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ENGLAND - ISEP University of Plymouth

Alive with the spirit of discovery since Drake, Darwin, and many more set sail from our shores, Plymouth is a pioneering city that lives to a contemporary beat by the water. Join us and study here. 

Create new memories in a location that offers a vibrant city culture surrounded by dramatic countryside and close to some of Britain’s most beautiful beaches with excellent sailing and surfing opportunities.

Enter a student population of 30,000 students studying full and part-time programs at the University and play your part in our international community of 3,000 students from over 100 countries. 

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

Learn More about the University of Plymouth 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).


The city of Plymouth is on the coast, near the many small fishing villages of Cornwall. Plymouth is the major city of the southwest and offers cultural attractions such as museums and professional theater. It is a three hours’ rail trip from London and also offers a ferry link to mainland Europe. A natural harbor, Plymouth was the port from which the Pilgrims sailed in 1620. Some of the oldest remnants of civilization still exist in the Southwest, including standing stone circles of which Stonehenge is the best known. Area sporting facilities include sailing, windsurfing, and horseback riding in Dartmoor National Park.


Consistently ranked one of the top modern universities in the UK, the University of Plymouth has a strong record of excellence, enterprise, and innovation across its teaching and research activities. The university has an excellent reputation for its teaching quality, having performed very well in all teaching reviews carried out by external bodies since 1996. 


The UK education system generally emphasizes independent, self-directed study over class time, attendance, and participation. Coursework may be less structured than you are used to in your country and students may be assigned significant outside reading that they will not be tested on until their final exam. Required readings and definite assignments are given throughout the semester are less common. Students can expect an extensive reading list covering all topics to be discussed to be distributed at the start of the course. This will be used for independent research. British students typically consult a large number of sources from the library rather than intensively studying a few books purchased by everyone taking a course. In addition, students are required to write more essays and take fewer objective tests. Because there are usually fewer assignments counting towards the final grade, a final exam or paper carries much more weight. For these reasons, self-discipline, self-motivation, and good time management are very important in keeping up academically.

Modules (remember that in Britain “course” refers to a degree program) often take the following forms: lectures, which are sometimes completely optional; tutorials, in which a small number of students meet with the lecturer; and seminars, larger discussion classes often based upon seminar essays. Students should be aware that there is often less face time with professors, and that tutors are often your most hands-on academic contact. You will have to be self-motivated and proactive.

British students often sit for final exams in May or June that cover the full year’s work and determine the grades for the class. With the growth of modularization, however, there has been an increase in the number and variety of modules offered on a semester basis.


Students in business are strongly encouraged. Many courses in maritime studies and science are complemented by field trips including fishing and diving expeditions. The Combined Arts Program, consisting of majors in art history, English, heritage, history, media arts, theatre, and visual arts, welcomes ISEP students. 

SEMESTER PLACEMENTS are only made for students wanting to take courses within the following subject areas: History, Art History, and English. In addition, Media Arts, Fine Art and 3D Design would be suitable, though students would have to be fairly advanced practitioners as courses within these subject fields are project-led and there is really not much “teaching” that goes on - especially in Term 2 (Semester 2). Term 1 (Semester 1) might be a better option for students wanting to take a course in these fields.

ISEP participants are accepted for study by a relevant faculty. Students are only able to take a combination of courses currently available on recognized pathways. Cross-registration for modules taught in different courses (programs) is not possible. Students must select all modules from one particular course. Full-time students take 120 credits per year or approximately six classes per year at 20 credits each. Semester students typically take 3 courses per semester. Students sign up for classes on-site, during orientation. Students are given the option of having a tutor assist in course selection upon arrival in Plymouth. 


From the Course Information link, select your general academic field. Then select a specific “Course Title”, which is the complete 3-year pathway toward a certain degree. Then click on the link entitled “Course detail and module information” on the left-hand sidebar to obtain all the modules (classes) offered in that course. 

You must select modules within the same course (program) at the same academic year level for which you have the appropriate prerequisites.

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

Student Life

A one-week international orientation program is offered. Individual faculties also run their own induction programs the week before the term starts and ISEP students are encouraged to attend this also, as it is a good opportunity to meet lecturers, tour departments, attend introductory lectures and social events, receive reading lists etc. Information will be sent directly to students from their faculties prior to their arrival.

For more information on student life at Plymouth, click here

  Experiential Opportunities

This institution offers on-campus employment opportunities. There are limited work opportunities on-campus, and the Career Services Center can provide information on part-time jobs. Remember that students seeking to volunteer or work part-time must apply for a Tier 4 visa.

Students can also enroll in the Plymouth Award, which recognizes volunteer efforts.

Housing and Meals

Students are offered the full range of housing, including residence halls, shared student houses, or home-stays with families. A stipend is provided to purchase or prepare meals. Please note: Meal benefits are not included for Direct students. 

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 Plymouth includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application


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

Note: Some countries require national 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 Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of January 2018. 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.

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