Justus Liebig University Giessen

Located in the picturesque Lahn River Valley 40 minutes from Frankfurt, Justus Liebig University Giessen (founded in 1607) is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the German-speaking world. 

The city of Giessen has 75,000 inhabitants, 36,500 of which are students, making it the city with the highest concentration of students in Germany. Giessen offers opportunities to enjoy the nearby lakes, paddling or rowing on the Lahn River, as well as close proximity to medieval villages and castles (like Schloss Rauischholzhausen, pictured). JLU has a student population of about 26,000, including about 2,200 international students. Similar to many European universities, the campus is spread throughout the city, with buildings and facilities grouped together according to their subject areas and situated in various locations around the city.

Key information


Giessen, Germany


English, German


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



2022-2023 applications

Fall 2022 and Winter 2023 

Apply from November 1, 2021 to January 10, 2022

University-specific additional requirements

One academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below.

2023-2024 applications

Open November 1, 2022

Program details

Programs Offered
Giessen offers a wide variety of programs, including Archaeology, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Culture & Literature, Dance, Drama (Theatre Studies), Economics, Geography, German Studies (Linguistics & Literature), History, Mathematics, Musicology, Physical Activity & Health, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Russian Studies, Sociology, Spanish, Sport Science (Kines), Theology, and more.

Unique Programs to Giessen
Giessen also offers unique programs in Environmental Management, Nutritional (Food) Science, and Slavonic Studies.

A list of courses that are taught in English at Giessen can also be found online.

Students at Giessen typically take 24-30 ECTS credits per semester. 1 UCalgary half course equivalent (3 units) = 6 ECTS credits.

There are three types of courses at JLU: Lecture (Vorlesungen), Seminars (Seminare) and Tutorials (Uebungen/Tutorien). Course information can be found online under Lehrveranstaltungen (In German / English). 

Virtual International Semester Program (VIP) 

The VIP invites international students from our partner universities around the world to gain international study experience as complement of their studies in their home countries. International students get to choose one or more seminars and lectures from a varied study catalogue taught completely online. This offer includes over 70 online courses from all 11 faculties at JLU at undergraduate and graduate level, held in English, German, Croatian, Spanish and Russian language. As the offer is part of the regular JLU curriculum, international students enrolled will benefit from an international learning environment.
In addition to the specialized courses, the VIP offers interdisciplinary online courses and exclusive places in an online German language course for beginners.  
For more information on the VIP program click here or check the brochure.
UCalgary students can also take courses from the virtual Master’s program “Sustainable Transition”  through the VIP as part of their exchange.

The German winter semester (fall) runs from October -February and the summer semester (winter) from April - July. 

The academic year is divided into two semesters.

  • "Winter" semester runs from early October to mid-February, with exams to late March
  • "Summer" Semester runs from early April to mid-July, with exams for a few weeks following. 
  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations, etc. in your budget planning.

    In addition to tuition, airfare, and personal spending - JLU recommends students budget around 750 euros per month. Accommodation costs average around 200 euros per month - one of the lowest costs in Europe. 

    Expect approx. € 680 per month (including accommodation, health insurance, subsistance, broadcasting fees) plus a (re)registration fee of around € 250 for your student ID card which includes the “semesterticket” (free public transport within Hesse) and a contribution to the students’ union in order to profit from cheaper prices in the student restaurants, halls of residence, etc. The (re)registration fee has to be paid at the beginning of each semester (see your letter of acceptance for details).

    Giessen cost comparison vs Calgary: Click Here

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Internal and External Funding opportunities for study abroad in Germany, including DAAD awards, the AGEC award, etc. are available on the funding page.

    UCI administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.

Exchange students at Giessen are guaranteed a place in residence if they apply by the deadline. Giessen offers many residences throughout the city, and a map is available here showing residences in proximity to various Faculty campuses around the city, or to the main university building (Uni-Hauptgebäudes). Accommodation costs average €350 per month including utilities, internet and linen. 

Please keep in mind that you can move in the hall of residence before the start of the semester (i.e., if you participate in the introductory language course). You can start your rental contract either on the 1st or 15th day of each month. The prices for rooms (all with internet access) vary according to the duration of your stay.  

You can also sometimes find free private rooms to rent from outgoing students of JLU to incoming exchange students (see previous link above), or look into off-campus accommodation (Wohngemeinschaft  -WG), which ranges from €200 to €400 per month.

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at the U of C who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-).

Courses at Giessen are primarily taught in German. If courses are all taken in English, we still recommended that applicants have completed a minimum of German 204 (or have an A2 level of German) before departing for this exchange. For most courses, applicants should have a command of German at the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) at a minimum, or have completed at least two 300-level or above courses in German. Certification of language proficiency may be required. Students do have the opportunity to take German language courses during their stay. 

Please beware that health insurance is mandatory in order to study at German universities. Students from Non-EU-Countries need to apply for a German public health insurance, which can be done upon arrival in Giessen - for questions about whether your own travel medical health insurance may be sufficient, please contact the exchange advisor. 

An academic reference is required for a complete application.

Do I need to speak German?

For studies in German it is required, however for classes in English it is recommended that you have an intermediate understanding of German (205 or equivalent). In daily life English speakers are able to function fairly well in German society with a basic knowledge of the language for shopping and eating out, etc. but it can be more difficult in terms of navigating housing, websites, or filling out forms.

Are there language programs at Giessen?

Giessen offers a wealth of course options in German - from evening classes (free of charge!) during the semester, to intensive pre-semester cultural/language programs, to language mentoring. Before each winter semester, you can attend a 100+ hour International Summer Course, or before each summer semester a shorter International Spring Course. Both courses include intensive German Language Courses, excursions, workshops, and more. These are offered at a variety of levels, from absolute beginner to more advanced classes. For registration and more information on language-learning options, please see: http://www.uni-giessen.de/international-pages/language-courses/in AND https://www.uni-giessen.de/internationales/sprachkurse

For the International Summer Course exchange students pay a reduced fee of € 430 for 6 ECTS of credit (est.)
For the International Spring Course exchange students pay a reduced fee of € 150 for 3 ECTS of credit (est.).

What's so special about Giessen?

Giessen is well known for being a great bike-friendly, student-oriented city - it currently has the highest student density per capita of any university town in Germany, making for a lively social scene. You can also find our more info from the university's page on Giessen and the surrounding area. Giessen is also home to the world's first mathematics museum, and the entire town is heavily influenced by it focus on science and its theatre community.

The university also runs fun and very affordable excursions around and outside of Giessen to different locations each year. To register or see upcoming options, visit their Excursions page

What supports or services are available at Giessen? 

The university offers services for students with accessibility needs. There are study and computer rooms adapted for those with audio-visual accessibility needs, a room for diabetics in the Neue Mensa for insulin injections, a transport bus for wheelchair-users, and accessibility-friendly residence options. For information on accessibility and support services of campuses across Europe, please check out Inclusive Mobility. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.

InfoTisch - Introduction Week:
During the study introduction week (InfoTisch) mentors will provide information concerning students' studies in Giessen. They will help with enrolment and inform students about all important dates which should not be missed. The InfoTisch usually starts two weeks before the start of lectures in the winter semester and one week before the start of lectures in the summer semester. Mentors welcome students during that period every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. For more details have a look at: https://www.uni-giessen.de/international-pages/study/enrol

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The exchange advisor for this program is: David Boggs

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.