Berlin - Metropolitan & Urban Studies


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.


Why Berlin?

Stroll through the streets of Berlin, and you’ll see soaring modern buildings that incorporate cutting-edge sustainable technology. Around the next corner, you’ll find art galleries, cafés, and shops lining old cobblestone streets. As a city that has been built and rebuilt over the past century, Berlin remains a city of contrasts—and of innovation. Come and study abroad in Berlin, and experience the energy and excitement of this amazing metropolis.

What You'll Study

Using Berlin as a case study, this English-taught program examines issues relevant to major cities today. Through comparative and interdisciplinary courses, you study topics such as cultural identity, multiculturalism, popular culture, and urban studies to better understand the development of the city and its culture.

Berlin will be your classroom. Imagine touring Berlin’s neighborhoods and exploring the city’s architecture as you learn about metropolitan development and urban planning, or attending and then discussing a local theater event as part of your pop culture class. Wherever possible, our courses take advantage of the city’s many historical, artistic, and cultural sites, and several courses include a hands-on, practical component.

In addition, your learning is enhanced by an extended program-related trip to destinations like Warsaw, Poland, or Vienna, Austria, which provides a comparative context for your studies. On this trip, you tour neighborhoods, visit museums, attend lectures, and meet with local university professors to discuss the topics you’re learning about.

Daily Life

We want you to feel at home in Berlin, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer a variety of courses that explore German History, Culture, Art, and Society through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our experienced faculty, as well as course options at the prestigious Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, will facilitate a unique academic experience and provide you with new perspectives both in and out of class.

You take 15–19 credits per semester— all IES Abroad courses are worth 3 credits, excluding the required 4-credit German Language courses. All courses in this program are taught in German. You can combine your IES courses with courses at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU).*Credits for HU courses will vary. In addition, you have the option to participate in an internship after the end of your IES courses.* For internship students, the German Social Market Economy course is required.

These are your options in the program:

  • Metropolitan & Urban Studies Program courses (optional, 3 credits)
  • Courses from our Security Studies & International Affairs Program (optional, 3 credits)
  • IES Abroad German language course (optional, 4 credits)


This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.

If you have sound German language skills and test into GR401 or higher, you will also have the option to take a German-taught course offered in our Language & Area Studies Program as part of your course load. Students who test into GR351 will be considered for this option on a case-by-case basis.

  • Evolution of the Modern City: Urban Development and Architecture
  • Bio-Politics and Migration in the 21st Century
  • Urban Design and Sustainability
  • German Popular Culture
  • Urban Identities in Contemporary Europe
  • Urban Design and Sustainability
  • Transatlantic Cinema: Germany and the U.S.
  • Bio-Politics and Migration in the 21st Century
  • German Language in Context: Novice Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Competent Abroad
  • Let's Talk Business (Wirtschaftsdeutsch)
  • The Politics of Gender: Berlin Past and Present
  • Espionage and Diplomacy in International Politics
  • Security in Europe: Actors and Challenges
  • The Politics of Gender: Berlin Past and Present
  • Germany in the Global Economy
  • Espionage and Diplomacy in International Politics
  • Europe and the Middle East
  • Global Marketing for Startups
  • Security in Europe: Actors and Challenges
  • Germany in the Global Economy
  • Europe and the Middle East
  • The Entrepreneurial City
  • German Popular Culture
  • Urban Identities in Contemporary Europe
  • The Politics of Gender: Berlin Past and Present
  • The Restructuring of Urban Space
  • Evolution of the Modern City: Urban Development and Architecture
  • Urban Design and Sustainability
  • The Entrepreneurial City
  • The Restructuring of Urban Space

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Berlin, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country. Field trips are offered at an extra cost. Here are a few possible destinations:


2 days | fall & spring

Explore Germany’s second-largest city on this weekend trip to Hamburg, an economic and cultural hub with Europe’s third-largest harbor, stunning modern architecture, and trendy shopping areas.


1 day | fall & spring

The original location of the Bauhaus, a famed school of design founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, Dessau hosts some of the most iconic buildings of this era of architectural design, as well as the brand-new Bauhaus Museum. Join us on this day trip to Dessau to celebrate the Bauhaus Centenary.


1 day | fall & spring

Tour Potsdam, the former residence of Prussian kings, and its stunningly beautiful castles, parks, gardens, and scenic waterfront views.

IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.

Course-Related Trips

IES Abroad Berlin organizes course-related trips that complement IES Abroad courses, and contribute to your general knowledge of German culture and society. Past activities have included:

  • Architectural tours of various city districts
  • Visits to museums and art galleries
  • Architectural tour of UNESCO World Heritage compound
  • Tours of Berlin's markets and multicultural neighborhoods
  • Visits to start-up hubs within Berlin

Required Program-Related Trip

This program includes an exciting course-related trip to either Vienna or Warsaw where you learn firsthand about historical and contemporary challenges cities are facing. The trip is a required, integral academic component of this program. The cost is included in the program fee.

Vienna, Austria

5 days | Fall

This academic trip will provide you with a new perspective on the Austrian capital. In addition to exploring its world-famous historical sites and museums, you will have the opportunity to discuss urban governance topics with local scholars and explore the city’s rich architectural heritage in relation to urban development.

Warsaw, Poland

5 days | Spring

You will explore European history and urban development in a comparative perspective through this academic trip to Poland’s vibrant capital, viewing its distinct historical and cultural heritage through architectural tours, museum visits, and encounters with the local academic community

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Berlin is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips and walking tours that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.


The program begins with an orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Berlin staff, your fellow students, and the city of Berlin.

Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience (CORE™) begins right when you arrive and continues through the semester with activities focusing on academic and cultural adjustment. Detailed information about housing, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.

Following orientation, you divide your time between intensive German language instruction and a series of lectures, tours, and trips related to the history, art, and culture of Berlin.


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café-- not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is centrally located for you to reach the IES Berlin Center as well as public transport. Please note that meals are not included in the program cost. Students usually prepare their own meals at home or dine in affordable student cafeterias or restaurants.

Living with Locals - We offer you the unique experience of living with local residents throughout the city. Hosts may be single adults, single parents, or families. Most housing is in apartments. You will live in a single room or with another IES Abroad student.

Apartments - We offer single rooms or same-gender shared rooms in mixed-gender student apartments. Live with other IES Abroad students in apartments with fully equipped kitchens.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events


Redefine the way you live and learn in Berlin through our cultural events, which may include visits to:

  • Concert halls and opera houses
  • German history museums
  • Jewish Museum
  • German Parliament


Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Spring 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2020 $15,200 $2,920 $230 $18,350

Scholarships & Aid

Program-Specific Scholarships

Robert McNeill Need-Based International Business Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 2 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Robert McNeill, a member of the IES Abroad Board of Directors for 25 years (6 years as Chairman). Open to students who have an interest in international business. Majors might include management, marketing, economics, finance, international relations, and social and behavioral sciences.

Adelyn Dougherty Leander Need-Based Urban Issues Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

Open to students who have an interest in urban studies (a major in urban studies is not required).

Our Center

The IES Abroad Berlin Center is located in Mitte, the historical center of Berlin with its vibrant cafés, restaurants, and galleries. It is within short walking distance from Humboldt University, the world-famous Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, and the governmental district.

Features at the Center include:

  • Classrooms, student lounges, and study spaces
  • Small library
  • Outdoor terrace
  • WiFi and printer access
Last updated May 2020

About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
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