Helmut Schmidt University

Located in Hamburg, Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) is one of our most unique partners - originally known as the "University of the German Federal Armed Forces Hamburg", the university is primarily home to officers and officer candidates of the Bundeswehr (German Federal Armed Forces).

Students on exchange are able to study along with these officers and participate in HSU's unique student life, including an annual "Trimesteranfangsfeier" (Start of term ceremony), which includes a ball where soldiers and students alike are invited to dance. Hamburg itself, the 2nd largest port in Europe, provides a gateway to coastal Germany, and is famed for its reputation in the music world - known as a place where a variety of British bands, including the Beatles, got their start, and is famed for its extensive offering of musicals and operas.

Key information


Hamburg, Germany


English, German


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



2024-2025 applications

First come first considered for remaining spaces until

Winter 2025: August 15, 2024

University-specific additional requirements

No reference letter required; minimum GPA 2.7. See Eligibility section below for details.

2025-2026 applications

Open November 1, 2024

Program details

HSU has four faculties, which offer a variety of programs, including Economics, Engineering (computer, electrical, mechanical), History, Political Science, Psychology, and more. One of their strongest focuses is on their mechanical and electrical engineering fields, particularly in automotive engineering and telecommunication engineering. 

German course information can be found online. Click on the relevant faculty and then, under "Studiengänge", select a degree program to access a Module Handbook for detailed course descriptions. For courses specific to Economics and Social Sciences in German, please download the pdf here

Information on selecting courses, or for English courses available (here & here), English courses in the field of Economics, please visit the attached documents from their respective links. Please note that offerings are subject to change but consult with the exchange advisor (sidebar) for more information. 

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

The academic year is divided into 3 trimesters of 3 months each (Fall, Winter and Spring), running from late September/early October to the end of June. 

Fall runs from Oct-Dec, Winter from Jan-March, and Spring from April-June.

  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.

    As accommodation costs are very minimal (see "accommodation" section for more information), this is our most affordable semester-long exchange opportunity. Meals on campus cost, on average, 3-4€. 

    Hamburg 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.

    Our office administers several awards, including the Global Access Fund (based on a funding-first model where students apply prior to committing to a global learning program) and the Global Learning Award (students apply after being accepted to a global learning program; the amount varies year-to-year as the money is split among chosen recipients). Students may only receive these awards once. Please see the funding page, linked below, for more information.

On-campus housing is available, and offers the most affordable accommodation of all semester-long exchange opportunities (typically free/minimal cost). Students will be housed mostly around plain-dressed or uniformed soldiers.

The residences are fairly modern, with furnished rooms (20 square metres), separate toilet and washroom, and shared living room, showers, and a spacious and fully-equipped kitchen amongst individual community groups.

Students can also eat at the Mensa and Cafeteria, where affordable and good-quality meals are available - 3 daily choices of meals costs roughly 3-4€. The Officers Club, which is another option at HSU, also offers good options for lunch and dinner.

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-). Preference is given to students in the CMSS program

Courses at HSU are primarily taught in German, so 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.

What's so special about Helmut Schmidt and Hamburg?

Other than getting to immerse yourself in a military university (which they assure does not require daily roll-calls!), HSU also offers a top-ranked library and excellent sports, gym, and fitness facilities producing a variety of unique activities including krav maga, beach volleyball, kite surfing, triathalon training, etc. It also is the only semester-long exchange to offer free accommodation for students! The city of Hamburg also has a wide variety of attractions to visit.

Do I need to speak German?

For studies in German it is required. 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 or filling out forms.

For more information on opportunities to learn German in Hamburg as well as resources about living and studying in Germany, check out this link:

Is the HSU campus Accessibility-friendly?

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.

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program 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

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The exchange advisor for this program is: Tara Jorgensen

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 global learning 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 Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.