Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST) is a semester program offered during the Fall (September-December) and Spring (February-May) semesters. Its mission is to educate responsible, global citizens by linking high-quality academic instruction with a broader international experience. FU-BEST aims to provide an intensive and diverse study abroad experience to participants through combining three essential elements: German language instruction, a varied menu of subject courses, and the concept of the “extended classroom.” Small classes, expert faculty, extra-curricular cultural student activities and the availability of day-to-day guidance and support are designed to enable students to make the most of this unique educational opportunity. Using the city of Berlin with its rich cultural, political, and historical offerings as a resource, all courses integrate local field-trips into their curriculum and thus profit from the outstanding location of this fascinating metropolis.
Application cycles are open one semester at a time. Applications for the fall/academic year will open around December 1 of the year prior and applications for spring/calendar year will open around July 1 of the year prior.
Click through the brochure tabs to learn more about this program.
In order to participate in this program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Students must have completed at least 45 credits at the time of departure.
- For students applying for fall or academic year programs, this total does not include summer coursework that has yet to be completed.
- Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time of application and departure.
- Students planning to study abroad in the last semester of their senior year should discuss this with their GEO program administrator and major advisor as this may affect their ability to graduate on time.
- Recent transfer students cannot study abroad their first semester (not including summer) at Mason.
The FU-BEST program does not require knowledge of German prior to enrollment. Students will be enrolled in a mandatory German language course, offered at all levels (6-8 credit hours for intensive instruction at all levels and 3-4 credit hours for non-intensive instruction at the beginner level). However, those with advanced German skills can take GermanPLUS+ courses (advanced language courses) and German-taught subject courses.
Students will have the option to select from subject courses taught mostly in English by expert faculty, covering such topics and disciplines as cultural studies, art history, comparative literature, the European Union, German history, German and European politics, sociology/psychology, film studies, legal studies, architecture, environmental studies, transatlantic relations, business, music history, and philosophy.
Course Equivalency and Plan of Study
The Global Education Office has a Course Evaluation and Registration System
(CERS), which you will use to complete the steps needed to evaluate your courses abroad, and see how they will count at Mason. This database is accessible whether you have already applied, or are just beginning to think about studying abroad. Look at the courses in the database. You are by no means limited to these courses. The database shows courses that have already been evaluated. You can request equivalency for any course not yet evaluated, through CERS.
You are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to look at this institution’s courses ahead of time to see how they will match up to your Mason degree requirements. Talk to your academic advisor about what courses you will need to receive credit for during your time abroad to stay on-track for your degree. When looking at courses keep in mind that course schedules can change. We recommend having twice as many courses approved as necessary.
The academic calendar at FU-BEST is fairly similar to Mason. The fall semester runs from September to December and the spring semester runs from February to May.
Students are expected to take a full-time course load during their time at FU-BEST. Students typically enroll in 3 courses.
This will allow you to transfer between 12-16 credits back to Mason per semester.
When transferring courses back to Mason, the credits will transfer but the grade will not. However, you must receive the equivalent of a "C" or above in order to transfer your credit back. Refer to the table below regarding how grades are converted at FU-BEST.
|1.15 Sehr Gut (Very Good)
|1.6 - 2.5 Gut (Good)
|2.6 - 3.5 Befriedigend (Satisfactory)
|3.6 - 4.0 Ausreichend (Sufficient)
|4.1 - 6 Nicht Ausreichend (Insufficient)
Students participating in this study abroad program will automatically fulfill the Mason Global Understanding core requirement.
You have the option of choosing a homestay or a fully furnished, single occupancy studio apartment. Students should review the information on housing options provided by the university.
Program Cost (2019-2020): $11,557
- Tuition and fees (Mason and FU-BEST)
- Housing (single occupancy in apartment or homestay)
- Arrival orientation at FU-BEST
- International Emergency Insurance
- Pre-departure Orientation at Mason
- Round trip airfare
- Other transportation
- Personal spending
Students can use the budget sheets located at the top of this page to see what GEO estimates as expenses.
As this is a Direct Enrollment Program, students will pay the Global Education Office (GEO) a Program Fee as they normally do in PatriotWeb. Students on GEO programs must pay the advertised program cost order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (application fee + deposit + final balance). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.
Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee of $200 for Mason students. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system.
Deposit: A non-refundable deposit of $2500 must be received by April 18 (for Fall programs) or November 26 (for Spring programs) in order to confirm your enrollment in the program. Students who are using financial aid may have the deposit deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Final Balance: The final balance payment is due by May 2 (for Fall programs) or December 17 (for Spring programs). This is the difference of your Program Cost minus your paid application fee and deposit. Students who are using financial aid may have the payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid: Students who intend to use financial aid to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the deposit deadline. This form is available once you have started your application for this program in MasonAbroad.
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:
Funding for Pell Grant Recipients:
Additionally, students applying to this program should consider the following external scholarship:
Pell grant recipients should strongly consider applying to the Gilman International Scholarship Program
. The DAAD of Germany has funded additional scholarships through the Gilman Program to specifically fund students planning to study abroad in Germany.
Fall/Academic Year: Early-Mid March*
Spring/Calendar Year: Early-Mid October*
*See the bottom of this page for the exact deadlines for the upcoming term(s).
Students are encouraged to submit their applications early as course enrollment is conducted on a first-come-first-served basis.
Once accepted into a program, it will be your responsibility to apply for a student visa and/or residence permit (if required, based on your citizenship). You will receive details on this with your acceptance letter. Do not apply for a visa until after you have been officially accepted. Visit the Embassy of Germany's website for further information.
Application fee: $200 for Mason students.
Official Transcripts: An official copy of your Mason transcript is required as well as copies of official transcripts from any other college or university you have attended.
Passport Status: If you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents.
Questionnaires: Read and complete the documents according to the instructions.
*Additional paperwork may be required for this program and can be viewed inside your application.