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Graduate Semester Programs

Freie Universität Berlin

Freie Universitat Berlin, Berlin

Founded in West Berlin in the early days of the Cold War, the Free University of Berlin (FU) has since emerged as one of Germany's top universities and a leading research institution in continental Europe. FU's Master of Arts program in International Relations (MAIB), offered in partnership with Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Potsdam, has been awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for its innovation and high-quality teaching. The political and cultural capital of Germany and home to four universities, the global city of Berlin attracts students from all over the world and is celebrated for its festivals and nightlife, public transportation networks, and high standard of living.


Graduate students from AU who participate in this one-semester program enroll as full-time students and take courses alongside regular degree-seeking students. Students can choose to enroll in courses offered at FU, Humboldt, or Potsdam in the fields of international relations and political and social sciences.

Examples of courses include:

  • The Evolution of European Security Institutions
  • Theories of International Cooperation
  • Global Governance
  • International Organizations in World Politics
  • International Security
  • The Sociology of International Relations – State, Society and Transnational Cooperation in the 21st Century
  • Comparative Regionalism
  • Acting Green? Environmental Policy-Making in the European Union Business and Government
  • Locating the "I" in IR Theory: Non-Western Contributions to International Relations Scholarship
  • Europeanization and Domestic Change in Western Europe

Language Requirement

There is ample course work available in the MAIB which is taught in English, therefore there is no language requirement for AU students who wish to take courses in English. Students who wish to take any courses taught in German are required to demonstrate proficiency in German which can be met through submission of their TOR exam results or a letter of advanced proficiency certification through a licensed German language instructor.

Academic Calendar

Winter/First Semester: mid-October - mid-February
Summer/Second Semester: mid-April - mid-July

Due to the differences between the AU and FU academic calendars, students are encouraged to participate in the program in the spring semester.


  1. Students are required to meet with their AU academic advisor and obtain formal pre-approval for their chosen courses before enrolling in the Program. This ensures that all credits earned on the Program can be applied toward the student's AU degree.
  2. Once accepted into the Program, students are registered through the SIS Office of International Programs for up to nine (9) AU-FU exchange credits. These exchange credits cover the Program credits only; research and/or internship credits are registered under normal AU guidelines.

    Students must carry a full course load of 9 AU credits while studying in the Program.

Credit articulation: Grades and credits earned at FU are articulated through the SIS Office of International Programs upon receipt of an official transcript from FU. FU uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). For conversion purposes, students should expect 2 ECTS credits to equal 1 AU credit.

Tuition and Fees

Students pay regular tuition, emergency international health insurance, and technology fees to AU. Students do not pay the student activity fee, sports center fee, or SIS fee while studying at FU. Students are billed directly by FU for an enrollment fee, student services fee, and a semester ticket for public transportation.

Students are responsible for any incidental costs, such as library fines and lab fees, incurred during the program. Students are responsible for all personal expenses including housing and transportation.


Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements and for all associated costs. FU provides admitted students with information on housing.

Visas and Immigration

Once admitted to the Program, students are issued a letter of acceptance by FU. Students use this document to apply for their student visa at the nearest German embassy or consulate. Students are responsible for researching the most up-to-date immigration requirements and arranging all immigration documents. FU's International Students Office provides guidance on how to obtain such documentation.

Student Orientation

During the semester prior to the start of the Program, the SIS Office of International Programs conducts a mandatory pre-departure meeting. Topics covered include administrative, logistical, security, and cross-cultural issues. FU holds a mandatory orientation for students prior to the beginning of classes.

How to Apply

  1. Complete and submit the SIS Semester Abroad Program at FU application to the SIS Office of International Programs by the application deadline. Do not apply directly to FU.
  2. After applications are processed and reviewed, students are selected for nomination to FU.
  3. Upon nomination, students must complete and submit the FU application for exchange students. The application process also includes submission of an official graduate transcript from AU, a bank statement, an immunization form, certification of finances, proof of health insurance, and a copy of the student's passport information page.
  4. FU makes the final admissions decision and corresponds directly with Program participants regarding course registration, accommodation, orientation programs, etc.

    The Program is competitive, and applying does not guarantee admission.

Contact Us!

Email: sisabroad@american.edu

Twitter: SISStudyAbroad

Application Deadlines 

Spring 2016: CLOSED

Fall 2016: TBD

Apply Now!

FUB Grad Exchange Application

Academic Advisor Approval Form

Additional Information

Information for International Students at FU

Travel information about Berlin from Lonely Planet and Wikitravel

Germany Consular Information Sheet from the U.S. Department of State

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