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AUSTRALIA - ISEP La Trobe University

Maddie Gastfield participated in the La Trobe program in Spring 2017. Credit: Madeleine Gastfield

La Trobe University is one of Australia’s leading universities and has a worldwide reputation for academic excellence and innovation. The University offers an exceptional student to staff ratio, ensuring students receive the academic support they need to succeed within a safe and supportive environment.

The student population and community on campus is diverse, multicultural, and accepting. This diversity provides an exciting background for students who wish to experience the Australian way of life. 

This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  It is a good choice for someone that is a world traveler OR has never left their hometown.

Learn more: click here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


La Trobe offers you the complete Australian experience through immersion into campus life and Australian culture. On the Bundoora campus, just thirty minutes from the city of Melbourne is set in the charming, green metropolitan, giving you the best of both worlds. If you thrive in the city, the Melbourne campus is for you. Located in what was recently voted as the World’s Most Liveable City is Australia’s hub for arts, culture, entertainment and shopping. 

La Trobe’s main campus, the Melbourne (Bundoora)campus, is situated in magnificent parklands, only 8 miles from the city center in Melbourne, Victoria. It is one of the most attractive university campuses in Australia, covering 200 hectares of parks and bush land setting with its own waterways and wildlife sanctuary. A convenient public transportation system links the campus to downtown Melbourne. 

With over 3.5 million people, Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and is widely known as the country’s cultural, shopping, and sporting capital. It boasts a lively and cosmopolitan pulse, hosting international film, arts, and comedy festivals, as well as countless street and community festivals, all of which reflect the city’s cultural diversity. The city is also home to Aussie Rules Football and offers major international sporting events, such as the Australian Tennis Open, the Melbourne Cup, and the Formula One Grand Prix.


Learn more: click here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


The La Trobe Study Abroad Program aims to offer you the complete Australian experience through immersion into campus life and Australian culture. Opportunities for field excursions make La Trobe a great choice for students interested in the biological sciences, archaeology, or Australian studies. Even non-biology majors can sometimes join in field trips designed to give students an up-close encounter with Australian wildlife. Australian Study is an interdisciplinary program that offers students an understanding of Australia society and culture in a global context. Students looking to enhance their Study Abroad experience are encouraged to take the Australia Studies unit ‘Discover Australia.” 

Other recommended fields of study at the Melbourne campus are politics, international development, international economics, tourism, viticulture ( the science of wine production), history, legal studies, chemical sciences, computer science, business, education, media, and journalism. 

Remember that LTU follows the southern hemisphere calendar. Students wishing to study for a full-year in the southern hemisphere should consider starting their program at the beginning of the academic year in February. Some institutions offer annual rather than semester courses.

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Classes involve a combination of fairly formal lectures (often with large numbers of students in attendance) and discussion-oriented “tutorials” (with around 10-15 students). Professors present core material during lectures but students should not expect to ask questions during that time; the tutorials are the time to work through the material in small groups and student participation is encouraged. Laboratory sessions for students in the sciences and practical studio time for design students are also incorporated into the curriculum.

You will typically find yourself in lectures and tutorials for 15 hours a week. The rest of the time you are meant to study and research on your own. The Australian education system generally emphasizes independent study over class time, attendance, and participation. There are usually fewer assignments counting towards the final grade, so a final exam or paper carries much more weight. For all these reasons, independence and self-discipline are very important in keeping up academically.

The student-teacher relationship in Australia tends to be very informal, with students addressing lecturers and tutors on a first name basis. Most lecturers will keep office hours during which you can schedule an appointment.

In Australia, students will generally not encounter continuous assessment, in which assignments are given frequently throughout the semester and students can track their academic progress. Rather, the final grade will be based on two or three major assignments or essays plus a final exam or essay. Essays must be well-written and academic; professors will not be looking for “reflection papers” among these relatively few assignments. Students are responsible for keeping up with the outside work throughout the semester, even though professors will not necessarily be checking up on them regularly.


Because Australians start specializing in their majors early on, you may find that a course (unit) with a seemingly lower level or number may actually be equivalent in content to a mid-level course in your country.

In Australia, the term “credit” represents the weight of an individual class in relation to others within the major, rather than the number of classroom or study hours. Therefore, an introductory breadth course may be worth ten credits, while an advanced core course may be worth 20 credits. Thus, the credit value listed on your transcript may not have any bearing on the number of credits actually transferred to your home institution.  Generally, students must take 60 credits at La Trobe to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.

For more information regarding the courses offered, click here.

Units (the equivalent of classes) are given credit points. These credit points are not equivalent to US credits and vary by institution. A normal course load for an Australian student is three to four units (classes) per semester. Many Australian schools provide an explanation of credits on the back of their transcripts. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest Credits, students must take 60 credit points.  

To Earn 3 Lake Forest Credits, students must take 45 credit points.  

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

REMEMBER that this site operates on the Southern Hemisphere calendar! Be sure to search for courses using the correct semester parameters: Southern hemisphere SM1 (NH SM2) is February – June; Southern hemisphere SM2 (NH SM1) is July – November.

For detailed instructions on how to use the online subject database, please see here

The La Trobe Study Abroad Program is very flexible and available at both undergraduate and postgraduate level for study abroad. You can take all your units (subjects) within your major OR several across different faculties. However, when looking up subject/ units at Subject/Unit Search, there will be a section stating: “Available to Study Abroad students”. Be sure it states “Y”, which designates that the unit can be undertaken by a Study Abroad student.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system.

Student Life

In addition to world-class teaching and research facilities, La Trobe’s on-campus resources include libraries, residential colleges, IT services, retail outlets, sporting facilities, and more.


The University Orientation is designed to assist you in the first days and weeks by providing a range of important information sessions for new international students as well as opportunities to meet many other Australian and international students and make new friends. The week includes many activities, a number of which are considered essential. Information regarding subject selection and enrollment is provided during the University Orientation. This includes a faculty or school-based information session as well as discussions with course advisors. Other sessions include information relating to accommodation, Australian culture, part-time work, travel and how to find your way around campus - so don’t miss out! 

La Trobe offers free airport reception for students. Please contact the La Trobe ISEP Coordinator for more information.


Residence halls arrange a variety of social activities for students to participate in, making it easy to make friends and integrate into the campus community. There are also plenty of clubs and sports teams to choose from, many of which organize excursions to explore Australia. Check out the surf club, mountaineering club, snow sports team, sub aqua club, international students club, and more.

The La Trobe Student Union (LTSU) and the International Students Association (ISA) organize inexpensive tours and trips around Melbourne and Australia on a regular basis. Weekend and day trips are offered. Past destinations include Lakes Entrance, Canberra/ Sydney, and Alice Springs/ Uluru.

La Trobe Accommodation Services offer an ‘Outbound Program’ which is exclusively for students living on campus. Activities and trips vary each semester. Past programs have included rock climbing, white water rafting, Werribee Open Range Zoo safari, and ski trips.

(Available to ISEP students - additional costs apply).

  Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

Enhance your study abroad experience and gain academic credit by combining a practical internship placement with part of your study. La Trobe has links to industry in many fields of study!

You can also volunteer at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary, home to more than 300 species of Australian native animals - Get some ‘hands-on’ experience through La Trobe’s community engagement programs.

Service Learning in The Community is a new, second-year subject provided by La Trobe’s Melbourne campus. Students work as a team to design and implement a project that benefits a community organization, thereby relating their academic studies to the community within a service learning framework. For more information, see:  (Available to ISEP students as a possible 15 credit point subject)

La Trobe offers a number of volunteering opportunities for students interested in improving their leadership and employability skills and contributing to the community. In particular, international students coming for a full year are invited to become part of the International Hosts program - a vibrant program that assists new international students during Orientation and helps them settle into university life. This inculcates teamwork, cross-cultural communication and management skills in the volunteers. For more information about volunteering, see: 

(Available to ISEP students and free to participate)

ISEP Direct students can enroll in the Media: Screen+Sound program which includes a field internship.

Housing and Meals

ISEP Exchange students live in the Chisholm College Residence hall and are provided with kitchens and a café. They will also be provided with a meal stipend with which they can buy food. 

ISEP Direct students with tuition, housing, & meal benefits package live in private rooms in the Glenn College Residence Hall and are served daily buffet-style meals in the dining hall. 

For southern hemisphere programs, ISEP benefits do apply during the recess between semesters (June-July), whereas they do NOT apply between the end of one academic year and the beginning of a new academic year (December to February). 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to La Trobe University includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week. For students that participate in ISEP Direct, the program fee includes all of the above plus insurance. The Direct fee includes the same things, but Direct fees are set by the host university and may be different than that of Exchange, which tend to be less expensive to promote more exchange opportunities for all schools. 

ISEP costs for Exchange are usually the most cost-effective, as it is intended to promote mobility of students around the world. Direct options are available for those students that prefer to attend a school with limited availability for Exchange, though costs may be different as they are set by the host school. However, the program fee may be different than that of Exchange.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item



Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees


ISEP-required health insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office

Program Dates

Semester 2 (Fall): Early September to Late December 

Semester 1 (Spring): Early January to Early May

All dates are tentative and may change. ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.

Please note that this site observes the Southern Hemisphere academic calendar. Lake Forest Spring Semester is referred to as Semester 1. Lake Forest Fall Semester is referred to as Semester 2.

Program Type

Exchange or Direct-Enroll

ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Most Competitive.

ISEP Direct-Enroll is not available for Lake Forest students for this program.

Languages of Instruction