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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Johannes Kepler Universität Linz

Austria, the heart of Europe and home to the great composers Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven is perfect for German-speaking students looking for a taste of history combined with modern studies and technology. Austria’s magnificent landscape lends itself to numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, swimming, and biking.

Founded in 1966, Johannes Kepler Universitat Linz (JKU) is a modern, campus-style university with innovative interdisciplinary programs in business and technology, and a renowned center for computer research.  Many courses are available in English. The university is located in a residential area 10 minutes from downtown by tram. Total enrollment: about 16,000 students (about 1,500 international students).

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

Learn more about the Johannes Kepler Universitat Linz here!

Program Type



Linz, Austria

Languages of Instruction

German - If you wish to take classes in German you need to have reached the intermediate level of German prior to the exchange

Program Dates

Spring only

Spring 2019: Early March to Early July

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Students do not need any prior German to study abroad in Linz, provided they find enough courses in English to support a full-credit course load. Students wishing to take courses in German should have reached the intermediate level of German prior to their exchange.

  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in application, even if native speaker


Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost.


ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Excellent.


Located on the banks of the Danube, Linz has its origin in a Roman settlement and served as a residence for German emperors during the Middle Ages. The third largest city in Austria, Linz is a flourishing industrial, commercial and cultural center. The main square in the center of the city, laid out as a market place in 1260, is surrounded by a pedestrian zone with a variety of shops and cafés. From Linz, it is an hour drive to the Austrian Lake District with sailing, mountaineering and skiing facilities.


Take courses in either English or German at this modern, campus-based University in the high-tech city of Linz, the third-largest in Austria. One of the European Capitals of Culture, Linz offers modern museums, research facilities and front-row views of the Danube River. Dorms on campus offer eating options, an indoor pool and recreation area, and easy access to classrooms. Located just a 15-minute tram ride from the main square, students living on campus also have easy access to shopping, café’s and Austria”s efficient train system. Innovative, inter-disciplinary programs in business/economics, technology and the social sciences are offered for students at all language levels and pre-session German courses are included in ISEP benefits.

Course Description

Researching courses in English on an Austrian university homepage can sometimes be difficult and confusing. You can use the ISEP Guide to Course Selection to find information about navigating a university website, finding courses in both English and German and some translations of common words and major fields of study. 

Website for Course Availability

Fields of Study

  • Business 
  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Law/Criminal Justice
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Sciences:

    Chemistry,  Physics

  • Social Sciences




Researching courses in English on an Austrian 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

Here is a link to Courses.


Registration and Credit Issues
Students typically register for individual classes with the aid of the international office. Students often must register for each course at the institute that specializes in the target field of study.  Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.

Please note that courses will not be available for registering until shortly before the semester begins.
A Transcript of Records contains the grades of all successfully completed courses. Exchange students are typically permitted to enroll in a variety of courses. However, pre-requisites for all courses must be met before the time of enrollment.


Examinations and Grading Scale

Examinations can take the form of oral and written exams, project work or artistic projects. Depending on the specific purpose of the various orals, they are subdivided into supplementary examinations, final examinations, bachelor, master’s, diploma examinations and doctoral examinations (Rigorosum) for doctoral degree (in form of course examinations, Fachprüfungen or comprehensive exams); with reference to the type of examination a distinction is made between examinations on a single subject and examinations on different subjects forming a single entity (comprehensive exams). Comprehensive exams can be organized as a series of exams or as one single examination before an examination board.

Most of the examinations taken by the students are single subject examinations, i.e. end-of-semester or continuous assessment-based examinations in the individual courses which they attend. Examination dates are to be arranged for the students to be able to finish their studies within the given duration of studies as stated in the curricula. Students have to register online for exams. Examination dates, prerequisites and the period of time during which students can register can usually be found on the university homepage.

The Austrian grading scale is similar to the U.S. system except the system is numerical and a “D” grade equivalent does not exist. An individual grade (Note) is awarded for a class, thesis or part of a large exam. An overall grade (Gesamtnote) is awarded for multi-part exams.


What to Expect
Independent, self-directed study is heavily emphasized at Austrian insititutions. Courses often have no set assignments and students are assessed by one examination or project. While this style of instruction is less demanding on a daily basis in comparison to study at a U.S. institution, independent study may ultimately be more rigorous in its demands.


Link to the University Home Page.


Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Can review the country handbooks for ISEP here as well:



ISEP Placement info: http://www.isep.org/Coordinators/us_placement_notes_english.asp


Please review country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette. 

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Experiential Opportunities

JKU Linz offers internship options for students specifically in a Business, Computer Science, Mechanical or Electrical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics field. Students should have a Junior-level standing. Deadlines for internship applicants may be earlier than posted ISEP-deadlines. For information regarding JKU-Linz’s internship opportunities, please visit their website: http://www.jku.at/content/e262/e49667/e49668/e43905/. German proficiency is a plus and might increase chances of placement but is not a prerequisite.

Student Life


Linz has situated 180 km from Vienna and 140 km from Salzburg and can be reached easily by train or plane. On request exchange students can be picked up from the train station or the airport Linz by a student representative of the REFI (exchange student network) organization. 

During the first weeks of the semester, ISEP participants will receive the following benefits: advice from tutors on their choice of classes, assistance with enrollment and with purchase of health insurance, a guided tour of the town, a tour of the university campus/library, and contacts with students of Johannes Kepler Universität Linz who have experience studying abroad. An additional three-day cultural sensitivity training and excursions (extra fee of approximately 5-10 EURO per excursion)are organized.


The city’s central location provides numerous opportunities for day and weekend excursions, and breathtaking skiing destinations are close by. As an ISEP student, you will be assigned an Austrian student mentor to assist you upon your arrival. The student union also ensures that ISEP students have a great time during their stay in Linz. The team organizes regular events and trips within Austria as well as to Budapest, Prague etc. During its pre-semester program, JKU also offers a complimentary “Cultural Sensitivity” training (free) and various tours to local places of interest (some for a small fee). Numerous sports classes are offered by the University Sports Institute (10 to 20 Euros per semester).

Housing and Meals

Students receive a housing stipend and choose the residence hall of their choice; the stipend covers housing in a double-occupancy room. A stipend is provided to cover the cost of meals.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange program includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing and a stipend to cover the equivalent of 19/meals per week.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)


College Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application


College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses






Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of January 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Experiences of Former Students

Read a story by an ISEP student who studied abroad at Johannes Kepler Universität Linz.