Freie Universität Berlin was founded in 1948 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 divided Berlin. 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.
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.
Freie Universität Berlin offers a broad variety of undergraduate programs, and with few exceptions all undergraduate programs are open for exchange students.
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. 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.
German language courses, which are offered during the semester, are free of charge. Basic German language proficiency (level A2) is required. If students wish to participate in a German language course, they have to take a placement test, which will be offered during the orientation period shortly before the semester starts. Without this test, exchange students are not eligible to take language classes.
A six-week intensive preparatory German language course will be offered prior to the beginning of the summer and winter terms. Basic knowledge of German is required. The course fee will be approximately 600 €. Places are limited, so interested students should apply as soon as possible.
- The Course Catalog (or Vorlesungsverzeichnis/VV) is available about one month prior to the beginning of the semester. It can be viewed in either German or English.
- To search for courses taught in English, complete a search by department or unit, and then use the "Limit search results" option to limit courses to those taught in English.
- Year: October - July
- Spring semester: April - July
- Due to the German academic calendar, studying abroad for the fall semester only is not possible. You may study for the year or for the spring semester.
- Review teaching and exam dates on the Academic Calendar.
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.
UVA Student Experience
“My first few weeks in Berlin have been an incredible experience, academically and culturally...I feel that I can move through the city’s incredibly diverse architecture with knowledge of when and why districts and neighborhoods were built the way they were. I now see the beautiful late 19th century buildings now housing posh apartments and know they were built as “Mietskaserne,” the German word for tenements, and I’ve gained an appreciation for the ostensibly drab “Platenbau,” rapidly built apartments that fill the former GDR."
-Charles Bailey, History major
Would you like to contact a UVA student who has studied on this program? See our list of study abroad returnees who want to help you!
UVA 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 housing and meals, transportation, and personal expenses. Students will pay the host institution or make their own arrangements for housing. See the “Accommodation” section above for more information about housing.
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.
Tuition and Fees:
Students will pay their regular tuition rate and fees to UVA for the term they are on a UVA Exchange Program. Tuition and fees will be billed to each student’s SIS account and can be paid as normal.
Housing and Meals:
Students are responsible to pay for accommodation and any required or preferred meal plan. Students will pay the host institution or make their own arrangements for accommodations. Check the host institution web site for accommodation and meal plan choices, cost, and application procedures.
Travel and Travel Documents:
Students are responsible for booking and paying for their own international airfare as well as researching and obtaining the necessary visa. Students should also budget for in-country transportation costs.
UVA students are required to purchase CISI emergency medical and accident insurance. More information can be found at educationabroad.virginia.edu/insurance
Students should be prepared to purchase required books and supplies. Students should also budget for additional personal expenses; examples include laundry, phone costs, personal travel, meals out, etc.
If you are not able to find accommodation costs or application, cost of living, or other information you need in order to prepare for your study abroad program, please contact your Education Abroad Advisor.
You can find detailed information regarding financial aid and study abroad on the following websites:
Please contact your Education Abroad Advisor with any questions.
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.