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Renewable Energy: Policy & Development in Germany

Renewable Energy: Policy & Development in Germany website  (map)

Sponsor: Northwestern University Study Abroad Office, Initiative for Sustainability & Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University, & the University of Bonn

Location: Bonn, Germany


Germany is an innovative leader in renewable energy systems and geopolitics. This 5-week, 2-credit interdisciplinary summer program focuses on German energy policy and initiatives in sustainable sources —wind, solar, biomass, geothermal—and energy conservation in a European and global context. Experts from the University of Bonn and well-known international organizations and research institutes (IRENA and the National Research Center Jülich) introduce students to current discussions, research and policy efforts on renewable energy, with a special focus on conflicts associated with the topic.

The program consists of four major components: lectures with Political Scientist, Professor Thomas Weiler; guest lectures; frequent academic and cultural excursions in and around Bonn; and a collaborative energy project with other program participants (and guided by professionals from the respective fields).

Field trips include a visit to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels and, during the final week of the program, a 5-day trip to Berlin where students visit important historic sites and interact with officials from key government and private agencies.

The Bonn Buddy Program helps participants meet and interact with German students from the University of Bonn and experience hands-on campus life in Germany.

Program Type: Northwestern Summer 


  • Summer

Term Notes: July 1 - August 3, 2016


  • Although NU's GPA requirement is a 2.5, the University of Bonn requires a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • This interdisciplinary program welcomes students from diverse fields, such as political science, sociology, education, environmental and sustainability studies, engineering, geology, chemistry, physics, pre-law, business, economics, journalism and public policy.

Course Info: 

  • All coursework is conducted in English.
  • The program begins with an introductory workshop on German culture.

Energy Policy: Global Decisions, Local Actors course:

  • Students enroll in the University of Bonn course, "Energy Policy: Global Decisions, Local Actors,” and earn 2 credits at Northwestern.
  • This Political Science course focuses on local and global policy-making in the fields of energy and sustainable development, highlighting the different approaches of various actors (mainly European nations and the U.S.), and fields of conflict.
  • Regular classroom work is complemented with guest lectures and visits to international and local agencies from the field of renewable energy, politics and research.
  • Download the 2016 preliminary syllabus (pdf).

Admission Info: 

To apply, Northwestern students must:

  1. Interview with Francesca Miroballi in the Study Abroad Office before the NU Summer Application deadline. **Please indicate "Bonn Interview" when scheduling your appointment in the online system**
  2. Complete an NU Summer Study Abroad Application by March 1st.

Languages: English

Language Requirements: 

  • None; all coursework completed in English


You will live in one of the University of Bonn dormitories located throughout the city in a single or double room with shared access kitchen facilities. In most cases, you will prepare your own meals and should be prepared for a commute to campus.

Meals: The majority of meals are not included on the program. On class days, students can purchase inexpensive meals in the University cafeteria, called "mensa".

Program Costs: 

Summer 2016: $6,850

  • The program fee includes: tuition, housing, some meals, books, transit pass, program excursions to Berlin and Brussels, German health insurance, HTH health insurance, and the Study Abroad Administrative Fee.
  • Breakfast during the Berlin and Brussels excursions and some dinners during the program are included.
  • Students should plan to budget an additional $2,100-$2,500 for round-trip airfare, transportation to/from the airport, meals, and personal expenses.


  • 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.
  • Students are encouraged to apply for outside scholarships to help with the cost of summer study abroad.

More Information

Why Bonn?

  • As the former capital of Germany, Bonn still houses various government institutions, including 19 UN agencies and international think tanks practicing global policy-making on a daily basis.

Key Program Components

  • Integral to the program are independent group projects, which familiarize students with a certain topic in various fields of renewable energy and are guided by project advisors from the respective fields. 
  • Academic and cultural excursions are a highlight of the summer program.


Study Abroad Guide