Welcome to the Furtwangen University (HFU) website. Are you thinking about sending your child abroad to study and looking for the best options - innovative degree programmes taught in English, high quality standards at reasonable prices and perhaps most importantly, a safe and supportive environment? Then look no further — we offer all of that, and more. We know it's a big decision to make and we're sure you have a lot of questions. On this page we've tried to address some of the concerns you may have and give you the information you need to help you and your child make the right choice. We think you've come to the right place. We may be small, but we have a lot to offer!
Thank you for considering Furtwangen University.
Furtwangen University lies in the scenic Black Forest region of southern Germany. This beautiful area of unspoiled countryside, with its rolling hills and vast forests, is one of the most popular holiday areas in Germany. But Furtwangen's location in the very heart of Europe means many of Europe's major cities, such as Freiburg, Strasbourg, Stuttgart and Zürich are not far away. What's more, this is one of the fastest-growing and most vibrant economic regions in Europe, home to many global companies such as Porsche, Daimler, Bosch, Siemens and SAP, with whom HFU maintains excellent contacts. Furtwangen University is the ideal study location for those who want to be close to the cutting edge, without giving up quality of life.
Furtwangen University (HFU) is a state-run university of applied sciences with around 6000 students. We are located on 3 campuses in and near the Black Forest area. Being small enables us to focus on quality and the needs of our students. We have a great deal to offer - a dynamic, international atmosphere, forward-looking degree programmes, exciting research opportunities, high-tech facilities, a safe and supportive learning environment, top quality teaching, and close links with the business sector - all in the stunning natural setting of the Black Forest region.
With over 50 innovative and practical degree programmes at both bachelor's and master's levels, and the option to do a doctorate in some fields, we provide a wide range of academic opportunities. Our strong international orientation means we offer an ever-increasing number of programmes taught entirely in English, besides our bilingual and German degree programmes. Students from over 80 different countries around the world have already graduated from HFU. Almost half of our degree courses include an internship in a foreign country and we encourage our students to take exchange semesters abroad, too. We make this easy by providing all the organizational support students need, including the option of studying at one of 140 partner universities around the globe. All our degrees are internationally-recognized and our accreditation award means the high quality of all our degree programmes and services is guaranteed university-wide. Over 170 professors, with top academic and professional qualifications and broad-ranging international experience, provide outstanding teaching. High rankings in European university league tables reflect the excellent reputation for teaching,research and employability which we enjoy among students and employers.
Our students benefit from small study groups and friendly, personal contact with professors and staff, as well as from our outstanding support services and facilities. These include ultra-modern laboratories, a high-tech IT infrastructure and one of the best university libraries in Germany. As an Elite Sports university, we also make it easier for top athletes to continue their studies while competing. Excellent study conditions and optimal support in a safe and unspoiled environment, mean a great learning experience for your child, and peace of mind for you. And a practical, top quality, "Made in Germany" degree from a prestigious university guarantees excellent career prospects.
It is possible to go on to do a postgraduate master's degree and even a doctorate (PhD) in some fields. Our doctoral programme, which is organized in cooperation with affiliate universities, has allowed many of our master’s graduates to take this step, some of whom have now become professors themselves.
As a university of applied sciences, we specialize in innovative and practical academic programmes specifically-designed to provide the applied skills and knowledge our graduates will need in the modern working world.
There are 2 semesters per year; the winter and the summer semester. Most programmes at Furtwangen University start in the winter semester. This starts at the beginning of October and continues until the end of February, including the exam period. Some study programmes start in the summer semester, which lasts from mid-March until the end of July, including the exam period. The Orientation Programme for international students takes place in the two weeks prior to the beginning of lectures.
The degree programmes are made up of a series of modules which are completed over a period of several semesters. These are usually taught in the form of lectures. Project work and presentations, often carried out in groups, are an integral part of our programmes. Many of the English and bilingual programmes have a strong international focus, including foreign languages such as French, Spanish or Chinese and intercultural communication modules, as well as integrated exchange semesters and foreign internships. International students have the option of doing an internship in Germany or choosing another country. These, together with the teamwork and soft skills taught and practised during the programmes, prepare students well for a career in the global marketplace.
We use the standardized credit point system (ECTS) now common in most European universities. ECTS credits are awarded for each successfully completed module. The workload of a full-time student for one semester amounts to 30 credits (or approximately 900 hours). This works out to an average of 20 hours of lectures per week with the rest of the time taken up with homework, assignment and project work, and study or revision. ECTS credit is also awarded for internships and preparation of thesis work as these are part of the academic programme. This system makes the transfer of credits from other universities, including those from courses taken during exchange semesters, much easier.
Bachelor's study programmes at Furtwangen University generally take 7 semesters (approximately 3 and a half years). The first two semesters are the foundation studies and are an introduction to the subject. The 3rd and 4th semesters are the advanced study period where students focus on particular areas by choosing electives. In the 5th and 6th semesters, students usually complete internship and exchange semesters. Study semesters abroad can be carried out at one of our many partner universities or at another university of the student's choice. In the 7th semester students write their bachelor's thesis.
Master's programmes are postgraduate courses, some of which are consecutive, designed to build upon one of our bachelor's degrees. Others can be taken following a period of professional work experience. Our master's degrees generally have a duration of 3 semesters, the first 2 semesters being taught semesters and the 3rd, the thesis semester.
If your child takes a degree programme taught in English, they don't have to be able to speak German, but it is a good idea for them to try to learn it. It will make their everyday life easier, help them make friends faster and an additional foreign language also looks great on a CV! We do our best to help by offering free German classes to all international students enrolled at HFU.
A quality, "Made in Germany" degree programme from Furtwangen University probably costs a lot less than you think. Thanks to German government subsidies, students from the European Union or the European Economic Area pay no tuition fees for any of our bachelor's programmes. And the same applies for the majority of our master's programmes. (As of Winter Semester 2017/18, a fee of €1,500/semester will be charged for international students from outside the EU and EEA.) Other administrative fees amount to a total of €130/semester.
The cost of living in Germany is also lower than in other parts of Europe, and prices in our area are lower than in most other German university towns. The cost of living for students is currently estimated at around €550/month. This includes accommodation and health insurance. The following will give you some idea of current prices:
|Student dormitory||€ 250-300/mth|
|Single apartment||€ 280-350/mth|
|Medical insurance for non-EU students under 30||€ 80/mth|
|Canteen lunch||€ 2.80|
|Beer in restaurant (0.4 l)||€ 3.00|
|Milk (1 l)||€ 0.70|
Please note, for visa purposes your child will have to submit proof of income of €720/month for the entire time they are in Germany.
The number of hours non-EU students on study visas can work is strictly regulated and part-time work can also be difficult to find if German language skills are inadequate. However, scholarships from German funding organisations and from HFU are available for students with outstanding results.
The programme coordinators for each degree programme will help you through the entire planning process - from the paperwork, including applications, visas and work permits, to finding accommodation and getting the right insurance. Exchange students from our partner universities receive all-round assistance from our award-winning International Center. Your child will also be assigned a student buddy who will contact them by email to offer help, even before they arrive in Germany.
Arriving in Germany and settling in
Your child will be met on arrival and will then take part in a two-week orientation programme which includes help with legal formalities and enrolment, as well as an intensive German course. The programme coordinators are always on hand to help in any way they can. Your child's buddy will also be around to help them settle in and to sort out any problems which may arise, whether it's translating, organizing a telephone card or explaining how the recycling system works.
To help German and international students get to know each other, the International Center works with the students' organization, the International Student Community, to organize numerous excursions and events, intercultural workshops and seminars for students. The university also organizes a Guest Family programme to help students learn more about Germans and their culture.
Problems during studies
Whatever problems might arise, whether it is an academic problem related to the university course or some kind of personal problem, perhaps related to accommodation, or just plain homesickness, we have experienced, professionally-trained staff who are there to help. Close relationships between staff and students mean students can approach teaching staff, programme coordinators or the International Center at any time for advice. If they cannot help, they will tell your child who to contact. The university has a network of advisory services which offer free academic and personal counselling to all undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The Furtwangen Campus, the original and largest of the 3 campuses, is located in the centre of the small, picturesque town of Furtwangen (c. 10,000 inhabitants), in the heart of the beautiful Black Forest. Furtwangen was historically an important clockmaking town and the university has its origins in the former clockmaking school. The modern campus, with its high-tech labs and IT infrastructure, is home to 5 faculties: Business Administration and Engineering, Business Information Systems, Computer Science, Digital Media and Health, Safety, Society.
The Schwenningen Campus is situated in the twin town of Villingen-Schwenningen (c. 80,000 inhabitants) approximately 30 kilometres east of Furtwangen. Students studying at the Schwenningen campus can take advantage of all the facilities this bustling town has to offer, from shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés, to a modern indoor swimming pool, an ice rink and cinemas. Established in a former clock factory, the campus architecture is a mix of historic and ultra-modern buildings, including the award-winning library completed in 2011. It is home to 3 faculties - the HFU Business School, the Faculty of Mechanical and Medical Engineering and the Faculty of Medical and Life Sciences.
The newest and smallest campus in Tuttlingen (c. 35,000 inhabitants) is located in an area of lush green countryside, commonly known as "Medical Valley", in the centre of the medical technology industry. The town is built around the Honberg Hill, site of a ruined medieval fort, nowadays used as a picturesque location for festivals and concerts in summer. Tuttlingen is a world centre of medical equipment production with 50% of the world's surgical equipment manufactured here. The campus currently has one faculty - The Faculty of Industrial Technologies
Practical degree programmes
HFU graduates have excellent career prospects due to the applied nature of our innovative degree programmes. As a university of applied sciences, our academic programmes are specifically designed to provide graduates with the practical skills and knowledge required in the working world. Many of our programmes have an integrated internship semester, where students gain real life work experience. The research, which is an important part of many of our master's degree programmes, is also carried out to match the specific needs of end-users, to find practical solutions for real life situations.
HFU cooperates closely with the numerous high-tech firms in the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering and in the automotive and computer industries which are located in this area of southern Germany. Professionals are invited to lecture or are involved in developing curriculum and also act as internship or thesis partners.
These factors explain why Furtwangen University is ranked highly in the area of employability by both national and international businesses and by our students themselves.
Working in Germany after graduation
Businesses in Baden-Württemberg urgently need skilled workers, so extremely favourable entry and residency requirements for foreign students and graduates from outside the EU are in place to encourage them to remain in Baden-Württemberg after graduation. Permanent residency status can be applied for after only 2 years of employment in Germany. More information on current jobs can be found here.
Students from any of our partner universities who wish to study at Furtwangen University for one or two semesters, must be nominated by their home university. Applications for all master's programmes should be sent directly to the faculty responsible for the programme. All other applications should be made to the Admissions Office. More information can be found here.