Study Abroad in Berlin, Germany

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Study Abroad in Berlin: Academics

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The University of Berlin was founded in 1810 and is Berlin’s oldest university. Its name was changed to Humboldt in 1949 in honor of the statesman Wilhelm von Humboldt and his brother the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. Wilhelm von Humboldt and a select group of contemporaries were the first to call for the independence of academia, to envision the integration of the natural, social sciences and humanities and to demand the unity of research and teaching. Today, the former Palais of Prince Heinrich on the avenue Unter den Linden, is the representative seat of the university. As an integral part of Berlin’s marvelous city center, it draws many visitors every year. The institutes of the Humboldt-Universität are grouped into three main campuses. Campus Mitte – rich in tradition – is home to the Arts and Humanities, Law, Economics and Business Studies as well as Theology. On the picturesque Campus Nord, the Life Sciences are concentrated. Mathematics and the Natural Sciences are located on the modern, high-tech Campus Adlershof. The university occupies a former royal palace and was host to Marx and Engels as well as 29 Nobel Prize winners, including Albert Einstein and the nuclear scientist Otto Hahn. AIFS students take courses at the various departments in the university.

It is a comprehensive, degree-granting university with 9 departments, central institutes offering over 170 degree programs across a wide range of subjects and a student enrollment of over 35,000. As one of eleven German universities, the Humboldt-Universität was chosen “University of Excellence” in June 2012. It was successful in all three funding lines in the third round of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments and awarded for its future concept “Educating Enquiring Minds: Individuality – Openness – Guidance”. In an international comparison, Humboldt- Universität ranks among the top ten of German universities. Scientists here research socially relevant topics and challenges of the future and communicate these with the public. Humboldt-Universität invests all its energy in being a place of excellent research and teaching. It’s aim is to promote young talents and to positively influence society and economy outside the university framework.

Academic Overview

In both Session 1 and Session 2 students can take one or two courses as outlined below:

  • German language only (3 credits)
  • German language + one subject course from Stream A or Stream B (6 credits)
  • One subject course only (3 credits)
  • Two subject courses - one from Stream A + one from Stream B (6 credits)

Session 1 and 2 Combined: Session 1 and 2 Combined: Students taking both sessions can earn up to 12 credits and must list both language courses on their application.

All subject courses are taught in English. Students taking German take a placement test on arrival to determine the correct level. There is a maximum of 15 students in each German class.

Attendance Students exceeding the permitted number of unexcused absences may lose all or partial credit.

Class time Classes meet for 45 contact hours.

Computer facilities Students have access to the Internet and computer facilities at the university and to the internet in the apartments.

Credits Courses are recommended for 3 semester credits - shown in parentheses in the course descriptions..

ECTS: Humboldt-Universität awards ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits. The number of class hours and ECTS credits will be shown on the transcript to allow each student’s home institution the ultimate decision in the awarding of U.S. credit. Recommended U.S. semester credits next to each course description are based on 15 classroom hours per semester credit and are not a conversion of ECTS credits. Students should consult with their university advisors prior to participating in the program to have course credit pre-approved and ensure that they are taking the appropriate amount of credits. For further information on ECTS please click here.

Grades No AIFS participant is permitted to take a course without receiving a grade. Pass/Fail grade options are not available.

Student support The AIFS Resident Director provides academic advice and serves as a liaison between students and the university.

Transcripts are issued by Humboldt–Universität zu Berlin. An official transcript will be sent directly to the student’s home university on completion of the program.

see course descriptions

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Germany programs!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Germany, Berlin programs!