
  • Administer inbound programs and student participation
  • Provide pre-departure briefing sessions and advice for students, faculties and research centres as appropriate
  • Facilitate inbound/outbound integration activities from a student experience standpoint
  • Monitor programs and students involved in international mobility programs
  • Liaise with third parties ensuring that programs involving third party providers comply with University policies
  • Advise and assist faculties and academic staff with developing mobility programs, use of third party providers, program and student management and all related matters  
  • Liaise with and provide information to other staff and units to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities
  • Keep records and report against student mobility targets
  • Manage website content.
Admissions Office Assess and process overseas students’ applications for study abroad, student exchange and short-term inbound programs at UC in accordance with University requirements and this policy.
Placement Office
  • Assess and process applications for international work-integrated learning (WIL) placements and internships, monitor, and advise and assist staff and students with relevant requirements
  • Liaise with faculties and the Study Abroad Office on relevant matters.
Student Progress and Graduation Office On advice from the Study Abroad Office:
  • Process credit transfer for students who have completed mobility programs
  • Record student participation in mobility programs on AHEGS.
  • Encourage international student mobility and work with the Study Abroad Office to develop and manage programs including short-term and faculty-specific programs
  • Maintain clear staff responsibilities relating to mobility programs in the faculty including delegations
  • Approve faculty-led mobility programs ensuring that design, academic content and implementation comply with UC policy and relevant standards
  • Ensure proposals or programs involving third parties comply with Course Delivery by Third Party Providers Policy and Procedures
  • Monitor mobility programs in the faculty and staff compliance with this policy and procedures.
Associate Deans (International)
  • Encourage international student mobility, identify and develop new opportunities to expand options for students to take a portion of their study internationally and increase international mobility overall for the faculty
  • Consider international study opportunities as part of curriculum reviews (open electives, major and minor options)
  • Set up faculty process to gain endorsement for proposals from dean and head of discipline before developing programs in consultation with Study Abroad Office
  • Act as dean’s nominee for relevant responsibilities if so delegated
  • Liaise with Study Abroad Office on relevant issues
  • Monitor mobility programs, operational matters and student participation in the faculty.
Faculty-led program leaders
  • Initiate opportunities to lead students on an international program recognised for UC credit and develop programs with information and advice from the Study Abroad Office
  • Discuss proposal with your associate dean (international) to review and obtain faculty approval
  • Ensure that program development and operations comply with this policy, the Course Delivery by Third Party Providers Policy and Procedures if applicable, and relevant University resilience and risk management framework, policies and procedures
  • Select students in accordance with program requirements
  • If accompanying students, provide appropriate supervision and ensure participants comply with all obligations
  • Brief students before departure on international study using information prepared by the Study Abroad Office.
Course conveners or program directors
  • Advise students on suitable times for a student exchange or study abroad, and short-term mobility programs during their course
  • Make an academic assessment of requests for credit towards units in students’ courses in accordance with this policy; determine requests for unspecified credit and unit conveners’ recommendations for specified credit; approve Course Credit Transfer Agreements before departure, and negotiate and approve any changes to agreements
  • Consider student requests to extend time overseas on a student exchange or study abroad, in conjunction with the Study Abroad Office and the host institution
  • Consider individual applications for short-term mobility programs in consultation with the Study Abroad Office
  • Work with the Placement Office to negotiate international WIL placements for students if applicable, advise students and ensure all requirements are met
  • Inform students undertaking international work-integrated learning or internships, volunteering or conference attendance, and other short-term mobility programs as required about seeking pre-departure advice and attending briefings from the Study Abroad Office.
Unit conveners
  • Consider applications for specified credit for their unit in accordance with this policy and make recommendation to the course convener for determination
  • Negotiate international WIL placements for students if applicable in consultation with course conveners and Placement Office, advise students and ensure all requirements are met.
  • Follow required application procedures for mobility programs after checking feasibility of undertaking their preferred program during their course with the faculty and eligibility for the relevant program, comply with conditions of the relevant program once accepted, and successfully complete the academic requirements of the program in order to receive credit
  • Fulfill commitments and responsibilities specified for each kind of program or individual program.
5. Governing Policy and Legislation:
  1. Governing framework or legislation
    1. This policy is governed by the University of Canberra Act 1989 and its Statutes and Rules.
    2. The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act and the National Code apply where mobility programs involve international students in Australia on student visas. The University aims to act in accordance with national and international standards for student mobility programs such as the AIM Overseas Outward Mobility Best Practice Guide for Australian Universities.
  2. Related documents
    1. University documents related to this policy include:
  3. Relevant external frameworks, standards and resources include the following:
Forum on Education Abroad Standards of Good Practice for Short Term Education Abroad Programs
6. Definitions:
Terms Definitions
International field trip International field trips are approved learning activities undertaken at an overseas destination. Academic staff generally accompany students.
International Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Placement International work integrated learning refers to a placement or internship undertaken in an international location with the prior approval of the course or unit convener.
Overseas exchange partner An overseas exchange partner is an overseas institution with which the University holds a current Student Exchange Agreement.
Short term study abroad A short term study of a few weeks duration may be undertaken through organisations such as the Australian Institute for Mobility Overseas (AIM), overseas partners or independent providers.
Student Exchange Program A Student Exchange Program is a period of study undertaken at an international university with which the University has a formal partnership. Units undertaken at the host institution are credited to the student’s course and students pay their home university fees.
Study Abroad Study Abroad refers to study undertaken at an international education provider for one semester or one year in which students are responsible for paying fees. Units undertaken may be credited to a student’s course subject to the academic course convener’s approval.
Study tour or faculty led program A study tour or faculty led program would normally be organised by an academic staff member(s) who may accompany students. Programs are approved by the faculty and may be offered in conjunction with a partner university, third party provider or independently.