Exchange Study Process
- Exchange process in short
Exchange process starts with applying for exchange at University of Vaasa. Please note that you can also apply for Freemover exchange on your own.
This process is for when you apply for exchange via University of Vaasa exchange programmes and partner agreements.
1. Applying for exchange placement at University of Vaasa → selection
- You apply for exchange during the preceding academic year from the planned academic year for exchange (see Application process)
2. Nomination to host university
- After having been selected for exchange, University of Vaasa will nominate you to our partner university within the respective exchange programme and/ or partner agreement
3. Applying to host university
- After having been nominated for exchange, you also need to apply to the host university who makes the final selection of admitting you as exchange student
4. Learning Agreement before exchange
- Before going on exchange, you need to make a study plan (Learning Agreement) for which courses you intend to take at host and also for how you plan to transfer the credits to your degree at University of Vaasa. Learning Agreement is signed by student, your study counselor at University of Vaasa and (in Erasmus exchange) the host university.
5. Practicalities and formalities before leaving
- After getting an Acceptance Letter from host University, planning for practicalities of your exchange can begin. Please note if you need to apply for visa or resident permit for entering/living in the country of destination for exchange, make sure you do that in time.
6. Starting with your studies (a new Learning Agreement)
- If you make changes in your study plan after your exchange has already begun, you need to adjust your Learning Agreement accordingly and have it approved by all parties
7. Returning to Vaasa after your exchange
- After your exchange you need to submit different documents related to your exchange to complete the exchange process (see Returing back to Vaasa)
Mobility Services Staff will guide you through the exchange process. If you have any questions, please contact us at outgoing.international(at)uwasa.fi.
- Application process
Applying for exchange
International degree students have the opportunity to include exchange studies completed at our partner universities abroad, in their degrees at University of Vaasa. Bachelor students completing both Bachelor's and Master's degrees at University of Vaasa can participate in student exchange once during Bachelor and once during Master degree studies. Both exchanges need to be completed within the normative 5-year graduation time. Master's degree students completing a 2-year programme need to apply for exchange during their first year and complete the exchange during their second year of study. Doctoral students also have the opportunity to go on student exchange, but approval from the supervising professor is required. Student needs to be attending University of Vaasa both when applying for exchange, during exchange and after exchange when transferring the credits to University of Vaasa degree.
Are you planning on going on exchange? Please note that applying for exchange takes place during the preceding academic year from the planned exchange. This means that if you are planning on going on exchange in autumn semester 2023, spring semester 2024 or for the whole academic year 2023-2024, you should apply for exchange already in application rounds organized in December 2022 - March 2023.
Applications rounds for exchange in academic year 2023-2024:
5.12.2022 - 15.1.2023 Main application round to destinations in and outside Europe
All destinations: Erasmus, Double Degree, Nordplus, Bilateral
22.2.2023 - 7.3.2023 Complementary application round
Destinations available after Main application
Application and Cover Letter must be submitted by the end of application period. Within application period, time of submitting the application has no effect on selection (i.e. students are not allocated to available placements in the order of application).
You cannot apply for exchange outside application rounds.
Questions on exchange studies?
Please contact Mobility Services, specialist for outgoing mobility Minna Kari, outgoing.international(at)uwasa.fi or book a time for individual guidance session (on Zoom), outgoing.international(at)uwasa.fi.
Planning for exchange studies
You can start planning for your exchange studies by consulting the Study counselor for your degree programme at University of Vaasa. You can discuss how the exchange would benefit your degree and career and how it will affect your graduation, what type of courses you wish to study and how you prefer the credits to be transferred into your degree at University of Vaasa. Doctoal students also need to discuss the exchange with the head of their programme / Doctoral supervisor.
When the application period starts, follow these steps to complete your application:
1. Fill in an application form in MoveON application system (open during application times)
- Create a profile in the system using your University of Vaasa email address or other email
- You can apply to max 5 destinations, set them in order of preference
- There are no attachments needed for the application form. Please note that host university of destination may require different documents (e.g. language certificate) from applicants during exchange process.
- One of the sections on application form is Motivation Letter. You don't need to attach a separate Motivation Letter.
- In Motivation Letter section you can tell e.g.
- Why you are applying for exchange and why you should be selected (general motivation)
- Why you are applying for and why you should be selected to these specific exchange destinations (destination specific motivation)
- What you are planning on studying on exchange (academic grounds for going on exchange/ for studies at specific exchange destinations) and why exchange is important to you in terms of your studies and career
- Tell about other language skills you have in addition to English (level, studies, use), especially if you are applying to a destination that has a note Knowledge of x required on our website/ list of Exchange Destinations. Please note that host university may require a proof of language skills / language skills certificate at a later stage of the process.
- If destination university operates on several campuses located in different countries/ cities, please indicate preferred campus in Motivation Letter
2. Submit your application in the application system. Please make sure you get a notification in the system that your application has successfully been submitted.
Link to the application system and application documents are found on website for Forms > Application for Exchange Studies - MoveON
Selection of students for exchange is made as soon as possible after the application period. All applicants get notified personally per email. After being notified of a positive outcome, the selected student still needs to officially accept the offered placement by submitting a Grant Agreement to Mobility Services.
Questions on applying for exchange? Please contact outgoing.international(at)uwasa.fi.
Selection criteria for exchange
Criteria for exchange for International (Master's) Degree students:
- Normal progression of studies has been and is 30 ECTS / attended semester
- Both exchange and graduation fit in the normative 2-year time for completing a Master's Degree
- Exchange takes place during the 2nd year of study
- Student has already started with their Master's Thesis before going on exchange
- Going on exchange to student's home country is not possible (exception: students with dual nationalities in Double Degree exchanges)
- Only 1-semester exchange is possible as more than 50% of credits in the degree need to be completed at University of Vaasa (exception: international Double Degrees)
- Only one student exchange / study level
- If you are applying for exchange during Doctoral studies, a letter of recommendation from your Doctoral thesis supervisor is required
In the selection process, applications are evaluated in comparison to other applicants to same destinations.
Selection criteria are:
- Suitability of exchange for respective degree
- Estimated graduation time (3 years for a Bachelor and 2 years for a Master), number of semesters attended
- Motivation Letter
- Motivation towards studying abroad and prior international experience (e.g. international tutoring)
- Number of credits completed at University of Vaasa and GPA
- Language proficiency and relevant studies
- Major and School in relation to Field of Study in partner agreements to different destinations
- Double Degree placements are applied for annually during same application rounds as for regular exchange. Please check application criteria on our website for Double Degree (Structure of the Double Degree)
Candidates for student exchange are selected by appointed committee comprising of members from Mobility Services and other services.
- Leaving for exchange
Nomination and Application to host University
If you get selected for exchange at University of Vaasa, the application process is still not complete. After you have officially accepted the offered placement at University of Vaasa, Mobility Services Specialist for outgoing exchange will nominate you to your host university. Nomination is done within University of Vaasa partner agreements and agreed student quota. After having been nominated, you still need to apply to your host university directly, filling in their application form and submitting any required application documents directly to host university. Host university will then make the final decision of accepting your nomination and finally based on your application, admitting you as exchange student. Be active in checking host university website for information on application procedure and deadlines, accommodation, and course information, as even if in most cases the host university will contact the nominated students directly about the application procedure, not all universities do that but instead expect the students to find information on their own. After having been admitted to your host university, you should receive a Letter of Acceptance from your host university.
Orientation for exchange studies
Before the exchange, all nominated students going on exchange via University of Vaasa exchange programmes and agreements need to participate in a mandatory Orientation for exchange studies organized by Mobility Services. Orientation is organized twice a year: in April-May for students leaving for exchange in autumn semester and in October for students leaving in spring semester. All students selected for exchange will get a personal invitation per email to join the orientation.
Orientation is part of a mandatory course for all students going on exchange via University of Vaasa: OPIS0095 Responsible and Goal-Oriented Exchange, 2 ECTS. The course is part of an International Studies Module (together with exchange studies), but it is mandatory for all students even if they would not intend to include the module in their degree (i.e. mandatory also e.g. for Double Degree exchange students). Course is optional but recommended also for freemover exchange students.
- Visas and residence permits
Student is responsible for finding out if a visa or residence permit is needed for entering/ living in the country of exchange destination and for all the arrangements. Countries outside Europe usually require a residence permit from exchange student if the duration of exchange is longer than 90 days. Same applies to students travelling to a Schengen area or EU country. Some countries require visa and residence permit for even shorter period of time. Each country has different regulations for different nationalities and the student is responsible for checking these regulations either with the embassy/consulate of the host country in Helsinki/ country of destination or in the student's home country. Visa and residence permit processes take time so make sure you start with the process as soon as you get a Letter of Invitation/ Acceptance from your host university, which is needed in order to proceed with the process.
Student must also check (e.g. with the Police in Vaasa) how acquiring a residence permit to a different country affects their Finnish residence permit in order to ensure that they can return to their studies at Vaasa directly after the exchange. In some cases the residence permit to Finland may have to be renewed after arrival in Vaasa or it must be done at the Finnish embassy/consulate.
- Learning Agreement
Making a Learning Agreement for exchange is mandatory in all exchanges. Learning Agreement is a document consisting of selection of courses you intend to take at host university during your exchange and also a plan of how you intend to include completed exchange studies in your degree at University of Vaasa. Full recognition of completed exchange studies in University of Vaasa degree is a prerequisite for exchange.
Learning Agreement process starts already before the exchange, when the first version of Learning Agreement is drafted. Student is responsible for making the Learning Agreement and contacting Study Counselor in their study programme to discuss their study plan for exchange. First/ preliminary Learning Agreement is signed by student and study counselor at University of Vaasa (and in Erasmus exchange, also the host university) and the student is expected to submit the signed Learning Agreement to Mobility Services.
A second Learning Agreement is usually drafted at the beginning of the exchange when the selection of courses is finalized. New Learning Agreement must be drafted always when selected courses change and it is also required to get new signatures from all parties. Final version of Learning Agreement has to include the same courses as Transcript of Records from exchange studies.
You can find templates for Learning Agreement in respective exchange programmes in Forms.
Please not that you need to be registered as attending at University of Vaasa throughout the exchange.
Questions on Learning Agreement?
Please contact Mobility Services at outging.international(at)uwasa.fi
Inform Mobility Services at University of Vaasa immediately if your plans for exchange change and you cancel, postpone of interrupt your exchange.
- Returning back to Vaasa
After the exchange, you need to submit the following documents within 1 month after completed exchange:
- Learning Agreement(s) signed by all required parties (see Learning Agreement)
- Letter of Confirmation (stating the actual period of physical stay for studies at exchange destination, filled in and signed by exchange coordinator at host university)
- Transcript of Records from host university
- Travel Report
Templates for Learning Agreement, Letter of Confirmation and Travel report are found in Forms.
Erasmus+ exchange students need to submit additionally:
- Commission's own EU-survey (invitation per email)
Not having completed the above listed submissions may lead to reclaiming the grant for exchange.
All students are additionally expected to complete and submit assignments on mandatory course for all students going on exchange via University of Vaasa: OPIS0095 Responsible and Goal-Oriented Exchange.
The completed credits on exchange are to be transferred to your degree at University of Vaasa immediately after the exchange. Credit transfer is not automatic but you need to apply for credit transfer using an electronic form found in Forms. Before filling in the form, you can discuss the credit transfer and recognition with your study counselor.