About the Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST)
Berlin is an ideal place to study abroad for those who are interested in Germany, the European Union, the histories of the Second World War or the Cold War, for those who want to learn German (or improve their existing skills), for those who want to be able to easily travel to other countries. The city offers unrivalled shopping, art, dining and entertainment options.
This program is based at the Lankwitz campus of the Freie Universität Berlin, a leading German institution in international education. You will have full access to the university facilities and the opportunity to get to know and interact with its students. The Lankwitz campus is located in a charming, quiet area, just southwest of Berlin, within easy reach of the city's downtown areas.
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
- Sophomore, Junior or Senior standing when program begins.
- No prior study of German language required for admission to the semester study abroad program.
- Robins School of Business students may transfer back credit from only one (1) business course taken while enrolled on the FU-BEST program to count towards their business degree. Specific course approval must be given by Dr. Tom Cosse. RSB students may transfer courses back from non-business subjects to count towards any non-business majors/minors and general education requirements (pending departmental approval) and towards the total units needed for graduation.
- Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the University to study abroad. Each applicant’s disciplinary record will be reviewed, and students must be cleared by the Office of the Dean of Richmond College or Westhampton College. Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if their probationary period extends beyond the start date of their intended program. Situations of housing probation and honor probation will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- Participation may be denied, or acceptance may be revoked, if a student's conduct prior to departure raises doubts as to his or her suitability for the program.
Courses are available in the following academic areas. Note that there are only a few options in each area of study.
- Art history
- Business (limited selection)
- Comparative literature
- Cultural studies
- Environmental studies
- European Union/Modern Europe
- Film studies
- German History
- German/European Politics
- Music history
- Transatlantic relations
- Urban Studies
Click here for details.
Converting FU-BEST's credits to UR units
FU-BEST uses the European Union's ECTS (European Credit Transfer system) for assigning credit to its classes. Most classes there are valued at 6 ECTS. The average course load is 24 ECTS per semester, and the maximum course load is 30 ECTS per semester.
UR's Office of the Registrar uses the following formula to convert from ECTS to UR Units:
Divide ECTS by 7, then round up to nearest tenth of a Unit.
Please see this page on the website of the Office of the Registrar for an explanation of how academic credit earned abroad is transferred to UR.
All subject classes and the Experiential German class are worth 5 ECTS credits each and will transfer back to Richmond as .8 unit each.
- No prior study of German language required; all UR students are required to take one German language course while on the program.
- Students who have previously not studied any German language (complete beginners) are required to take the 5 ECTS credit course entitled "Experiential Beginning German" plus 3 or 4 classes in other subjects.
- Experiential Beginning German will transfer back to Richmond as .8 UR Units.
- Students who have previously studied any German or who speak German proficiently already are required to take the Intensive German language course, which is worth 7 ECTS credits, plus a maximum of 3 classes in other subjects.
- Intensive German will transfer back to Richmond as 1.5 UR Units.
- German Studies students may not earn credits toward the major or minor for coursework taken through the FU-BEST program, although they may earn credits in other areas toward graduation or, with faculty approval, other major(s)/minor(s). Students seeking an exception to this policy should speak with German Studies coordinator Dr. Kathrin Bower in the department of Modern Literatures and Cultures.
Class-related study trip
Each semester the FU-BEST program includes a required one-week study trip to another city in Europe. Destinations change each semester; recent destinations have included Regensburg, Vienna, Hamburg and Copenhagen. These trips are tied to the curriculum and travelers are accompanied by FU-BEST faculty. Trip costs are covered by the program.
Students studying at FU-BEST for spring semester who have intermediate-level German have the option to do a full-time, 8-week summer internship in May and June after the semester has ended. There is a €650 fee for participation and participants are responsible for their own room and board costs. Click here for details.
Below is a table showing how the grading system at FU-BEST will convert into UR grades.
1.1 - 1.5
1.6 - 2.5
2.6 - 3.5
3.6 - 4.0
Not eligible for transfer to UR
Students taking part in the FU-BEST program are required to live in housing that is affiliated with the program. Students may not take part in this program if they obtain housing of another kind. Your two options:
There is no better way to learn a new culture or language than sharing space with local people who want to help you. Students in homestays have their own room and may share a bathroom with others. Breakfast and dinner provided daily. Click here for details.
The FU-BEST program also offers furnished single-occupancy studio apartments in southwest Berlin about 25 minutes’ commute from the program site. Students need to arrange their own internet service and will cook for themselves. Click here for details.
Dates and Costs
Click here for the FU-BEST Dates & Costs.
Aid for study in Germany
See the website of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) for scholarships opportunities that could help support study abroad in Germany. Please note that DAAD application deadlines are extremely early - applications are due in January of the year prior to study in Germany. For example: a student wishing to study in Germany for spring 2018 semester must apply for the DAAD scholarship by January 2017.
Aid for study abroad abroad in general
Click here to read about general scholarships for study abroad.
NOTE: Travel allowances, reimbursements, health insurance premiums and other payments above tuition costs paid by Richmond on behalf of its semester and year abroad students are available only to Richmond degree-seeking students accepted to participate on UR-affiliated abroad programs.
Citizens of the United States and some other countries do not need to apply for a visa in advance of studying in Germany, but will need to obtain a residence permit once there. Detailed instructions will be provided to accepted students.
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For more information, contact Chris Klein in the Office of International Education.
Updated 19 Dec 2016
This document represents the most accurate information available at the time of publication. Statements contained herein are not contractual obligations, and verbal or other representations that are inconsistent with or not contained within the document are not binding. The University of Richmond reserves the right to change without specific notice programs and the conditions under which they are offered.