Study Abroad

IES Freiburg: Environmental Studies and Sustainability

  • Location: Freiburg, Germany
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Class Eligibility: Juniors and seniors


COVID-19 Protocols and Travel Warnings

  • You can read about this program’s COVID-19 safety protocols at this link, then read the CDC Travel Warning and U.S. State Department Travel Advisory at the respective links. For more information about Haverford College Study Abroad and the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, read the Study Abroad homepage here.
  • IES requires all study abroad students to be fully vaccinated before they can participate in any IES program. 

IES Abroad Zoom Around the World Virtual Information Sessions

Freiburg is a city of curving streets, medieval architecture, and beautiful cathedrals. With a young population and a small town feel, Frieburg offers many opportunities for cultural integration, making it the perfect place to study German. A center for progressive thinking on environmental issues, Freiburg is also known for taking the lead in the development for eco-friendly technologies and architecture. The city now attracts researchers and environmental organizations from around the world.  Located on the edge of the scenic Black Forest, an hour away from the towering Alpine mountains, France, Switzerland, and other interesting regions of Germany, Freiburg is a year round sports center and an ideal starting point for exploring Europe.

Steeped in rich history, Freiburg is also a modern bustling town and home to the renowned the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, one of Germany’s top universities and takes great pride in its traditions. Founded in the 15th century, the faculty and researchers have made history in numerous disciplines. Today the University is flourishing more than ever—it ranks among the top 8 universities in Germany and was recently awarded the Excellence Initiative by the German government for the promotion of science and research.

The program allows students majoring in Environmental Studies to explore topics in Environmental Studies, Forest Ecology, and Sustainability, while living in Freiburg, a well-known center for environmental innovation. Students will be required to take a German language course, and one required Environmental Studies module. Students are then able to choose three other Environmental Studies modules from a larger list of courses taught at either IES Abroad or the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. There is an optional post-program module in Environmental Studies available at the University for additional credit after the end of the fall and spring terms. Students usually rely on bicycles or public transportation to travel around the city.  Students may receive Natural Science distribution requirements for many of the courses.


Some university courses are not available to sophomores. Students must enroll in an appropriate-level IES German language course. This program is not for German majors – courses are taught in English. This program does NOT fulfill the language requirement.

Academic Credit

Students must carry 16 credit hours per semester. Students are not permitted to take fewer than 16 credits unless they have the permission of their dean and advisor in advance. Major, minor, and concentration transfer credit will only be granted for courses in which students received a grade of a C or above.


Organized in cooperation with the Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences at the distinguished University of Freiburg, the program offers English-taught courses taken alongside German and international students. 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. Additional topics include ecological processes in ecosystems and human effects on the environment. Post-program research assistantships and extensive field study trips to the Swiss Alps, the Rhine River Valley, and the Black Forest give you hands-on experience. Students participate in German language courses at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level taught at the Sprachlehrinstitut of the University of Freiburg.

Research Assistantships: Spring semester students may apply for a research assistantship to enhance their educational experience by working with a University faculty member on a specific research topic. Research assistantships take place after the conclusion of the spring semester and last approximately six weeks. Students who participate in a research assistantship must remain in Freiburg through the end of the assistantship. Getting an assistantship is competitive and placements are not guaranteed. Placements depend on availability, students’ background and skills, and CV/resume quality. Language requirements may apply. Final placements are determined by an on-site interview. Examples of assistantship locations include the Departments of Forest Biometry and of Vegetation Science and the Institutes of Forest Growth, of Silviculture, and of Forest Zoology.

Course Highlights

Cities, Environmental Studies, Research Opportunities, Urban Studies

Note: Changes occur frequently. Students are responsible for finding the classes they need and consulting the official site of the institution.

Review the Full Academic Requirements for Studying Abroad


Three-week orientation program on language and life in Freiburg.

Number of Students

Approximately 40-60 students attend each semester.

Housing/Meal Plans

The program offers students the opportunity to live in residence halls in Freiburg’s environmentally-conscious neighborhood of Vauban. A limited number of rooms are available in a sustainably-designed university residence hall. Residence halls feature single rooms within co-ed suites with other international and German students with a shared kitchen and bath. As is customary in Germany, suites are co-ed, but individual rooms are not. The residence halls have Internet access. Haverford students may not opt for independent off-campus housing – that is, housing not arranged by the program.


IES Abroad Zoom Around the World Virtual Information Sessions

Additional Resources

View Scholarship Information

Apply to Study Abroad!

  • PDF
  • Program List


  • Semester/Year
  • Science/Math/Pre-Health/CompSci Approved


  • Semester I: Late August to late December
  • Semester II: Late February to late June

Application Deadlines

  • Semester I: March 1
  • Semester II: October 15

Faculty Contact