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, while simultaneously benefiting from the city’s location near the beautiful Black Forest and Rhine River Valley.
This English-taught program allows you to explore topics in Environmental Studies, Forest Ecology, and Sustainability while living in Freiburg, a well-known center for environmental innovation. Freiburg and the surrounding regions will be your classroom. Can you imagine traveling to the Rhine River Valley to take samples and observe local ecology; or traveling to 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.
The program offers courses taken alongside German and international students at the distinguished Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg 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 a special emphasis on the adaptive management of forests, ecological processes in ecosystems, and human effects on the environment. Optional modules and research assistantship opportunities are also available at the end of the term.
In addition to Environmental Studies topics, you have the opportunity to study German language at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level at the Sprachlehrinstitut (SLI) of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.
Finally, to help make study abroad more sustainable, IES Abroad purchases a carbon offset for the approximate round-trip air travel for students attending this program.
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. Courses are 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.
After your intensive German course, you take the first Environmental Studies module - a required IES Abroad-taught course. In the Fall, the required course is ES300 Ecology and Management of Forest Landscapes in Southwest Germany and the Swiss Alps. In the Spring, the required course is ES310 Change of Ecosystems as a Result of Long-Term Human Activities in Southwest Germany and the Swiss Alps.
The required course is followed by a choice of modules taught at IES Abroad or in the MSc in Forest Sciences program in the Faculty of Environmental and Natural Resources at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Modules at the University are taught at a first-year graduate level but are appropriate for IES Abroad students; tutorial support is available.
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
Field study trips 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.
Residence Halls - You live 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.
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.
IES Abroad staff in Freiburg can assist you in finding a German language “tandem” partner who will help you to practice your German and introduce you to local student life.
University Events & Cultural Activities
A number of events and activities are offered to you at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, such as:
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
Ulrich EckeltMedia and Communications
M.A., Consultant for SOKRATES (European education program), Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Erwin FinkHistoryPh.D., in Nationalism and Regionalism in the German Kaiserreich from the University of Toronto; Translator and Research Associate for the "German History in Documents and Images" project, organized by the GHI, Washington D.C.
M.A, German Language Instructor,
Teacher Trainer, Author of "Vokabeln und Quizfragen zu Landeskunde Deutschland"
Academic Year Freiburg - German coordinator,
Canadian Year Freiburg
Nikolaus GrötschGerman and Philosophy
M.A., Professor of Language and Philosophy for summer and DAAD courses, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg; Resident Director in Freiburg for Upsala University, Sweden
Dr. Hans-Peter HagmannArt History
Magister Artium, Lecturer, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
M.A in German, Scandinavian and Italian Language and Literature; Further training for teaching German as a Foreign Language
Annemarie KöhnePolitical ScienceM.A., Head librarian at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems
Franz LeitholdFilm Studies
Ph.D., Media and Computer Center Director at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg library
Astrid NothenGerman and French Literature and Teaching German as a Foreign Language
Head of the international language courses department at the University of Freiburg Language Teaching Centre
Lena PartzschEnvironmental Studies
Ph.D. in Political Sciences
Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Governance,Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Sabin RothemannGerman Literature
PhD. Robert Walser and Franz Kafka
M.A. in German, Philosophy and French
Authoress, lecturer and publisher
numerous journal contributions on literature, politics and society
Uta RothmundGerman languageLecturer in adult education for German as a Foreign Language and English at the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg
Eric SchülerInternational Relations
Magister Artium, Lecturer, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Mirja StraubMedieval History
MA in Fine Arts, University Braunschweig
Research fellow at Augustinemuseum, 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
Ph.D., Freelance instructor
Michael AnstettEnvironmental Studies
Diploma of Biology; Lecturer in the Department of Geobotany, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg; Excursion leader; Ranger at the Centre of Nature Protection, Feldberg
Jürgen BauhusEnvironmental Studies
Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Göttingen; Chair of Silviculture, Director of Institute of Silviculture, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg; Director of the Graduate School of Environment, Society, and Global Change, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Martin KohlerEnvironmental StudiesPh.D. in Forestry from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg; Professor in Institute of Silviculture, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Sandra MakinsonEnvironmental Studies
M.A., Masters in Applied Environmental Studies