Semester abroad

How to go abroad?

There are three possible types for a semester abroad:

  1. Staying at a European partner university: This is the simplest type, because at our International Office the processes for your nomination are well established. Moreover, you do not have to pay tuition fees, you do not need to prove knowledge of the national language and, under certain conditions, receive an ERASMUS grant.
  2. Staying at a non-European partner university: Here you may have to pay (reduced) tuition fees, and you may also have to take a language test. This kind of stay is also supported by the International Office.
  3. Staying at any other higher education institution worldwide with which no partnership agreement exists. In this case, it is very likely that you will have to pay the full tuition fees and organise your entire stay abroad yourself.

When to go abroad?

The following information is based on the experiences of student of our Faculty who already completed a semester abroad:

  • You should go abroad not earlier than in the 4th semester, because you should first complete most of the core modules scheduled for the first four semesters.
  • It is possible to spend the 4th semester abroad, but it is not very likely that more than half of all scheduled core modules are offered at the foreign partner university.
  • You should avoid postponing a large number of open exams from the 4th or even an earlier semester to the internship or even later.
  • The internship in the 5th semester is a very good opportunity to gain experiences abroad. The number of students having completed their internship in a company abroad has increased over the last semesters.
  • The 6th semester is the perfect time for studies abroad, maybe even directly following the internship abroad. Many foreign universities start the summer semester already in the middle or end of January. Only after ending the internship as early as possible you have the chance to be on site in time.
  • In this case, all core elective modules and perhaps even the research project can be completed at the foreign university.Opens internal link in current windowOpens internal link in current window
  • Studies will then take one semester longer than scheduled, because after your return you will have to complete both specialisation courses as well as the seminar.

Planning your stay abroad

A semester abroad requires long-term and sometimes complex planning; most of this, students have to do themselves. You should start planning about one year ahead. The following steps are primarily aimed at students who wish to study at one of our partner universities.

  1. First of all, find out about our Faculty’s partner universities, but you can of course also check the partner universities of other THWS faculties. This is because it may be possible to spend a semester abroad at another faculty’s partner university. 
  2. Choose one or two partner universities that are particularly interesting, taking into account the country, your existing knowledge of the national language and the language in which the courses are offered at the partner university.
  3. Get information about the academic calendar. When do courses begin? When is the examination period? Check whether this fits in with the course of your own studies.
  4. Now search on the websites of these partner universities for the courses offered in the semester of your choice. Please note that no credits can be transferred if they have already been earned in one of our modules. This means, for example, that you cannot transfer credits for a basic course on databases if you have already successfully completed the module with us.
  5. You should find at least three to four courses that could also be offered by us at our Faculty, i.e. the content must fit your degree programme. In case of doubt, please do not hesitate to ask our lecturers or the international affairs officer early on.

Step 1 when applying for a semester abroad

After you have worked through the points for planning the semester abroad, now at the latest is the right time for a conversation with the International Affairs Officer.

Selection criteria: The allocation of study places at the partner universities is based on the following selection criteria. These criteria are also used for the selection for Erasmus+ funding:

  1. Academic performance: Proven, for example, by the submission of transcripts and/or grade transcripts.
  2. Language skills: Proven, for example, by proof of the required language level.
  3. Personal motivation for studying abroad: Proven, for example, by an interview or a letter of motivation.

As a result, you will receive the necessary signature for the declaration of acceptance from the International Affairs Officer. Please fill out this declaration as far as possible already and submit it to the international officer for signature.

Step 2 when applying for a semester abroad

Once the academic part is finished, we will pass you on to our colleagues from the International Office (HSIN). For this purpose, you must sign in to the MoveOn portal after you have received the signed declaration of acceptance. The International Office will then nominate you to the partner university once your details and documents are complete.
Funding through Erasmus+: You can also apply for Erasmus+ funding via the International Office. A differentiation is made as follows:

  • Student mobility with programme countriesErasmus+ programme countries include the member states of the European Union as well as some other countries (e.g. Norway). Funding for studies in programme countries can be granted if
    • the application within the faculty was successful (for selection criteria and procedure see above)
    • the requirements of the respective programme are met, and
    • corresponding funds are available.
  • Student mobility with partner countries (non-EU): Erasmus+ funding is also available for studies at higher education institutions from certain partner countries. Funding for studies in partner countries can be granted if
    • the application within the faculty was successful (for selection criteria and procedure see above)
    • the requirements of the respective programme are met, and
    • corresponding funds are available.
    • An additional funding requirement for student mobility with partner countries (non-EU) is that you apply to the International Office for Erasmus+ non-EU funding. The application steps and selection criteria for the funding decision can be found here.


Application deadlines for a place at one of our foreign partner universities are as follows:

  • 1 November through 31 January for a stay in the following winter semester
  • 1 May to 30 June for a stay in the following summer semester 

Credit transfer

Your aim should be that credits earned abroad are transferred to FHWS. Concluding a Learning Agreement before you go abroad is necessary if you stay at a partner university abroad and highly recommended if you stay at any other university. With this Learning Agreement

  • you commit yourself to attend the courses listed in it and take the exams.
  • our Faculty commits itself to transfer the credits you earned.
  • the partner university commits itself to offer the modules listed in it.

The Learning Agreement has to be signed by the head of the examination committee for your degree programme.