Folkwang University of the Arts

Image of a building and train in Essen, Germany
Study at a well-known arts university in Essen, Germany during the Spring semester.
Location: Essen, Germany
Language of Instruction: English / GermanEnglishGerman
Term: Spring
Program Type: Semester or Academic Year
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Study music, theatre or dance at a combined art and music university in Germany.
  • Gain knowledge of the professional and everyday world of artists.
  • Interact and learn with students from all over the world.
  • No German language required.
  • Collins Scholarship available. See Further Reading below for more information.

For more than 80 years Folkwang has stood for outstanding teaching, learning and production in the arts. The "Folkwang School of Music, Dance and Speech" was founded in 1927 by opera director Rudolf Schultz-Dornburg, stage designer Hein Heckroth, and choreographer Kurt Joos. In 1928 the school merged with the National School of Trade and Applied Arts and later became the Folkwang University of the Arts. Its main campus is in the former Werden Abbey in Essen, with additional facilities in Duisburg, Bochum and Dortmund. All four campuses are open to KU students.

Folkwang hosts about 1,600 students from almost every country in the world and produces more than 300 public events each year. It is known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the arts and its role as a training ground for developing young artists. The university has eight in-house stages and partners with cultural institutions around the region.

Folkwang offers a full spectrum of arts disciplines. Refer to the Academic Information section below for additional information on fields of study.


  • Communication Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Photography


  • Music and Instrumental Training with the following instruments: Accordion, Baroque cello, Baroque flute (Traverso), Baroque violin, Bassoon, Cello, Clarinet, Double Bass, Flute, Guitar, Harp, Harpsichord, Horn, Oboe, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Recorder, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Viola, and Violin.
  • Integrative Composition: Composition and Visualization, Electronic, Instrumental, and Pop.
  • Jazz: Performing Artist, Artistic Producer, and Improvising Artist
  • Music of the Middle Ages
  • Voice: Concert, Song, Oratorio, and Music Theatre
  • Orchestral Playing
  • Music Teaching
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Musicology

Theatre 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 the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has a population of approximately 5.2 million and is the largest urban conglomeration 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. For 2010, the Ruhr region was named one of the European Capitals of Culture.  

Students live in Essen but can easily take courses at any of the four Folkwang campuses - Essen, Duisburg, Bochum and Dortmund. In addition to Folkwang University of the Arts, Duisburg-Essen, Bochum and Dortmund all have multiple higher educational institutions in the cities, making this region rich with student life and interesting activities.

KU students may take courses at any of the four Folkwang campuses. Many courses are offered in English, although theory courses (not applicative work) and some others require knowledge of German. Students studying music will need to identify a faculty mentor if they desire to take individual instrument/voice lessons. Some mentors may have limited availability to accept exchange students. Students not needing individual lessons can take regular courses offered at the university.  To learn more about being an exchange student at Folkwang see the Incomings section.

Course Information

Students typically earn 12 to 18 KU credit hours during one semester abroad. You are encouraged to use the following resources to research available courses and to determine if these courses will meet your academic requirements at KU:

Folkwang Study Courses:

View Folkwang Study Courses for a comprehensive list of available areas of study at Folkwang.

Folkwang Course Catalog:

Use the Folkwang Course Catalog, called the "Folkwang Organizer", to search specific course options. Individual and group lessons may not be included.

KU Course Equivalency Database:

See KU Course Equivalency Database for a list of courses currently pre-approved for KU credit (approved equivalency) and courses that students have had approved for KU credit in the past (possible equivalencies). Use 'Folkwang' in the search field.

German Language Courses:

German language courses are offered to exchange students before and during the semester. More information on German language course options is provided by the Folkwang International Office upon acceptance to the program.

Credit Approval Process

Visit Credit Approval Process for detailed information on the procedure for obtaining KU course equivalency approval for courses you plan to take abroad. All courses taken and grades earned while abroad must be posted as KU equivalents on a student’s KU transcript and grades will figure into a student’s KU GPA. The relevant KU academic department will make the final decision regarding posting of credit, and their application toward graduation.

Folkwang guarantees affordable student accommodation for all exchange students. Housing is arranged through the Studentenwerk Essen-Duisburg (Essen-Duisburg Student Union) and most exchange students will live in Essen. Both private and shared student units are available; price varies based on the room type. Students use kitchen facilities in their accommodations to prepare meals, or purchase inexpensive student meals in campus cafeterias.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

Open to KU undergraduate and graduate students with a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA (exceptions considered). Students should be able to produce a portfolio sample upon request by Folkwang.

Drs. Dean T. and Elisabeth Collins Scholarship

The Drs. Dean T. and Elisabeth Collins Scholarship is a fund created by an estate gift from the late Dean and Elisabeth Collins for semester study abroad in Germany. Awards up to $10,000 per semester or $20,000 for year-long programs to Germany. Open to all majors but preference for students studying music and particularly opera. Additional preference given to students studying German language and culture. Minimum 2.5 GPA requirement. Apply online at Drs. Dean T. and Elisabeth Collins Scholarship.

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

A wide range of scholarships are also available through the German Academic Exchange Service. Please contact KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement for more information.

Folkwang Site for International Exchange Students