University of Bonn


Image of Bonn, Germany

  • Spend a semester or academic year in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany.
  • Study German language and culture at a well-known research university. Some coursework in English is also available.
  • Live in university residence halls with private bedrooms.
  • Collins Scholarship available. See Further Reading section below for more information.
  • KU's program at the University of Bonn is in transition and applications for Academic Year 2021-22 are not yet open. Contact Jenna at KU Study Abroad for more information if you would like to apply for this program for the 2021-22 academic year.

Bonn is a vibrant university city, a cultural center, and a crossroads of international development. Located south of Cologne on the Rhine River, Bonn was the capital of West Germany until unification in the 1990's. Bonn remains a federal city ("Bundesstadt") and a center of politics, administration, and national and international affairs. It is a hub of international cooperation and the headquarters of 19 United Nations agencies plus numerous other international organizations. The city hosts numerous international conferences plus prestigious concerts and exhibitions. Bonn has a pouplation of 300,000 and its picturesque city center features 18th century architecture, a lively daily market, and Beethoven's birth house.

The University of Bonn (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn) was founded in 1818 under Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia. Its 200 year history has made it one of Germany's most recognized institutions for research and higher education. The university is internationally renowned for top-level science, research-oriented study programs, and its international flair.

With 38,000 full-time students, including almost 5,000 foreign students from more than 130 countries, the Univeristy of Bonn is one of the largest universities in Germany. It is located in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany and a city known for its international profile, top-rated museums, and charming riverside setting. The university's excellent reputation in teaching and research and central location in Europe make this an ideal option for students looking for a flexible and immersive program in a German university setting.

Students work in consultation with the Bonn International Office to select their semester courses. Most students take courses offered by the International Office in advanced German language plus topical courses in subjects such as German culture, media, politics, and history. These courses are specially designed for visiting students and count towards the major/minor for KU German Studies students. Students with sufficient German proficiency may also enroll in any regular course offered by the university. Courses are available in the full range of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and business and economics, including:

African/American Studies, Anthropology, Archeology, Art History, Biology, Chemistry, Communications, Comparative Literature, Economis, English Literature, European Studies, Geography, Geology, History, Linguistics, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, Sociology, and more.

Most courses at Bonn are taught in German, however, some coursework in English is available. Any student may take courses taught in English. Coursework in English is available in:

American Studies, Astronomy, Biology, Economics, English Literature, Geography, History, Literature, Physics, and Political Science.

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:

Course Information: Information on courses offered by the Bonn International Office and available to visiting students at the University of Bonn.

Bonn Course Catalog: Search among all course options available in all departments at Bonn. Catalog can be used in German or English. To search for courses taught in English, go to Course Overview > Search for Lectures > Language of instruction > English.

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 'Bonn' in the search field.

International Office Courses (.pdf): The Bonn International Office offers a selection of German language and topical courses for visiting students. Most KU students will take International Office courses during the regular semester at Bonn. See your study abroad coordinator for more information on these courses.

Credit Approval Process

Visit the Credit Approval Process page 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.

Students live in residence halls with private bedrooms and shared kitchen and bath facilities. All rooms are furnished and come with a basic dorm kit that includes sheets, towels, and basic kitchenware. Also included in the program fee are a stipend for meals, a regional transportation pass, and a one-week trip to Berlin.

The program includes a four-week introductory orientation course after arrival in Bonn. The orientation course includes intensive language instruction (for credit) as well as cultural activities, excursions, social events, and academic advising.

The University of Bonn International Office has been organizing its Junior Year Program for more than 70 years. Students can expect to be supported by a full range of student services. This high level of support begins during orientation when students receive assistance with practical matters, enrollment, and all aspects of adjusting to life in Germany. It continues during the semester when students can participate in a number of activities organized specifically for visiting students.

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 KU students with sophomore status or higher and a 2.8 cumulative GPA who have completed 4 semesters of college-level German or the equivalent by the beginning of the program. Students may be accepted with less language on a case by case basis.

Drs. Dean T. and Elisabeth Collins Scholarship

The Drs. Dean T. and Elisabeth Collins Scholarship is 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.

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.