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Dortmund University Exchange

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer


Dortmund, Germany




SEMESTER: German language proficiency, minimum 2.8 UI GPA, must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. SUMMER: minimum 2.5 UI GPA, must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

Application Due:

10/1 for Spring
3/15 for Academic year
2/1 for Summer

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

University Building

The Technical University of Dortmund and the University of Iowa offer a direct exchange program in which students from both schools remain registered at their own institution, and at the same time receive student status at the guest university. This allows participants to take advantage of all benefits offered by both institutions (including financial aid and scholarships you may presently be receiving).

The Dortmund exchange offers UI students a unique blend of courses that combine language and culture courses with academic work in their major and minor subjects. University studies and life outside the classroom are synthesized in a holistic learning process. From the start, the program focuses on the tools that will enable participants to live independently in their new cultural environment. University, city, and region together function as a large intercultural laboratory.

This includes language practice but goes far beyond it. Special attention is given to integration with local students and the people living in the area. Internships in the region of the Ruhr (one of the most important economic and cultural centers of Germany) and the possibility of field trips to adjacent countries as well as to East-Central and Eastern Europe are some of the special features of the program.

Academic Program

Semester Program

While in Dortmund, you will be able to combine courses in German language and German culture specifically designed for you with classes regularly taught at the university. A culture course makes use of the cultural offerings of the city and region such as the local theaters and opera houses. Your status as a regular student allows you to choose from all courses offered at the university. This enables you to pursue your major and minor fields of study as well as other areas of interest from a German perspective.


The American Studies program of the Technical University of Dortmund offers special intercultural courses that bring American participants together with German students of American culture. This cooperative venture provides a unique comparative analysis of issues in the contemporary culture of Germany and the European Community on the one hand, and the United States on the other. This course also makes it easy for you to establish contacts with German students.

What will a typical schedule look like -- one that will allow you to complete the number of credits you would earn at home? The semester hours in this listing refer to the weekly class hours of a student already proficient in German (one class 'hour" being 45 minutes of class time):

Course Type Hours
German language 4
German and Central European culture 3
Intercultural course (e.g. Health Care in Germany and the U.S.) 2
Courses selected from general offerings 7
Total 16

Students at beginning or intermediate levels of German proficiency will take a battery of language classes and drill, typically earning 12 - 15 s.h. of credit. The exact format of your schedule will depend on your special interests and language needs. Internships may replace courses from general offerings and/or other courses. The exchange can also accommodate those working in special degree programs, honors programs, or graduate programs.

Summer Program - no prior knowledge of German required

The International Summer Program (ISP) at TU Dortmund University is designed to offer excellent students innovative, hands-on study opportunities in a wonderful study abroad environment. The ISP consists of two different tracks that you can choose classes from: Engineering and German and European Studies. In addition to or instead of the track-specific courses, you can also undertake a research project. All courses are in English, and you are encouraged to use this opportunity to acquire basic German language skills or to brush up your German competence in the mandatory German language course. By participating in the ISP, you will build your resume, extend your network, immerse yourself in German culture, and make new friends in a welcoming environment.

Regardless of a student's academic track of choice, all students are required to take a German language course. Placement tests will be taken upon arrival to determine which language level is appropriate for each student. No prior knowledge of the German language is required for the summer program.

Cultural Activities

The Ruhr region is one of the most densely populated in Germany, with literally hundreds of places and events within reach of the university. In addition, the culture classes offered by the American Studies department include excursions and field trips to areas of historical and cultural significance.

Program Dates

The duration of the exchange can last for one semester (spring semester only) or the full year. Because of the German academic calendar, students either study for the full academic year or for the spring semester. The fall term runs from October through early February. The spring term runs from mid-April through mid-July. The International Summer Program runs from the end of May through the end of July. A full list of TU Dortmund semester dates can be found at the following link: TU Dortmund Academic Calendars.

For More Information

Kerby Boschee, Senior Advisor & Program Coordinator
The University of Iowa
Study Abroad | International Programs
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353
Fax: 319-335-0343

The Technical University of Dortmund

The TU Dortmund is a young German university founded in the stormy days of the late 1960s and it has retained much of the dynamic of that period. Some 1,500 of its 25,000 students are degree students from abroad. The university's sixteen schools offer state-of-the-art education and training in the natural sciences, technology, economics and business administration, education and special education, social sciences, theology, humanities, and journalism. Dortmund's School of Planning offers the largest and most prestigious regional and urban planning program in Europe. Dortmund is the only university entrusted with five projects for EUREKA, the European research project for innovative technology. Centers for the Environmental Sciences and the Study of East Central Europe as well as Germany's oldest Women's Studies Program offer special opportunities to the university community.


The university is located in Dortmund, a city of 600,000 inhabitants in the Eastern part of the Ruhr. The city, whose origins date back to 890 A.D., has grown into a modern center of business, high-tech industry, education, and culture. The old districts of town with their restaurants and pubs contrast with the newer sections dominated by daring modernist and postmodern architecture. Together, they give the city its characteristic blend of tradition and innovation. Attractively renovated Art Nouveau facades shape the architectural personality of many streets, indeed whole quarters. In the shopping areas of the inner city, pedestrians have reclaimed the streets for their own use. And, more than half of the city's incorporated area is devoted to green spaces: gardens, spacious parks, and even forests right in the city limits.

Immediately upon arriving at Dortmund, you will find that the city is "off the beaten track" -- at least as far as tourists are concerned. University, city and region introduce you to everyday life in Germany. There is much to explore here. Your metro ticket will take you to every corner of the city and the Ruhr. A well-designed and efficient system of bike routes connects the various sections of Dortmund and neighboring cities and regions, leading far into Belgium and Holland.

building in dortmund

The monthly listings of cultural events, theater, opera, concerts (Dortmund has the largest venue for cultural and sports events in Germany, the Wesyhknhalk, where mega stars are regularly featured) are published in a special journal of its own and give you quick and up to date information about what is going on. Dortmund also is home to one of the major soccer teams of Europe, Borussia Dortmund.

The Ruhr is a major metropolitan area and one of Europe's most exciting regions. More than 5 million people live in 53 cities, including Dortmund, Bochum, Essen, and Duisburg, with Cologne, Bonn, and the vineyards of the Rhine Valley on the periphery. Within a radius of 300 miles, more than 130 million people make their home. A well-kept metro network, available to students at no cost, connects the whole area and opens up the vast cultural offerings of the region to each of its inhabitants.

The Ruhr used to be known for mining and heavy industry -- topics that can be studied in the region's many technological and industrial museums. In the past two decades, the region has undergone a dramatic change towards becoming a post-industrial society, at times dubbed "Helicon Valley" because of its future-oriented research, which includes solar energy. It is the most successfully restructured industrial region in the world and it is hard to believe how green such a region can be: almost three quarters of the Ruhr is devoted to green spaces.

The Ruhr has retained its characteristic identity as a region while developing a new cultural diversity influenced by the proximity of neighboring countries such as The Netherlands, Belgium, and France, and because of decades of immigration from all parts of Europe.

The national mining museum, the German Cookbook Museum, a gasometer turned into a museum, a design center in a former coal pit, these are just a few of the many unusual attractions the Ruhr District offers to learn about German culture of the past and the present.

Living Arrangements

Dortmund is in the lower third among Germany's major cities with regard to housing costs. Once you are registered for the program, Dortmund staff will assist you with finding accommodation even before you arrive.


You may express a preference for one of three modes of accommodation -- single room in an apartment living with other students ("Wohngemeinschaft"), dorm room, or living with a family. Although Dortmund may not always be able to honor your first choice of accommodation, you can be assured that you will be placed in a German-speaking environment together with people who appreciate you and your background.

Travel Arrangements

Students will make their own travel arrangements with advice from Study Abroad.

Local Transportation

Dortmund enjoys excellent public transportation (busses, S-Bahn and U-bahn). Your student travel card will allow you to get almost anywhere in the Ruhr region. Beyond that, Dortmund is well-connected to the rest of Germany and Europe via rail. The closest major airport is in Dusseldorf.


For students participating for a semester or an academic year: German language proficiency, 2.8 GPA.

For students participating in the International Summer Program, German language proficiency is not necessary. 2.8 GPA

Students must be in and maintain good academic and disciplinary standing to be eligible to study abroad.



Students pay regular resident or non-resident tuition and fees to the University of Iowa plus a study abroad administrative fee. Students are responsible for housing, meals, transportation and personal expenses in Dortmund. For a total estimated cost of attendance for the Spring 2016 semester, please click on the following PDF: PDFSpring 2017 Total Estimated Cost.


The Summer 2018 cost has not yet been calculated. Please refer to the following link for a total estimated cost from Summer 2016:PDFSummer 2017 Estimated Cost.

Note that in addition to the tuition fees for this exchange program, Dortmund charges a "service package fee", which includes accommodation, German health insurance, a public transportation ticket (valid for all public transportation in Dortmund and the surrounding areas), cultural programs and excursions, and pick-up service from Dortmund's train station. The fee for this in summer 2017 was 1650EUR.

The summer program is "Summer Hawk Tuition Grant" eligible.

How to Apply

Schedule an appointment with the Dortmund Exchange program coordinator to review the application process. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353.

After meeting with your advisor, click here to apply.

Application Deadline

10/1 for spring semester; 3/15 for the academic year; 2/1 for summer.

Confirmation Materials

Acceptance Packet

The following items should be READ and kept for your records:

PDFPayment and Withdrawal Policy

PDFUI Financial Aid Information

Health Insurance Information

There are no photos available for this program yet. Do you have any photos to share with us? If you do, please contact us at:

1111 University Capitol Centre
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

Phone: (319) 335-0353
Fax: (319) 335-0343