Student exchange

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What is exchange?

Exchange is the term used to describe the arrangement where an ANU student is selected to go to a partner university in another country, and a student from the partner university comes to ANU in their place. The exchange placement is typically one semester (six months) in length, but can be extended to a year (subject to approval and availability).

While on international exchange, you will be enrolled in a full-time study load (24 units*) at the ANU but be completing courses at the exchange university. You are only approved to complete courses which will count towards your degree. We therefore strongly recommend you plan on completing all of the core/compulsory courses at the ANU and use discipline and/or university electives for exchange. If you are in a situation in which you cannot find acceptable course(s) for inclusion in your ANU degree, you will not be able to go on exchange even if you have an offer for a place at the partner institution.


Eligibility criteria and requirements

To be eligible to apply for exchange, you must:

  • have successfully completed at least 48 units (one full year of study) at the ANU by the time you go on exchange;
  • have at least 24 units remaining on your degree to be utilised for exchange*; and
  • have a GPA of at least 4 out of 7, or above a pass average. Certain exchange partners require a GPA of at least 6.

*Unless you will be in your final semester of your ANU degree (and still have 18 units to complete) or you are registered with ANU Access and Inclusion and have official documentation that recommends a reduced load due to your personal circumstances.

For other criteria please see Exchange eligibility and requirements (ANU)


Before you apply

Please see the information sessions provided by Global Programs at ANU Global Programs (

There are many things to take into account when contemplating going on exchange. Please work through the following points to help you consider if exchange is right for you.

Understand your ‘program requirements’

It is your responsibility to understand your ANU program requirements, and map out via a study plan, how exchange courses might fit into your program.

Go to Programs and Courses, find your program information, select the ‘Academic Year’ (year you commenced studying), go to the ‘Study’ tab to find your program requirements. Here you will see how many units you must complete, at what levels, compulsory courses etc.

Make a study plan

Using your program requirement information (see above), make a study plan.

You can use our College Degree checking templates to help you map out a study plan, or create your own. Study plan example (.xlsx download).

A study plan should illustrate:

  • what courses/units you have already completed
  • what courses/units you still have to do
  • what courses are compulsory, specified, electives etc.
  • what courses will count towards major/minor/specialisations, and other program requirements.

In other words, the study plan will help you identify what courses you should complete at ANU and which courses/units could be completed on exchange. For instance, compulsory courses should be completed at ANU, electives can be completed on exchange.

When planning, it’s also important to consider what the level the courses are (noting that you have a maximum number of first year/ 1XXX Level courses you can complete as part of your program) and when courses are offered. Not all courses are offered every semester.

Consider how exchange may fit in to your program

How many units must I do on exchange?

Students must go on exchange for a full time load of 24 units. (*18 units in certain instances).

What courses can I study on exchange?

  • Electives – highly recommend: It is strongly advised that you utilise university elective and/or discipline elective spaces within your program to complete courses while on exchange. If you’re early in your program and you’re considering applying for exchange in the future, we recommend that you save some of your elective space to use while on exchange to ensure you will be approved for credit.
  • Core/compulsory, Major/Minor/Specialisations – unlikely to be approved: Please be aware that you are unlikely to be approved for credit for courses completed while on exchange for a core/compulsory course within your program, or for courses that are required as part of a compulsory major, minor or specialisation. If you wish to apply for these types of courses you must have an exceptional, compelling justification. Additionally, the onus is on you to demonstrate how the course/s you have selected aligns with the core course learning outcomes, content/topics, assessment structure and volume of learning (i.e. ~130 hours).
  • Specified credit vs Unspecified credit: If you are seeking “specified credit” (i.e. credit for a specific ANU course – e.g. ENG4528) as opposed to “unspecified credit” (which appears on your transcript as generic code and description – e.g. COMP3995 - Unspecified COMP Elective”) for courses completed while on exchange, the onus is on you to carefully map the exchange course against the learning outcomes and structure of the ANU course. Courses that are not mapped by you to specific ANU courses as part of the course approval process will only be awarded as “unspecified credit”.

For information on the different types of credit you can apply for see 'How credit is articulated' further below.

What courses can't I study on exchange?

  • You cannot undertake the purported equivalent of an ANU compulsory course, unless you are approved to do so on the basis of exceptional, compelling circumstances.
  • You cannot have already completed substantially the same course at ANU
  • You cannot apply for remote learning whilst on exchange
  • You cannot apply for overload

When is the best time to go on exchange?

At the earliest, you can apply to go on exchange in your second (2nd) year (once you have completed at least 48 units).

Consider going on exchange once you have settled into your studies, understand your program requirements, have completed some compulsory courses and are clearer about your preferences, strengths and goals.

Exact timing will depend on the length of your degree and program requirements, especially, the completion of compulsory courses and any project requirements. For example:

  • Advanced Computing and Software Engineering – students should avoid exchange in third and fourth year, or be aware that exchange may prolong your program duration as you are required to undertake an annual group project in these years.
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) – students should avoid exchange in fourth year, as you are required to undertake an annual individual research project in this year(ENGN4350) or a group capstone project (ENGN4300) – both which run consecutively over two semesters. Going on exchange in your final year will likely extend the duration of your program, as altering the sequence of your project course is not typically approved.

Program specific requirements

If you are required to complete a group or individual project as part of your core program requirements, you need to factor these requirements around your exchange plans, as students are not permitted to complete core project courses while abroad. You may need to undertake an alternative study pattern to those provided in your ANU program requirements. It is your responsibility to draft your alternate study pattern and provide it to CECC Student Services for review and discussion as part of your initial exchange enquiry. Your alternate study plan may subsequently require formal approval, particularly if it results in an extension of your program, substituting courses, overloading or splitting courses (e.g. project courses) that run over two consecutive semesters.

Flexible double degrees

If you are in a flexible double degree, you do not have any University Electives within the CECC component of your program. You may be able to complete some courses as discipline electives while on exchange; however, you may find it easier to accommodate courses that count towards your other program (see below). If you plan to do courses that will count towards both sides of your FDD or courses that count exclusively to your CECC program, be aware that you will need to map your exchange course preferences and back-ups very carefully. If you intend to seek “specified credit” (as opposed to “unspecified credit”), additional approval steps are required. Please review the points in “what courses can I study”.

  • CECC only exchange: This means that your courses are only going to count for your CECC program. You would be enrolled in 24 units of COMP5920 or ENGN5920
  • A combined exchange: This means that you do part of your exchange for CECC credit, and the other part will be credit for your other degree component. For example, you may elect to do 6 units for the CECC degree, and 18 units for the other degree, or 12 units for each degree, or any combination that makes up 24 units. Your enrolment in the shell course will reflect this split.
  • A non-CECC exchange: You may do your exchange for the non-CECC component only. If this is the case, CECC does not need to approve your courses. You must go through your other college.
  • Note: if you are not studying any CECC courses on your exchange you DO NOT need to get approval from the ANU CECC. If you do elect to do this, and you decide to change and do CECC courses overseas and want them to count to your CECC component, you will need to contact CECC as soon as possible so we can change your enrolment, and then start the course approval process.

General advice

You are strongly advised to consider how the exchange period might impact on the sequencing of your courses upon return, especially for compulsory courses. Going on exchange is not grounds for waiving course requirements or substituting core/compulsory/specified courses within your degree so if exchange impacts your access to a required course, you will likely need to extend your program.

To be clear – in some instances, going on exchange may extend the length of your program, delaying your graduation.

Researching exchange universities and their courses

When researching exchange universities and their courses, you should consider the following;

  • If you are going on exchange and using your ANU university electives; you have the greatest flexibility.
  • If you are intending to apply for specified course credit, it is strongly recommended the exchange university have a school/college that specialises in your area/s of study. E.g. do they have an Engineering or Computing department/school/college?
  • Consider if there are enough course options to choose from, that will meet your ANU/CECC program requirements. Will you be able to enrol in other courses if your first, second, third… preferences don’t work out? See ‘Why back up options are important’
  • Check if the courses you are interested in are offered to exchange students.
  • Check that the courses you are interested in have a clear course description, list of topics, prescribed textbooks and readings, pre-requisites, contact hours and assessment tasks. It is your responsibility to research your exchange options and find detailed course outlines in English.
  • For a list of exchange universities our College's students have previously attended, see Previous and popular exchange partners for CECC students (PDF download).


How to apply

Global Programs processes

Go to Global Programs How to apply for exchange (ANU) and follow the steps and links provided there. You will be guided to:

  • attend an information session
  • register with Global Programs and complete a RAID check request
  • await exchange/host university allocation.
  • apply to your exchange university by the required deadline.

College processes

Once you have completed the Global Programs processes above and been allocated a host/exchange university you can contact CECC about applying for Exchange Course Credit Assessment (ECCA).

  • Complete and provide a study plan. See Before you apply
  • Complete an Exchange course credit assessment (ECCA) form (.docx download)
  • Allow 20 business days for processing of ECCA form
  • Receive Exchange Approval Letter from CECC re your exchange courses
  • Enrol in your exchange university courses by the required deadline
  • Once you receive your Exchange Approval Letter, enrol in your ANU exchange shell courses by the required deadline. See Enrolment.



1 year (2 semesters) before you intend to go on exchange

  • Attend Global Programs information sessions
  • Take the time to ‘Understand your Program Requirements’ and ‘Make a study plan’ (see Before you apply). Plan for which courses you should do at ANU and which courses you could do on exchange.
  • Start researching exchange universities and their course offerings. Consider how exchange courses will meet your ANU/CECC program requirements.
  • Register with Global Programs (it is best to do this, AFTER you have made a study plan, and researched your exchange university preferences).

6 months (1 semester) before you go on exchange

  • Wait for your allocation to an exchange university – this is when you can accept (commit) or decline (withdraw) from your allocated exchange university.
  • Once you have accepted/committed to your exchange university you can apply for a credit assessment from CECC for your proposed exchange courses. See Exchange course credit assessment (ECCA) form (.docx download)
  • Credit assessment must be done BEFORE you go on exchange. Please allow 20 business days for processing.
  • Receive your Exchange Approval Letter, which outlines the credit you will receive upon successful completion of your exchange courses.

Before you go on exchange

  • Ensure you have enrolled in your exchange university courses by the required deadlines
  • Ensure you have enrolled in ANU exchange shell courses by the required deadline.
  • See Global Programs for other pre-departure sessions. More information: Step 5 administrative tasks before going on exchange

On exchange


If you arrive at your exchange university and have issues with your enrolment or ability to attend any of your approved courses, please consider the following:

  • Contact the exchange university staff/ course convener to discuss any enrolment/issues
  • Use your back up options to enrol in something else that is already pre-approved by CECC/ANU.
  • If you are still unable to enrol/attend exchange courses successfully, please contact as soon as possible.

Finishing your exchange

  • Ensure you have completed any amendments to your enrolment so credit can be applied upon your return to ANU.
  • On completion of your exchange, please ensure that all academic and administrative matters at your exchange/host institution are finalised, particularly unpaid fees or fines, which may cause your results to be withheld.
  • If you would like a copy of your transcript and grades achieved whilst on exchange, it is recommended you get your own copy before you leave your exchange university. The ANU is normally sent an official copy of your exchange transcript but grades are not reflected in your ANU transcript.

Returning to ANU from exchange

  • Upon successful completion of exchange, ANU Global Programs will provide CECC with an official transcript from your exchange institution.  This can take up to 6 months depending on the partner’s processes. 
  • Once CECC receives your official transcript, we will apply the agreed credit to your program. 
  • Credit that appears on your record will not include the grade you achieve at the exchange institution. Your ANU transcript will state “STE” which stands for status external, for the exchange courses you completed.


FAQs and more information

How credit is articulated

There are three ways for credit to be articulated in your program from courses studied while on exchange.

University elective (a “free elective”); Unspecified credit

  • Strongly recommended - this is the preferred use of course credit gained on exchange.
  • Counts as elective credit in your program.
  • Will appear on your transcript as COMP/ENGN 199X, 299X, 399X etc., depending on the level (Unspecified non-college generic elective).
  • Please check that your program allows electives, most FDD/double degree programs do not permit unspecified credit – therefore this is not an option. 

Discipline elective; Unspecified credit

  • Counts as college-specific elective credit in your program but is not attributed to a specific course.
  • This is for courses where the content is related to your CECC discipline however the course is not a compulsory specified course in your degree or in a major/minor/specialisation you are attempting.
  • Will appear on your transcript as COMP/ENGN 199X, 299X, 399X (Unspecified COMP/ENGN elective 1000 level, 2000 level or 3000 level).

Specified course credit (typically for a required course)

  • Counts as a specific ANU course (e.g. to appear on your transcript as externally-awarded credit for an ANU course).
  • This is where the specified course is listed within your program (typically in a major or a specialisation). For example,
    • a student completes a course on exchange called “Concurrent programs and systems”.
    • subject to formal approval, and dependent on the course having an equivalent credit load as one course at the ANU, the course may count as the ANU course “COMP 2310 – Systems, Networks and Concurrency”.
  • This will only be approved in exceptional circumstances.
  • Please note the content must be substantially ( least 85 per cent) equivalent to the ANU version of the course to be eligible for specified credit.


Why back up options are important

When researching and planning for your exchange, you are required to find as many alternatives or back up options as possible for your proposed exchange courses. This is so you have a plan B, C, D, and more, if any of your exchange courses change and you can no longer enrol in your first preferences.

Having your exchange courses assessed for credit can be a complex and lengthy processes that requires liaising between program conveners, student administration and the student. This is why we have a processing time of 20 business days. CECC cannot guarantee that we will be able to expedite this processing time to assess brand new courses at short notice. This is why it is your responsibility to ensure you have given yourself several “back-up” course options that meet your ANU program requirements. Providing as many back up options as you can on your ECCA form, reduces the need for resubmission and reassessments if courses change.

**CECC will only facilitate amendments or resubmissions of ECCA forms if there are exceptional circumstances. In all other instances you should be able to use your back-up options.

Application processing times/due dates

Please allow up to 20 working days for a response.

It is your responsibility to coordinate your enrolments in timeframes required by your host university.

We cannot guarantee that late submissions will be able to be assessed and processed in line with external deadlines so we strongly recommend getting your application with all course preferences provided as soon as possible.


Students are responsible for enrolling themselves at their exchange/host university. Ensure you are aware of the enrolment and procedural deadlines of the exchange/host university you plan to study at. Allow plenty of time to meet all deadlines.

Once you have received your Exchange Approval Letter from CECC (which outlines the credit you should receive on completion of your exchange) you must enrol in ANU exchange shell courses (COMP5920 or ENGNG5920) for the semester you will be on exchange.

Ensure you complete an Application for Enrolment Change SC - Enrolment Change - 2020 (PDF download) by the due date. Information regarding enrolment deadlines can be found at: ANU enrolment.  

Where can I go on exchange?

What do I do if I can't find the course outlines in time? 

Have you written to the Department/Convener of the course you want to do overseas? Sometimes the latest outlines are not available online yet, but the Department/Convener can supply them. Please contact the exchange university.

We are unable to enrol you in COMP/ENGN5920 (exchange shell course) until we receive the final outlines. 

The courses I chose and were approved to do have changed and I am already overseas. What do I do? 

As part of your Exchange Course Credit Assessment ECCA form you should have listed and received approval for as many back up options as possible. Are any of these back up options available? If so, you should be able to enrol in any of the options on your Exchange Approval Letter.

If the changes outweigh your back up options, please contact CECC Student Services and Global Programs as soon as possible to advise of your situation.

Why don’t my grades from my exchange courses show on my ANU transcript? 

The grades that you receive at the host institution will not be transferred to your ANU transcript with the credit that you will receive. If you require these grades at a future date, then it is best that you ask for a copy of your transcript from the host institution. The credit you will receive on your ANU transcript is marked as “STE” which stands for “Status External” i.e. that you received External Credit.

I am about to finish up overseas. What should I do? 

On completion of your exchange, please ensure that all academic and administrative matters at your host institution are finalised, particularly unpaid fees or fines, which may cause your results to be withheld. The ANU is normally sent an official copy of your transcript, but you should get your own copy, especially if you want a record of the grades you achieved (see above ‘Why don’t my grades from my exchange courses show on my ANU transcript?”)

I am back at ANU, what now? 

Upon your return to the ANU, you will be responsible for re-enrolment via ISIS. Check the University calendar for the appropriate dates for re-enrolment for the semester of your return to the ANU. 


Resources and related links

ANU exchange partners

Applying for exchange overseas

Exchange and study abroad financial advice

Exchange course credit assessment (ECCA) form (.docx download)

Degree checking templates

Study plan example (.xlsx download)

Enrolment change application

Enrolment change application example

Previous and popular exchange partners for CECC students

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing