COVID-19 Updates and Resources. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. Coronavirus Information

ENGLAND - ISEP University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland is a modern, innovative university at the heart of one of the UK’s most up and coming cities. Housed on two campuses, the university offers a wide range of subjects including languages, business and tourism, media production and performing arts. Winner of the 2010 Guardian newspaper ‘Best new university in the North East of England’, the University of Sunderland is proud to welcome international students from across the world.

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 about the University of Sunderland 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).


Sunderland is located on the northeast coast of England with easy access to the nearby coast and countryside. Nearby Newcastle International airport is within easy reach and has regular flights to the major hubs of Heathrow/Gatwick and Amsterdam. London is approximately 3.5 hours by train.


The University of Sunderland is a modern, innovative university at the heart of one of the UK’s most up and coming cities. Housed on two campuses, the university offers a wide range of subjects including languages, business and tourism, media production and performing arts. Winner of the 2010 Guardian newspaper ‘Best new university in the North East of England’, the University of Sunderland is proud to welcome international students from across the world.

The University of Sunderland has more than 15,000 students and welcomes over 1,000 international students from nearly 60 countries. Taught programs in the university are based upon a modular structure allowing most students scope to tailor their degree to their exact requirements. 


Psychology, Law, Art History and Engineering modules (and many computing modules) must be studied on a full-year basis, and are not available to single-semester students.

Students cannot take dissertation modules. Some classes within Engineering and Sciences are not available to exchange students. There are some limitations on practice-based classes such as Glass and Ceramics and Arts.

For more information regarding courses being offered, click here.


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.


A typical British student takes 3 to 6 modules (or classes) per term. Most visiting students take 3 or 4 modules per term. The number of hours in class per week will vary by institution. In addition to lectures, students may also be required to sign up for tutorials or lab work. A full-time student in the UK will normally carry 60 credits/ semester; or 120/ year, which is usually equivalent to 15 US credits or 30 ECTS credits/semester; or 60 ECTS credits/ year.  Students need to earn 60 UK credits to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.

The idea of an undergraduate being “undeclared” in their major is not common in the UK. British students tend to specialize in their field of study earlier; sometimes they may even start specializing in their majors during the final year of high school. General education or basic courses are not as commonplace at UK universities because they have already been covered at the GCSE level. Many faculties assume that a university student has a basic understanding of the concepts that will be addressed in the course. For this reason, it is common for third-year International students to take first-year and second-year courses at a UK university. The curriculum in these courses is not considered introductory or “lower-level.”

It may be more difficult to enroll in multiple modules across different academic departments in the UK. Instead, students may need to focus on choosing classes within one or two departments. For specific details on your particular host institution, please carefully read the Academic Notes section of the Institutional Information Sheet.


Assessment methods vary by institution in the UK and tend to reflect the UK teaching method and style. Written examinations (at the end of a year or, in some cases, in the final undergraduate year only) are the most common form of study assessment.

It is important to note that in the UK system it can be more difficult to obtain the higher grade designations. Remember that the grading scale may be different than what you are accustomed to, and that a lower grade than you are used to may actually reflect a very strong academic performance.

Grades are given as percentages rather than letter grades. 40 percent is the minimum passing grade and high percentages are rarely awarded. A grade of 70 percent or higher is considered “with distinction.” In general, percentages increase from 40 percent rather than decrease from 100 percent.

The percentage ranges for each degree class vary from institution to institution. Individual modules on the transcript carry only the percentage mark.

Degree Class - % Mark
First - 70-100
Upper Second - 60-69
Lower Second - 50-59
Third - 40-49 - (the pass mark is 40% at most UK institutions)
Pass - 30-39
Fail - less than 30
(The lower end of the scale may vary by institution.)


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

Student Life

There is a wide choice of student societies, and sports facilities include a 25-metre pool, two gymnasia, weights and fitness rooms, and floodlit outdoor facilities. The brand new CitySpace building opened September 2009 on the City Campus and is home to a variety of catering, social, sports, exhibition and fitness spaces, offering something for everyone. 


There will be a full orientation for all new students and will include social, cultural, immigration, medical, security, financial, and academic information.


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet


Sunderland has everything you would expect from a major city. Arts, culture, sport, heritage, and history are in plentiful supply. But the city also has a few extras. Sunderland has the added advantage of being a city by the sea in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, with Newcastle, Northumberland and the North Yorkshire Moors on the doorstep. Sunderland is one of the UK’s most up and coming cities. A vibrant music and club scene, café style culture, premiership football and indoor shopping centers are making Sunderland a desirable place to live. 

One of the best things about being a student is the sense of belonging you feel. Sunderland’s Students” Union is at the heart of this. Union membership is free and open to everyone. There are over 40 clubs and societies and chances are you will find that your hobby or interest is already provided for, but if not you’re also welcome to start your own. The Student’s Union also runs trips specifically for International students at a discounted rate to cities such as Edinburgh, York, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, and Liverpool.

  Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience and meet new people. Our voluntary projects enable students to gain valuable work-related skills with local organizations, charities, and community groups. The opportunities offered are varied and include working with children and young people, the elderly or people with learning disabilities in a range of roles, working on conservation projects, website design, public relations and more. The wide range of opportunities available allows you to choose something that matches your interests and the amount of time you have to give. For further information on volunteer opportunities, click here!
Housing and Meals

The University provides a choice of residence halls. Most rooms are single study-bedrooms. There are some rooms suitable for families and students with special needs. A free campus bus operates between all halls of residence and the university campuses. Cooking facilities are available in each hall of residence; exchange students will receive a stipend to cover expenses for groceries and/or meals at cafeterias or restaurants. Please note that due to administrative procedures at Sunderland, the stipend cheque will not be available until one or two weeks after the student’s arrival on campus and students will need to open a bank account to deposit it. The stipend cheque does not apply to ISEP direct students. Sunderland is one of the best value places to live in the country, so students will find their money goes further. 

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

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. For students that participate in ISEP Direct, the program fee includes all of the above plus insurance. However, the program fee may be different than that of Exchange.

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