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Berlin Consortium for German Studies
Berlin, Germany (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Spring Semester
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Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
Budget Sheets Academic Year,
Fact Sheet: - unrelated header
Fact Sheet:
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Dept Offering Program: Study Abroad OIP Program Type: Study Abroad (semester)
Language of Instruction: German Language Prerequisite: Yes
Program Features: Academic Study Degree Level: 3 - Sophomore, 4 - Junior, 5 - Senior
Time Away: Academic Year, Fall Semester, Spring Semester Housing options: Apartment (Shared), Homestay
Program Group: Study Abroad OIP Program Adviser: Jordan Zilla
Program Description:
Program Description:


Berlin Consortium for German Studies

Please be reminded that you need to meet different deadlines when applying to this program: 
  • Consortium application deadline: March 15, 2019
  • Princeton application deadline: April 26, 2019

In 1995, Princeton University joined with peer institutions in the U.S. to form the Berlin Consortium of German Studies (BCGS). The goal of the program is to support advanced language students in direct enrollment courses at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) and other academic institutions in Berlin for a semester or a full year. Those with special interests may enroll in courses at other local institutions such as the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Technische Universität, the Universität Potsdam, the Universität der Künste Berlin, the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee, and Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler.” (Please note that students may only take theoretical or historical classes at the art schools.)

The University

The FU Berlin is a full university with 15 departments and institutes offering more than 160 programs in all subject areas and an exceptionally wide range of courses. Natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, and medicine are the largest faculties. Smaller, more specialized disciplines are particularly well represented, ranging from religious studies and ethnology to studies in Asian culture, the antiquities, art history, and musicology.

The Setting

Berlin, the capital of the unified German Federal Republic, is a vibrant city of around three and a half million people. A city of great historical significance, it offers many cultural attractions, including theater, cabarets, art museums, and galleries.


Every student enrolls in a six-week German language intensive course (20 hours per week) appropriate to his or her proficiency level. After completing this course, students are required to take the FU Berlin German language examination. As a result of this diagnostic examination, some students may be required to enroll in an FU Berlin German course for foreign students and reduce the number of non-language courses they may take.


Students will receive assistance in selecting and registering for courses from the 2014-15 Academic Director, Mark Anderson, professor of Germanic languages at Columbia University, and the Resident Director, Dr. Carmen Müller. Students will also receive assistance from Princeton’s Office of International Programs in making preliminary course selections that complement and build on work already completed at Princeton. Comments about courses from past participants are also helpful in selecting courses and can be found in the Office of International Programs. 

For a full list of available courses, see the academics section of the BCGS website


B average in the fall and spring preceding the semester abroad (Princeton requirement). Applicants should be good speakers of German and must have completed German 107 or above (or the equivalent).

Grading & Credits:

After completing the language practicum, students normally enroll in three university or BCGS courses in the first semester and four courses if they continue in the second semester. A broad range of courses in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities is available. All course selections must be reviewed by the Office of International Programs and any relevant department to ensure credit transfer. 

Students are required to take examinations, to complete papers, and to fulfill all other requirements of the German courses. Faculty grade BCGS students as they do their German counterparts. In keeping with German academic practice, students are responsible for securing Scheine (written appraisals of their work from their professors) and turning them into the Berlin office of the BCGS. The course titles, point values, and grades are translated into U.S. terms by the Academic Director of the BCGS. Students should keep syllabi, bibliographies, notes, corrected papers, and examinations in the event that faculty at Princeton wish to review the material.

For information regarding credits, grading, and other academic policies, read the Academic Policies on the Study Abroad website. 

Academic Calendar

Fall semester typically runs from late August to early February.
Spring semester typically runs from late February to late July.
You can view exact program dates on the program’s academic calendar.


Upon arrival in Berlin, students spend the first weekend in a student residence where they meet each other and the resident and academic directors, and attend a brief orientation. For the following four weeks, students live with a host German family. The intensive language practicum is conducted during this time and living in a German household provides the ideal setting for students to make practical use of what they learn in classes. All host families have been personally screened and interviewed by BCGS staff. Every effort is made to place each student with a compatible host family.

Following the homestay, students may choose to live in program-arranged housing or find their own housing in private apartments. Students who opt for private housing may share apartments with other BCGS students or with German students.

Student Life

Princeton students will have full access to libraries, computing facilities, and gymnasiums of FU Berlin. The Consortium maintains its offices in an FU Berlin house on the Dahlem campus.

Excursions: Each semester, BCGS students have the opportunity to participate in two- or three-day program-sponsored excursions. Such excursions add a unique dimension to the classroom experience and are an integral part of the BCGS program.

Internships: Many full-year BCGS students participate in internships during the five-week break between semesters. Past students have held internships with local government offices, banks, consulting firms, cultural centers, and political organizations. These positions are not for academic credit and are usually unpaid. Although the Resident Director makes every effort to assist interested students in finding internships, positions are not guaranteed. Students interested in internships should consult with the Resident Director during the orientation period in Berlin.

Money Matters 

Students who receive financial aid at Princeton continue to receive Princeton financial aid for the approved costs of study abroad programs during the academic year. For detailed information about financial aid, program fees, and billing for study abroad, please visit the Money Matters section of the Study Abroad website. 
For estimated program costs, please click on the Budget Sheet at the top of this brochure

Passport and Visa

Students must have a passport valid for at least six months after the end of their study abroad program.  For information on obtaining or renewing a US passport, please consult the US State Department Passport Website
Students are responsible for checking the entry requirements for their destination country, and obtaining an appropriate visa, if required. Entry requirements can be found on the destination country’s embassy or consulate website.  

Application Process

A completed online BCGS application consists of the following:

  • Application online through Columbia University's site

  • Official Transcript

  • German Writing Sample and Language Test. Please take the language exam very carefully as this will affect your admission.

  • Faculty recommendation

  • Language recommendation

  • Study Abroad Approval Form

Please note: While students can submit hard copy materials (letters, transcripts, etc.) after the deadline, they must complete and submit all electronic materials (including the language exam) by the deadline.
In addition to a program application, students must also complete the Princeton Course approval form. This form is reviewed by the Committee on Examinations and Standing, which grants final approval to participate in the program. Students who meet the university eligibility requirements to study abroad and who have the support of their department are normally approved by the Committee.


Start planning your study abroad experience!

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Dates / Deadlines:
Tabular data for Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Academic Year 2019-2020 04/26/2019 05/10/2019 TBA TBA
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