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Kierkegaard in Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Summer
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Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
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Fact Sheet:
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Dept Offering Program: Study Abroad OIP Program Type: Study Abroad (summer)
Language of Instruction: English Time Away: Summer
Program Group: Study Abroad OIP Duration of Program: 4 to less than 6 weeks
Program Adviser: Gisella Gisolo
Program Description:
Program Description:


Kierkegaard in Copenhagen - PHI 367

IMPORTANT UPDATE: For summer 2020, the seminar has been modified to an online format. Please contact Prof. Halvorson ( or Dr. Gisolo in the Study Abroad office ( for further information. The new fee for the virtual version of the program is $2,000 (please see below for more information).

This seminar studies the life and work of the “father of existentialism”, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).  Kierkegaard’s mission as an author begins with a journal entry he wrote while overlooking the sea north of Copenhagen:

“What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act.  What matters is to find a purpose […], to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.” 

We will follow in Kierkegaard’s footsteps, both literally and figuratively, beginning with his fateful choice to leave the beaten path, and to seek a higher purpose for his life.  He found this purpose in fighting for the importance of the individual person – her values, her choices, her happiness – in a world that was becoming increasingly mechanized, objectified, and depersonalized.  We will see how Kierkegaard’s defense of personhood translates into a prophetic critique (and call for reform) of institutional religion, philosophy, and science.
The primary texts for this seminar are Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and The Concept of Anxiety.  We will also read sections from several other of his works, especially his journals. Danish language skills are not required.

The Setting

This seminar will be led by Professor Hans Halvorson, and will take place in Copenhagen, the scene of Kierkegaard’s life and work.  Student presentations will cover diverse parts of Kierkegaard’s oeuvre, interspersed with guest lectures from distinguished Kierkegaard scholars.  In addition, we will visit several key locations for Kierkegaard’s point of view, e.g. the “Kierkegaard stone” in northern Sjælland, the Deer Park, and the Royal Theater. The seminar will equip students with a thorough knowledge of Kierkegaard’s philosophy, and of the Danish culture that nurtured it. Students will also gain skill in philosophical discussion, close reading, and writing.

Tentative schedule (to be confirmed):

  • Arrive: Monday, July 6, 2020 (students are responsible to book their own flight, but arrival must be between 7am-3pm to ensure transportation from airport to designated housing)
  • Orientation: Tuesday, July 7, 2020
  • Classes start: Wednesday, July 8, 2020
  • Classes end: Friday, August 7, 2020
  • Students depart: Saturday, August 8, 2020 (students must depart housing by 12:00pm)


Housing will be in dormitories provided by our on-site provider, DIS, in the heart of the city. Students will be housed either in a DIS Residential Community or Kollegium. Accommodation will be in shared rooms of 2-4 per rooms, with shared bathrooms with kitchen and laundry facilities; blanket, pillow, bed linen and towels are also included.

Money Matters

The program fee for Summer 2020 is $4,800. [The new fee for the virtual version of the program is $2,000 -- see withdrawal policy below] The estimated program fee will include: housing (in shared bedrooms), course tuition, guest lectures, all excursions and tours, as well as 2 group meals. All other meals, round trip flight, and personal expenses will be your own responsibility. You should budget approximately $3,000 for those out of pocket expenses.

Please note the following withdrawal policy: you will be charged 10% of the program fee upon accepting a spot on the program. This deposit will be non-refundable if you should decide to withdraw at a later time. Moreover, you may incur additional non-recoverable costs from our program provider, DIS, in the event of withdrawal after acceptance. Please read and sign the full withdrawal policy in GPS.

For those applying to the Dean's Fund (more info. below), please see a general breakdown for out-of-pocket expenses here:
  • $850: meals
  • $1000: Round trip airfare
  • $1000: Personal expenses

Regular financial aid is not available for this program. If you are interested in funding, please refer to the SAFE website, in particular to the Dean's Fund managed by the Office of International Programs. For application deadline to the Dean's Fund, please see here.

NOTE: Accepted students will be notified by the third week in February, and will have a few days to commit. Committal will come with a 10% non-refundable deposit that will be charged to your Student Account.  Withdrawal after the committal deadline may incur unrecoverable costs from our vendors, which will be billed to Princeton, and then passed onto the student's account.

Passport and Visa

Students are responsible for ensuring that their passports are valid for their entire stay in Denmark. For further information on renewing or obtaining a U.S. passport, please consult the U.S. State Department passport website. If you hold an American passport, you will not need a visa for this program. If you hold a different citizenship, please see Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Denmark's for information on visa requirements. Please see a Study Abroad adviser if you have questions about your visa.

Application Process

In order to apply, please do the following:
  • Click "apply now" here on the GPS brochure to begin an application.
  • Complete the study abroad application items listed in GPS by the GPS deadline: January 31, 2020
  • The selection process will include an interview with the course instructor, Prof. Hans Halvorson, to be scheduled at the beginning of February.
For Princeton approval, participants must have at least a 3.0/ B average for the fall and spring semesters prior to the semester of study abroad, and a clear disciplinary record.


Testimonial: - unrelated header
What would you say to a student considering this study abroad program or study abroad in general?
Do it, this was a great class with a great professor.
     — Hyunsung Yun, Summer 2019
Dates / Deadlines: - unrelated header
Dates / Deadlines:
Tabular data for Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2021 04/30/2021 05/01/2021 TBA TBA
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