The environmental movement took root in Freiburg long ago—and now it’s a way of life. Known for taking the lead in the development of eco-friendly technologies and architecture, Freiburg also attracts researchers and environmental organizations from around the world. Come study Freiburg’s many unique contributions to this important movement.
This English-taught program allows you to explore topics in Environmental Studies, Forest Ecology, and Sustainability while living in Freiburg, located near the beautiful Black Forest and Rhine River Valley.
Freiburg and the surrounding regions will be your classroom. Imagine traveling to the Rhine River Valley to take samples and observe local ecology or the forests of the Swiss Alps to further your discussions on forest management and tourism? Welcome to study abroad! Wherever possible, your courses take you outside the classroom to give you hands-on experience and to take advantage of all that your study abroad location has to offer.
Organized in cooperation with the Master Degree Program in Forest Science at the distinguished Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, the program offers courses taken alongside German and international students at the University and at the IES Abroad Center. Courses are organized as a series of three-week modules that focus on the sustainable management of natural resources, with special emphasis on renewable energies, enviornmental ethics, the adaptive mangement of forests, and ecological processes in ecosystems. Optional modules and research assistantship opportunities are also available after the end of the regular term.
In addition to Environmental Studies topics, you study German language at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level at the Sprachlehrinstitut (SLI) of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
If not participating in post-program module
If enrolled in optional post-program module.
If not participating in the optional post-program module
If enrolled in the optional post-program module
If enrolled in the research assistanship.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore Environmental Studies and Sustainability, as well as other topics, through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and course options at the IES Abroad Center and the prestigious Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.
You take 15-19 credits per semester. Environmental Studies courses are worth 3 credit hours and are taught in English. Courses taught in a modular format, meaning you take one course at a time, one after the other.
Research assistantship offered at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (3 credits)
The program begins with orientation and a three-week intensive German course. You then continue your German study for 4 hours per week for 8-9 weeks once the regular university semester has started.
After your intensive German course, you take the first Environmental Studies module - a required IES Abroad-taught course. This is followed by a choice of modules taught at IES Abroad or in the Master Degree Program in Forest Science at he Albert-Ludwigs- Univeristat Freiburg (Uni Freiburg). Modules at the University are taught at a first-year graduate level but are appropriate for IES abroad students; tutorial support is available. Forest Science students from Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg are invited to enroll in IES Abroad-taught Environmental Studies courses to provide an international academic experience.
Program Extension OptionsOptional Modules
After your program ends, you can spend three weeks furthering your academic experience in Freiburg by participating in an additional 3-credit course at the University. A separate fee applies.
You have the opportunity to apply for a Research Assistantship to enhance your educational experience by working with a faculty member from the University of Freiburg on a specific research topic. Research Assistantships take place after the conclusion of the semester (six weeks). Students who participate in a Research Assistantship must remain in Freiburg through the end of the assistantship period. An additional fee applies.
Securing an assistantship is a competitive process and placements are not guaranteed. Placements depend on availability, on a student's background and skills, and on the quality of a student’s CV/résumé. Language requirements may apply. Final placements are determined by an on-site interview.
Examples of assistantships in various departments at the University of Freiburg include:
IES Abroad Courses
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität CoursesGerman Language Courses
The university does not provide syllabi for their German language program. They teach Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced language courses according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). Download a description of CEFR language levels here:
Environmental Studies Courses
Optional Post-Program Modules
One of the oldest and most respected universities, the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg conisistently ranks as one of the top insititutions of higher education in the country
Course related excursions are integral to IES Abroad Freiburg and University courses and are included in the program fee. During these trips you will gather data and participate in academic research. Destinations may include:
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Freiburg, it will feel like home.
Living in a single room in a co-ed suite with a shared kitchen and bath. Suites are shared with German and international students and have Internet access.
Students usually prepare meals at home or dine in Freiburg’s affordable student cafeterias. Meals are not included in the program fee.
Part of making you feel at home in Freiburg is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is one of the things we’re known for.
The program begins with a mandatory orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad staff, your fellow students, the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, and the city of Freiburg. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered. During orientation, you will also begin three weeks of intensive German language instruction.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home. During orientation you begin three weeks of intensive German language instruction.
Redefine the way you live and learn in Freiburg through our cultural events, such as:
University Events and Cultural Activities
A number of events and activities are available to you at the Albert-Ludwigs- Universität Freiburg, such as sports teams, social clubs, and partially-subsidized trips to destinations in Germany, France, and Switzerland.
IES Abroad staff in Freiburg can assist you in finding a German language “tandem” partner, with whom you can practice
German. Having a language partner in Freiburg also gives you unique insight into local student life.
Although your adventure begins in Freiburg, our field trips take you to other great destinations in Germany and beyond to further your learning.
Field Study Trips
During the field study trips, you gather data and participate in academic research. The cost of field study trips is included in the program fee. Possible destinations include:
1 Day | Fall & Spring
Study the flora and fauna of this famous forest located just outside of Freiburg.
3 Days | Spring
Hike through the Swiss Alps as you study forest management, forest education, and tourism.
Rhine River Valley
1-2 Days | Fall
Explore the ecology of this fertile river valley.
Optional Field Trip
In addition to these field study trips, you also have the opportunity to participate in an optional recreational field trip. You share the cost of this field trip with IES Abroad. In past terms, the destination was:
2 Days | Fall & Spring
Hike through this beautiful mountain range in Alsace, France led by a knowledgeable guide. Bring your camera for the opportunity to take breathtaking pictures!
Located in the heart of Freiburg, the IES Abroad Center is within easy walking distance of Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, the Freiburg Theater, and the main shopping district.
Alexander BreisacherCenter Director
Alexander Breisacher has been the Director of the IES Abroad Freiburg Center since 2013. He holds a Master’s in Sociology and Business Administration from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and a European Master’s in International Humanitarian Assistance (NOHA ) from the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, Germany, and the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. He also studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and completed a Spanish program in Quito, Ecuador. Before joining IES Abroad, Alexander worked with the Christoffel Blindenmission in India and Tanzania. Alexander joined IES Abroad in 2003 as the Academic and Administrative Officer of the Freiburg Center, and was promoted in October 2007 to the position of Assistant Director of the Center. Interested in the social and ecological consequences of economic activity, Alexander was instrumental in the development of the Environmental Studies & Sustainability Program in Freiburg.
Merle PeitsmeyerAcademic Dean
Joanna KingStudent Affairs Director
Katie KrakerStudent Affairs & Administrative Officer
Environmental Studies Faculty
M.A, German Language Instructor,
Teacher Trainer, Author of "Vokabeln und Quizfragen zu Landeskunde Deutschland"
Academic Year Freiburg - German coordinator,
Canadian Year Freiburg
Martin KohlerEnvironmental StudiesPh.D. in Forestry from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg; Professor in Institute of Silviculture, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Daniel KrayEnvironmental SciencesPh.D. in Physics from the University of Constance, Germany. Professor for process technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Offenburg
Bernhard ThielMsc in Forest Ecology and Management from the University of Freiburg, Diploma in Forest Technology, a BSc/BEd from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. 25 years of experience as a forest technologist, forest researcher and forestry instructor
Eric SchülerInternational Relations
Magister Artium, Lecturer, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Certified political economist and instructor at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Bettina VerrierGerman Language
MA in French and Spanish Language and Literature and Geography
Further training for teaching German as a Foreign Language (Goethe Institute Mannheim/Heidelberg)
Lecturer in adult education for German as a Foreign Language at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg and Goethe Institute Freiburg