From the school:University College Freiburg (UCF) was founded in 2012 at the University of Freiburg. UCF’s four-year, English-taught Bachelor program in Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) is an exciting, groundbreaking venture.
With our own perspective on a long tradition of Liberal Education in the United States and on recent successful models in the Netherlands, LAS in Freiburg offers academic breadth and depth and focuses inter¬disciplinary reflection on science and knowledge. The University of Freiburg is espe¬cially suited to host an LAS program: Founded in 1457, University of Freiburg is one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Germany and is listed among the best German universities according to international rankings. Graduates and faculty members include a number of Nobel laureates. The university has partnerships with top universities, research institutions, and businesses around the world. University of Freiburg offers a truly cosmopolitan and diverse atmosphere in the middle of one of Germany’s most charming cities. Overall, 25,000 students are enrolled at the university, with close to 3,500 from abroad.
The LAS program at University College Freiburg has a yearly intake of 80 new students. With a total of about 300 students from 40 countries and with a focus on activating and small-group learning, UCF offers a close-knit academic and international community. Student committees, interest groups, and events all contribute to the familiar atmosphere at UCF. Furthermore, LAS students are active and engaged in manifold intellectual, cultural, and social projects and initiatives.Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) at University College Freiburg is an approach to education, not just a program name. We understand LAS education as an exciting process of intellectual discovery and personal development within an interdisciplinary and international learning community. It is the mission of the LAS program to provide a structured opportunity for students to learn broadly about the human and the non-human world, to systematically develop their capacity for high-level academic work in exchange with others, and to gradually unfold their own unique interests and abilities in ways suited to their aspirations.Five principles guide our approach to learning and teaching:
1. Integrating Freedom and Structure. The LAS program offers an intellectually challenging and dynamic learning environment in which students can shape their own academic path within a structured set of possibilities. In comparison to standardized one-size-fits-all programs, LAS offers more room for self-directed learning and choice. At the same time, students develop a solid basis of shared knowledge and skills in the compulsory courses in the Core and the Majors. This unique integration of freedom and structure distinguishes the LAS program at UCF from other less structured Liberal Arts and Sciences programs. With this approach we aim to systematically develop student’s ability for rigorous academic inquiry while at the same time allowing them to develop and follow their intellectual curiosity.
2. Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries. Right from the beginning of their studies, LAS students learn about the practices and traditions of different academic disciplines. They learn how knowledge is typically generated in the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Supported by courses that systematically reflect on knowledge and science, this purposeful exposure to academic diversity sharpens students’ independent thinking and raises their awareness for disciplinary blind spots as well as possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration. With this foundation and an ongoing exchange across disciplinary boundaries throughout their studies, students develop their capacities for dealing with complex interdisciplinary issues in both research and professional practice.
3. Creating a Learning Community. Bringing the right people together and creating spaces for stimulating exchange of ideas and knowledge is the key to academic learning and personal development. The LAS program brings together students and lecturers from a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds and with a wide range of interests. What unites them is an intellectual openness and a willingness to develop themselves further. This spirit together with the personal atmosphere of the College provide an inspiring environment for learning and collective knowledge creation in and beyond the classroom.
4. Mixing Teaching Methods. Due to the broad range of academic topics and disciplines covered in the LAS program and as people have different learning styles, we apply a variety of teaching methods ranging from seminars to lectures, from real-world projects and excursions to research-based learning.
Overall, LAS courses are rather small-scale and adaptable to the students’ learning process.5. Multilingualism as Added Value. LAS is an English-taught program and English is the default for both spoken and written communication at UCF. At the same time, multilingualism is crucial for international communication as well as for academic and professional mobility. As part of the LAS program, all students learn to communicate on academic topics in excellent English and develop skills in another foreign language. Non-German students are required to learn German so as to gain access to the city and University of Freiburg as well as to the rich German traditions in the sciences and humanities.
There are many different opportunities for international students. UNIKOS is an international student group that provides information, advice, events, international evenings, and the buddy program. There are also different cultural groups, religious groups, international social clubs, and AIESEC which is an intercultural group. Students are also able to attend lectures, workshops, and courses at Stadium Generale. SWFR arranges many cultural events, parties, seminars, movies, trips, and sports. There are many resources for international students at Freiburg. The university has a large International Office and the University College its own international coordinator. Between the two offices, students can get assistance with their visas, arrivals, housing, and more.
Housing is not guaranteed, but the Studentenwerk Freiburg (SWFR) office helps mediate housing arrangements with 4200 rooms in student residences. Housing applications are accepted between July 15th and August 31st. Dorms have a residence advisor and also have cultural and recreational programs. Costs for a single range from 220 to 355 euros per month, depending on whether the bath and kitchen are shared or private.
In addition to federal financial aid (BAföG), the university also offers other financial options such as student loans, educational loans, stipends or KfW student credit. Please see the International Student Welcome guide for more information.
The liberal arts program at Freiburg is very rare in Germany and is just finishing it's fourth year (the school itself was founded in 1457). Though they model themselves after the University Colleges of the Netherlands, the program is less self-contained than their Dutch counterparts. The University College has 300 students in total. The first year students take their foundation classes which includes introductory classes to three different majors. Classes for the first year are kept at under 20 students, all of whom are part of the University College. After the first year, student choose their major. It is important to note that there is a lot of flexibility and options within the majors. Students can specialize within one of the majors, or combine two of the majors (Environmental Governance for instance). Electives and major courses are held with the general population of students at Freiburg with some classes still held within the University College. The semester fee is 150 euros per semester. For non-US students wishing to study in Germany, admissions requirements are shown on a country-by-country basis here.