German Study Abroad

Columbia University Sponsored Programs


Freie Universitaet Berlin (FUBiS) Summer Language Scholarships

The FUBiS scholarship is for students who have completed at least two semesters or equivalent of German language instruction in our German language program by May 24. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement and German language aptitude. Each scholarship includes a travel grant, tuition for a six-week/ one month-long German language course, and lodging at the summer program of the FU University. Up to 10 summer language scholarships will be offered to CC, BC, SEAS and GS undergraduates for Summer 2024. Please follow the link above for more information.

Berlin Consortium for German Studies (BCGS)

Spend an academic-year or spring semester living in the EU’s economic and political powerhouse. Prepare for study in the German university system through intensive language training. Explore contemporary German life and culture in a city with a vibrant arts scene. Immerse yourself in Berlin's advanced knowledge of environmentalism and new technologies. Academic credit earned in Berlin becomes part of the Columbia transcript and can be counted toward a major or concentration in German.


Programs Not Affiliated with Columbia University


Humboldt University Summer Language Program

Enhance your German skills studying in Berlin for the summer. Apply to attend the language academy and enroll in German intensive courses at the Humboldt-University.

Fulbright Program

Graduating seniors can also apply to the Fulbright Program.

Summer Internship

German American Exchange Inc. is a non-profit organization that aims to foster transatlantic relations by connecting American students and German companies in the interest of mediating a positive view of Germany to the future leaders of the United States. The Summer Internship Program, supported by the German American Chamber of Commerce, offers students the chance to work at a company in Germany, gain valuable international work experience, and improve German language skills. Applications are being accepted for the 2018 summer program now and until November 30th.

Internship Program

Cultural Vistas’ Internship Program in Germany provides excellent opportunities for students to gain valuable international work skills, improve German language abilities, and experience German life and culture firsthand.

Our staff works with an array of global partner organizations to place participants in professional internships that reflect their background and career goals. Companies range from small family-owned businesses to multinational holdings.


Learn about the German higher education system, find out about study opportunities in Germany after your undergraduate studies or join free webinars to get professional advice on your open questions about the dos and don’ts of moving to Germany as an international student.

The German Department collaborates with the FU Berlin in Germany and the SNF research project Media of Exactitude at the University of Basel. In addition, graduate students can apply for external funding for a semester or year abroad through the DAAD, the Fulbright Scholar Program, or the American Friends of Marbach. Further funding opportunities to realize studies in Germany as well as research stays can be found on the website of MyGermanUniversity.

General information for students with an interest in moving to Germany as degree-seeking students, as research fellows, or as exchange students.

The German higher education system was integrated into the European Higher Education Area through the Bologna Process. This integration went along with a set of reforms. One of the most tangible effects of these reforms are the kinds of degrees that students can obtain in Germany: Most commonly, students obtain their first academic degree, a so-called bachelor’s degree, in three years. Subsequent graduate studies for a master’s degree typically take two years. Afterwards, students can continue their academic training by obtaining a doctorate degree. Something to note when applying for graduate studies in Germany is that most master’s degrees are consecutive, meaning they require students to have studied a bachelor’s degree in a related subject. Students looking to drastically change their subject area might find interdisciplinary programs that accept applicants from broader backgrounds or may want to look at private universities in Germany.

Most universities in Germany are public, including the most renown ones. For example, Freie Universität Berlin, cooperation partner of the German Department at Columbia, is a very popular public university in Germany which does not charge tuition fees for most of its courses offered. Most degree programs in Germany are free, including for international students. One exception is public university education offered in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, which currently charges U.S.-American students 1.500€ per semester. Similarly, programs at private universities, executive master’s degree programs or online-taught degrees often charge fees. Overall, student life in Germany is relatively affordable. According to government calculations, international students should plan 853€ for each month of their studies to cover all their costs from rent, insurance and food, to study related expenses and free time activities. 

The German higher education system knows three types of institutions: Firstly universities (German: Universität) are research driven institutions that focus on theoretical approaches rather than practical applications. Students can pursue all levels of studies, including doctorate degrees, at these institutions. Freie Universität Berlin is one example of this type of institution. Secondly, universities of applied sciences (German: Fachhochschule) focus on the application of research results. The curricula at these universities often include project courses in cooperation with companies, mandatory internships and classes taught by professionals from the respective industries. Not all universities of applied sciences offer doctoral studies. Thirdly, colleges of arts, music and film (German: Kunst-, Musik-, und Filmhochschule) offer artistic training and are open to students with artistic talents, for example in design, architecture, photography or dance. It is important to note that degrees from all three types of institutions are equally as recognized in Germany and abroad. Therefore, students should choose a type of institutions according to their preferences, ambitions and expectations toward university education.

U.S.-American students have various ways to enter the German Higher Education system. One option is as a degree-seeking-student, which refers to students who start and finish a degree program, such as a two-year master course in Germany. To be eligible for a master’s degree, an undergraduate degree in the respective field from a U.S.-American university needs to be provided. For programs taught in German, students also need a language certificate. Especially for studies in the subjects German language and literature, excellent language skills may be required. However, it is possible to study a program completely taught in English. The informational portal provides a comprehensive database of English-language study options offered by German universities. Alternatively, students can spend a shorter time in Germany as exchange students, for example under the study abroad schemes offered by their home universities. Research fellowships, such as the German Chancellor Fellowship for tomorrow’s leaders, are a great possibility to get to know German academia while pursuing one’s own research and having the trip sponsored.

A good advice for students who are looking to have their stay in Germany funded is to search for offers by the Germany-based sponsoring organizations. Most funds are available for degree-seeking students on master’s and doctoral levels through the DAAD. Especially students who possess German language skills can furthermore receive funding under the scheme of the 13 German Sponsorship Foundations (German: Begabtenförderungswerke). To have short-term stays funded, some recommendations are to check out your options with the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the Care Concept Scholarship, or DAAD short term scholarships.

Ritter Sport statue photographed by Jutta Schmiers-Heller