Questions & Answers
A: LAS is the first four-year, English-taught Bachelor program of its kind at a German university. It was established in 2012 at the University of Freiburg and is hosted by University College Freiburg, an interfaculty center for international, interdisciplinary teaching and learning. What makes LAS special is that it reaches across academic fields while also offering discipline-oriented academic training in one particular Major. It encourages students to critically reflect on science and knowledge and to become skilled communicators and creative shapers of their environment. Focusing on the education of the whole person, it creates opportunities for personal development into motivated and responsible human beings.
A: The LAS program is aimed at students with broad academic curiosity. We are looking for applicants who value academic rigor and in-depth study, intellectual creativity and exchange, and would like to give their studies an individual emphasis. If, on top of that, you enjoy an international, hard-working and inspiring environment, LAS is probably for you.
A: If you are looking to get maximum immersion in one subject, you should choose a disciplinary program. If you are interested in one of the subjects covered in our Majors and in academic inquiry across disciplines, you should consider our LAS program.
A: Be careful. LAS offers choices, but also requires that you progressively focus your studies. This means you will have to make decisions and let some things go. While the program offers guidance in this process, if you are easily paralyzed by indecision, LAS is not the right program for you.
A: No and for a good reason. While range and choice are important for the Liberal Arts and Sciences program, choice without structure can be arbitrary. Therefore, our Core includes courses all LAS students must take. Also, every student must choose one of the following Majors after their first year of studies: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, Governance, or Culture & History. The Major combines structure and choice. In your Electives you have a wide range of opportunities and topics to choose from.
A: The Freiburg LAS program has two natural sciences Majors: Life Sciences and Earth and Environmental Sciences. Studying natural sciences in an LAS context of course provides you with knowledge and skills that are important for working in the sciences in general and the Life Sciences and the Earth and Environmental Sciences in particular. Beyond that, we draw connections to the Social Sciences and Humanities. This broader, interdisciplinary framework is usually not covered in a regular sciences program. For example, when majoring in Earth and Environmental Sciences or Life Sciences you are also able to attend courses in the area of Governance to better understand, articulate, and make decisions concerning our Environment and Health. Thanks to this academic cross training you can better develop your ability to acquire and organize facts and opinions, to analyze and present them, and to synthesize information and ideas. You will thereby improve your critical and independent thinking and be in a position to bridge disciplines and cultures.
A: LAS at UCF is a coherent, four-year program that includes breadth and depth as well as reflection on science and knowledge. It has a progressive storyline that covers academic competencies and skills training (e.g. academic and professional communication or intercultural and language skills). On top of that, we want you to build a sound academic specialization in your Major, have time to develop personally and academically, and have room for your own intellectual exploration.
A: About three quarters of our students spend one or two semesters abroad. The University of Freiburg has a broad range of exchange programs with partners all over the world open to LAS students. Furthermore, UCF has established structured exchanges with several partner institutions, e.g. University College Maastricht, the leading University College in the Netherlands, and Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University. We also have Erasmus partnerships with universities in England, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. Your third LAS year is especially suited for studying abroad. UCF will provide support in organizing a semester or a year abroad, especially concerning integration into your LAS curriculum and credit recognition. It is the students' responsibility to inform themselves and apply for the most appropriate programs and destinations.
A: With LAS programs in North America and around the world we share an emphasis on a broad curriculum, mandatory skills training, and the education of the whole person. At the same time, the LAS program in Freiburg has specific characteristics: (1) We go directly into academic training, while many US programs spend considerable time on the general education most Europeans are expected to get in high school. (2) We follow the conviction that understanding how science works is the key to an interdisciplinary education and place a strong focus on the reflection on science and knowledge. In comparison to other programs we place less emphasis on individual choice in this area. (3) Finally, LAS in Freiburg is a small, non-residential program that offers students the chance to fully integrate themselves into the city and the University of Freiburg – one of the leading research universities in Germany with 11 faculties and 25,000 students. LAS in Freiburg thus has a very different atmosphere from the larger, residential colleges elsewhere.
A: The University of Freiburg was founded in 1457. It is a research university with 11 faculties, covering the whole spectrum of subjects from Philosophy and Theology to Engineering and Computer Science. It has repeatedly achieved highest ranks in nationwide competitions in research, teaching, and continuing education. You could hardly find a better institutional context for an LAS program that depends on research and teaching expertise from a broad range of academic fields. The majority of LAS courses are specifically created for and administered by UCF. At the same time, you will, as a regular student of the university, be able to attend other courses, talks, and lectures, use central facilities like the university library, participate in the university sports program or join any number of student societies and activities.
A: Yes! Freiburg is widely considered one of the most attractive mid-size cities in Germany. It has a charming historical setting, a pleasantly mild climate, and the Black Forest is in easy reach for hiking in summer and skiing in winter. Freiburg has an open-minded atmosphere and a lively cultural scene. A lot of students choose Freiburg for its close-knit university community. As a "Green City", it is especially noted for its focus on ecology and sustainability. European cities like Zurich, Frankfurt, or Strasbourg are all within a two-hour train ride, while Paris, Milan, and the Mediterranean make for convenient weekend destinations. France is just a twenty minute drive away, Switzerland only a little more, so we are truly at the heart of Europe.
A: University College Freiburg and its LAS program are part of the University of Freiburg. Being a public university funded by the German state, there are no tuition fees apart from a registration fee of about €150 per semester. This also means that UCF does not provide housing or scholarships for its students. Living and accommodation costs amount to approximately €750 per month. For more information on finances, housing, and scholarships, please see the university's Student Portal and our website.
Please Note: Tuition Fees for non-EU Students and for a Second Bachelor Degree
The State of Baden-Württemberg is currently (January 2017) preparing legislation to introduce tuition fees for non-EU students (€1,500 per semester) and for all students seeking a second Bachelor (or Master's) degree (€650 per semester). While the bill has not yet been passed, we expect that the fees will be imposed starting Winter Semester 2017/18.
In its current form, the bill includes several reasons for exemption for non-EU students, including:
- students who are already enrolled in a Bachelor (or Master) program in Baden-Württemberg,
- students participating in university exchange programs, including Erasmus students,
- students from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway (non-EU European Economic Area member states)
- students with refugee status,
- non-EU citizens with a German Abitur ("Bildungsinländer").
We will be able to provide final information only when the bill has been passed and will update our website accordingly. Tuition fees mean a policy change in Baden-Württemberg. Nonetheless, the prospective fee of €1,500 per semester for non-EU students is (very) low by international comparison. Furthermore, part of the proceeds will be invested in support measures for non-EU students at the University of Freiburg.
Q: How do you select students?
A: We receive more applications than our annual intake of about 80 students. The LAS selection process is therefore competitive. As laid out in the Selection Regulations (“Auswahlsatzung”) it is based on academic achievements (e.g. grade of your higher education entrance qualification) and on your personal motivation for studying LAS in Freiburg. The program is English-taught, meaning you must provide proof of adequate English proficiency. Please consult the Application & Admissions section of our website for full details concerning the application requirements as well as the selection and admissions processes.
A: First of all, you do not need to know German in order to apply. We want to attract students from all over the world who are interested in LAS regardless of their language and cultural background. In the course of your LAS studies you are expected to study German and to pass an exam equivalent to at least A2 on the CEFR scale after your second year. Concerning the application process itself, there are some differences as compared to the English-speaking world. Most importantly, international applicants as well as German applicants with non-German qualifications need to make sure that their qualifications are recognized as equivalent to the German "Abitur". Here, nationwide legal regulations apply. Only once you meet these requirements will you be allowed to enter the LAS selection process itself. Please refer to our website for more information and enquire at the university department for International Admissions and Services (IAS) for questions concerning diploma recognition.
A: LAS has a limited number of places and transfer from other study programs into a higher LAS semester is currently not possible. Furthermore, LAS is a coherent program with a Foundational First Year of studies. If you are already studying at another university and are interested in starting LAS, please apply for the first year of the LAS program. Courses and achievements from your previous program can be considered for credit recognition once you have started the LAS program.
A: Unfortunately, it is only possible to study at UCF as an exchange student if you are an incoming student on one of UCF's exchange programs.
A: While we do not know what you will do with your LAS degree, we can give you information on what others are doing.
In summer 2016, 50 pioneer LAS students graduated from UCF with a B.A. or B.Sc. degree. About 50% are pursuing further academic training in Master programs in fields such as Philosophy (FU Berlin), Comparative Social Policy (University of Oxford), Molecular Medicine (Charité Berlin), or Translational Medical Research (Heidelberg). Several are enrolled in fast track PhD programs, e.g. Biorenewable Systems (Penn State) or Neurosciences (Freiburg). Others are engaged in employment, intern- and traineeships in NGOs and Think Tanks (e.g. Terre des Femmes, Human Rights Watch), cultural organizations (e.g. Goethe Institute, Museums), or in businesses and social entrepreneurships.
These first findings from the LAS program at UCF coincide with experiences at UCs in the Netherlands, e.g. at our partner institution University College Maastricht. Concerning career paths, surveys and research e.g. by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the OECD, or the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) show a clear demand for internationally oriented graduates trained in interdisciplinary thought and action.
LAS students are prepared for responsibilities and careers in international environments that demand fast and efficient adaptation to varying and complex challenges on a day to day basis. And the Freiburg LAS curriculum is structured in such a way as to enable entrance into Master's programs. However, admission into every M.A. or M.Sc. program is not guaranteed, and it is the students' responsibility to – with our guidance – look into appropriate programs and their admission criteria early on. The most important ingredient is you: LAS gives you the opportunity to shape your own education. It also challenges you to use that opportunity to set out towards career goals that, ultimately, only you yourself can define.
A: Contact us!