University of Birmingham

Overview

The University of Birmingham has welcomed international students onto campus since its inception in 1900 - and with almost 5,000 international students from over 150 different countries, the University now boasts one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the United Kingdom. Explore the International student pages to learn more about applying, entry requirements, and what it's like to live and study at the University of Birmingham. This program is university-wide, meaning any undergraduate Pitt student regardless of major may participate. 

Fact sheet
Learning Objectives

As an active and engaged participant on this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • the ability to succeed independently in a foreign education environment.
  • non-US based perspectives on your field of study and/or future career path.
  • a global network of peer in similar fields of study and connections with faculty in the United Kingdom.
Partner Information

International Relations

G/F Cedar House

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston, Birmingham

United Kingdom B15 2TT

incomingstudyabroad@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Location Description

Located in central England, Birmingham is the second most populous city in the United Kingdom behind London, with over 1.1 million residents. Birmingham's demographically diverse in terms of the ethnic and religious backgrounds of its residents. Birmingham was at the heart of the United Kingdom's industrial revolution, and its wealth was built upon the multitude of trades that were spawned during this time period. Birmingham has many literary associations - not only JRR Tolkien, but also Washington Irving, who wrote Rip Van Winkle while lodging here with his sister's family, and Conan Doyle, who bought a violin in Sherlock Street while a medical student in Birmingham. The authors Jim Crace, Judith Cutler, and David Lodge are also residents.

Housing Description

Birmingham offers options for university-affiliated housing or private accommodations. Pitt students are guaranteed spots within university-affiliated housing. Birmingham will provide instructions on when and how to apply for housing. See Birmingham’s general housing website

Academic Description

At Birmingham, courses are taught in English. Credits taken at Birmingham are equivalent to credits received at Pitt according to a 4:1 ratio. For example, 60 credits at Birmingham will transfer as 15 Pitt credits. All credits taken at Birmingham require approval by both your academic advisor(s) and study abroad program manager. Additionally, for the purpose of full-time status here at Pitt, students should be prepared to take what is equivalent to at least 12 Pitt credit hours.   

 

Courses taken at Birmingham will be treated as transfer credits and will be marked as pass/fail (S/NC) on a Pitt student's transcript. In other words, transfer credits will not affect your Pitt GPA. Actual grades earned will appear on the transcript from the exchange university. 
For further information on the modules offered, please visit Birmingham's website

Students who have attended this program in the past have taken classes in the areas of:
Psychology
Political Science
English Literature
History
English Film and Media Studies
Grading

Unlike Pitt, Birmingham's grading scale assigns numerical values between 0 – 100, with 100 representing the highest grade achievable. It is important to understand that few students in the British system receive grades higher than 70. For more information about the grading scale at Birmingham.
For Pitt transfer credit, in order to earn a grade of “S,” (satisfactory) at Pitt, you must make an equivalent to a grade of “C” or higher. An equivalent to a “C-” or lower will result in a grade of “NC” (no credit) at Pitt. 
Unlike Pitt, Sheffield’s grading scale assigns numerical values between 0 – 100, with 100 representing the highest grade achievable. It is important to understand that few students in the British system receive grades higher than 70. For more information about the grading scale at Sheffield, see their explanation.
For Pitt transfer credit, in order to earn a grade of “S,” (satisfactory) at Pitt, you must make an equivalent to a grade of “C” or higher. An equivalent to a “C-” or lower will result in a grade of “NC” (no credit) at Pitt. 

Birmingham will provide hardcopy (or electronic transcripts) to the University of Pittsburgh’s Study Abroad Office. Make sure that you follow their instructions on how to ensure that an official copy of your grades are receive. Hardcopies should be sent the following address: 3959 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA. Electronic copies should be sent to the designated exchange program manager under “SAO Staff.”  

 

Exchange university transcripts typically do not arrive from the exchange university until 3 to 4 months after the end of exchange period. Therefore, Pitt students should be mindful of how this may affect their ability to graduate, especially when exchanging during one's senior year. Another consideration is how this may affect your financial aid package, as the S/NC grades are not posted until transcripts are received. 

Pitt students may utilize the following online resource to understand the grading scale within this host country.

 

Program Fees
Pitt students participating on an exchange program will pay regular Pitt tuition and fees, according to their in-state or out-of-state residency status. In addition to the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, this also includes all Mandatory Fees, such as the Student Activity Fee, Wellness Fee, Computing and Network Services Fee, and the Security, Safety, and Transportation Fee.  
 
Pitt Students on financial aid and/or tuition scholarships will need to consult the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid or respective entity providing the funds to confirm coverage for study abroad. 
 
 

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition* $9,314 $16,328
Mandatory Fees $545 $545
Study Abroad Fee $400 $400
Total Billed by Pitt* $10,259 $17,273
 
*The tuition rate listed is defaulted to reflect the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. For Pitt students of another Pitt school or campus, the tuition rate will reflect the home school or campus. See posted rates on the Institutional Research page.
 

 

How Much To Budget

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Travel Expenses: Airfare, Passport, Visa, Resident Permit  $2,000
Room & Board $4,500
Personal Expenses $2,755
 
The Estimated Costs reflect information provided by Birmingham and are reported to OAFA to calculate financial aid packages.The listed costs are defaulted to one semester. Multiply the costs by two for two semesters. 
 
Personal expenses vary with individual students. Review the Birmingham's website for more information, and visit our budgeting page for more information. 

Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, you may need to purchase additional insurance if the exchange university you will attend requires purchase of a specific health insurance coverage per their regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure you know the cost of that insurance prior to committing to the program.

Program Dates

Pitt students enroll at Birmingham for either a full semester (fall or spring) or a full academic year (two full semesters). Birmingham's academic calendars may differ from Pitt's normal fall (August through December) and spring (January through April) semesters, so Pitt students should check the academic calendar at the exchange university. Like Pitt, Birmingham’s academic calendar follows a Fall-Spring progression, meaning Fall is the first semester followed by the Spring semester as the second. Because Birmingham’s academic calendar varies significantly from Pitt’s, exchanging for only the fall semester is not possible. However, if a single semester at Birmingham is desired, then the Spring (or second) semester is the only option. The dates listed above are estimated and therefore subject to change according to the host university’s schedule.

Jessica Sun

Hailing from the great state of Texas, I am the exchange program manager at the Study Abroad Office at Pitt.  I am so excited to be a part of your exchange experience, be it here at Pitt or over at another institution overseas.  I studied abroad in Tuscany, Italy, while I was in school and absolutely loved all the experiences that came with exploring fresh pasta, Renaissance art and new experiences.  I certainly hope that you will love your exchange experience just as much wherever you choose.  Outside of the office, I am all about cities, food, art history and tea.  Good eating and traveling!  Let me know if you should have any questions at jessicasun@pitt.edu or at +1 412-383-7165.  

 

Application Instructions

Pitt sends a limited number of students per semester to Birmingham. In addition to applying to the Pitt Study Abroad application above, be sure to review Birmingham's website regarding their application requirements for incoming exchange students. A formal nomination from Pitt Study Abroad is required for Pitt students to be recognized as an exchange student at Birmingham. Therefore, Pitt students must complete all necessary Pitt Study Abroad steps in addition to Birmingham's requirements. In other words, acceptance by Pitt Study Abroad does not guarantee acceptance by the exchange university.  
 
The exchange university may require the following to be submitted through an online application. Requirements may include but are not limited to the following:  

  • Application Form 
  • Copy of Valid Passport 
  • Official Pitt Transcript 
  • Official Pitt Verification of Enrollment 
  • Statement of Intent or Purpose 
  • Resume or CV 
  • Official Language Evaluation 
  • Up to 2 instructor letters of recommendations 
  • Up to 2 passport photos 

 

Additional Information

Language Requirements: Non-native English speakers will be required to show evidence of English proficiency either through the IELTS or the TOELF. Please check with Birmingham regarding these requirements. 

Insurance Requirements

Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, the United Kingdom requires Pitt students to purchase additional coverage through their national health plans, depending on the length of the exchange. See the details here.  

Visa Requirements

In order to study as a student in specific countries, a visa is required. A visa is formal endorsement by the host country to grant permission for an individual to enter, live or stay in that country for a specific purpose and period. In addition to a visa, some host countries may require a residency permit upon arrival. 

 

For those without British nationality, students must obtain either a Short Term Student Visa (6 months or less), or a Tier 4 Visa (more than 6 months), to study in the United Kingdom. For an overview regarding the visa process, please review Birmingham's website. Also, check the British Embassy or consulate closest to you for additional information. Birmingham will provide general direction after formal admission on for how to apply for either the visa and/or residency permit. Pitt students should also research the visa and/or permit process through the specified country consulate website. In general visa and/or permit application requirements include but are not limited to the following requirements:  
 

  • Visa application 
  • Valid Passport 
  • Verification of acceptance from sponsoring university (exchange university) 
  • Financial Documents, such as bank statements, tax documents or pay statements.   
  • Passport photos 
  • Application fee 
  • Medical/physical examination (likely to require a doctor's appointment so plan accordingly)