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Finding Nano: Nanotechnology & Culture in Germany

Finding Nano: Nanotechnology & Culture in Germany website  (map)

Sponsor: Northwestern University Study Abroad Office, in conjunction with the Technische Universität München (TUM)

Location: Munich, Germany


This 6-week, 3-credit summer program takes advantage of the high tech expertise of the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich) by offering an in-depth look at the fundamentals of nanotechnology, exposure to the heart of German culture, and opportunities to interact with German students.  Earning the German Excellence Award in 2006 and 2012, the TUM is a leading university in Germany and Europe, serving as an important global player in the international world of science and technology.

Finding Nano provides the unique opportunity to visit several industry sites (GE Global Research, BMW), research laboratories (Max-Planck-Institute, Nanosystems Initiative Munich) and start-up technology companies (Attocube) in Germany to get a behind-the-scenes look at German technological culture, highlighting possible international internship, research and career opportunities.

Program Type: Northwestern Summer


  • Summer

Term Notes: June 15th - July 26th, 2015


  • Cumulative GPA of 3.3
  • Intended for students who have finished their junior years, but exceptionally advanced sophomores are welcome to apply.
  • Students must have taken introductory level quantum mechanics at Northwestern before beginning the program, either quantum chemistry (CHEM 342-2), quantum electronics (EECS 223), quantum materials (MAT SCI 351-1, 351-2), or basic quantum mechanics (PHYS 339-1, 339-2).

Course Info: 

Students enroll in all three courses listed below, along with the required non-credit supplement, to earn a total of three credits at Northwestern:

  • Electronic Properties of Nanoengineered Materials (NanoSCI):  Introduces students to the rapidly developing field of nanoengineered materials with special focus on their electronic properties, fabrication processes and applications. 
  • Nanotechnology in Germany - Implementing Science, Research and Technology in Germany (NanoTECH):  Provides an overview of the technological landscape of Germany, with an emphasis on nanotechnology centers and excursions to industrial sites such as BMW and research laboratories including Max-Planck-Institute. 
  • German Language:  Students take a placement test upon arrival in Munich and are placed in Beginner or Intermediate German language.
  • Required Non-Credit Supplement - German Culture and History:  Excursions to cultural sites give both an introduction to the cultural and political profile and to the importance of technology in the development of the arts and the architecture in history. Social events complement the daily life experience and create opportunities to interact with other students.
  • Download the syllabus (pdf) for all three courses.
Internship opportunity:
Students can earn a 4th quarter credit by adding on an 8-week or longer summer research internship opportunity at RWTH Aachen University, a leading technical research university located on Germany's western border. For more info, please contact Professor Matthew Grayson.

Admission Info: 

To apply, Northwestern students must complete the following steps:

  1. Schedule an interview with Professor Matthew Grayson prior to the application deadline. Please email Professor Grayson to schedule an interview.
  2. Complete a Northwestern Summer Study Abroad Application by March 1. 
  3. Complete a Technical University of Munich (TUM) Application.  Email the TUM Application and your resume to Francesca Miroballi by March 1.
Students interested in conducting research or internships abroad in conjunction with the Nanotechnology program should submit their application materials (including the NU Study Abroad Application, Technical University of Munich application and resume) to the Study Abroad Office as soon as possible for early review.

Languages: English, German

Language Requirements: 

None; however, students are required to take a German language course while on the program.


  • Shared bedrooms in a hostel in the city center with other program participants and ensuite bathrooms.
  • Breakfast included at the hostel; kitchen facility available for student use to prepare simple meals.

Program Costs: 

Summer 2015: $6,000

  • The program fee includes: tuition, housing, some meals, books, transit pass, program excursions, German health insurance, HTH health insurance, and the Study Abroad Administrative Fee.
  • Students should plan to budget an additional $2,700-$3,100 for round-trip airfare, meals, personal expenses.


  • Summer Undergraduate Research Grants, sponsored by the Provost, provide unrestricted funds to cover research and living expenses for full-time summer projects, plus a portion of travel expenses for international projects. See the Summer Undergraduate Research Grants web page for more information.
  • Northwestern students receiving financial aid during the academic year may be eligible for summer aid for this program. If awarded, summer assistance may count as one of your 12 quarters of aid eligibility. Visit the Summer Scholarships page for additional information.


Study Abroad Guide