Freie Universität Berlin was founded in 1948 by professors and students, in response to the persecution faced by students who took a critical eye of the system at Universität Unter den Linden, at that time located in the Soviet sector of the divided city. The idea of founding a free university found widespread support in the international community, including financial support. This outpouring of aid helped pave the way for Freie Universität to become a university with an outstanding international reputation. The principles of freedom and internationality have guided the university’s development ever since. Since the university’s founding, in December of 1948, the academic ethos of Freie Universität Berlin has always been defined by three values: truth, justice, and freedom.
The years 1968, 1990, and 2007 mark turning points in the history of Freie Universität. The university was one of the central sites in Germany for the student protests of the 1960s, a movement that sparked a trend toward greater openness, equality, and democracy.
Then, after German reunification in 1990, Freie Universität Berlin shifted its emphasis, increasing its research activities. The number of graduates, successful doctoral candidates, and publications also grew by a significant measure. The basis for the university’s successful new approach was a series of fundamental reforms, including the introduction of modern management structures in the university’s administration, reorganization of the departments, and use of funding to support specific aims.
In 2007, Freie Universität Berlin was selected in the Excellence Initiative jointly sponsored by the German federal government and the governments of the federal states. It was one of nine universities in Germany to receive distinction in all three lines of funding, a step that has enabled the university to solidify and further expand its position as an “international network university.” In 2012 during the second funding round of the Excellence Initiative, it was selected again and is now one of eleven universities of excellence in Germany.
Students in Berlin are exposed to a vibrant and cosmopolitan environment, which offers a unique depiction of recent history, as the metropolis is still in the midst of reinventing itself after the long divide between East and West. The city holds keys to understanding Germany and the Germans, but also provides broader clues to understanding Europe, its long and difficult quest for common ground, and the persistent difficulties on its way. Additionally, students enjoy, overall, a lower cost of living than most other larger European cities. Berlin's location in central Europe makes the city a major hub for getting to other German cities, as well as other European countries.
Freie Universität Berlin's main campus is located in the residential garden district of Dahlem, in southwestern Berlin. It has several other campuses located throughout the city. As a student, you enjoy a discounted rate to public transportation. The well-organized public transportation system makes traveling around the city, and to neighboring suburbs, easy and affordable.
Generally, in order to follow and successfully complete courses, German language skills equivalent to at least B1 and preferably B2 (CEFR), are recommended. Almost all subjects are taught in German. Please note that subjects taught in English outside the Departments of English and North American Studies are very limited in number. Availability may vary and cannot be guaranteed.
You are permitted to enroll in courses offered by the Masters programs in Political Sciences, History, Global History and North American Studies.
The courses offered during the current semester are listed in the course catalogue
(Vorlesungsverzeichnis, VV) which is available about one month prior to the beginning of the semester. It is structured by departments, degrees and modules.
Freie Universität Berlin's accommodation service offers various off-campus dorms and single or shared apartments. Since there has been an increase in the demand for student housing in Berlin, you should apply for housing as soon as possible after receiving your admission letters. Registration for accommodations will be accommodated on a first come, first serve basis. Find more information about housing on the Accommodations website.
Students will pay their regular tuition rate and fees to UVA for the term they are on a UVA Exchange Program.
Students are additionally responsible for room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. Students will pay the host institution or make their own arrangements for accommodations. Check the host institution web site for accommodation choices, cost, and application procedures. Students are responsible for booking and paying for their own international airfare as well as researching and obtaining the necessary visa.
UVA students are required to purchase CISI emergency medical and accident insurance.
- UVA Tuition and Fees
- Host institution Room and Board
- International Airfare
- CISI insurance
- Books and Supplies
- Local Transportation
- Passport and Visa
- Personal Expenses
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.
Passport and Visa
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will need a residence permit to participate in this program. All students should consult the German Missions website for information about visa and other entry requirements. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.
Health and Safety Information
All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.