University of Oldenburg

The cycle-friendly city of Oldenburg is located in northwest Germany between the cities of Bremen in Germany and Groningen in the Netherlands, not far from the North Sea.

Residing in one of the few German cities to escape the war relatively unscathed, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg has become renowned for its environmental focus, top-ranked and affordable organic canteens (cafeterias), and interdisciplinary sustainable development studies programs.

Key information


English, German


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



20/21 deadline

First come, first considered for remaining spaces until full or:

Mar. 15 (Fall, full year)

Oct. 15 (Winter)

University-specific additional requirements

One academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below.

21/22 applications

Open Nov. 1, 2020

Program details

English Programs:

The European Studies program is an English-taught program designed for exchange students, focusing on German language and culture, as well as an option of two thematic clusters: Society, Economy and Politics (Economics, Business, Sociology, Political Science, International Relations, and Law & Society), or Languages, Cultures and Education (History, Literary & Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Education, and Sociology). Students are awarded a certificate at the completion of at least 24 credits per semester of the program. 

In Winter semester, (their sommersemester) Oldenburg also offers selected courses in English in the fields of Neuroscience, Business, Law & Society, Psychology, Marine Biology, and Physics & Sustainability Studies: 2017 Summersemester listings

For those learning German, please visit the Oldenburg Summer Program page for more info on the summer language & culture program. 

German-taught Programs:

Oldenburg offers a variety of programs (modules) taught in German - including Fine Arts, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computing Science, Economics, English, Germanic Studies, History, Math, Media, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Sport Science (Kines), Women's Studies, and more.

Unique Programs to Oldenburg:
Unique Programs not offered at the U of C but taught at Oldenburg (in German) include Dutch Studies, European Studies*, Gender Studies, Migration and Intercultural Relations*, Renewable Energy, Slavic Studies, Sustainability Economics and Management*, and Water and Coastal Management*.       
*selection of courses offered in English (see below for details)

Course Information:

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

Exchange students can choose from the entire list of modules on offer. Oldenburg also offers modules and individual seminars in various courses of study in English: overview of modules offered in English. Click on the black dots under "Fach-Bachelor" (FB) or "Zwie-Fäch-Bachelor" (2FB) by the relevant Faculty and you will see a list of "modules" offered in each Department.

Oldenburg's academic year is divided into 2 semesters. Semesters in Germany are named after the season they end in, rather than when they start (like in North America):

  • The "Winter" Semester runs from early October* to late February
  • The "Summer" Semester runs from early April* to late July 
    *an optional 4-week pre-semester German language program starts approximately one month before semester start. See FAQs for details.

Students are typically not able to finish "Winter" courses before January, so full Academic Year or "Summer"-semester study is recommended. For information on studying German over the summer (July-Aug), please visit the Oldenburg Summer German Language program page. 

  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.

    One of the most affordable options for exchange, Oldenburg's accommodation costs ranges from approximately €200-€400 per month and it offers very affordable Mensas (dining centres) where meals range from €1.5-3 euros.

    Upon registration at Oldenburg, you should also receive a semester ticket (valid for 6 months) for public transit - this includes networks within the city as well as many regional trains in a wide radius around the city. 

    Oldenburg 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.

    Come To Oldenburg Grant Students selected for Oldenburg are eligible to apply for the "Come to Oldenburg" Grant, which supports exchange students with up to 2000 euros for a minimum 4 month stay (award may be competitive). The award is dispersed over 4 months in 500 euro increments. Note: Deadline to apply for this award is Jan 15th in the calendar year you wish to study at Oldenburg. For Fall or Full year studies, please see the link above for details on the documents you will need to prepare to submit to the exchange advisor immediately after the January competitive deadline.

Oldenburg offers affordable options in 11 various Halls of Residence - the cost of living in a student residence ranges from roughly €180 to about €375 per month. If you want to apply to residence, you will be able to apply as a part of the host university application process, if nominated by UCalgary. 

You can also arrange for your own accommodation with the assistance of Studentenwerk Oldenburg (SWO). Applications for assistance with finding accommodation through SWO should also be submitted with the application for accommodation noted above.

You should start looking for accommodation in Oldenburg well in advance (6 months before arrival), as the average waiting time is about 4 months. 

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

Courses at Oldenburg are primarily taught in German. If courses are all taken in English, we recommended that applicants have a basic understanding of German before departing for this exchange. For German-taught 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.  

To improve your German language skills, Oldenburg also offers a summer intensive intermediate German course, as well as short courses throughout and before each semester start (see Additional Info/FAQs in drop-down above for more info).

An academic reference is required for a complete application.

Do I need to speak German?

For studies in German it is required, but for English studies it is recommended that you have at least a beginner's knowledge of German. Most English, non-German 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's useful when navigating housing or filling out forms. See below on information about pre-semester language-learning opportunities!

What's so special about Oldenburg?

Oldenburg not only offers multiple top-ranked and very affordable canteens (cafeterias), but they also offer both a highly recommended Buddy Program as well as tutoring services for incoming international students for studies and integration into life in Oldenburg. Additionally they run trips and events throughout the year as well. There are a variety of things to do and see and various festivals in Oldenburg - where the balance of work and life is considerably more balanced than in North America. 

Student Tips: "The Library was better at Oldenburg - They had a really nice café with newspapers from all over the world, and I didn't even need to buy textbooks - everything was available there. Oldenburg also had the biggest mediatech library in Europe, which was cool. Food was also better - instead of private vendors, they had a cafeteria, where for 3-4 euros one could get a very substantial meal. Student clubs were also great - they worked with the city to put on various events in the city centre. For example “Nacht der Uni” (Night of the University) took place at one point, where a lot of pubs and places around town had discounted prices for students. Most of the faculty went, it was really impressive! It was also easy to make friends.  Only saying that I was Canadian would cause people to want to talk with me. In fact I was called very often “ Der Kanadier” (The Canadian), by people who did not yet know my name. My advice: Talk with everyone you are interested in, most will be very receptive. If they aren’t, you have nothing to lose!"

Is there a pre-semester German language program?

Yes. Every Winter/Summer semester students have the opportunity to take a pre-semester German language course. These courses include 100 hours of instruction over 4 weeks, which is worth 6 ECTS (one U of C half course), however class sizes are limited to 20 students. Courses are designed for students from A1, A2, up to B1 level of German knowledge. For more specific information, including details on costs, please visit: Intensive Pre-semester German Language Courses. Additionally there are also semester-long German language courses! For more information, please visit the page on Semester-Long German Courses.

What supports are available at Oldenburg?

The University of Oldenburg and the Student Administration and Studentenwerk office offer a wealth of support services and assistance for students with accessibility or accommodation requirements. This includes but is not limited to legal advice for students with disabilities, practical assistance and services, representatives to help with general questions, peer supports, counselling services, and disability advice service.

For information on accessibility of campuses across Europe, ESN has created "MappEd!" which allows you to check the accessibility of universities and cities across Europe. 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.

Family-friendly University: Oldenburg is fairly unique in that it offers extensive supports for students that are pregnant/new parents/have young children - the Studentenwerk Oldenburg and Uni-Eltern student association provides supports for pregnant or breastfeeding students as well as students with young families. 

To get a better idea of the campus, check out this video showing Oldenburg University from a bird's eye perspective.

Have questions?

Study Abroad 101

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

Watch Study Abroad 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: Saskia Schaelicke

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.