Trier University of Applied Sciences

Image of Germany City
Study Design or Environmental Studies at an innovative university in Germany.
Location: Trier, Germany
Language of Instruction: English
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 and live in the oldest city in Germany.
  • Take Design courses in English.
  • Available for exchange during the Spring semester only.
  • Collins Scholarship available. See Further Reading below for more information.

Trier is Germany's oldest city. Among the ancient Roman ruins and architectural treasures is the main campus of the Trier University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Trier), a modern university committed to innovative and practice-oriented education. Hochschule Trier was created in 1971 by the merging of two 19th century schools focusing on trade and the arts. The university now has three campuses, including Germany's only zero emission campus, and offers a selection of specialized degree programs in design, technology, business, law, computer science, and environmental studies. Approximately 7,200 students are enrolled across the three campuses. The institution focuses heavily on interdisciplinary work, innovative teaching methods, and career preparation. This program is ideal for KU design students as well as environmental studies students looking to further their studies at a vibrant and interdisciplinary institution.

The historic city of Trier was founded more than 2,000 years ago and is the oldest city in Germany. It was home to six Roman emperors and has many roman ruins including the impressive Porta Nigra, a four-story structure that was once part of the city's walls. Today Trier is a university town with a population of approximately 100,000. Located along the scenic Mosel River, Trier lies in a valley between vine-covered hills. The city is in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate near the border with Luxembourg and less than a 30 minute drive from France and Belgium. The Mosel Valley is known for its vineyards, numerous castles, and ample outdoor opportunities.

Hochschule Trier offers more than 50 Hochschule Trier degree programs. Many courses are in German, but students will find a good selection of courses in English in the Computer Science, Design, Environment and Technology, and Sustainable Business and Technology programs. No German language experience is required for these programs. 


The KU-Trier design exchange program has been in existence since 2002. Students study in the Communication Design program at Trier, with approximately 200 other students. The program offers a broad range of courses focusing on technical, theoretical, creative, and practical aspects of visual communication. Students will gain valuable practical design experience relevant to many different career paths. KU students often take, but are not limited to, courses in:

Design Typography, Advanced Typography, Alphabet Design, Packaging Design, Experimental Design, Drawing, and Photography.

The Communication Design program is located at the Campus for Art and Design in Trier. Other Design departments include: Architecture, Fashion Design, Gemstones and Jewellery, Interior Design, and Intermedia Design.

Environmental Studies

The Environmental Campus at Birkenfeld is one-of-a-kind. It offers students an interdisciplinary education at the only zero emission university in Germany. Students can study:

Biotechnology, Environmental and Process Engineering, Engineering Physics, Environmental and Business Economics, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Planning, and Economic and Environmental Law.

Course Information

Students typically earn 12 to 15 KU credit hours during one semester abroad at Trier. Design students typically receive credit for VISC 414 (4 credits) plus ADS 560 and/or VISC 560 (multiple credits). 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:

Design Course Modules (.docx): Sample list of courses in the Communication Design department. Additional courses are available. Contact the KU Study Abroad coordinator for information on additional design courses or coursework in other departments.

KU Course Equivalency Database: This is 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 'Trier' in the search field.

German Language Courses: Students have the option to take German language courses during the semester for credit. Students with no background in German language are encouraged to take a German language course during the semester.

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.

Most students stay in university residence halls and can choose between single rooms, double rooms, or single apartments. The Trier International Office reserves some rooms for exchange students and will provide guidance to secure housing. Students are encouraged to begin the housing selection process soon after acceptance to the program.

Students will have access to shared kitchens to fix meals on their own. Students cafeterias (mensa) on campus also provide a wide selection of inexpensive meal options and many local restaurants offer student discounts.

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.

Considerations for Germany

Germany has laws in place to protect ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQIA+ individuals, the differently abled, and other groups. Same-sex marriage is available in Germany and most large city governments officially encourage and host LGBTQIA+ pride events.  Most German universities have student groups and community organizations to support LGBTQIA+ students.

Germany’s cities and public transportation are generally accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Older sections of the cities and smaller towns may be less accessible due to centuries-old architecture, cobblestone streets, and small indoor spaces. Germany offers services for people who are mobility, sight, or hearing impaired.

Source: U.S. Department of State country information pages and Diversity Abroad.

Additional Resources

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 undergraduate and graduate students. All majors are able to apply, however, students interested in design coursework must be majors in the KU Design program. Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA required. No German language proficiency is required for the Design or Environmental programs. Students internested in other coursework must have four semesters of college-level German (or the equivalent).


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 (DAAD) Please contact Study Abroad & Global Engagement for more information.