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Studies and Teaching

With 28,500 students and 4,300 doctoral candidates, Freie Universität is the largest university in Berlin.

With 28,500 students and 4,300 doctoral candidates, Freie Universität is the largest university in Berlin.
Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher

Freie Universität is a full-spectrum university, comprising twelve academic departments and four central institutes that together offer more than 150 different degree programs in a broad range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The university offers programs toward any academic degree, from bachelor’s and master’s degrees to state exams, doctorates, and habilitation. The university’s extensive professional and continuing education offerings, ranging from individual classes to continuing education master’s degree programs, supplement the academic options available to prospective students. 

A Shared Vision for Teaching and Education

Freie Universität Berlin strives to achieve the highest standards in teaching and education. Our vision for good teaching and successful learning was crystallized in the Mission Statement for Teaching and Education. This document was developed by several hundred university members as part of the participatory strategy process Teaching and Education in 2030, which took place throughout 2020 and 2021. In pursuing these goals, Freie Universität Berlin is well on its way to establishing a culture based on networking and communication between instructors, students, and administrative staff.

Broad Range of Academic Programs and Disciplines

The broad range of degree programs and disciplines offered at Freie Universität allows students to tailor their studies to their individual interests. With a large number of exchange programs, dual international degree programs, and both individualized and structured doctoral programs available to them, students have many options when it comes to designing their own personal studies.

Studying in an International Environment

The content of the study programs offered at Freie Universität is designed to be international. The university offers master’s degree programs in English, for example, along with joint master’s degree programs with foreign universities. The university’s international profile is reflected in its strength in area studies, with particular focus on North America, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, as represented by four central institutes. Other areas of particular focus in the university’s research activities are East Asia and the Middle East. Freie Universität is also home to the Center for French Studies and the Center for Italian Studies.

Freie Universität currently participates in the European Tempus and Erasmus programs and in PROMOS, the mobility program operated by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). It also maintains agreements on direct exchanges with a large number of universities. The high percentage of international students, researchers, scholars, and scientists at the university further highlights Freie Universität’s international character.

Extensive Services Offered for Students

The university offers various support options for prospective and current students, ranging from specific advising services to the infrastructure provided. The Student Services Center (SSC) provides advice to prospective students as well as currently enrolled students, whether by phone, via email, or in person. The campus-wide WLAN network provides access to extensive e-learning offerings, research databases, or the Campus Management system, used to organize a student’s study program, anytime.

The Center for Cooperation with Schools offers school-age students a number of ways to get to know the university or even attend courses even before they begin their formal academic careers. Events include the KinderUni (Children’s University) offered for elementary school students in the 2nd to 6th grade every September, Girls’ Day, or the KieWi experimentation course, in which children in 3rd and 4th grades have a chance to perform experiments. At the NatLab hands-on experimentation lab, students in the 4th through 6th and 11th through 13th grades, teachers, and university students who are studying for a teaching credential option can experiment with equipment that is not generally available to them at school for the subjects of chemistry and biology. The PhysLab physics lab, aimed at grades 5 through 13, was founded to offer young people an opportunity to conduct their own experiments and do their own research.

Bringing Academia and Practice Together

The university offers an extensive range of options to give its students support, early on, for the period following their exams, including career preparation courses in bachelor’s degree programs, advising from the university’s internal Career Service, and the services offered by the Continuing Education Center.

Freie Universität supports start-ups established by its students, researchers, and graduates. A start-up center (Profund Innovation) offers beginning entrepreneurs the use of free offices and assistance services as they are getting their businesses off the ground.

A number of successful companies have already been started by past and present members of the university community. In the 2014 study, Gründungsradar (“founding radar”) of the Donors' Association for German Science (Stifterverband der Deutschen Wissenschaft), Freie Universität Berlin occupied sixth place in the nationwide ranking for the quality of start-up promotion at large universities with over 15,000 students.