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Folkwang University of the Arts

Folkwang University of the Arts
Study the arts in Essen, Germany at Folkwang University during the Spring semester.
Essen, Germany
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Germanic Languages & Literatures
Program Type: 
Semester or Academic Year
  • Interact and learn with students from all over the world 
  • No German language required
  • Take German classes throughout the semester with other exchange students 
  • Study design, music, theater or dance
  • Collins Scholarship available. See Further Reading below for more information.
Program Summary: 

The "Folkwang School of Music, Dance and Speech" was founded in 1927; in 1928 the name of the pre-existing Essen School of Trades and Applied Arts was changed to "Folkwang School of Design". For more than 80 years the name Folkwang has stood for outstanding artistic teaching, learning and production – and it has long since become a cultural brand name, far beyond national borders. Its traditional main location is in the former Werden Abbey in Essen, with additional facilities in Duisburg, Bochum and Dortmund, and all four campuses are open to KU students, although all will be housed in Essen. The Folkwang is based upon the idea of the cross-disciplinary interaction of the arts.

Folkwang hosts about 1400 students from almost every country in the world and hosts more than 300 public events each year – always realized in a fresh and new way on our own six in-house stages or together with cultural institutions and partners around the region. Below is a (somewhat complete) listing of all the majors and courses available at Folkwang.

In Design

•    Industrial Design 
•    Communication design
•    Photography

In Music

•    Music and Instrumental training with the following instruments:  
Baroque cello, Baroque cello, Harp, Double Bass, Viola, Violine, Cello, Recorder, Bassoon, Horn, Clarinet, Oboe, Trombone, Flute, Baroque flute (Traverso), Trumpet, Tuba, Percussion, Piano, Accordion, Guitar, Organ, and Harpsichord
•    Integrative Composition:  Instrumental composition, Jazz composition, Electronic, Composition, Composition and visualization, and Pop composition
•    Jazz: Performing Artist, Artistic Producer, and Improvising Artist
•    Music of the Middle Ages
•    Voice: Concert, song, oratorio, and Music theatre
•    Orchestral Playing
•    School music teaching
•    Music pedagogy
•    Musicology

In Theater and Dance (placements more limited in these subjects, but still possible)

•    Musicals 
•    Acting
•    Physical Theatre 
•    Directing
•    Dance: Choreography/Interpretation/Movement Notation/Movement Analysis
•    Dance Pedagogy


The Ruhr region, in North Rhine-Westphalia, has a population of some 5.2 million and is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany. It consists of several large, formerly industrial cities bordered by the rivers Ruhr to the south, Rhine to the west, and Lippe to the north. In the Southwest it borders to the Bergisches Land. For 2010, the Ruhr region was one of the European Capitals of Culture.  

Essen, Duisburg, Bochum and Dortmund are no more than 30-45 minutes apart, at most, so students can live in Essen while taking courses in the other cities fairly easily. In addition to Folkwang, Duisburg-Essen, Bochum and Dortmund all have multiple higher educational institutions in the cities, which make this region rich with student life and activities.

Academic Information: 

Folkwang Site for International Exchange Students

Folkwang offers free online courses to prepare students for their courses and for living in Germany. There are online courses relating to language, study disciplines, and cross-cultural issues. The online course provides students with the first basics of German and support from Folkwang students who speak English (mentors). Students will also find information about living and studying in Essen, and the mentors will give students access to their personal login for the Folkwang University of the Arts online platform.

German Language Program

Students do not need any prior German to take most courses, but theory courses (not applicative work) do require some knowledge of German and the more a student has the better their chance of placement and acceptance.  

About a month before the semester starts, students can take an intensive German course (four weeks, from Monday to Friday). The International Office will provide accepted students with information about the starting time before the classes begin. There will be also German courses during the entire semester that are open to all exchange students.


Folkwang guarantees affordable student accommodation for all exchange students who are accepted. This housing is offered by the Studentenwerk Essen-Duisburg (Essen-Duisburg Student Union). Both private and shared student units are available. In fact, they offer accommodation in various styles: single apartments with a kitchen and bathroom, shared apartments for two to six people, and single rooms with a washbasin, shared shower and kitchen. Prices vary depending on the type of room students select, but that information is clearly laid out after acceptance to the program.

Further Reading: 

Drs. Dean T. and Elisabeth Collins Scholarship
Fund created by estate gift from the late Dean and Elisabeth Collins. Awards up to $10,000 for students on semester or $20,000 for year long programs to Germany.  Open to all majors but preference for students studying music and particularly opera. Minimum 2.5 GPA requirement. Apply online: https://ku.studioabroad.com/?go=CollinsScholarship 

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
A wide range of scholarships are also available through the German Academic Exchange Service (www.daad.de). Please contact the KU Office of Study Abroad for more information.

Folkwang Site for International Exchange Students 


Study Abroad Information Center
To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

Study Abroad Information Center
Lippincott Hall, Room 105
1410 Jayhawk Boulevard
Hours: Monday - Friday. 9AM - 5 PM
Contact: studyabroad@ku.edu

Study Abroad Financial Advising
The Office of Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 pm and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The financial aid officer will be happy to take any questions and can offer individual advising at the end of sessions for specific concerns. For those that cannot attend the weekly Info Sessions due to scheduling conflicts, we also offer appointments for financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students. Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.


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