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Academics

Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences

This program at Free University, called FU-BEST, aims to create an international experience for US college students. It features German language study and a range of humanities and social sciences classes taught in English. Expert faculty teach small classes that center around German and European studies. Depending on how much German language training you would like, you can choose between a regular and intensive language course.

Unique study opportunities

  • Examine and discuss pop culture, art and dictatorship, media politics, and other fascinating topics in class.
  • Discover Berlin’s cultural and historical treasures through field trips and excursions—integral components of most courses.

Language

Language of Instruction: English

German Language Study: Required

Although the program is taught in English, German language study is required. You can choose between a single course for beginners or two consecutive intensive courses.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program: 

  • Take a full-time course of study: Four courses for a total of 19.5-21 quarter/13-14 semester UC units.
  • You can take one course per semester for pass/no pass.
Beginner Language Track

This track is for students who want to take a single beginning language course with three non-language courses:

  • One lower-division Beginning German language course: 6 quarter/4 semester UC units
  • Three upper-division courses taught in English: 4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units each
Intensive Language Track

This track is for students who want a balance between German language study and other courses:

  • Two consecutive German language courses: 6 quarter/4 semester UC units each (beginning and intermediate German courses are lower-division; advanced German courses are upper-division)
  • Two upper-division courses taught in English: 4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units each

Current Program Courses

Recent course topics include:

  • Pop Culture: European-American Trends
  • Human Condition and the Totalitarian Experience
  • Art and Dictatorship
  • Architecture in Berlin from the 19th century to today
  • Integration, Conflict, and Security in Europe
  • European Business Cultures
  • Europe in the Global Economy
  • Berlin: History, Memory, and Literature
  • European Legal Traditions
  • European Traditions in Sociology
  • Media Politics
  • The Promise of German Philosophy: Kant to Hegel
  • Migration: Dynamics and Controversies in Europe and Berlin

Research and independent study are typically not available on this program.

Catalogs and resources

  • FU-BEST Course Catalog: Click on the course title to find a full description for each course and a link to the syllabus.
  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses UC students have taken on this program.
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

Most of the courses on this program are taught at the upper-division level. Because of this, you’ll need to be prepared for a challenge in class. Coursework is beyond the introductory level.​ ​​

There is an attendance policy in place on the FU-BEST program. Class attendance and participation in field trips and excursions are mandatory. You’ll need to report absence due to illness or another legitimate reason to the FU-BEST office and teacher. Be sure to read the FU-BEST Academic Regulations and Code of Conduct for details on the attendance policy.

You will enroll in courses prior to departure as part of your application to the FU-BEST program. 

Grades

You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades for the fall semester are usually ready by January and grades for the spring semester are usually ready by June.