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Humboldt University Exchange

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Program sponsor: Northwestern

students in Berlin
Laura Hernandez in front of the Berliner Dom
Laura Hernandez in front of the Berliner Dom
View of Berlin

In this exchange program, students enroll directly at Humboldt University and take classes with local and other international students. Northwestern students have the option of studying abroad for a semester or full academic year with course offerings available in German and English.

The program is targeted to independent students with advanced German, who are able to take German- taught content courses, or students in the social science and humanities who would like to enroll in the English- taught Berlin Perspectives program.

Because of the German academic calendar, note that this exchange is for Fall-Winter, Spring, or Full Year. The NU Fall-Winter exchange (during the HU Winter term) takes place from the start of October to end of March. The NU Spring exchange (during the HU Summer term) takes place from the start of April to the end of July/ early August.

 Before each semester HU hosts student orientation activities (in mid-September and mid- March). Additionally, the International Club "Orbis Humboldtianus" offers visiting students a Mentoring Program, a Visa Service, a Language Exchange, as well as a very diverse Cultural Program, including city tours, museum visits, concerts, study trips, parties and more.


Begin Application Process


Students at Humboldt University (HU) can select from a broad offering of courses taught in German including agricultural sciences, archaeology and cultural studies, biology, biophysics, business administration, chemistry, computer science, economics, geography, information management, information technology, mathematics, physics, psychology, social sciences, and sports sciences. Berlin Perspectives, an interdisciplinary module in English and German for both HU students and international students of all subjects, is also available to exchange students.

Program Requirements


Open to Northwestern students from all majors with a GPA of 3.0 or above.


  • If intending to take content (non-language) courses in German: 2 years or the equivalent of college-level German. Completion of at least two 200-level German courses at Northwestern prior to the program start highly recommended.
  • If intending to take content (non-language) courses in English: No German language required.


  1. Apply for permission to study abroad
    All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.
  2. Interview for your program
    • For the interview, please be prepared to:
      • Discuss your specific motivations for study abroad and reasons for selecting this program
      • Explain how the program and coursework aligns with your personal, academic, and/or professional interests, and
      • Ask informed follow-up questions about program details that you have reviewed on the program website
  3. Apply for your study abroad program
    All affiliated programs and all Northwestern exchange programs require an additional external program application. This application will not be accessible until you are nominated by Northwestern to participate in the exchange. Please check the program’s website for more details and deadlines.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

4 to 6 Northwestern units.


Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements which requires a high level oforganization and independence.

In Germany, student halls of residence are primarily run by the Studierendenwerk, (a student welfare organization) rather than by the university. The accommodations section of the Humboldt Guide for International Students has additional details and links to assist students in finding their own accommodations.

Host Institution

Humboldt University ranks among the top 10 of German universities. Humboldt University is well known for its research in the ancient world and history of sciences, philosophy, quantitative economics, life sciences with a focus on theoretical biology, neuroscience and Immunobiology, mathematics as a key technology, material and optical sciences as well as climate and sustainability research. Students at Humboldt University may study at either traditional institutes of Campus Mitte, the picturesque Campus Nord, or at the modern Natural Science Campus Adlershof. 

2019 Program Handbook

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make any travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Program Cost

Study abroad program costs vary widely and may be more or less expensive than studying at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Fall/Winter 2020-21: $40,514*

Review estimated costs for other terms on the program budget sheet.

*Budget sheets for exchange programs were last updated on September 14, 2020. All international travel associated with undergraduate credit-bearing study abroad programs slated to begin during the Fall 2020 quarter, including all Fall 2020, Fall/Winter 2020-21, and Full Year 2020-21 exchange programs, was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Billed by Northwestern
  • Program fee: $29,114

Students attending exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to Northwestern tuition, which covers academic fees, program administration, orientation, and GeoBlue health insurance. For exchange programs lasting two quarters, the program fee is equivalent to a semester (1.5 quarters) of Northwestern tuition.

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Room & board: $8,200
  • Airfare: $1,500
  • Visa: $100
  • Books & supplies: $100
  • Local transportation: $300
  • Personal expenses: $1,200

Total: $11,400

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern exchange programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend an exchange program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. You are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Program Fee

Students participating in exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to the NU tuition rate for:

  • 1 quarter for fall quarter or spring quarter exchange programs
  • 1.5 quarters for fall-winter or winter-spring exchange programs
  • 3 quarters for full-year exchange programs

The program fee includes tuition and GeoBlue health insurance. It does not include additional program-related costs, such as housing, meals, or airfare. Refer to your estimated budget sheet above for the full estimated breakdown of your expenses abroad.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact GLO for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support from Northwestern.

Northwestern Invoice

You should not pay your exchange institution directly for tuition. Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee (outlined above). You will not be billed for on-campus student fees, and exchange programs are exempt from the study abroad administrative fee.

It is your responsibility to pay directly for all other charges abroad, including your housing. Review estimated costs on your budget sheet, linked above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans from Northwestern, these funds will continue to apply directly to your Northwestern account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from an exchange program abroad after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern programs.

Program Website