Destination HeidelbergPreliminary Information: Some Quick Facts

Academic calendar

The academic year starts in October and is divided into a winter semester and a summer semester.  In the winter semester, lectures generally take place from mid-October to mid-February. In the summer semester the lecture period is from mid-April to late July. Some individual exams may take place in the weeks following the end of the lecture period, but there is no university-wide exam period after the end of the lecture period.

Before the start of term, in September or March, exchange students have the opportunity to attend a four-weeks’ preparatory German language course.

Fields of Study

The University offers a very wide spectrum of academic disciplines in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences and Life Sciences, including Medicine.

As an exchange student, you are relatively free in selecting classes from a variety of disciplines.

 Note: Courses in Medicine or Dentistry are generally not available to exchange students. Additional restrictions may apply for some courses in the Biosciences and in Law.

Exchange students are admitted as “short-term students” (Kurzzeitstudierende) and are thus not eligible to earn a degree from the University during their exchange period.

Language of Instruction

While some of the Master’s programs are taught completely in English, the language of instruction of most Bachelor’s programs is German. Therefore, in order to be able to profit from the whole spectrum of courses, you  will need a solid knowledge of German.

However, individual courses are taught in English in a variety of disciplines. If you have some flexibility regarding your selection of courses, you may be able to study at Heidelberg successfully even with very little German, or no German at all. 

To get an impression of the courses taught in English, please have a look at Heidelberg’s course catalogue, where you can search for English-taught courses.

Students who need additional support regarding their German language proficiency can find a large variety of different courses at the University’s International Study Center. All exchange students are encouraged to attend the preparatory German language course in the month before lectures begin (September/March). Language instruction at all levels specifically designed for exchange students is also available during the semester, supplementing regular university courses.

In addition, the Institute of German as a Foreign Language Philology offers a whole range of courses targeted towards exchange students, next to its regular degree programs.

Various language partner programs and a buddy program for international students are also available.