University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)

Stage 3 of Programmes with Study Abroad

The Department of Physics follows the University's code of good practice for Study and Work Experience Abroad. While abroad students will follow a full timetable of physics modules, the specifics of which will be decided in conjunction with the host institution and the student, as described below.

Prioritisation and Transfers

Students who wish to transfer onto or between Physics programmes 'with Study Abroad' must have submitted programme transfer forms to Physics Education Support by by 1430hrs on the Monday of Week T1:01 of their Stage 2 year because this is the point at which the Study Abroad Office is notified of the number of places that are being requested. First priority for places on a programme will be given to students who applied to one of the 'with Study Abroad' programmes via UCAS. Programme transfers will only be approved in the two weeks following the release of Stage 2 Term 1 exam results; transfers are subject to the availability of fee-exchange places at the host institutions. If a particular programme or institution has insufficient places available, priority will be given to the choices of students with the highest average mark (credit weighted, with Stage 2 modules given twice the weight of Stage 1 modules).

See also:

Study Abroad Host Locations

The Department of Physics has links with:

Students planning to study abroad will find the detailed information they require the host institution's website; search for pages for international students.

Pre-Departure Briefing Meetings

Students on the Study Abroad programmes will meet with the relevant Study Abroad Co-ordinator to discuss in detail the arrangements for their year abroad, by the end of the Spring Term of their Stage 2 year:

While abroad the student will have access to e-mail and will stay in occasional contact with the Study Abroad Co-ordinator in Exeter. As part of the bilateral arrangements students will also have an advisor in their host institution.

The Cost of the Year Abroad

Student Finance provide travel grants that also cover visa costs. Student Finance also pay for health insurance whilst studying abroad.

At the time of writing (2013) a student studying abroad in North America, Australia or New Zealand pays a small fraction of the normal Exeter tuition fees for the year abroad. The Exeter student pays their (reduced) tuition fees to Exeter. Figures for the cost of living and studying abroad can be found on the host institution websites.

Portfolios of Student Work

In order to facilitate the assessment of their year abroad, students returning from host institutions must provide the Study Abroad Co-ordinator with a portfolio of work undertaken while they were away. This should include copies of:

The portfolio must be received and assessed in advance of the relevant Board of Examiners meeting. The Study Abroad Co-ordinator will notify students of the relevant deadlines, which vary from year to year.

Assessment of Study Abroad


The curriculum and assessment of the Exeter physics programmes is tightly specified and documented. Students and staff are used to high degree of consistency between modules at the same level and a clear progression from one level to the next. Exams, for example:

are set so to ensure that they test not only basic skills and recall of knowledge but also the application of that knowlege and, at the higher levels, the synthesis of new ideas and problem-solving methods. Stage 3 Physics modules that are delivered by lectures are normally assessed by a single examination employing a criteria-referenced mark scheme and worth 100% of the marks.

Overseas hosts typically do not use these conventions, which leads to technical, cultural and philosophical problems when one attempts to ‘convert’ marks from the scheme used by the host onto the Exeter scale. See, for example, the documentation associated with the ECTS system:

where Annex 3 explores some of the issues. University's code of good practice for Study and Work Experience Abroad provides guidelines for assessment (§8) and conversion of grades/marks (§9). Our scheme and procedures comply with these guidelines, which will be referred to as SWEA hereafter.


Each module taken at the overseas host institution will be assigned a mark, corresponding as far as possible to the Exeter conventions, by the Study Abroad Co-ordinator. The mark will normally be based on a combination of:

  1. any assessments made by the host institution;
  2. discussions with the academic staff of the host institution;
  3. a portfolio of work provided by the student;
  4. information received as a result of a Staff Visit to the host institution;
  5. consultation, as necessary, with the Chair of the Board of Examiners.

If the host institution does not provide marks on a scale directly comparable to the Exeter scheme, the first stage of the process converts letter grades, etc. onto a 100-point scale by using the grade conversion tables published elsewhere in this handbook. These were originally constructed in consultation with both students and staff from our host institutions and are reviewed periodically in meetings with the host institutions. The portfolios provided by students are then scrutinised by a member of staff with appropriate expertise in curricula and assessment, normally the Director of Education, who proposes moderating adjustments to the marks received from the host in order to bring them into line, as far as possible, with custom and practice at Exeter. The proposed adjustments are reviewed for consistency and compared with historical values by the Study Abroad Coordinator. On completion of the dialogue between the DoE and Study Abroad Coordinator, the agreed marks are entered into SITS. The Board of Examiners considers these, along with all other module marks. The whole process is subject to scrutiny and monitoring by External Examiners.

Note: Study abroad is academically demanding and students should note carefully:

University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)