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University of California exchange programme

Take the chance to apply for exchange studies in the USA. The exchange programme with the University of California (UC) is Lund University's oldest and largest in terms of the number of incoming and outgoing students.

Students walking around on one of UC's campuses
Returning exchange students usually describe their stay at a UC campus as a wonderful experience. Photo: UC.

Apply for an exchange

You can apply for exchange studies at the University of California for the academic year 2023–2024 between 1–15 November 2022.

The application instructions for the previous application period can be used for reference.

Note that exchange studies at UC always take a full academic year, from August to June. As an exchange student, you don't need to pay tuition fees at UC.

On this webpage, you will find all the information you need to make an application.

UC campuses you can apply to

A total of around 238 000 students study at the UC campuses that you can apply to. These campuses rank highly in annual international university rankings. 

The campuses are spread throughout the State of California and they all have their own unique character. See short descriptions of all available campuses below:

Berkeley is UC’s oldest and second largest campus. Located near the San Francisco Bay, the campus offers internationally recognised academics, winning sports teams and a vibrant student life.

Learn both in the classroom and through Berkeley’s tradition of student engagement.

Davis has UC’s third largest student population, and it is located near the dynamic state capital, Sacramento.

Academic subjects range from agriculture and environmental sciences to arts, humanities, and social sciences. It is home to one of the largest engineering programmes of the UC system.

Find outstanding academics, research and internship opportunities, and an active student life in a welcoming college town environment.

Irvine, a modern campus now over 50 years in the making, is located south of Los Angeles, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, the mountains, and the desert of Southern California.

Study arts and humanities, biology, social sciences, and engineering. Irvine combines the advantages of a large research university with a friendly small college feel.

Los Angeles is among the world’s most ethnically diverse campuses hosting the largest student body in the UC system. Located a short distance from the Pacific coast and the mountains, UCLA has a strong tradition of volunteerism.

With a full range of academic offerings, UCLA attracts students who are prepared for a challenge and have an interest in intellectual and personal growth.

Merced is located near the renowned Yosemite National Park where you can conduct research and enjoy some of California’s finest recreational areas for skiing, rafting, and hiking.

The newest campus in the UC system, Merced is growing fast with a focus on sustainability, research and community.

Merced offers study in engineering, sciences, social sciences, and the humanities with an emphasis on undergraduate research.

Riverside is located just 60 miles from Los Angeles and is widely recognised as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the US.

Students learn from and work with innovative professors who have earned national and international recognition for their teaching and research.

Exceptional opportunities include business administration, engineering, and environmental sciences programmes.

San Diego is the University’s southernmost campus where students enjoy the influence of Mexican culture, the best weather in the US and outstanding academics.

Undergraduates participate in multidisciplinary research focused on innovation.

The college system provides a supportive environment within the larger research university.

Santa Barbara benefits from both the Pacific coast and the adjacent mountains. While biking, skateboarding, or waiting for the next big wave, students have all the resources of an internationally recognised research university.

Home to one of the first programmes in environmental sciences, the campus also has top rankings in physics, geography, and religious studies.

This green campus makes environmental awareness a priority.

Santa Cruz is home to one of UC’s most beautiful campuses nestled in pine forests with a view of the Pacific Ocean.

A tradition of creative thinking and innovation fuels both a vibrant arts community and the renowned high-technology industry of the Silicon Valley.

With majors from computer sciences to the arts, you can participate in the creation of new technologies, new works in human expression, and new understandings.

Also see a visual presentation of University of California's campuses (PDF 1.0 MB, new tab)

Each UC campus is practically an independent University with its own independent organisation within the University of California campus system.

Am I eligible to apply?

Below, you can read which eligibility requirements apply for an exchange at UC.

Note that you should have completed no more than four years of university/college level studies at the time of departure to UC. There may be potential exceptions to this if you, during your previous university/college level studies, have changed field of study/programme or combined two fields of study/programmes.

If this applies to you and you are unsure whether you can apply, please contact UC Study Center at ucstudycenter [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se.

You are eligible to apply if you, at the time of application:

  • have completed a minimum of 30 Lund University/higher education credits at the undergraduate level (grundnivå) at Lund University and are registered for full-time studies at Lund University (or have been granted an approved leave/'studieuppehåll' from your studies at Lund University)*
  • are able to present a study plan for your intended stay at UC corresponding to full-time studies and where coursework can be transferred/part of a subsequent degree at Lund University and
  • have sufficient proficiency in the relevant language of instruction.

Note that some faculties/departments at Lund University have additional eligibility requirements. See your faculty's or department's website for more information and contact details.

Application instructions

Consider that it takes time to compile a complete application. Self-evidently, only complete applications will be considered. 

Below, you can read which documents you need to upload in the application process. Note that all attachments you need to upload have to be in the PDF format.

You apply using SoleMove

You submit you application through SoleMove, where you should select ‘University of California Campus System’.

Select 'Lund University' in the drop-down list and log in

See the SoleMove application guide (PDF 2.71 MB, new tab)

Questions regarding SoleMove can be sent to solemove [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se.

Attachments to your application

The following PDF documents must be submitted (uploaded) with your application in SoleMove – under 'Enclosures' – for the application to be considered complete. 

  • 1 Statement of Purpose
  • 1 CV/resumé
  • 3 UC Study Plans, one for each of your three selected UC campuses (merged together into 1 PDF document)
  • 1 Ladok transcript
  • 1 UC Campus Priority Sheet, where you rank your three selected UC campuses

Note: Only the requested items shall be submitted (uploaded) with your application in SoleMove. Any additional attachments will not be considered. 

Also note: The UC exchange is for a full year, which means that you should select the time period 'Full year 2022–2023' in SoleMove. For additional information, see ‘UC Study Plans; number of study periods, units and course selection’ below.

Your complete application – including all attachments in the PDF format – needs to be submitted by 23:59 on 1 November 2021.

You submit 1 Statement of Purpose with your application (that is, not one for each of the three UC campuses you have selected, but one in total).

Your Statement of Purpose should:

  • be written in English
  • be at least 2/3 of a page long and
  • not be more than one page long.

In your Statement of Purpose, you should: 

  • Motivate why you wish to study at UC
  • Explain why the courses you are planning to study at UC complement your programme/courses at Lund University. 

Additionally, you can motivate:

  • What you, on location in California, would be able to offer in educational settings or in other relevant settings.
  • In what way it would be useful for you to be able to spend time at UC and in California (both in terms of academics and in a broader sense, for example when it comes to your future/career goals).  
  • How your personal qualities and specific experiences (within or outside of your university education) may be relevant for a future stay at UC.

If you like, you can also motivate the choice of one or more of your three selected UC campuses. This is not required, however.

Find out which campuses suit you and your educational background best

You can find current information about the UC majors/academic disciplines that are part of the exchange programme at each of the UC campuses on the UC website, under 'Choose a discipline'. Here you will also find any restrictions that may be in place in terms of your particular major/academic discipline.

Explore UC courses –

UC Campus Priority Sheet

List and rank your three selected UC campuses according to your preferences (1–3, where 1 is the highest rank and 3 the lowest) on your UC Campus Priority Sheet. Note that you need to list three campuses in order for us to be able to process your application. Remember that the document needs to be in the PDF format. 

UC Campus Priority Sheet (PDF 32 kB, new tab)

For each of the three UC campuses you have selected, you submit a complete study plan – UC Study Plan. 

UC Study Plan (PDF 39 kB, new tab)

Two or three study periods depending on your choice of campus

Exchange studies at UC take a full academic year, which corresponds to either two or three study periods at UC.

Two study periods: UC Berkeley and UC Merced are ’semester system campuses’. In your study plan for these campuses, you include courses for two study periods (Fall and Spring semester). For each study period, you include courses corresponding to 15–17 (semester) units.

Three study periods: The other UC campuses are ’quarter system campuses’. In your study plans for these campuses, you include courses for three study periods (Fall, Winter and Spring quarter). For each study period, you include courses corresponding to 15–17 (quarter) units.

Find courses at UC campuses

See UC's website for information about specific courses at each of the UC campuses. 

Explore UC courses –

Use the drop-down list under 'Choose a discipline'. If you can't find information about the courses that will be offered during the period that you are planning to study at a UC campus, you can instead look at the courses that were offered there during the previous period/academic year.

Undergraduate courses in the first place

You should primarily include undergraduate courses in your application. These typically have a course code containing 1–199 (where 1–99 is lower division and 100–199 upper division). You should primarily strive to include upper division courses in your UC Study Plans.

Once you've been nominated and have arrived at a UC campus, you will usually be able to take some courses at the graduate level (with a course code containing 200+) as well. Note that this cannot be guaranteed prior to your arrival at the UC campus, however.

If you, already at this stage, choose to include a graduate level course (with a course code containing 200+) in your application, write in the relevant UC Study plan that you are aware that courses at this level are not guaranteed.   

Are you unsure? Contact your department or faculty

If you feel unsure when it comes to your choice of courses, it is important that you discuss this with the programme coordinator, academic adviser or international coordinator at your department or faculty. They handle the transfer of course credits upon your return from UC.

At the bottom of your three UC Study Plans, you indicate the person that you have discussed your choice of courses with. Make sure to also indicate the department or faculty this person is affiliated with. 

3 UC Study Plans need to be merged into 1 PDF file

Merge your 3 UC Study Plans into 1 PDF file before you submit them.

Your CV (Curriculum Vitae) should include:

  • previous education relevant to the application
  • any language certificate
  • work experience and
  • other relevant activities/experience.

You should, on the other hand, not attach additional documentation, such as work performance reviews, letters of recommendation etc.

The CV document should be:

  • at the most one page long
  • written in English and
  • in the PDF format.

You have to include a transcript of records from Ladok in your application. It must be in English and saved as a PDF document.

How to get a transcript of records from Ladok

The file name should be 'Last name Transcript', for example 'Smith Transcript'.

Budget and expenses

Read more about financial planning and estimated living expenses on UC's website

Studies shorter than a full year

Students are nominated for a full exchange year at UC. Nominated students can at a later stage shorten their intended stay at UC. If you are nominated and interested in shortening your stay at UC, you should contact the UC Study Center for advice and information.

If you have questions regarding:

  • how to apply/the application process, please contact studentreception [at] lu [dot] se
  • the SoleMove system, please contact SoleMove support, solemove [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se
  • UC campuses, please contact the UC Study Center, ucstudycenter [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se

Information and Q&A sessions: application to UC exchange programme

Monday 18 October

The 18 October Information/Q&A session was held on Zoom.

Friday 22 October

The 22 October Information/Q&A session was held on Zoom.


You can also call the UC Study Center on the following dates:

  • Friday 15 October, 13–15
  • Wednesday 20 October, 13–15
  • Wednesday 27 October, 13–15
  • Friday 29 October, 10–12

Phone number: +46 (0)46 222 38 85


Contact information

University of California Study Center
ucstudycenter [at] er [dot] lu [dot] se 

+46 (0)46 222 38 85

Visiting hours
For current visiting hours, please contact the UC Study Center using the above email address.

Visiting address
UC Study Center
Stora Algatan 4, Lund

Postal address
University of California Study Center
Lund University
Box 117
221 00 Lund