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North America: Undergraduate

Program description

The Free University Berlin will prospectively offer undergraduate spots at the following North American partner universities:

With scholarship

Without scholarship


Students of the Free University could apply for a spot in the general North America program; a ranking of the preferred partner universities will be made in the online application form. Please rank also the different campusses of the UC system.

Application deadline

For the academic year 2021/22: October 20, 2020


Information about the possible duration of your exchange (a semester or full academic year) can be found on the sites of the respective partner universities. The academic year in North America usually starts in late August or early September and ends in May or June the following year.

For semester spots, students can apply for a stay of one or two semesters; for academic year spots, students can only apply to go abroad for the full academic year.


  1. Application is open to fully enrolled undergraduate students of Free University Berlin, who should be in their 3rd semester at the time of their application.
  2. Applicants should have a very good level of English proficiency – please read below for further information.
  3. Applicants should have very good academic standing. Attention! Students of North American Studies should prove a GPA of less or at least equal 2,5 for the courses UNA A and UNA B.
  4. Restrictions
    a) Students cannot take courses in the departments of medical, law or business schools (very limited)
    b) Students will have limited access to courses in clinical psychology, journalism, and business administration

Application documents

Please submit your application documents as early as possible to clarify potential questions or issues in time. Feel free to visit us during our office hours for a personal consultation.

The following documents should arrive at our office on the day of the application deadline:

Online application form

You will find the link to the application form here; it will be online about 4 weeks before the application deadline.

Certificate of enrollment

With details of your study program and your current semester (Fachsemester). You can download your current certificate of enrollment from the student’s administration website (Zedat Portal).

A print-out from Campus Management

“Leistungsübersicht über begonnene und abgeschlossene Module” – available in your Campus Management under the tab “Noten & Punkte”.

Curriculum vitae

A detailed CV in English. Please attach a picture on the top right corner. We accept CVs following either the American or German standard. Should you need to inform us about specific details, e.g. concerning your schooling, please do so in written form on an additional piece of paper (1 page maximum length).

Study proposal

A detailed explanation of your study proposal in English, no longer than 2 pages.

Please divide your letter in two parts:

Academic interest
What made you choose your program of study? Why do you want to study in North America? Which classes would you like to take in North America? Which area of study in your field would you like to focus on during your time in North America and why? Which advantages can you take from this direct exchange for your studies here at Free University?

Preference list of American universities
Please explain your choice of universities in the preference list you gave in the online application form. Briefly explain your top 3 choices. Why are these universities the best universities for your particular area of study? Please feel free to check our partner universities’ websites for further information. (Your preference list and explanations will only be seen by our selection committee and not by the partner universities).

Please note: We strongly advise not to focus on a single specific university or geographic region! Restricting yourself to one university can significantly reduce your chances of getting a spot in the direct exchange program.

Two letters of recommendation

Two letters of recommendation by lecturers of Free University Berlin. Exception: Only one letter of recommendation for the semester program at the University of California System.

Letters of recommendation can be handed in up to one week after the official application deadline (October 14, 2019 for applications for the academic year 2020/21).

Please give your lecturer this form. The letter of recommendation should be sent as a PDF-document to the Büro für Internationale Studierendenmobilität directly by your lecturer. After the application process, the letter of recommendation will be archived; we do not hand the letters of recommendation to students or transmit them to others.

Proof of language proficiency

It is necessary for applicants to have a very good knowledge of the English language in order to be able to follow the classes while abroad. Most North American universities require the TOEFL or the IELTS test as proof of English proficiency. The University of California System also accepts the CAE (A) and CPE (C) (exception: UC Berkeley).Please check the language requirements by visiting the sites of the partner universities.

TOEFL (official score report)
We only accept the official score report of the internet based TOEFL (iBt). The test result cannot be older than two years. When booking a TOEFL appointment, please make sure to provide the institution code of Free University Berlin-Student Exchange Office (C507) in order for the test results to be sent directly to our office. You will receive an examinee score report and can view your test scores online. For the application we accept a PDF of your online score report or your examinee score report.

IELTS (test report form)
We only accept the official score report which has been sent to our office directly. You can check the minimum of scores on the sites of the respective partner universities..

We strongly recommend you to ask the TOEFL test centre to send several copies of the official score report directly to the office of student mobility, as this is free of charge when passing the test. Furthermore, we can send  copies of your official score report to other institutions such as the DAAD. As it usually takes about 4 weeks for official score reports to arrive, we strongly recommend taking the test as early as possible! Should you have passed one of the language proficiency test within the past 2 years, please submit a copy of your test result with your application. Please note that without a language test result we cannot invite you for an interview.

Proof of language proficiency can be handed in up to two weeks after the official application deadline (October 21, 2019 for applications for the academic year 2020/21 at the latest!).

Please name each document as follows: YourLastName_DocumentTitle (e.g. Schmid_StudyProposal). All documents (except for the letter of recommendation) should be sent as a separate PDF document within one zip folder, which should also have your last name.

You will receive a confirmation of receipt within a week of submitting your application. Should you not get an answer from us after a week, please get in touch with us. However, please refrain from sending several emails after having submitted your application, as this slows down our working process.


The partner universities offer nominated FU students a full tuition waiver. Some partner universities grant an additional scholarship to cover living costs; please find more detailed information under the links of each partner university.

It is possible to apply for additional funding with the DAAD or PROMOS. Please note that the DAAD only has one deadline per year, usually in Mid July for the following year.

Further information on financing can be found here.

Further information

Tuition waiver

A nomination by the Free University for one of our partner universities always includes a full tuition waiver; further information can be found on the pages for each partner university. 

Enrollment as non-degree student

Our exchange agreements always include an enrollment as a non-degree student for the duration of your stay. It is not possible to graduate from the partner universities.

Credit and grade transfer

Whether you will get credit at the FU for the classes you take at the partner university will be decided by your department. We recommend talking to the responsible parties before going abroad. 

 Leave of absence

Students have the option to take a leave of absence for one or two semesters.

Up-to-dateness of the published capacities

Please note that because the exchange is based on reciprocity, the final number of spots available at each partner university can only be published shortly before the application deadlines.