Expand AU Menu

SIS Abroad

Grad 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
  • Viele Wege führen nach Rom: Verschiendene Methoden zur Analyse der EU
  • 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

Most courses at FU are conducted in German and AU students enrolled in the Program are required to take the majority of their courses in German. Students who wish to participate in the Program must demonstrate proficiency in German sufficient to take graduate-level coursework in German. Students are required to submit their TOR language exam results as part of the application.

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 Program Development 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 courseload 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 Program Development 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 Program Development 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

Application deadline for study in Fall 2014: TBA

NB: Students who wish to participate in this program must first submit an internal SIS application to the SIS Office of International Program Development. Students may not submit any applications or documents to FU until after they have received instructions from SIS.

  1. Complete and submit the SIS Semester Abroad Program at FU application to the SIS Office of International Program Development 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

Facebook: American University SIS Study Abroad

Twitter: SISStudyAbroad

Google Chat: sisstudyabroad@gmail.com

Semester Abroad General Info Session

Thursday, October 2, 4:30-6:00pm, SIS 115

Application Deadline for Study in Fall 2014



Academic Advisor Approval Form

Application Instructions & Checklist

Application 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

Choose Your Courses

Course Catalogues

Semester Abroad Blog

 Follow our students around the world.

Read More