Duke in Berlin



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This six-week, two-course program is based in Berlin, the political capital of Germany and the economic capital of Europe. Directed by Susanne Freytag, Lecturing Fellow in Germanic Languages and Literature, Duke in Berlin offers a range of elective courses in a stimulating and historical urban environment. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and attractive to students with a substantial interest in German and European politics and culture.

Students with no prior German are welcome. Students choose from an array of upper-level courses in English, as well as all levels of German. You can choose to take both classes in English or one in English and one in German (most popular option).

Graduate students in all departments are welcome to apply and may enroll in all courses. It is advised you apply for funding from your own department or from other sources.


Location: Berlin, Germany

Term: Summer

Dates: May 6, 2024 - June 5, 2024

Application Deadline: February 1st

Academic Theme(s): German language, economics, art, and culture

Credit Type: Duke Credit 

Eligibility: Open to all majors. Open to all graduate students. You need not have taken German courses to participate except as noted for specific courses. Language students will be placed in courses prior to departure. Must be in good academic standing. Non-Duke students are welcome to apply for this program.

Duke Affiliation: Department of Germanic Languages and Literature

Housing: Efficiency Apartments

Primary Contact: Susanne Freytag

  • Students Studying

  • Berlin Cathedral

  • Charlottenburg Palace

  • Duke in Berlin

  • Students Studying Photography

  • Students at Salzburg


Students enroll in two Duke faculty-led courses, each offering one credit. Courses will be offered in elementary, intermediate, and advanced German. In addition, upper-level content courses taught in English fulfill German Studies, Public Policy, History, Economics, Documentary Studies, ICS, Literature, Art History, and other departments’ requirements.

The Duke in Berlin summer program offers two tracks:

  • One course in German and one in English (This is the most popular option.)
  • English only

Neither the pass/fail option nor auditing is permitted in any course.

  • German Courses
  • Content Courses

German Courses

Courses Taught in German

The following courses have been offered recently and are proposed for the upcoming summer:

First Year German I

(FL) 1.0 Credit

Introduction to German language and culture. Four skills (understanding, speaking, reading, writing) and communicative approach to the language of everyday life in German-speaking countries, the language of their histories and societies, their arts and letters.

First Year German II

(FL) 1.0 Credit

Second semester of introductory language course. Practice in spoken and written German, vocabulary building, building cultural awareness. Focus on topics of everyday life in German-speaking countries through stories, poetry, music, video, internet, as well as grounding in basic structures of the German language.

Intermediate German I

(CZ, FL) 1.0 Credit

Each of these courses builds language proficiency through a topic-oriented syllabus focusing on contemporary German-speaking cultures and societies (family, leisure, work, education, environment, current events).

Intermediate German II

(CZ, FL) 1.0 Credit 

(See description of GERMAN 203 above.) Increased focus on reading, speaking, essay writing. Extensive reading includes one full-length play by a contemporary German, Swiss, or Austrian writer.
Advanced German in Berlin 

(ALP, CCI, CZ, FL) 1.0 Credit

Prerequisite: GERMAN 204 or equivalent. May substitute for 305S or 306S to fulfill major requirement.

Reading and discussion of advanced material centered largely on contemporary Berlin. Development of written and oral proficiency in German, as well as insight into the cultural and historical aspects of the capital.

Content Courses

Courses Taught in English

The following courses have been offered recently and are proposed for the upcoming summer:

Economics of Green Germany 

(SS, STS, EI) 1.0 Credit, Professor Benjamin Gorlach 

Comprehensive overview of the Energiewende—Germany's effort to reshape its energy system, the industry, and building sectors into a nuclear-free, low-carbon economy. Application of a range of analytical methods—including economic assessment tools, legal analyses, and political science—to shed light on different facets of the Energiewende and to help understand the public and academic debates around it. The course thus offers different angles—looking at the economics of the Energiewende, as well as the technological, social, ethical, legal, and political implications. 

Art & Architecture of Berlin: Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century   

(ALP, CCI, CZ) 1.0 Credit, Professor Matthias Pabsch 

The main goal of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the visual arts of Germany from the 15th to the 20th century through lectures conducted in Berlin’s museums and cultural institution. Classroom lectures will be kept to a minimum so that students may encounter actual works of art in the city’s magnificent collections. Some lectures will be conducted by guest speakers, such as curators from the Bauhaus Archiv or the Neue Nationalgalerie.

Students will learn about the German Old Masters, such as Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach, as well German Romantic and Realist artists, including Caspar David Friedrich and Adolf Menzel. Germany’s powerful modernist art movements, such as Expressionism and New Objectivity, will be considered in relation to the many upheavals in modern German history. By the end of the course, students will not only have a broad understanding of the development of the visual arts in Germany but also of how art has served in the elusive search and articulation of German cultural identity. Includes architectural bus & walking tours, as well as an excursion to the castles of Potsdam.

Capturing the City: Documentary Photography in Berlin 

(ALP, CCI) 1.0 Credit, Professor Chris Sims

Through excursions to museums, art galleries, and studio visits with photographers and documentarians in Berlin, students will learn and practice the analysis and interpretation of still photography. Students will conduct documentary photography fieldwork projects focused on interpreting cultural life, public spaces, landscapes, and people in Berlin and will mount an exhibition of their work.

Students will learn the techniques and practice of color photography—composition, lighting, color correction, editing, and sequencing—alongside studying the history and development of documentary photography in Germany since the 19th century. Project fieldwork sites may include Tempelhof airfield (a Nazi-era airport made famous during the 1948–1949 Berlin Airlift and now used as a public park as well as reception center for refugees), flea markets, and the Berlin U-Bahn.


The program includes a wide variety of activities, such as a visit to the Bundestag (parliament), guided tours of historical sites, such as the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, a concert at the Philharmonie, museum visits, and walking tours. We will take at least two day-trips to other German cities, such as Dresden and Potsdam. All of these activities and excursions are designed to maximize the students' cultural experience. The language acquisition courses incorporate the planned activities and excursions into the curriculum.


Students will be housed in small efficiency apartments where they will be able to cook their own meals.

Students are responsible for most meals but the program also provides welcome and farewell dinners and hosts several meals during excursions.


These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

Summer 2023

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $5,410 $5,410
Program Fee $5,500 $5,500
Transcript Fee N/A $120
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $15,850 $15,970

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: May 6, 2024
  • Departure: June 5, 2024


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above, which usually means departing the U.S. one day prior. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyExperientialEd to update your travel registry.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.



No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non-U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out if any visas may be required for participation.


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.

International Student Identity Card

An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is optional. ISIC is the only internationally recognized form of student ID, endorsed by UNESCO. If purchased in the U.S., the card also carries with it a supplemental insurance policy, which can prove to be very helpful in the event of serious injury. You may purchase this card through www.myisic.com. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days. 


The Duke in Berlin program director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the Global Education Office.

Susanne Freytag

Lecturing Fellow, Germanic Languages and Literature and Summer Program Director

Kayla Soltis-Katella

GEO Assistant Director


Deadline: February 1st. This program has rolling admission. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

PriorityPriority is given to applicants who apply early and meet the prerequisites.

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum GPA.

Non-Duke studentsNon-Duke students are welcome to apply for this program. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.


Please start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

To apply to this program, please submit the following items using MyExperientialEd:

  1. Online application
  2. Transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate


Duke in Berlin Hosts Pop-Up Photography Exhibition

Duke in Berlin students in Chris Sims’ Documentary Photography course hosted a pop-up art exhibition of their work. The exhibition will travel back to Duke with the students and will be on view in October at the Center for Documentary Studies. 

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A Night at the Opera

"I was reminded yet again how rich the cultural history of Germany is and how different it is from that of the United States."

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Sally on Berlin: The City is the Classroom

“To really learn about what's going on in this world, both past and present. I now know that I have to step beyond books and talk to people to get a real understanding.”

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The Best of Times, Not the Wurst

"Being exposed to another culture has sparked my interest in learning more as well as makes me want to continue sharing my Native American culture with others."

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Duke in Berlin — Riley Hiers

"It was the picnics in Berlin’s massive Tiergarten, the casual Sunday swims in the Wannsee, and the €5 Döners (which never disappointed) that made my six-week stay in Berlin more than I could have ever hoped for."

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Stephanie on Duke in Berlin: Fitting Right in!

“One thing that really surprised me about the spring program, even after completing the summer program, is how independent I became in Berlin. By the spring I felt much more like a resident of Berlin, instead of a Duke student on study abroad."

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