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Registering at University of Galway
You must be registered as a student here at University of Galway for the year in which you are going abroad. You will be able register online in late August, and you should follow the instructions at universityofgalway.ie/registration, “Returning to my Next Year”. Please ensure that your normal fees to University of Galway are paid promptly and in full so that you will be correctly registered at this university while you are abroad. As an Erasmus student, you should not have to pay any tuition fees to your host university; however, registration fees may be charged by some universities.
Courses to take while abroad
You must take courses in your degree subjects while abroad, as agreed between you and your academic coordinator(s) at University of Galway. These courses must be pursued diligently and with success and completed to the appropriate standard; otherwise there may be serious financial and academic consequences. Students who do not meet the required standards may be deprived of their "International" degree and may have to pay a repeat fee to University of Galway for their final year of study here. They can also be required to repay some or all of their Erasmus grant.
Your academic coordinator at University of Galway will be able to guide you in choosing appropriate courses at your host university. It is important that you know exactly what is expected of you, in terms of the types of courses you need to take, workloads, credits, results etc., before you leave Ireland. You may encounter timetable clashes, which will affect the choice of courses open to you in the host university. Discuss with your coordinator here in University of Galway what you should do in this case.
Your nominating school or discipline at University of Galway and your host university abroad will require you to confirm your final choice of courses by means of the Erasmus Learning Agreement. Your University of Galway coordinator will provide you with information about this document, which should be completed in online form.
The Learning Agreement is a vitally important document outlining the courses for which you are registering at the host university, along with the ECTS credit weighting of each module. It should be drawn up before you commence your studies abroad. It is CRUCIAL AND ESSENTIAL for the recognition of your studies abroad, and is an implicit part of your Erasmus contract. On a practical level, it also helps ensure that your choice of courses is approved by your NUI Galway coordinator(s) and thus helps to prevent any later misunderstandings.
Attendance at lectures and completion of the agreed programme of study are essential in all cases. Failure to fulfil the course requirements may justify a request for the reimbursement of the Erasmus grant.
You must normally go to a university where there is a formal Erasmus link to your field of study at university of Galway. However, we have a small number of exchange places arranged on a more general basis where students can take a range of courses taught through English. In such cases, you must get approval in advance from your own School or Discipline(s) to say that they will accept the proposed programme of studies.
Arts Students please note:
- If you are a BA International non-language student, please read carefully the footnote in the document "how to complete the Online Learning Agreement" which will be sent to you by the International Office;
- If you are a BA International language student, you should send your learning agreement to your language department coordinator, and also inform your "second" subject department of your course choices either by sending them a copy of the learning agreement or by listing your courses in an e-mail;
- If you are a B.A. International student, with or without a language, you should first of all ensure, before you embark on Erasmus, that both your departments are aware that you are participating in the Erasmus programme. It is best to convey this information in writing. You are required to take courses in BOTH your degree subjects while abroad. It is absolutely vital that the Erasmus coordinator in each of your subjects (not just the subject that is "sending" you abroad) is made aware, at the beginning of your study visit, of the courses you will be taking and that those courses are approved. If you do not do this, you may jeopardise your BA International Degree!
Make sure that you understand the exam structure in your Host University. Adhere strictly to all deadlines and keep a copy of any essays that you submit.
Most of our Erasmus partner universities operate the ECTS system. If you are going to one of these universities you should be able to get information on courses quite easily. A short description of the ECTS system follows. The ECTS system makes it much easier for you to find out what a full year's workload is for a local student, thereby making it easier for you to determine how many courses you should do.
What is ECTS?
ECTS, the European Credit Transfer System, was developed by the European Commission in order to provide common procedures to guarantee academic recognition of studies abroad. It provides a way of measuring and comparing learning achievements, and transferring them from one institution to another.
The ECTS system is based on the principle of mutual trust and confidence between the participating higher education institutions. The few rules of ECTS, concerning information (on courses available), agreement (between the home and host institutions) and theuse of credit points (to indicate student workload) are set out to reinforce this mutual trust and confidence. Each ECTS department will describe the courses it offers not only in terms of content but also indicating the credit assigned to each course.
ECTS credits represent a value allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them. They reflect the quantity of work each course requires in relation to the total quantity of work required to complete a full year of academic study at the institution, that is, lectures, practical work, seminars, private work (in the library or at home), and examinations or other assessment activities. ECTS credits express a relative value.
In ECTS, 60 credits represent the workload of a year of study; normally 30 credits are given for a semester and 20 credits for a term. Credits are awarded only when the course has been completed and all required examinations have been successfully taken. In many cases, University of Galway students will normally be required to attain 40 ECTS credits during their year abroad. For B.A. International non-language students, this will mean 20 credits in each subject, unless otherwise approved by the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies, while B.A. International students availing of a language placement will take courses as directed by the relevant NUI Galway department.
Ensuring that results are returned from your host university is also your responsibility. Since the system may be unfamiliar to you, please check the procedures that apply in that university for the issue of results, to make sure that your University of Galway coordinator receives them before you resume your studies in Galway. Many institutions forward transcripts to University of Galway as a matter of course, but some do not and so you may have to arrange this yourself. It is your responsibility to prove that you have achieved the required number of credits at the host institution.
Credit Requirements and Recognition
BA International students generally spend the third year of their course attending a partner university abroad (in the case of language students, a teaching assistantship will also satisfy the Year Abroad requirement for the BA International). Language students on Erasmus study visits will be required to take modules at the partner university totalling 45 ECTS (25 in their language subject and 20 in their other subject), and non-language students who are offered a place will be required to take 20 credits abroad in each of their two degree subjects over the course of the year, i.e. a total of 40 ECTS. The chosen courses must be pre-approved in the student’s learning agreement, and must be successfully completed in order to allow for full recognition by University of Galway of the Year Abroad, so that the student can proceed to Final Year of the BA International. A teaching assistantship, successfully completed, will fulfil the credit requirement for the language involved, but it will be necessary for the student to complete project work in the second degree subject while abroad.
Other BA programmes
Students on Connect or other denominated programmes who have a study abroad opportunity will generally spend one semester (during Third Year) at a partner university, where they will be required to secure a designated number of credits in order to be awarded 30 ECTS by University of Galway. They should consult their Programme Director for advice on how many and what type of courses to take while abroad.
B.Comm. International with language
Students on the B.Comm. International taking French, German or Spanish will spend the third year of their course attending an Erasmus partner university in a relevant country, and will be required to secure 40 – 45 ECTS during their studies there. The modules must be approved in advance via the Learning Agreement, and full credit will be awarded by University of Galway for their successful completion within the framework of this four-year programme. Please consult individual programme coordinators for more details.
B.Comm non-language (B.Comm. Global)
For students on the B.Comm. Global there are two options for satisfying the credit requirements:
- spend a full year on Erasmus at one of our partner universities, or spend a full year studying in the USA or Hong Kong under one of our other exchange programmes;
- spend one semester on placement and the other semester studying abroad (as per option 1 above).
In order to progress to Final Year of the B.Comm., selected students must successfully complete all modules taken abroad (as well as, if applicable, meeting all the requirements of any internship). 30 ECTS per semester are awarded for successfully completed studies abroad, based on the modules approved in advance in the Learning Agreement.
Further details can be found on the School of Business website.
Law students should visit the Erasmus page of the Law School, where the mechanisms for study abroad are explained in full.
Science (BSc) students can study abroad for a semester or a year, and will select relevant courses that amount to the equivalent of 30 ECTS (semester) or 60 ECTS (year). This selection process is done in conjunction with their University of Galway course directors, with assistance from the host institution where appropriate. The grades achieved by the student at the host institution are returned to University of Galway and these are used to calculate an overall year’s grade for the student. Their final BSc transcript is issued by University of Galway and indicates that a period of study abroad was part of the student's programme.
What happens if I don't pass my courses abroad?
There can be serious academic and financial consequences to failing your year or semester abroad. Where the credit deficiency is small, it may be possible to compensate by doing a project or essay assigned by your academic coordinator. However, the facility for doing this type of “make-up” work is at the discretion of the academic coordinator and the relevant College. You may be required to take the repeat examinations of the host university. An overall fail result can lead to students being required to retake the year at University of Galway and pay the repeat fee, in which case they will no longer be eligible for an “International” degree; they can also be asked to repay the Erasmus grant or part thereof.
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