Learn about what’s involved when you study abroad for a voluntary year.

Voluntary year abroad

As an undergraduate Sussex student, you can study abroad in a variety of ways and at a wide range of worldwide destinations. Most undergraduate students can apply for an additional voluntary year spent studying abroad. This includes students on integrated Masters courses, but students on the MPhys Physics and MMath Mathematics only may choose to study a year abroad as a course variation.

We have one of the best study abroad programmes in the UK with over 170 universities worldwide for you to choose from. This includes high-ranking universities in the United States and study opportunities in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. You can also study abroad at a university abroad that is not part of our regular exchange agreements through the ISEP Exchange.

The voluntary year abroad is an additional year to your degree, extending from 3 to a 4 year programme. You will go abroad in Year 3 and return to complete your degree in Year 4.

Foreign language skills

Even if you don’t speak another language, there are plenty of destinations for you to choose from.

You can study at:

  • our partner universities in Asia, all of which offer courses taught in English
  • selected universities in Europe which have academic courses in English
  • English-speaking destinations like the US or Australia.

If your foreign language skills are at a high level, you may be able to go to a university where your subject area is taught in that language (for example, if you’re following the French/Spanish Professional Purposes programme at Sussex or you’ve previously passed a B2 level exam). In certain cases, you may be asked to take a language exam to verify your level. You will need to take a language exam after applying. If you choose to do this, no allowance can be made for any low marks resulting from this and your offer can be withdrawn if your language level is not high enough.

Marks from modules studied abroad

You need to take the equivalent of 120 Sussex credits during your year abroad.

One of the advantages of the year abroad is that you have flexibility with the academic programme. This means that half of the credits you study abroad don’t need to be related to your degree at Sussex, providing this is allowed by the partner university as well. Regardless, you should have your modules approved from your Departmental Representative prior your studies.

During the year abroad, you will follow the rules and regulations of the other university. At the end of your studies, you will receive an official transcript which we will use to assure your grades from abroad.

The year abroad is pass/fail only, and doesn’t contribute towards your degree classification. If you pass the year, you will gain the ‘with a study abroad year’ suffix in your degree title.

Eligibility for studying abroad

To be eligible to study abroad, you must meet the below:

  • academic record – you must have achieved 50% in stage 1 and maintain a good academic standard in stage 2. Some of our partner universities will require students to be working at a minimum of 60% across all modules. If you fall below the 50% mark, you will be deemed ineligible to study abroad and your place will be cancelled, even if you have been accepted by the partner university
  • a good attendance record - students with poor attendance may not be authorised to study abroad by their department at Sussex.
  • a complete application pack received by the deadline.
  • consent of the Disability Advice service (if applicable).

If you are in receipt of a US Federal Loan you will not be eligible to apply to study abroad.

How to apply to study abroad

You’ll apply for a place through the Sussex Abroad team, usually in the first term of the year before you are planning to go abroad.

Find out how to apply.

Study abroad for a year on your Mathematics or Physics integrated Masters

You can study for a year abroad on your four-year Physics MPhys or Mathematics MMath course.

This is a variation of studies and incorporated within the four-year programme of your Physics MPhys or Mathematics MMath degree. You’ll study abroad during your third year. Modules you study while at a partner university will replace your modules for that year.

You will follow a full year of study at the host university and will bring an official transcript back to Sussex at the end of the year abroad. All modules must be related to your course and be equivalent to 120 credits. Marks achieved will be converted to Sussex marks and will contribute towards your degree classification. This means you should not take modules which are pass/fail only. If for some reason a module is not available, you should get in touch with your School immediately to agree an alternative module, otherwise you may be short of credit.

To have the study abroad year included in your degree title you need to achieve an overall mean of 40% on the study abroad year.

To study abroad during your third year you must achieve a minimum of 60% in years 1 and 2. Students who fall below the above percentage marks will not be considered.

If you have completed two years at Sussex and the year abroad, you will not be allowed to revert to the 3-year BSc programme and graduate.

How to apply to study abroad

You'll apply for a place through the Sussex Abroad team.

Find out how to apply.

See more from Study abroad options