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England - Leeds

University Overview

UK MAPThe University of Leeds  found its start as one of the first Schools of Medicine (1831) in Northern England.  It became a full-fledged university in 1904 and today ranks as one of the most prestigious institutions of teaching and research in the UK.

With a student population of over 32,000 students coming from 147 different countries, the University of Leeds truly embodies its cornerstones of professionalism, inclusiveness, integrity and community.  The city of Leeds is a true bustling univesity town which has undergone much urban development in recent years following the addition of the Leeds Arena in 2013.  Considered the "Knightsbridge of the North" named after the London district home to shopping icon, Harrod's, Leeds is well-known for its wide range of cutting edge shopping, vibrant pubs and fresh music scene.  Students will enjoy the big city feel within easy reach of more traditional English village towns such as York, a short train ride away.

Classroom building of LeedsCity Overview

Leeds is one of the largest cities in Northern England and is currently enjoying a season of urban renewal with posh new apartments popping up along the riverside and with them, exciting new music and art venues.  Visitors will enjoy the happy mix of Leeds' historic Victorian charm and new modernism.  Stunning examples of Victorian architecture abound, today housing museums, galleries, and chic shops, all a reminder of the wealth and power of the textile industries ruling the North in the previous century.  The city enjoys easy, cheap public transportation, including a local train station and small regional airport.  Just a five minute walk from campus brings you to the city center and all the amenities a student could need.

Program Highlights

Courses available in any major!

Academic Calendar

  • Fall Semester:  Mid-September to early December (some exams may extend until mid-January)
  • Spring Semester:  Early January to late March (some exams may extend until early June)

Academic year is not possible at this time due to impaction.

Please see the 2021-22 Academic Calendar for specific dates.  Please note that Fall students will not receive academic transcripts until the following July due to academic review board of exams.

Academic Focus

  • Exchange students can enroll in any class, provided they meet the prerequisites. Certain fields, such as Photography, may be restricted to local students only.  If a student has an performing research during his/her studies, this may be a possibility. 
  • Generally study aboad students select level 1 (introductory/lower-division) and 2 (upper-division) classes. Level 3 classes are considered Honours and assume a depth of knowledge in the field, and as such, are advised for seniors or serious students only.
  • Teaching will typically be in lecture format, with less formal discussion sections led by tutors.  A knowledge of library research methods and writing is highly advisable, as is a willingness to read beyond the scope of the course.
  • Final grades are usually based upon a comprehensive exam.   For this, keeping up with assigned and supplemental reading becomes critically important.
  • All work transfers back to San Marcos and can be used to fulfill all graduation requirements.

Language of Instruction

English, in the truest sense


  • Class Level:  Upper-division status (completion of 60 units)
  • GPA of 3.0 or above and good academic standing to departure.
  • Prerequisites:  Level 3 classes generally require significant experience in the field and may sometimes be restricted.  If, based upon transcript review, you do not have the necessary prerequisites, you will be asked to consider an alternative course.
  • Special Note to Business Majors:  In order to receive credit for upper-division courses abroad, you must have already completed your Pre-Core course work at CSUSM. 


15 semester units.  Typically this equates to 3 classes/semester.  Module (Class) units at Leeds are usually 20 credits each, equating to 5 CSU units each course, though sometimes there are 15 credit classes (4 CSU units) as well as 10 credit classes (3 CSU units).  Pay attention to this as you register.


There is a separate on-campus housing application with its own deadlines, currently July 1 for Fall study and December 1 for Spring study.  As on-campus housing is first come, first served, it is encouraged that students make an early application.  Bathrooms are usually shared amongst flatmates, but on occasion, exchange students are invited to stay in ensuite dorms (each room has a private bath).  Please review the international student housing guide for additional helpful information, options, and relevant costs.  There is also extensive information on seeking out private off-campus accommodation in the city.

Estimated Cost

  • Students pay their normal State University Fee to CSU San Marcos, currently $3,858/semester. No tuition or fees due at University of Leeds.
  • On-campus residence: Currently ~$1,029/month, partially catered with a 12 meal/week plan.  Non-catered (no meal plan) options are also available, as is a large variety of private sector housing.  All housing is first come, first served and should follow the timelines indicated on their website for best availablity.
  • Cost of meals and personal expenses will vary, but average $500/month.
  • Short term students will hand carry Short Term Study Visa documents with them through Customs (no cost but no work allowance); may apply for the UK General Tier 4 Student Visa (allows students to work up to 20 hours/wk) which is currently 348 pounds, roughly $481 plus shipping
  • Students on approved study abroad programs are entitled to apply Title IV federal financial aid to their program costs.
  • Sample 2021-22 Budget
  • Visit the helpful student budget guide from the Leeds Student Union for additional information.

Application Deadlines

  • For Fall Semester/Year Study:  March 15
  • For Spring Semester Study:  October 1

How to Apply

  1. Visit the University of Leeds website to learn about the university and life in Leeds.  Use a good tourist site such as Visit Leeds to learn more about life in this city and region of England.
  2. Meet with the CSUSM Study Abroad Advisor in ELB 588 to determine if you are eligible for this program.
  3. Follow the instructions from the International Office on available courses from the Module Catalogue to determine recent offerings.  For practical planning, read over the Leeds Arrival Guide full of important information from the International Office.
  4. Consult with a faculty advisor in your major department to determine if Leeds courses will count toward your major. If so, complete a Study Abroad Credit Approval Form. 
  5. Order an official transcript from CSUSM and any other college from which you have taken a semester or more in classes (even if you have already transferred credit to CSUSM).  Please send the transcript(s) directly to Global Education, c/o Tiffany Gabbard, ELB 588, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd. San Marcos, CA  92096-0001 or pick in person and drop off at Global Education (preferred).
  6. Read about accommodation options and follow the process stated online.  All housing is first come, first served and housing operates separately from admission to the university, on its own timeline.
  7. Begin an online application after you have full read the application guide accompanying the application.  Keep in mind that exchange at Leeds is highly competitive, so do everything possible to ensure your application is complete, clear and accurate.
  8. Submit additional application details to Global Education:  CSUSM General Study Abroad Application
  9. Submit your flight details to Global Education:  Flight Information Form
  10. Attend the pre-departure orientation and consult with the Study Abroad Advisor as necessary regarding the Student Visa process after Leeds acceptance.

Catch a glimpse of University of Leeds

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Being an International Student at Leeds