• <div style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/60/width/1600/height/300/crop/1/29999_6856950268_ed6442d1ca_o.rev.1450805264.jpg)"/>
  • <div style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/60/width/1600/height/300/crop/1/29997_13537953983_5cff365fc4_o.rev.1450805192.jpg)"/>
  • <div style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/60/width/1600/height/300/crop/1/29122_10401981_1004028349629458_8008107117841765376_n.rev.1446045049.jpg)"/>
  • <div style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/60/width/1600/height/300/crop/1/29998_8071086937_683d5a422f_o.rev.1450805230.jpg)"/>

Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Philipps-Universität Marburg

Wilkommen in Deutschland!

Situated on the river Lahn and surrounded by forests, Marburg welcomes you! This beautiful and rare medieval city is just as famous for its surroundings as its famous alumni, including the Brothers Grimm! Enjoy the safety and security of this beautiful small town while studying in either English or German.

ISEP-Exchange Academic Immersion: Excellent fields include languages, education, history, law, economics, and theology (students should have working German knowledge). 

This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  It is a good choice for someone that is a world traveler OR has never left their hometown.

Learn more about Phillipps-Universität Marburg here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Marburg, Germany

Languages of Instruction

German/English - 3 semesters of college-level German or equivalent required

Program Dates

Fall 2018: Early October to February

Spring 2019: Early April to Late 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.
  • Language Requirement: A minimum of 3 semesters of university level German or its equivalent must be completed prior to the program.  
  • 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 Good.


The city of Marburg, on the river Lahn in western Germany, is surrounded by forests and is situated about 45 miles north of Frankfurt-am-Main, where you can take a plane or train to virtually anywhere in the world. It is one of the few early medieval cities of almost unchanged character.


Situated on the river Lahn and surrounded by forests, Marburg welcomes you! This beautiful and rare medieval city is just as famous for its surroundings as its famous alumni, including the Brothers Grimm! Enjoy the safety and security of this beautiful small town while studying in either English or German.

ISEP-Exchange Academic Immersion: Excellent fields include languages, education, history, law, economics, and theology (students should have working German knowledge). 

Class descriptions are posted online later than what many colleges and universities outside of Germany are accustomed to. The reason for this lies in the differing academic calendars. The classes for the spring semester in Marburg are published in January; classes for the fall semester in Marburg are published in June. We recommend looking at classes from the previous academic year to get a feel for what classes will be offered in the corresponding semester of the current academic year. 


ISEP-Exchange: University-level Courses 

American Studies, Anthropology, Art (Studio Art & Art History), Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Economics, Gender & Feminist Studies, History, International Studies, Linguistics, Mathematics, Media Studies, Modern Languages & Literatures, Music, Organizational Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, Philosophy, Physics, Political Economy, Political Studies, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology. 




Courses in English
Researching courses in English on a German university homepage can be difficult and confusing. Here find a quick guide to navigating a German 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

Language Notes: Semi-intensive beginners-intermediate German language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year on a fee-paying basis. Contact hours: 8 hours per week.

Pre-session A 4 week pre-session, German language course is offered before the start of each semester on a fee-paying basis.


Some courses on ISEP-Exchange can be taken in English. However, participants should have very good working German knowledge as the majority of courses and the orientation program is conducted in German. 


Enrollment in certain subjects, especially health sciences, is subject to prior approval by the university.



At most universities, the winter semester runs from mid-October to March and the summer semester from mid-April to Mid-July. The period of study is generally counted in semesters rather than years.

Teaching at the universities includes lectures and seminars. Vorlesungen (lectures) will, as a rule, take up the full amount of time designated, and the number of students is not limited. Discussion and questions concerning the lecture take place during the accompanying Übungen, small discussion groups. The Übungen usually feature homework assignments, research and the writing of papers.

The Seminar, dedicated to small-group learning, is headed by a professor. It covers a subject area in more detail and requires that each student contributes, by way of an oral presentation on a specific topic. Students are encouraged to participate intensively in two to four seminars per semester. Proseminare makes up the Grundstudium (first few terms of study) until successful completion of the intermediate exam, after which Hauptseminare are taken to finish the course of study. Proseminare may also be taken in the Hauptstudium.

A common practice is the akademische Viertel. Classes are scheduled on the hour but do not actually begin until 15 minutes past. This is signified by a “c.t.” (cum tempore) after the listed time of a meeting. If this practice does not apply to a particular meeting, an “s.t.” (sine tempore) will appear after the posted time. Check with other students before assuming that the akademische Viertel is practiced by individual instructors.


Independent, self-directed study is heavily emphasized at German universities. There are usually no definite assignments of a certain number of pages to read in textbooks. German students are expected to do independent primary and secondary reading during the course of their studies. Independent study is a crucial element of the academic freedom of a German institution and is designed to encourage self-motivation and promote interesting discussion since not everyone has read the same material. While less demanding on a daily basis than study at a U.S. institution, independent study may ultimately be more rigorous in its demands.


Assessment is based on oral and written reports in seminars for which the student receives a Schein, or certificate (a grade can be requested). A certain number of Scheine are required in order to take the intermediate exam. The state exam, for which the student receives a grade, assesses the quality of his or her entire course of study. Grades are given on a five-point scale: 1, very good, to 5, unsatisfactory or failing. However, by introducing the ECTS credit system, the German „Schein“ is becoming less common.  Students need to take 30 ECTS credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.

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


Course Approvals

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

Student Life

The University of Marburg is not only a German university steeped in tradition, it is also the world’s oldest university, founded in 1527 as a Protestant university. The Uni Marburg – as locals often refer to the Philipps-Universität - has been a place of research and teaching for nearly five centuries.

Marburg has approximately 86,000 residents. With 20,000 students and 6,000 people working for the university, the saying goes that, while other cities may have a university, Marburg is a university. The majority of students in Marburg come from all over Germany. The Philipps-Universität also has more than 30 international partnerships and exchange agreements with other colleges and universities worldwide. There are some 2,000 scientists and scholars teaching and performing research at the university in Marburg, and more than 400 of them are professors and university lecturers. 



Students should always inform their host ISEP coordinator of their arrival time, which should be during regular business hours (M-F). Germany has a safe and reliable network of public transportation which will take students from the airport to their host site easily and most people in Germany will speak fluent English. 

For detailed description and schedule of orientation please refer to http://www.uni-marburg.de/studium/raa/studinternational/oeinternational More info will also be sent to students with the letters of acceptance. For the IUSP program, there will be a 2-day Orientation Program which will provide assistance in the accomplishment of all formalities connected with the opening of a bank account, taking out a health insurance policy, or the recognition of an existing foreign health insurance, assistance with the authorities, finding one’s way around Marburg etc.


But there is more to life than just work. For this reason, the Philipps-Universität also promotes other talents. The language center offers qualified courses as well as a self-study center. The university leisure sports program offers more than 30 different disciplines including numerous water sports at the university boathouses on the Lahn River and Eder Lake, as well as martial arts and disease prevention classes with Yoga and Shiatsu. In addition, the guesthouse Hirschegg, which is owned by the Marburg University Association, can be used for skiing and hiking trips in the Austrian Alps.

As in sports, so in music: students and staff sing together in the uniCHOIR or play music together in the Student Symphony Orchestra (SSO), the Young Marburg Philharmonic or the student Big Band. The music house in the botanical garden can be used for practice. And the more eloquent speakers of the university meet in the Marburg debating club.

Those who prefer to enjoy culture passively can visit the university museums and exhibitions: the art museum, the antiques and casts collections, the mineralogical, religious and ethnological exhibitions as well as the “Anatomicum” museum. The main tourist attraction, however, is the castle. It is Germany’s largest secular Gothic building still in existence, and it contains the University Museum of Cultural History. The old and new botanical gardens do not only attract visitors in the summer months. Tropical greenhouses and botanical exhibitions can be visited all year round.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in single-occupancy rooms in residence halls run by the Studentenwerk, the official student organization. For the Exchange option, a monthly stipend covers meals and housing.

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 ( )

Note: Spring may have added cost


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 February 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, nor fees to enroll in courses at partner institutions, 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.