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Exchange Students

Students from partner universities with whom Drake maintains student exchange agreements may apply to spend a semester or year at Drake on exchange.

Click on the items below for more information about the application process.

Partner Universities

Agreements allow partner universities to nominate students to attend Drake on exchange. Nominees who are approved by Drake may enroll for a semester or two without applying for full admission and without paying Drake tuition and fees.* (Please note that some agreements are limited to students from specific disciplines.)

*Drake’s exchange agreement with University of KwaZulu-Natal is a tuition/room&board exchange, which exempts UKZN students from paying tuition, room and board (meals).

Partner Universities

Eligibility and Nomination

Students who are interested in coming to Drake on exchange must begin by contacting the International Office of their home universities. Each partner university sets its own criteria and process for selecting nominees. Drake will not consider applications from students who have not been nominated by their home university.

Nominees must be:

  • full time students in good standing at their home university
  • have academic interests that match the curricular offerings of Drake University
  • be flexible about course needs

The home university will select its nominees and send those students’ names to:

Stephanie Dana Ely 

Nominees will then complete Drake’s application process and be notified if they are approved for exchange.

Exchange Application

In order to study at Drake University as an exchange student, you must apply by April 1 (for Fall Arrival) or October 1 (for Spring Arrival). All application materials should be submitted online.

Learn More

Application Review & Approval


Drake’s Office of Admission will review applications and transcripts and determine whether or not a student will be approved for exchange.  While English proficiency is it not a prerequisite for approval for the exchange, language skills will determine which courses a student may take. Click here for more information about English proficiency requirements.


Students who are approved for exchange will be notified by the Office of International Programs and Services. The International Office of the student’s home university will also be notified. Approved students will then complete the remainder of Drake's application process. Proof of Finances is not required to be approved for exchange, but must be received before a DS-2109 can be issued for a visa. Click here for a summary of the exchange application process.

Note: Approval for exchange allows enrollment for the period of exchange only; it does not imply admission to a degree program. International students who wish to seek a degree at Drake should apply for full admission.

Proof of Finances

In order to get a DS-2019 document (used to apply for a J-1 student visa), exchange students must prove they have sufficient funds to cover estimated costs of their time at Drake. Estimated costs for the academic year are outlined below. Students must complete the Proof of Finances for Exchange, showing they have funds to cover these costs, and upload it onto the Terra Dotta application.

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Visas and Other Requirements

When a student is approved for exchange and has completed the Proof of Finances, Drake will send a packet of information including:

  • DS-2019 document and instructions on how to apply for a J-1 exchange student visa
  • Residence Hall Contract. Exchange students (except law students) are required to live in the residence halls. The Residence Hall Contracts and deposit must be sent to the address on the contract as evidence that you have agreed to come to Drake on exchange. The deposit is refundable if circumstances later prevent you from coming.  (Law exchange students do not live on campus. Their packets will include separate information about living off campus.)
  • Health Form  Complete this at home, mail it or bring it with you to Orientation
  • Letter with further instructions for your arrival.

Students approved for exchange should also:

  • review the information posted under Information for Admitted Students. Although, if you have not been admitted to Drake as a degree-seeking student, this information is also useful for exchange students.
  • return the Arrival Information Form as soon as you have an airline reservation. 
  • pay special attention to the information about Drake’s mandatory insurance.  You must buy Drake’s insurance policy, even if you already have other insurance.  Click here for more information about Drake's insurance.

English Proficiency

Drake is happy to accept exchange students who have not proven their English proficiency. Students who have not proven their English proficiency based on TOEFL or IELTS scores will take the TOEFL when they arrive Drake. Course scheduling will be restricted according to a student's English proficiency. 

Minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores

Exchange students who have not proven their English language proficiency may enroll in Drake's Intensive English Program. Those who wish to enroll in courses outside of the Intensive English Program must have an iBT TOEFL score of 71, or an IELTS score of 6. (Graduate-level and Law exchange students must have an iBT TOEFL score of 79, or an IELTS of 6.5.)

Students who lack the necessary scores will take the Institutional TOEFL when they arrive at Drake and will be registered for courses based on the score they earn. For example, students who do well but score below the required score of 71 may be allowed to take a combination of other courses plus ESL.

TOEIC Scores

Exchange students with TOEIC scores will take the TOEFL upon arrival at Drake.  Internet comparisons of TOEIC and TOEFL scores may be useful for students who wish to estimate their likelihood of success on the TOEFL, but those who wish to avoid uncertainty should take the TOEFL or IELTS in their home  country.

Students from University of KwaZulu-Natal

UKZN students are not required to take the TOEFL exam but may wish to do so if English is not their first language.  UKZN students who are interested in taking the TOEFL should notify Dina Khayrushina at so a test can be reserved for them.

Course Scheduling

Students who are approved for exchange and who meet Drake’s English proficiency requirements will be assisted by the Office of Admission and the appropriate academic department to prepare a schedule of classes. (For more information on English proficiency requirements, click here.)

Course scheduling will be based on the student’s transcript and the list of courses “in progress”.  Special care will be taken to ensure that Drake pre-requisites have been satisfied and that courses previously completed are not duplicated.  

A typical undergraduate course load is four or five courses per semester. A typical law (graduate level) course load is three or four courses. 

Law students will meet with an adviser to plan their schedule after arrival at Drake. 

In order to help non-law students prepare the best possible schedule, the allows students to submit a “wish list” of six to eight courses that interest them. However, by submitting a "Wish List", students are not reserving space in a specific course. It is advised that students discuss their flexibility in course options with their academic advisor before applying to be an exchange student at Drake University, as not all courses are offered every semester. It is imperative that the student understand that it may not be possible to enroll in courses required for his/her degree while at Drake due to scheduling constraints.

When preparing a “wish list” list please refer to the Course Descriptions and the Schedule of Classes. Course Descriptions include the prerequisites for each course. The Schedule of Classes shows which courses are offered during the next semester.  Please note that many courses listed under Course Descriptions will not appear on the Schedule of Classes because they are not offered every semester. 

The Schedule of Classes is posted in March for Fall semester, and in October for Spring semester. Courses numbered 200 or above are reserved for students admitted to our graduate programs and are not generally open for exchange students.

Preparing to come to Drake

Read more about preparing to come to Drake under our information for Admitted Students.

Arrival and Orientation

Submit your arrival information form so we can arrange for a volunteer to meet you at the airport. Plan to arrive at least one day before International Student Orientation. Orientation dates will be included in the information sent to students who are approved for exchange, but are generally the Tuesday before classes begin in the fall, and the Thursday before classes begin in the spring. Law Orienation is usually several days earlier.

Transcripts of your exchange

Upon completion of your exchange, Drake’s Office of Student Records will send your home university a transcript of the courses you completed and grades you earned. A release allowing Drake to do this is part of your exchange application and there is no charge for this service.

Any additional transcripts may be requested from the Student Records Office or on line, under Quick Links on the Drake home page. There will be a $10 charge for any additional transcripts you request.

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