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About Germany
Country Handbook

Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen


Program Snapshot

Enjoy life in a city with the highest concentration of students in Germany. The university is located in the midst of rolling hills and forests just north of the major economical hub of Frankfurt. Students can choose from a wide range of courses in German or English in strong fields such business and economics, psychology, sports, natural sciences and law.

Option 1: ISEP Exchange on Semester or Academic Year program (German, English)

The university town of Giessen is located 60 km north of Frankfurt, in the midst of pleasant countryside, surrounded by rolling hills and forests. Historic buildings and modern construction are the center of this conference and retail center. The university administration building is situated in downtown Giessen, not far from the Liebig science museum, the city theater and the botanical gardens. The university also owns a 19th-century castle which is often used for meetings and special programs.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester.

ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Excellent.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students

Program Dates
Academic year: early October to July;
Semester 1: early October to February;
Semester 2: early April to July.

Fast Facts
Giessen, Germany (pop. 80,000)
Student Enrollment: 25,300
Language of instruction: German, English
University Home Page
International Pages
Courses in English

Agriculture, Home and Food Economics, Environmental Management; Biology and Chemistry (botany, chemistry [inorganic, organic, physical, solid-state], ecology, genetics, microbiology, plant physiology, zoology); Economics and Management; History and Cultural Studies (ancient & modern history, archaeology, art history, East European history, oriental studies [includes Arabic & Persian], theology); Language, Literature and Culture (English [literature & linguistics, TEFL], Romance languages & cultures [French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish], Eastern European languages & cultures [Polish, Russian], German [literature & linguistics, comparative literary studies, teaching German as a foreign language], theater arts); Law; Mathematics, Information Science, Physics and Geography (geoecology, geomorphology, physics [atomic, nuclear, solid-state], regional planning, theoretical plasma & biophysics); Psychology and Sports (psychology [developmental/social, scientific & empirical methods, work/organisational], sport education, sport medicine & history, training sciences); Social and Cultural Studies (art & music education, education, politics, sociology, special education); Centers (computer, international development & environmental studies, philosophy, radiation, regional development, tropical research).

Courses taught in English
Giessen offers some courses in English every semester in the following fields: Law; Social Sciences; Psychology and Sport Science; Business and Economics; Language, Literature and Cultural Studies; Mathematics, Computer Science , Natural Sciences.

Courses for Graduate (Masters) Level
ISEP students are welcome to attend Graduate courses at almost all faculties. There are no admission test scores required but it is always advisable to introduce oneself as an exchange student in the first session.

Academic Notes
Giessen's interdisciplinary program groups the departments of classical and modern languages with art history, business studies and economics, education, history, musicology, political science, religion, physical education and sociology. An interdisciplinary theater arts program stresses Anglo-American-style professional theater training. Agricultural science, in combination with genetics, is a traditional and unique center of excellence at Giessen; strong programs in biological and ecological sciences are also featured. The physics, chemistry and mathematics departments have outstanding study and research facilities. The mineralogy division features advanced research in analytical geochemistry and the new interdisciplinary research center promotes and supports research activities in the dynamic field of life sciences.


Transcripts are issued once all course work has been submitted by the students and grades have been entered into the electronic system by the professors. Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student’s home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes
Language Requirements: 2 semesters of German is recommended. 3-4 semesters of German is recommended to follow courses conducted in German. Students wishing to enroll solely in English-taught courses are not required to provide German proficiency (provided courses are available).

Language Notes: A German language course is offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year through the university language center. Contact hours per week: 4. (offered once or twice per week). ISEP participants may be able to take additional German language courses by individual arrangement. Note: students who want to attend courses in the German Department must participate in an introductory tutorial entitled "Einfuehrung in die Literaturwissenschaft".

Pre-session: A pre-session German language course is offered for an additional fee at all levels.

Students who want to attend courses in the German Department must participate in an introductory tutorial entitled "Kernkompetenzen Germanistik".

Special ISEP Application Instructions
Graduate students are encouraged to apply for ISEP placement.

Hints for Researching Courses
Regular JLU Giessen course offer listed in the Giessen Electronic Course Catalogue

STEP 1: Click on Lehrveranstaltungen and you can choose the respective faculty: e.g. Fachbereich 05 Sprache, Literatur, Kultur.

STEP 2: click on Veranstaltungen and choose a language department.

HINT: If you click on Kommentare anzeigen course descriptions become visible where available.

STEP 3: also check the Electives: http://evv.uni-giessen.de > Lehrveranstaltungen > Zentrum für fremdsprachliche und berufsfeldorientierte Kompetenzen > Außerfachliche Kompetenzen

You can also choose form the ERASMUS Tutorials. These are not listed in the electronic course catalogue and will be sent to the students directly in avance.

Researching courses in English on a German university homepage can be difficult and confusing. Here find a quick guide to navigating a university website, finding courses in both English and German, and some translations of common words and major fields of study.
Download the ISEP Guide to Course Selection

Housing and Meals
As a student in Giessen, you can choose between private accommodation or life in a student hall of residence. JLU's residence services offer you active support in finding a place to stay. Students are housed in sinlge rooms in one of the residence halls located off campus: http://www.uni-giessen.de/cms/international-pages/study/around-gi/accommodation
Married students housing is possible but very competitive. Students receive meal benefits which can be used to prepare meals or eat at cafeterieas (19-21 meals per week)


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: 300 euro. This will vary by personal spending and consumption habits.

Students should always inform their host ISEP coordinator of their arrival time, which should be during regular business hours (M-F). Germany has a safe and reliable network of public transportation which will take students from the airport to their host site easily and most people in Germany will speak fluent English.

Students have the option to be picked up at the train station by a student "Study Buddy." Students should try to arrive between Monday and Friday during working hours.

Every semester, the International Student Advisory Office runs an orientation program for foreign students during their enrolment period. The "Info-Table", for students from abroad who are at JLU Giessen for the first time, always takes place during the two to three weeks before commencement of the semester. There will be cultural events throughout the semester.
Orientation programs are given by the international office in conjunction with local students, individual departments, and the city of Giessen. ISEP office and home students. Students will have the chance to ask logistical and organizational questions and be given a local tour. Individual orientations can be set up for students arriving outside of the normal orientation time.

Student Activities
Giessen lies in the heart of Hesse and is surrounded by the romantic Lahn valley and rolling tree-topped hills while offering a broad range of cultural programs at the same time. Whether you like water skiing on the nearby lakes, paddling or rowing on the Lahn River, roaming the nature reserves and recreational areas in the Vogelsberg and Wetterau, visiting medieval castles and villages, or whether you prefer the cinema, theatre, and museums - Giessen and environs have it all. We trust that you will feel quite at ease in Giessen, and wish you a profitable and stimulating stay! Every year, JLU’s International Student Advisory Office organizes numerous interesting excursions designed to give you the opportunity to learn more about Germany and explore new locations. To ensure that you get a place on excursions of your choice, and to help us with our planning, please give us sufficient advance notice. To obtain further information or to sign on to excursions, just drop by during Frau Hapelt"s counselling hours in the International Student Advisory Board. Her office is in the Goethestrasse 58, room 37.

Excursions 2010

We will also try to arrange a student mentor to assist you directly upon your arrival. This Study Buddy Programme was very recently launched by our office. "Study Buddies" are German students who are familiar with Giessen and the university’s structures and will give international students a helping hand during their first semester.

Student Activities: http://www.uni-giessen.de/cms/international-pages/study/around-gi/activities

The university, which dates back to 1607, is one of the traditional universities of the German-speaking countries. It offers a combination of theoretical and applied learning and research in natural, social, and philological sciences unique in the country. Facilities are in mini-campuses throughout town. Total enrollment: 24,000 (1,850 international students).