Information for Departmental Study Abroad Officers

At least one Departmental Study Abroad Officer (D-SAO) is appointed by each Head of Department. The D-SAO is the departmental lead for student mobility activities, and has both academic and administrative responsibilities.


Responsibilities internal to the department 

  • Liaise with colleagues on all matters concerning the operation of Study Abroad and Exchange programmes.
  • With departmental colleagues, identify suitable prospective exchange partner universities.
  • Advise students and staff in the department of the correct formal University and Essex Abroad administrative procedures with regard to mobility activities.

Responsibilities external to partner institutions 

  • Work with Essex Abroad, initiate partnerships with other eligible institutions for the exchange of teaching staff and students in collaboration with Essex Abroad.
  • Maintain good working knowledge of key partner universities, including maintaining contact with counterparts in the academic departments where appropriate.

Responsibilities - students (incoming)

  • Make academic decisions relating to Incoming Students in liaison with all relevant academic staff.
  • Advise students on the requirements for the modules they undertake and ensure the modules are appropriate to their level of study and that departmental deadlines are adhered to.
  • Attend appropriate examination boards.
  • Monitor the attendance and progress of incoming students within each department and ensure that the student is aware of the seriousness of non-attendance.
  • Assist with the integration of Study Abroad and exchange students within the department.
  • Confirm the coursework and examination marks of part-year incoming students.
  • Ensure any confidential supervisor reports, handed to them by incoming students, are completed, signed and returned to Essex Abroad.

Responsibilities - students (outgoing)

  • Provide relevant information and advice to students who are interested in spending a period of study at another eligible institution under the university’s exchange programmes, particularly in regards to all academic issues.
  • Undertake monitoring meetings with all the Department’s students on a study abroad programme, at least once per term – these meetings may be in person, by phone, or via skype etc.
  • Make academic decisions relating to Outgoing Students in liaison with all relevant academic staff.
  • Approve study plans / learning agreements, and ensure students understand progression requirements for their degree.
  • Ensure that modules and/or placements undertaken abroad meet the QAA standards.
  • Provide and maintain links with outgoing students host universities.
  • Ensure that Outgoing Students are aware of the need to complete all documentation required by the University of Essex, the Host Institution and the UK National Erasmus Agency.
  • Advise Outgoing Students of the need to keep the University of Essex informed of any changes to their Learning Agreement.
  • Advise Students on the requirements for the modules they undertake and ensure the modules are appropriate to their level of study and that Departmental deadlines are adhered to.
  • Attend appropriate Examination Boards.
  • Ensure that outgoing part-year students achieve the correct credit weighting for the year.

Responsibilities to Essex Abroad

  • The turnaround time for agreement enquiries and processing is advised at three working days.
  • Process applications and Learning Agreements for both incoming and outgoing students in a timely manner.
  • Inform Essex Abroad of any emerging academic or pastoral issues with students.
  • Inform Essex Abroad when developing new mobility relationships or mobility programmes.
  • Provide reports and details of all departmental Student and Staff mobility activities, particularly in regards to the required reporting under the terms of the Erasmus University Charter and annual institutional funding contracts.