Stay abroad for a while? An excellent idea!
Staying abroad will bring you a lot in terms of new friends, expansion of your network, multi-lingualism and it looks good on your résumé. An exchange is usually for one semester (5 months), but can last for a full academic year at the longest.
Will you go abroad to follow courses or for a research project or internship?
If you want to go abroad to follow courses we call this ‘stay’. A bilateral agreement is needed between the university of your choice and Utrecht University or the Science faculty. If you want to do a research project or internship it is called ‘traineeship'. For a traineeship a bilateral agreement is not necessary. Please note that the application procedures for stay and traineeship are different.
Would you like to study abroad?
Each year the Faculty of Science organizes one or several Study Abroad meetings. You can re-watch the last Study Abroad Info Session for 2022-2023 here.
University wide and Science faculty partners
There are two types of bilateral agreements; university wide agreements and agreements specifically with the Faculty of Science. The difference between the two is that if you go to a faculty partner you will have to restrict yourself to the courses offered by the faculty or department the contract is with. If you go to a university-wide partner you are free to register for courses of other departments and faculties as well, as long as the courses are open to exchange students and you meet the entry requirements.
These are the destinations that Utrecht University wide and the Science Faculty have agreements with. In the menu on the left you can select or de-select the university wide or Science partners. Please pay attention to the grey 'i' icon behind each listing, it will tell you for which faculty, study field and whether for bachelor or master students the destination is intended. Exchange destinations from other faculties are not possible. Please pay attention to this when choosing your destination.
*Please note that the number of places available at our partner universities is being negotiated, therefore the numbers for 2022-2023 may be subject to change.
Approval of the board of examiners
As soon as you know which courses you want to follow at the university of your choice you are required to have your studyplan approved by your academic counselor (bachelor) or program coördinator (master). Subsequently the Board of Examiners will determine whether a course can count towards your program, what the level and ECTS of the course are and in which category the course falls, for example; optional course profile or as replacement of a required course. Would you like to get more information about the conversion of credits to ECTS, please check the credit conversion table. This does not apply at the moment of submitting your study plan at the stay abroad application in Osiris, but at the moment of your acceptance by the foreign university. Make sure you do this before you leave, so you won’t be disappointed if the Board of Examiners rejects a course that you have already been following for a while. If something in your course selection changes during your stay abroad you will have to ask for approval from the Board of Examiners for the changes in your course(s) again.
How do I get approval?
First make an appointment with your academic counselor (bachelor) or your programme coordinator (master) to have your study plan approved. Later you can submit a request to the Board of Examiners to have your courses approved. If you go to the Student’s site and type in the name of your program it will bring you to a page with information specifically about your program. Under the header Practical Information > academic policies and procedures you will find the contact information of the Board of Examiners of your program. Include (a link to) course descriptions in your request to the Board of Examiners.
Registration of your results from abroad in OSIRIS
When you return you will have to show your transcript of grades of your exchange university to the Board of Examiners so they can officially determine the final level and ECTS. The next step is to provide the Student Affairs Desk with the official approval letter and a copy of your transcript, so your courses and grades can be registered in Osiris and added to your program.
For an internship or research project abroad a bilateral agreement with the university or organization of your choice is not necessary. If you are interested in a particular university, research group, organization or institute where you’d like to do your project you can go ahead and contact them and apply for a place in their research or project.
It is advisable to inform the coordinator of your programme of your plans early in the process, as they can help you determine what issues you may encounter as well as inform you on internal guidelines with respect to research/thesis projects. As soon as you have been officially accepted you can start arranging your traineeship abroad.
Make sure you find a UU supervisor as well. Together with him or her you will draft a proposal for your project and fill out the research project application that the Board of Examiners has to approve and sign for.
Application in OSIRIS
As soon as you have received formal written confirmation of your internship or research project abroad (e.g. e-mail) and a completed and signed application form you can start a 'stay abroad request' in Osiris and upload these documents. You can find this option in Osiris Student under a separate tab called ‘Abroad’. Start your application at least three months before your departure.
As soon as your stay abroad request in Osiris has been approved you can continue organizing your stay abroad: you can apply for a scholarship, look for accommodation, request a re-imbursement for your student OV, check the coverage abroad of your health- and legal liability insurance and check the passport/visa requirements, if necessary.
You might find this checklist useful during the organisation of your traineeship abroad.
Safety: travel advice and exemption requests (Graduate School of Natural Sciences)
For projects/internships abroad the general travel policy of Utrecht University is applicable. The UU follows the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry has four security risks on which the travel advice is based, namely:
- Green – no particular security risks
- Yellow – beware, safety risks
- Orange – only travel when necessary
- Red – no travel
Internships abroad are only allowed in countries for which a positive travel advice applies (code yellow or green, see the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Orange and red coloured areas/countries are considered unsafe. In some countries, multiple security risks may occur, for example, both yellow and orange areas. Always contact the International Office to assess whether or not a country is considered safe. If you go abroad without permission from the International Office and against the rules of the UU travel policy, credits will not be awarded according to the rules of the UU and as described in the EER art 3.8.
Do you still want to travel abroad despite the UU travel policy? You can submit a formal request for an exemption. To submit an exemption request, your internship abroad must first be approved by the Board of Examiners. Afterwards, you can take the following steps:
- Contact the International Office to receive the exemption form, preferably 2 to 3 months before your departure.
- Submit the completed form by e-mail to the Secretary of the GSNS (email@example.com).
- A faculty committee will discuss your submitted request and will come to an agreement. The committee consists of the vice-dean of education, the relevant programme director and the internationalisation policy officer of the faculty. The Faculty Committee is advised by the central Code Orange/Red Committee of Utrecht University about the safety risks of the destination.
- The outcome as decided by the faculty committee will be shared with you by the Secretary of the GSNS through an official letter by e-mail. The aim is to share the decision within seven working days.
- Have you been given permission to travel? Make sure that the approval letter is included in OSIRIS with your internship abroad registration.
- Have you received no permission to travel and do you not agree with the outcome? Then you have the option to submit a request to the UU disputes committee.
Please note that it takes at least 5 weeks for a decision to be made by the UU disputes committee. You are not permitted to travel to the internship destination pending the decision of the faculty committee or the UU disputes committee.
Changing travel advice during the stay abroad
If the travel advice changes to a negative travel advice during your stay abroad, the International Office of the faculty will contact you. Together we will examine whether it is safe enough to stay. If the UU advises an urgent recall to leave the country of your internship, but you still want to stay, you can submit an exemption request according to steps 1 to 6 as described above.
Arranging an alternative
If your exemption request is not honoured, discuss the options for completing your study programme with your programme coordinator. Contact both the Utrecht examiner and your programme coordinator when you have to come back to the Netherlands during your stay abroad due to a changing travel advice. If you are in need of a conversation with a confidential advisor as a result of this process, please contact your study advisor.
Within Europe you may request the Erasmus+ scholarship. There are other scholarships which may be requested via Osiris/Utrecht University or via other organisations. Please see the page Funding & grants for more information.
Application for grants may take more time (beforehand) and energy so we strongly advise you to start on time.
Do you have questions?
You can always contact the International Office of the Faculty of Science. Tessa Schutte is the International Exchange Officer.
Walk-in office hours are back: every Tuesday from 11-12 AM in the International Office, Minnaertbuilding, room 1.17. In case this timeslot does not suit you, do not hesitate to contact us for an (online) appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From November 4th till approximately halfway January 2023, a renovation takes place in the Minnaert building. Therefore, the International Officer is limited in offering meetings on campus. Please contact the International Officer, if you have a strong preference for a meeting on campus.