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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: October 16, 2020
  • Princeton application deadline: October 16, 2020
​**Please note that this program is only offered for the spring semester or the entire academic year.**

This program is designed for students with an advanced level of German to take courses directly enrolled at Freie Universitat Berlin (FU Berlin). Students take an intensive German course at the beginning of the semester and then will register for university courses in areas such as the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and more. 

In 1995, Princeton University joined 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

FU Berlin is a full university with 15 departments 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.


All students begin the program in an intensive German language course called the German Discourse and Culture (GDC) course for 6 points. Students will then enroll in 3 to 4 electives each semester, the minimum required course-load being 18 points in order to transfer back four Princeton credits. Those electives include:
  • BCGS Courses: specially-developed courses, taught exclusively for the program by BCGS instructors that use the city of Berlin, its past and present, to showcase relevant topics (4 points)
  • University courses (4 points)
  • International student courses taught at FU (3 points)
Students must take all of their courses in German; even if BCGS or FU has some English courses available, these are not options for Princeton students. 


Students will receive assistance in selecting and registering for courses from the Academic Director and 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

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 must have a B average in the fall and spring preceding the semester abroad and must have completed German 107 or above.

Grading & Credits:

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

Academic Calendar

Academic year typically runs from September to late July
Spring semester typically runs from late February to late July.
Here you can view the updated 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 will then live in FU-arranged dorms. Although BCGS allows students the option to select independent housing, Princeton students are required to live in program-sponsored housing. The deadline to apply for the dorm is typically the end of November or beginning of December. More information about dorm options can be found on the FU website.

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. Students who do not receive financial aid will be charged regular Princeton tuition for the semester and pay all other fees directly to the provider. 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

Before applying, we strongly encourage you to make an appointment with your study abroad advisor to discuss your interest in the program and verify your qualifications.

  1. Complete the BCGS application by going directly to their website and submitting all required documents according to their deadline. Please note that the BCGS deadline is typically sooner than the Princeton deadline. 
  2. Complete the study abroad application items in GPS no later than the deadline listed in GPS. You can access the GPS application by clicking "apply now" at the top of this page. 

In addition to a program application, students must also complete the Princeton course approval form, found in GPS. 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
Spring Semester 2021 10/16/2020 10/20/2020 02/27/2021 06/23/2021
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