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Dortmund University Exchange

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Spring, Academic Year, Summer


Dortmund, Germany




• Clear Interest and Commitment

• Demonstrated Preparedness/Maturity

• Minimum 3.0 GPA

• Good academic and disciplinary standing

• Semester and Academic Year- Four semesters of college-level German

• Summer- No German language required

• Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing at the time the program begins

• Approval by UI Study Abroad

• Acceptance by host institution

• Attendance at orientation sessions

Application Due:

• September 24 for Spring

• February 4 for Summer

• February 24 for Academic Year

Program Cost:

Check the 'Costs' section under the Application tab.

University Building

The Technical University of Dortmund (TU) and the University of Iowa offer a direct exchange program in which students from both schools remain registered at their own institution, and at the same time receive student status at the guest university. This allows participants to take advantage of all benefits offered by both institutions (including financial aid and scholarships you may presently be receiving).

The Dortmund exchange offers UI students a unique blend of courses that combine language and culture courses with academic work in their major and minor subjects. University studies and life outside the classroom are synthesized in a holistic learning process. From the start, the program focuses on the tools that will enable participants to live independently in their new cultural environment. University, city, and region together function as a large intercultural laboratory.

This includes language practice but goes far beyond it. Special attention is given to integration with local students and the people living in the area. Internships in the region of the Ruhr (one of the most important economic and cultural centers of Germany) and the possibility of field trips to adjacent countries as well as to East-Central and Eastern Europe are some of the special features of the program.

You can learn more about the international student experience at Dortmund on their International Office website.

Students interested in the semester or academic year program can learn more on Dortmund’s website for international exchange students.

Students interested in the summer program can learn more on Dortmund’s International Summer Program (ISP) website.

Academic Program

Semester and Academic Year

While in Dortmund, you will have the option to enroll in Germany language courses, German culture courses, or choose from a variety of courses that can satisfy most UI major and minor requirements, many of which are taught in English.

Depending on the classes you choose, you will earn 12 - 18 semester hours of transfer credit each semester.

You can learn more about the courses offered at Dortmund on their exchange student courses page.

Pre-sessional Intensive German Language Course

All students enroll in a four-week Intensive German Language Course on arrival to Dortmund. The course content varies based on each student’s German language level. The cost of the language course is included in the program fees.

During the regular semester, students can choose from additional German language courses, depending on their language experience and interests.

You can learn more about the Intensive German Language Course on the German Intensive course website.

General Course Catalog/German Language Courses

Students can also choose from a wide variety of courses offered for local and international students at TU, many of which are taught in English. You can find details about their regular course offerings, including links to their full course catalog on the Course Catalog website.

German language courses are also available throughout the semester. You can learn more about the semester-length German language courses (or language courses in a variety of other languages), on the Language Courses website.

If you need more information about specific courses offered at TU, contact your UI Study Abroad advisor.


Students participating in the summer session enroll in TU's International Summer Program (ISP). This program is designed to offer students innovative, hands-on study opportunities in a wonderful study abroad environment. By participating in the ISP, you will build your resume, extend your network, immerse yourself in German culture, and make new friends in a welcoming environment.

The ISP consists of a required Germany language course, and offers the option to choose additional courses from one of three different tracks: Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and German & European Studies. You also have the option of pursuing a research project.

All Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Germany & European Studies courses are taught in English.

Take a look at the International Summer Program website for more information.

Flexibility Regarding Course Offerings (All Sessions)

Foreign universities are typically unable to provide a final course catalog for the upcoming semester until shortly before the semester begins. Students usually do not know which specific classes they can take before arriving abroad, and they usually do not register for classes until they arrive in their host country- this means that there is no way to guarantee that you will be able to enroll in your preferred courses. Your final course schedule may not be finalized until you are already abroad and attending classes.

Because of these differences, all students must meet with their academic advisor before going abroad to discuss how the differences in course availability will affect their degree progress and graduation plans. It is important to develop a back-up plan in case your preferred courses are not available when you arrive at their host university.

Applying credit toward a UI degree (All Sessions)

Unless UI Study Abroad has an approval on file for the courses you take abroad to be applied toward a specific major, minor, certificate, or general education requirement, you will receive general elective credit for your course.

If you plan to apply the credit you receive for your program course to a major, minor, certificate, or general education requirement, contact your UI study abroad advisor for details on the process. 

Cultural Activities

The international student office at TU offers a variety of cultural events, a Buddy program, receptions, and other opportunities to get to know Germany. In addition, the Ruhr region is one of the most densely populated in Germany, with literally hundreds of places and events within reach of the university.

You can learn more about the cultural activities offered at TU on their Campus Life website.

Program Dates

This program is only offered for the Spring semester, the full Academic Year, or during the Summer session. The program is not available for only the Fall semester.

Students should consider these dates tentative until they receive final dates for their session abroad from the host university prior to the start of the program.

Spring Semester or Academic Year

Students arrive four weeks prior to the start of the regular semester at TU to participate in the required Intensive German Language course. The regular fall (winter) term runs from October through early February, and the spring (summer) term runs from mid-April through mid-July.

You can find dates for the required four-week Intensive German Language Course on the German Language Course website.

You can find dates regular fall and spring terms on the Dortmund’s Academic Calendars website.


The International Summer Program runs from the end of May through the end of July.

You can find the ISP program International Summer Program website.

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application for this program, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa.
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

Where You Will Study

Technical University of Dortmund (TU) is a young German university founded in the stormy days of the late 1960s and it has retained much of the dynamic of that period. Some 1,500 of its 25,000 students are degree students from abroad. The university's sixteen schools offer state-of-the-art education and training in the natural sciences, technology, economics and business administration, education and special education, social sciences, theology, humanities, and journalism. Dortmund's School of Planning offers the largest and most prestigious regional and urban planning program in Europe. Dortmund is the only university entrusted with five projects for EUREKA, the European research project for innovative technology. Centers for the Environmental Sciences and the Study of East Central Europe as well as Germany's oldest Women's Studies Program offer special opportunities to the university community.


The university is located in Dortmund, a city of 600,000 inhabitants in the Eastern part of the Ruhr. The city, whose origins date back to 890 A.D., has grown into a modern center of business, high-tech industry, education, and culture. The old districts of town with their restaurants and pubs contrast with the newer sections dominated by daring modernist and postmodern architecture. Together, they give the city its characteristic blend of tradition and innovation. Attractively renovated Art Nouveau facades shape the architectural personality of many streets, indeed whole quarters. In the shopping areas of the inner city, pedestrians have reclaimed the streets for their own use. And, more than half of the city's incorporated area is devoted to green spaces: gardens, spacious parks, and even forests lie within city limits.

Immediately upon arriving at Dortmund, you will find that the city is "off the beaten track" — at least as far as tourists are concerned. The university, city, and region introduce you to everyday life in Germany. There is much to explore here. Your metro ticket will take you to every corner of the city and the Ruhr. A well-designed and efficient system of bike routes connects the various sections of Dortmund and neighboring cities and regions, leading far into Belgium and Holland.

building in dortmund

The monthly listings of cultural events, theater, opera, and concerts (Dortmund has the largest venue for cultural and sports events in Germany, the Wesyhknhalk, where mega stars are regularly featured) are published in a special journal of its own and give you quick and up-to-date information about what is going on. Dortmund also is home to one of the major soccer teams of Europe, Borussia Dortmund.

The Ruhr

The Ruhr is a major metropolitan area and one of Europe's most exciting regions. More than 5 million people live in 53 cities, including Dortmund, Bochum, Essen, and Duisburg, with Cologne, Bonn, and the vineyards of the Rhine Valley on the periphery. Within a radius of 300 miles, more than 130 million people make their home. A well-kept metro network, available to students at no cost, connects the whole area and opens up the vast cultural offerings of the region to each of its inhabitants.

The Ruhr used to be known for mining and heavy industry — topics that can be studied in the region's many technological and industrial museums. In the past two decades, the region has undergone a dramatic change towards becoming a post-industrial society, at times dubbed "Helicon Valley" because of its future-oriented research, which includes solar energy. It is the most successfully restructured industrial region in the world and it is hard to believe how green such a region can be: almost three quarters of the Ruhr is devoted to green spaces.

The Ruhr has retained its characteristic identity as a region while developing a new cultural diversity influenced by the proximity of neighboring countries such as The Netherlands, Belgium, and France, and because of decades of immigration from all parts of Europe.

The national mining museum, the German Cookbook Museum, a gasometer turned into a museum, a design center in a former coal pit — these are just a few of the many unusual attractions the Ruhr District offers to learn about German culture of the past and present.


Germany is the most populous member of the EU, has the world’s 4th largest economy, and boasts a high standard of living. It is famous for its contributions to the arts and sciences throughout history. You can learn more about Germany at

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements/Accommodations

Dortmund is in the lower third among Germany's major cities with regard to housing costs. Once you are registered for the program, Dortmund staff will assist you with finding accommodation before you arrive.


The International Office of TU Dort­mund University offers exchange students the service of reserving rooms in the dormitories of the Studierendenwerk Dort­mund, since TU Dort­mund University does not have its own residence halls, and furnished, affordable rooms are rare on the free housing market in Dort­mund.

You can learn more about the housing options at Dortmund on their Housing website.

Housing Costs and Deposits

Housing costs will be paid directly to your host institution. You will receive details about how to pay for your housing abroad from your host institution prior to departure. You should plan to pay a housing deposit early in the semester prior to your departure.

Estimated housing costs are provided under the Application tab above.


All students need a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact their consulate for more information if they need to get a new passport or renew their passport.

Travel Arrangements (Flights)

UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination. Students will purchase their own plane tickets to their host country, though UI Study Abroad can assist by providing advice regarding airline booking options.

You are advised not to purchase plane tickets until:

  1. You have received an official offer of acceptance from your host university, and have submitted confirmation materials to UI Study Abroad.
  2. You have finalized your housing arrangements abroad.
  3. You are aware of both the semester start date and the move-in date for your accommodations abroad.
  4. You have received your visa (if required- contact your study abroad advisor for more information).

If you have questions about purchasing plane tickets, please contact your UI study abroad advisor.

Local Transportation

Dortmund enjoys excellent public transportation (busses, S-Bahn, and U-bahn). Your student travel card will allow you to get almost anywhere in the Ruhr region. Beyond that, Dortmund is well-connected to the rest of Germany and Europe via rail. The closest major airport is in Dusseldorf.


This program is open to University of Iowa students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Clear interest and commitment- Students must demonstrate a clear academic or personal interest in the program’s subject matter, and a commitment to engage responsibly in coursework abroad.
  • Demonstrated Preparedness and Maturity- Students must demonstrate preparedness to take on the heightened responsibilities associated with international study and travel. Students must demonstrate a commitment to behave responsibility abroad while respecting cultural differences. Students are expected to obey both local laws and program directives conveyed to participants before and during the program. The University of Iowa Code of Student Life applies to all program participants while abroad.
  • Minimum 3.0 UI and Transfer GPA- Students must have a minimum 3.0 UI and Transfer GPA to participate in this program (transfer GPAs lower than 3.0 may be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing- Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Students placed on either academic or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad on a University of Iowa program. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who are not in good standing at any point overlapping with the program dates will have their acceptance revoked, and will be responsible for the associated late withdrawal fees.
  • German Language Requirements (Semester and Academic Year Program)- Four semester of college-level German language experience required.
  • German Language Requirements (Summer Program)- No German language experience is required.
  • Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing- Students must have sophomore, junior, or senior standing at the time the program begins. First year students are not eligible to participate in this program.
  • Approval by UI study abroad advisor- A student’s application must be reviewed and approved by their University of Iowa study abroad advisor.
  • Acceptance by host institution- Students must be accepted by their host institution as a temporary visiting student. Acceptance by the host institution is typically automatic for students that have been nominated by their study abroad advisor, but the final acceptance decision is made by the international student office and the sponsoring departments at the host institution based on their own internal requirements.
  • Attendance at mandatory orientation programming- Students must attend all in-person and online pre-departure orientation programing presented by UI Study Abroad.


Students will be responsible for paying many of their program costs through their University of Iowa U-Bill, while other costs will be out-of-pocket costs paid by the student directly to vendors before and after going abroad. Refer to the cost sheets below for details on the costs associated with this program.

The cost sheets outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. They include fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

Costs for future sessions are usually similar to the current session, however students can expect a modest increase in overall costs each session. Final cost sheets for future sessions are typically available early in the semester before the session begins.

Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet- Dortmund University Exchange- Summer 2022

PDFCost Sheet- Dortmund University Exchange- Fall 2022

PDFCost Sheet- Dortmund University Exchange- Spring 2023

Cost sheets for the Summer 2023 and Fall 2023 sessions will be available by mid-spring 2023.

Calculating Fees

The cost sheets are based on the fees described below:

Cost sheets do not include the following optional costs:

Personal Travel Costs

Costs for personal travel are not included in the cost estimates provided on the cost sheet. If you plan to travel outside of your host city or country during or after your study abroad program, you will need to budget for additional funds to cover the cost of your personal travel.

The cost of personal travel depends entirely on each student’s individual travel plans and spending habits. Estimates for personal travel costs provided by past students on this program vary significantly from $1,500 to as much as $9,000 or more per session.

Costs charged to the U-Bill

  • Application Fee- (charged at the time of application, before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed.)
  • Semester or Academic Year- University of Iowa Tuition & Fees- (charged shortly before departure.)
  • Summer- University of Iowa Tuition & Fees, and TU Dortmund Course Fee- Includes accommodation, tuition, Service Package Fee-(charged shortly before departure.)
  • Study Abroad Fees- (charged shortly before departure.)
  • CISI Health Insurance- (charged shortly before departure.)

Out of Pocket costs (not charged to U-Bill)

  • Round trip airfare from Cedar Rapids- (paid by student directly to travel agent or airline- approx. 6-8 weeks prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed)
  • Food- (paid by student at their discretion while abroad)
  • Visa/Immigration fees (if required)- (paid by student on arrival, or before arrival/before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed. See the Immigration/Visa section under the Predeparture tab for more information.)
  • Local Transportation- (paid at student’s discretion while abroad)
  • Cell phone- (paid at the student’s discretion while abroad)
  • Passport- (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships are disbursed.)
  • Textbooks- (paid as needed while abroad)
  • Medical Exam/Immunizations- (paid by student as needed prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
  • Personal expenses- (paid by student at their discretion while abroad)
  • Personal travel expenses- ( paid by student at their discretion while abroad )

Financial Aid & Scholarships

You can find information about options for funding your study abroad experience, including financial aid, scholarships, grants, etc., on UI Study Abroad’s Finances page.

How to Apply

This is a two-part process. You apply first with the University of Iowa. If approved, you will submit a separate application to the host university abroad.

  • Meet with the appropriate study abroad advisor to discuss your study abroad plans well ahead of the application deadline. Your application will not be approved until you've completed this step. You can set up an appointment by calling UI Study Abroad at 319-335-0353 or through the Advising Appointment section of your MyUI account.
  • Meet with your academic advisor(s) to discuss how this program might fit your graduation plans, and make a back-up plan in case your preferred courses are not available when you arrive on your host university’s campus (see the Flexibility Regarding Course Offerings section for more information.)
  • If you and your academic advisor agree that the program is a good match for you, complete the UI Study Abroad application. Please note that the non-refundable $50 application fee will be charged to your U-Bill as part of this online application.
  • If you meet the requirements for the program and there are sufficient spaces available, you will be nominated to study at the host university by UI Study Abroad.
  • Once nominated, you will receive details about how to complete the visiting student application for the host university abroad. Your application will be reviewed by the host university, and they will contact you with your final acceptance decision.
  • Academic Year and Summer students can expect to receive their final acceptance decision from the host university by mid-spring, and Spring semester students can expect to receive their final acceptance decision from the host university by late November.



If you are accepted to your program, you will be asked to commit to participating in your program by submitting the University of Iowa Confirmation of Participation form, and by completing requirements for your host university.

After you have formally confirmed your plans to participate, you will work both with UI Study Abroad and your host university. Follow instructions from both. Later in the semester, your UI Study Abroad advisor will contact you regarding orientation sessions, registration, and other required UI procedures and documentation.

Application Deadline

Applications for the Summer session are due on February 4.

Applications for the Fall and Academic Year sessions are due on February 24.

Applications for the Spring session are due on September 24.

Limited Admission

Admission to this program is limited to a small number of students each semester, based on the current exchange balance with the host university.

Complete applications from eligible students will be considered on a first come, first served basis. Interested students are encouraged to submit complete application materials as soon as possible to increase their chances of securing a place in the program during their chosen session.

Enrollment for the Spring 2024 session is limited to 4 semester students.

Contact your study abroad advisor for updates on available spaces for future sessions.

Health & Safety Planning

Students should carefully review the following materials starting at least two months prior to departure:

Prepare for Departure

Health and Safety

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Financial Aid & Scholarships

You can find information about options for funding your study abroad experience, including financial aid, scholarships, grants, etc, on UI Study Abroad’s Funding Website.


All program participants are required to complete immigration requirements to enter and study in your host country. UI Study Abroad and your program provider/host institution abroad will provide you with immigration instructions prior to departure.

Note that permission to enter and study in your host country is provided exclusively by the host country’s government based on that country's immigration requirements. Your host country’s immigration requirements may include considerations related to specific national origin, national heritage, criminal background status, and similar issues that can make it impossible to receive permission to enter the country in some cases. Contact your UI study abroad advisor for more information.

It is essential that you thoroughly review all of your immigration materials before you leave for your host country to ensure that they are absolutely complete and accurate. It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that all of your immigration materials are in order and fully accurate before you leave for your host country. If any of your immigration materials contain inaccurate information of any kind, contact your UI study abroad advisor immediately to discuss your options.

Do not take steps to complete your host country’s immigration requirements until you receive more information from UI Study Abroad.

Review the UI Study Abroad Travel Documentation website for further guidance on the immigration/visa process.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your UI study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

There are no photos available for this program yet. Do you have any photos to share with us? If you do, please contact us at:

1111 University Capitol Centre
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

Phone: (319) 335-0353
Fax: (319) 335-0343