Reciprocal Student Exchange Agreements

An Exchange Agreement serves as the formal framework needed to develop a student exchange program at the undergraduate or graduate level. Exchange partnerships are developed with international institutions of similar academic standing. The agreement outlines the responsibilities of the institutions, as well as the responsibilities of the students. Students enroll in, earn credit hours and pay tuition and fees to their home institutions and receive credits from the home institution for the courses they take at the host institution. Since tuition is waived for incoming students and collected from outbound students, it is expected that the total number of incoming students be balance with the number of outbound students over the duration of the agreement (usually five years). 

Exchange programs are beneficial to FSU and to student participants because:

  • They enhance FSU’s global footprint;
  • FSU students have a chance to study at many fine international institutions and experience another culture through an immersive experience;
  • Exchanges are typically more affordable than one-way study abroad programs since tuition and fees are paid to the home university as usual and financial aid is applicable;
  • Students receive credits which are equivalent to courses taught at FSU, enabling credits to apply toward degree programs;
  • FSU receives inbound students from partner universities helping to diversify classrooms and enrich FSU’s cultural community.

Some of the challenges of exchange programs include the following.

  • Reciprocity: Because FSU is essentially exchanging tuition dollars (outbound student tuition pays for inbound students to study at FSU), exchanges need to balance. If an exchange program becomes imbalanced and remains imbalanced in consecutive semesters, the number of exchange placements available for the out-of-balance institution must be adjusted until the balance is restored.
  • Accreditation Requirements: The total credits earned on the exchange may not be 25% or more of the credit hours required for the FSU degree.
  • Faculty and Staff Commitment: We strive to make the exchange experience a good one for students, and for this to be possible, faculty and staff commitment is essential. The FSU Faculty Advisor for the exchange is responsible for reviewing the curriculum at the partner and determining FSU equivalencies. The student’s Academic Advisor (typically a staff member in the student’s major department) is responsible for reviewing the student’s record to ensure that the exchange will not delay the student's graduation and that the courses registered for at FSU do not exceed the approved number of hours for specific courses, as listed in the General Bulletin. The student’s Academic Advisor also verifies that the total credits that will be earned on the exchange will not constitute 25% or more of the hours required for the student's degree.

Types of Student Exchange Programs

An exchange agreement may be developed for specific Departments or Colleges or for the University as a whole. In both cases the agreement will be signed by the Provost.

Department/College Exchange Agreement

In the case of the former, students studying in the area specified by the Departments and/or Colleges sponsoring the agreement at each institution all eligible to participate. Other students may be considered for the exchange on a space available basis, and with the approval of the exchange program's Faculty Advisor.

Courses available to exchange students are typically limited to the FSU Departments and/or Colleges that initiated the exchange. In some cases, inbound students may also be able to select from lower-level Liberal Studies (1000 or 2000-level) courses on a space available basis. Upper level courses (3000 or 4000-level) outside of the specific Department or College may be considered on a case by case basis if there is availability because priority is given to degree-seeking FSU students enrolled in that major.

The Faculty Advisor initiating the agreement is responsible for reviewing 10-15 (English language) course offerings available at the partner institution and determine equivalent FSU courses and for providing a list of 10-15 FSU courses in the FSU Department/College that are available for inbound exchange students to take. These courses will be included and approved in the intent document.

University-wide Exchange Agreement

In a university-wide reciprocal exchange agreement, students from all FSU Departments and Colleges may participate, and students from all majors at the partner institution may study at FSU provided the academic prerequisites have been met. The exception to this broad inclusion policy is for professional colleges at FSU, including the College of Law, College of Nursing, and College of Medicine as well as the Colleges of Film and Music and Departments of Dance and Theater in the College of Fine Arts, all of which are limited access by audition only.

The provost authorizes notification of the chairs and deans that FSU Faculty Advisors will work with outbound exchange students and the students' Academic Advisors to review and determine FSU course equivalencies for courses falling under their area of expertise, regardless of the students' declared major. In addition, the provost authorizes notification of chairs and deans that space will be made available for inbound students without having to receive special permission from each faculty member teaching the class. Departments are not permitted to exclude inbound exchange students from classes without good cause, and they are required to provide a reasonable alternative  giving priority to the students' list of desired courses.

Designees of the participating colleges are responsible for reviewing the Partner Institution's (English language) course offerings in their field and determining FSU course equivalencies. Each college is also responsible for providing a list of 10-15 FSU courses that will be made available for inbound exchange students to take.

Direct Enroll in an International University

A student wishing to study at an international university which is not an approved exchange partner and transfer foreign credits to FSU should speak with his/her department and the Program Director, Exchanges and Intercultural Programs at the Center for Global Engagement to find out the procedures for transferring credit. FSU has policies and procedures in place for students who want to enroll directly at an international institution and transfer credit to FSU.