Erasmus+ Traineeships (SMT)

Since 1987, the ERASMUS programme supports the exchange of students between parter universities across Europe, so-called student mobilities for studies (SMS). Since 2007, ERASMUS also supports student mobilities for placements (SMP) abroad in those countries that participate in the ERASMUS programme. With the new Erasmus+ programme started in 2014, the opportunities for doing a student mobility for traineeships (SMT) abroad have been greatly expanded: Multiple mobilities are possible, during all study cycles and even as a recent graduate. Applications for scholarships are managed by the home universities of students (or a consortium acting on behalf of the home university).

Whether they are called placements or traineeships, the main goals of Erasmus+ in supporting such internships are:

  • to provide students with a real work experience in an international environment;
  • to enhance students' employability and improve their career prospects;
  • to increase students' sense of initiative and entrepreneurship;
  • to advance students' intercultural awareness and prepare them for the European labour market.

Therefore, traineeships should primarily be carried out in a company or enterprise, research institutes or other public institutions. While it is not possible to carry out traineeships in EU institutions or institutions that manage EU programmes, it is also possible to carry out Erasmus+ traineeships at universities.

However, it is important to keep in mind that different conditions apply to students who study at a partner university in the framework of an Erasmus exchange agreement (SMS) and to students who do a traineeship (SMT) at a university (outside an Erasmus exchange agreement).


Dr. Sabine Habermalz
Advising Hours:
By Appointment.

Student Mobility for Studies (SMS)

To provide students with an international academic experience with respect to different teaching and study methods.

Student Mobilities for Studies (SMS) can only be carried out at higher education institutions (usually universities)

  • which have been awarded an Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education (ECHE);
  • which hold a valid inter-institutional agreement with the student’s home institution.

Learning agreements for incoming students are signed by the departmental coordinators.

After completion of their studies, students receive a "transcript of records", issued by the International Office.

Participants have student status at the host institution, i.e. they are registered (immatriculated), but do not have to pay tuition fees.

Grants are lower, because students benefit from the host institutions services and infra-structure (i.e. student residences, student restaurants, bus passes, etc.)

Student Mobility for Traineeships (SMT)

To provide students with an international work experience in a professional environment in order to facilitate entry into the labor market.

Student Mobilities for Traineeships (SMT) can be carried out in various types of companies/enterprises, research institutes or public institutions:

  • the host institution does not need to have an Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education (ECHE);
  • an inter-institutional agreement with the student’s home institution is not required.

Learning agreements for incoming trainees are signed by the traineeship supervisor / director of the hosting institute of Ulm University.

After completion of the traineeship, trainees receive a traineeship certificate, issued by the traineeship supervisor.

  • Participants have trainee status at the host institution.
  • Traineeships must be carried out in full-time (regular work hours in the hosting institution). 
  • Participation in courses is not allowed for trainees at a university.
  • The hosting institute must arrange for an "internship contract" (Praktikumsvertrag) with the human resource department (Personalabteilung).

Grants are higher, because trainees in enterprises have to find their own housing and pay regular prices for food and transportation.

International Office Support

The International Office provides support only for students (SMS) who come to Ulm University on a valid Erasmus+ inter-institutional agreement with a partner university.

On principle, we do not sign inter-institutional agreements for traineeships.

The International Office cannot provide support for Erasmus+ trainees (SMT). All administrative arrangements have to be made and all organizational support has to be given by the hosting institute.

Erasmus+ provides funding for several target groups and a variety of activities. But at Ulm University we cannot support everything that can be financed with Erasmus+ grants for traineeships, as we are under certain restrictions by laws and regulations (on the national, state and institutional level).

  • Mandatory internships (i.e. internships which are required by the study regulations of the student's degree programme and which will be fully recognized by the home university) are possible, under the condition that the duration of the traineeship does not exceed the duration required by the study regulations.
  • Voluntary internships up to three months are possible.
  • Voluntary internships for longer than three months may be possible. However, German work law requires that in such cases trainees are paid minimum wages. The wages must be paid by the hosting institute for the full duration of the traineeship (not just the time period that exceeds the three months). In general, university institutes do not have the necessary funds to pay trainees for voluntary internships.
  • Students who have previously carried out an internship at Ulm University or another public institution in the State of Baden-Württemberg (within Erasmus+ or outside of it) cannot be accepted for (another) traineeship at Ulm University.

Due to capacity limitations, the Medical Faculty does not accept individual applicants for clinical training in any of the university hospitals or associated teaching hospitals.

A good alternative for foreign medical students wishing to do clinical training in Germany is to apply to the Professional Exchange Program of the IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Associations). Besides the organisation of your practical training by the German partner organization BVMD, you will get free-of-charge accommodation and sometimes even pocket-money. The local BVMD group of medical students arranges leisure activities for foreign incomings and takes care of them during their stay.

It happens quite often that students want to carry out a final thesis (usually master thesis) at a university with which their home university does not have an Erasmus+ agreement for studies. Since an Erasmus+ agreement is not required for Erasmus+ traineeships, such students are offered an Erasmus+ traineeship grant.

This is compatible with Erasmus+ funding rules, although it should be clear to all parties, that the Erasmus+ grant cannot be given to do a final thesis, but only for practical work in preparation of a final thesis. It should be equally clear that the final evaluation (Gutachten) for the thesis does not replace the traineeship certificate required by the Erasmus+ programme.

However, at Ulm University we cannot treat such traineeships for final thesis as mandatory internships. On the other hand, it is quite unlikely that an institute will be able to pay the minimum wages for this purpose and duration.

Alternatively, students have the opportunity to apply as a free mover  in order to do their final thesis at Ulm University.

  • Advantage: Students are registered (immatriculated) and benefit from student tickets for public transportation and reduced prices in the university cafeterias and restaurants.
  • Disadvantage: Students have to pay administrative and semester fees; non EU-nationals will also have to pay tuition. Free Movers may not hold an Erasmus+ traineeship grant.

Erasmus+ provides funding for students after their graduation, provided that they have not yet exhausted their "fundability potential" of 12 months per study cycle. Students must apply for the Erasmus grant while they are still registered at their home institution; the traineeship has to be carried within one year after graduation (exmatriculation).

While this is certainly a great opportunity to get international work experience right after finishing your studies, our regulations do not allow us to accept students from abroad who are no longer immatriculated in their home country, neither for traineeships, nor for studies (free mover).

Erasmus+ also provides grants for doctoral students (third cycle), who typically use an Erasmus+ traineeship grant in order to do a research internship abroad, frequently at a university with which there is no valid Erasmus+ agreement in their field.

We regret that our regulations allow us only to accept students registered in first and second cycle programmes (equivalent to Bachelor or Master degree) for traineeships.

Alternatively, doctoral students may apply as a free mover  to Ulm University, provided that they are registered (immatriculated) PhD students at their home university.

  • Advantage: Students are registered (immatriculated) and benefit from student tickets for public transportation and reduced prices in the university cafeterias and restaurants.
  • Disadvantage: Students have to pay administrative and semester fees; non EU-nationals will also have to pay tuition. Free Movers may not hold an Erasmus+ traineeship grant.

Doctoral students who come from a university in which immatriculation is not required for PhD studies may be accepted as visiting scholars (Gastwissenschaftler), provided that they are employed at their home university. In such cases, an internship contract with the human resource department (Personalabteilung) is not required; instead, the hosting institutes can make out an Agreement for Visiting Scholars (page only accessible internally from Ulm University network).

Possibilities for Students from Partner Universities

We accept students from partner universities, even if they do not follow classes (lectures, seminars etc.) but only want to do final thesis projects,research internships / labs or clinical training on the basis of Erasmus+ SMS agreements (provided the students come with an SMS grant).

We even accept students for stays outside our semester rhythm, but only within specific time windows (check out which individual periods are possible).  In such cases, it is of great importance that we receive the <link io mob-in bewerben erasmus-semp-sms internal-link>application documents at least full three calendar months prior to the beginning of the planned mobility.

The International Office does not manage applications for traineeships, nor can we assist students in finding an institute at the university (or an institution outside the university where they can carry out a traineeship.

Students wishing to carry out a traineeship at Ulm University have to contact the institutes/departments where they would like to work individually and apply for a "Praktikum". There is no formal application procedure.

Please keep in mind:

  • We cannot accept trainees for clinical training in medicine or dentistry (but some institutes in the Medical Faculty might be interesting for traineeships in bio-medical disciplines.
  • Students in business, economics or mathematics are well advised to look for an internship in a company.

Finding Traineeships outside of Ulm University

  • <link universitaet karriere career-service fuer-studierende stellenboerse praktika>Ulm University Career Service Job Portal
  • KOOR/BEST Job Wall
  • ErasmusIntern

Erasmus+ requires that a Learning Agreement for Traineeships is signed by the trainee, the home university and the supervisor at the host institute prior to the start of the traineeship. In case of changes during the traineeship, the changes must be communicated and agreed upon between all three parties as soon as possible. Extensions of the traineeship must be applied for by the trainee at least one month before the originally planned period ends. Within 5 weeks after completion of the traineeship, the supervisor has to make out a Traineeship Certificate.

The EU Commission has provided templates for learning agreements that have to be used by all participating universities. The sending universities may make some changes, but they may not alter or delete any of the required parts and texts. In most cases, they only add their logo, some change the fonts or layout, rarely additional information is added.

  • Prospective trainees are expected to fill out the learning agreement in all aspects.
  • Hosting institutes are expected to check all information and correct it, if necessary.

Administrative and Organizational Support

Erasmus traineeships are based on individual arrangements between the trainees on the one hand and the hosting institute on the other. Institutes are under no obligation to accept a trainee, as traineeships are not included in our Erasmus+ inter-institutional agreements. However, if an institute accepts an Erasmus+ trainee, the institute is responsible for all administrative procedures and organisational support to the trainee:

  • Completing and signing a Learning Agreement for Traineeships - Before the Mobility.
  • Arranging for an internship contract (Praktikumsvertrag) with the the human resource department (Personalabteilung). (In the case of associated research institutes or hospital departments, this may not be the human resource department of Ulm University).
  • Assisting trainees from third countries (non-EU countries, non EFTA countries) to obtain a visa (e.g. by providing an invitation letter).
  • Assisting students in finding accommodation (e.g. in one of the university's guest appartments, in temporary housing or private housing).
  • Assisting students with administrative procedures after arrival or before departure (e.g. opening a bank account, buying a bus ticket, registering with the local authorities).
  • Providing the trainee with the necessary equipment and materials to carry out the traineeship as defined in the Learning Agreement; giving the trainee the necessary guidance, mentoring and supervision to reach the planned learning outcome.
  • Communicating with the trainee and the home university in case there are changes needed in the Learning Agreement for Traineeships - During the Mobility.
  • Providing a Traineeship Certificate (Qualifiziertes Praktikumszeugnis) within five weeks after the traineeship has ended.

Although the Erasmus+ programme does not require an inter-institutional agreement for Erasmus+ traineeships, sometimes the home university of a trainee requires at least  a Letter of Intent or similar document. As traineeships are based on individual arrangements, such documents have to be signed by the director of the hosting institute.

When preparing such documents, you should ensure that

  • only specific mobilities are covered (i.e. that the names of the trainees and the mobility periods are known and preferrably mentioned in the document);
  • no commitments for future traineeships are made;
  • no commitments beyond the institute/department signing the document are made.

Hosting institutes should be aware that Erasmus+ trainees do not receive the same support and services as Erasmus+ SMS students:

  • Erasmus+ trainees are not registered (immatriculated).
  • Erasmus+ trainees are not eligible to participate in the orientation program or language courses.
  • Erasmus+ trainees are not eligible to stay in a student residence nor can the International Office assist in finding private housing.
  • Erasmus+ trainees are not eligible to receive assistance from a S.T.E.P.S. tutor to assist them with administrative procedures.