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 to take samples and observe local ecology, or the forests of the Swiss Alps to further your discussions on forest management and tourism. 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.
All courses except German language courses on the Environmental Studies Program are organized as three-week modules so you can focus on each topic you study, and so faculty can take you and your classmates on extended course- related excursions in and around Freiburg. Most courses are taught at IES Abroad by faculty affiliated with Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Students may be able to take some modules in the Department of Forestry and Ecology Management at the University, depending on availability. Optional University modules and research assistantship opportunities are offered after the regular term, through February for the fall term, and through late July for the spring term.
In addition to environmental studies topics, you can study German language at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level at the SprachLehrInstitut (Language Teaching Center) of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.
We want you to feel at home in Freiburg, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.
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 a post-program module
If enrolled in optional post-program module.
If participating in the research assistanship
If not participating in post-program module.
If enrolled in the optional post-program module.
If participating 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 and other topics through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors enhance your academic experience and give you new perspectives each day in class. A limited number of course options are available at the prestigious Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, as well.
You take 15-19 credits per semester. Environmental Studies courses are worth 3 credit hours and are taught in English. Language courses are 3 or 4 credits each and are taught in German. Courses taught Monday through Friday.
Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:
Module 2 (3 weeks)
One optional course offered at the Uni (3 credits, optional charge)
Research Assistantship with a faculty at the University (2 or 3 credits, additional charge)
The program begins with orientation and a required three-week intensive German course at the University for 3 credits. You continue your German study for three hours per week during the regular university semester to earn an additional 1 credit of German.
The first Environmental Studies module is a required IES Abroad-taught course. This is followed by a choice of modules, which you take one at a time for three weeks each. Most modules are taught at IES Abroad. A limited number of modules may be offered in the Master’s degree program in the Department of Forestry and Ecology Management at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Uni Freiburg). Modules at the University are taught at a first-year graduate level but are appropriate for undergraduate IES Abroad students. Tutorial support is available. Students from the same department at Albert- Ludwigs- Universität may enroll in IES Abroad-taught Environmental Studies courses.
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 can apply for a research assistantship to work with a University faculty member on a research topic in the field of Environmental Studies. Assistantships are four to six weeks long and take place after the end of the term. All placements are supervised and offered as academic options earning IES Abroad credit. Students participating in the research assistantship cannot participate in the additional optional module. An additional cost applies. Research topic areas may be limited.
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:
One of the oldest and most respected universities, the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg consistently ranks as one of the top institutions 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.
Apartment-style university housing – You live in a single or double room in a co-ed suite with a shared kitchen and bath. Suites are shared with German and international students, and have Internet access.
Single apartments in university housing – A limited number of single apartments are available at an extra cost. Apartments include a single bath and pantry kitchen. Internet access is provided.
Students usually prepare meals in their housing 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.
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.
Even though your adventure starts in Freiburg, our course-related excursions take you to other great destinations in Germany and beyond to further your learning. During these excursions, you gather data and participate in academic research. Course-related excursions are included in the program fee. Here are a few possible destinations. (University courses also include trips to locations in and around Freiburg to explore topics relevant to your studies.)
3-5 Days | Fall & Spring
Study the flora and fauna on a series of day trips through this famous forest, located just outside of Freiburg. Length of trip varies with course enrollment.
3 Days | Fall & Spring
Hike through the Swiss Alps as you study forest management, forest education, climate, regional climate, and their impact on vegetation.
Rhine River Valley
1 Day | Fall & Spring
Explore the ecology of this fertile river valley.
OPTIONAL FIELD TRIP
In addition to these course-related excursions, 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 and take pictures with a professional ranger/photographer as your guide.
About the Center
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 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.
IES Abroad Staff
Merle PeitsmeyerAcademic Dean
Joanna KingDirector of Student Affairs
Katie KrakerStudent Affairs & Administrative Officer