Studies in Vienna, Austria

As a BCA Marburg student, you will spend the first eight weeks of the program in Vienna, Austria, focusing on German language and culture at the prestigious Internationales Kulturinstitut Wien language school. There you will study alongside students from around the world who are also learning German. During your time in Vienna, you will have ample opportunities to explore your host city and improve your language proficiency through daily practice.

Required Courses in Vienna

While in Vienna, all students take:

  • German 202  (you will be placed in a class based on your individual proficiency level)

Language Proficiency in Vienna

Even if you have no previous experience studying the German language, you can still participate in the BCA Marburg program.  All students spend a total of eight weeks in Vienna, Austria for an intensive German language courses before moving to Marburg.

You will take a placement exam prior to the start of the program to determine your German course level in Vienna.

Studies in Marburg, Germany

In Marburg, BCA students have the opportunity to study alongside German students at one of Germany’s oldest and most distinguished universities, Philipps-Universität. As a supplement to the Philipps-Universität courses, BCA also offers a number of course options taught in German by local instructors hired by BCA.

Required Courses in Marburg

There are no required courses while in Marburg. The required course for the program is completed during the Vienna portion.

Course Listing

Depending on your language level, semester and interests you may take courses from one or more of the following categories:

Popular Departments

  • Arts & Humanities: Art, Art History, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Theology
  • Business & Communications: Business Administration, Economics
  • German
  • Pre-Professional Studies: Education
  • Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics
  • Social Sciences: Archaeology, Psychology

This may not be a comprehensive list. Please view the course listing links above.

Language Proficiency in Marburg

Once in Marburg, you will choose semester courses based on your individual needs, interests, and German language proficiency. The more progress you make during the pre-semester course in Vienna, the more options will be available to you.


When searching for courses, you will notice terminology for Philipps-Universität courses. The guide below will help you to understand these terms.

  • VL = Vorlesung. Vorwiegend trägt ein Hochschullehrer vor, und die Studierenden hören zu—nur begrenzte Gelegenheit für Fragen und Diskussion.
  • UE = Übung. Verschiedene Niveaus, oft mit Diskussion und Hausarbeiten zur Vertiefung eines Vorlesungsinhaltes.
  • PS = Proseminar. Einführende Seminare im Grundstudium mit Referaten von Studierenden.
  • SE = Seminar. Für Fortgeschrittene, fast nur Referate von Studierenden, verbunden mit Hausarbeiten.
  • KO = Kolloquium. Gesprächsrunde für Examskandidaten und Doktoranden.


BCA students are free to take courses not necessarily in their degree program as long as they have the fundamental knowledge necessary for success in the course.  For example, a student would only be eligible to take a master’s level peace and conflict course if they could demonstrate prerequisite knowledge in the material.

Teaching Style

You will find the teaching style similar to the U.S.  Some instructors will use a lot of PowerPoint presentations, while others deliver course content in a more traditional manner, with questions and discussion being an integral part of the classroom experience.  BCA students are discouraged from attending Vorlesungen since this form of instruction is almost entirely passive and there is often not even a final test to assess learning.  BCA students are encouraged to take Proseminare and Seminare since they generally require group discussion and outside research.


One final examination at the end of the semester is the most common form of student learning assessment at Philipps-Universität.  Sometimes mid-term exams are also included, and sometimes final presentations are the basis of the final grade.  Regular, active participation is expected to earn credit for each class.

Credits/Number of Courses

BCA students must complete a minimum of 12 U.S. credits per semester in Marburg.  Courses are typically 3 U.S. credits, so BCA students can plan on taking at least four or five courses in Marburg.  Remember that BCA also offers its own courses to help students ease their way into the German university system and fulfill important graduation requirements back on their home campus.

Course Registration

Course registration for Marburg starts midway through the pre-semester term in Vienna.  At that time BCA students will receive detailed academic advising from the BCA resident director on how to find and register for classes in Marburg.  Students finalize their schedules during the first two weeks of the semester in Marburg.

In many cases students will want or need to change their schedules after arrival in Marburg, so students are strongly encourage to overload their schedule for the first week of classes and then drop the classes they won’t need.  Be sure to bring contact information for your study abroad advisor, academic advisor, registrar or any other person who can approve courses at your home school.