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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

ISEP at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz


Study in Austria!

Austria, the heart of Europe and home to the great composers Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven is perfect for German-speaking students looking for a taste of history combined with modern studies and technology. Austria’s magnificent landscape lends itself to numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, swimming, and biking.

Named both a “Cultural Capital of Europe” in 2003 and a “City of Culinary Delights,” Graz is the perfect place to start your European adventure. Its six universities help make up a city with more than 44,000 students and Graz’s “Old Town” is one of the best-preserved city centers in Central Europe. The birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger, this modern student city is not just for history buffs. Students can study in both English and German, as well as take courses at the Technical University of Graz, to round out their academic experience. Activities for international students also include excursions to nearby countries, hiking trips, and a student mentoring program. 

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

Learn more about Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Graz, Austria

Languages of Instruction

German, English - A minimum of 3-4 semesters of university-level German or the equivalent

Program Dates

Spring only

Spring 2019: Early March to Late June/July

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Language Notes: A minimum of 3-4 semesters of university-level German or the equivalent must be completed prior to the program to follow courses in German. (Less German necessary if you plan to take all courses in English, if available)
  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in application, even if native speaker


Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost.


ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Good.


Graz, the second largest city in Austria, is located in the southeastern province of Styria-called the green heart of Austria because of its extensive forests. Graz has many parks and cultural activities and provides easy access to sports such as skiing. A popular event is the annual Steirischer Herbst (Styrian Autumn), which encompasses a number of musical, theatrical and literary performances as well as accompanying lectures and exhibitions.


Originally founded in 1585, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (KFUG) is the second largest university in Austria. The Franz Nabl Institute for Literary Research focuses on the literature of Styria.  Students can study in both English and German, as well as take courses at the Technical University of Graz, to round out their academic experience. Activities for international students also include excursions to nearby countries, hiking trips, and a student mentoring program.

Popular fields of study are Austrian civilization and literature, German language and literature, education, English and American studies, ethnology, European studies (including East and East Central European studies), history, Slavic languages and literature, media, interdisciplinary studies, linguistics, philosophy, and English/German translation.

ISEP students enrolled at KFUG may also sign up for courses offered at Technische Universität Graz at no further cost. 

Apart from the intensive German courses, KFUG offers a range of German language courses during the semester (grammar, conversation, oral text competence, presentation techniques, Austrian literature and civilization, Austrian German, Business German). Students will have to pay a small fee for each course (50 Euro), ISEP students receive one voucher of 35 Euros.

The language center of the University of Graz also offers a language partner program and supports students in finding language buddies.  Semi-intensive German language courses are offered for 2-hours a week for beginning-advanced levels during the academic year, included in ISEP benefits. Apart from the intensive German courses, KFUG offers a range of German language courses during the semester (grammar, conversation, oral text competence, presentation techniques, Austrian literature and civilization, Austrian German, Business German). Students will have to pay a small fee for each course (50 Euro), ISEP students receive one voucher of 35 Euros.

Pre-Session: A 3-week pre-session German language course for beginning-advanced levels is also included at a reduced rate for ISEP students. Early move-in to the student dorms can be arranged for the duration of these courses at no additional cost.



There are no course restrictions for international program students. However, placement in some fields (psychology, sports sciences) and labs may be difficult.


Researching courses in English on an Austrian university homepage can be difficult and confusing. Here find a quick guide to navigating a university website, finding courses in both English and German, and some translations of common words and major fields of study. 
Download the ISEP Guide to Course Selection

For more information on courses in English: click here.

For more information on courses in general: click here.

Registration and Credit Issues
Students typically register for individual classes with the aid of the international office. Students often must register for each course at the institute that specializes in the target field of study. 
Please note that courses will not be available for registering until shortly before the semester begins.
A Transcript of Records contains the grades of all successfully completed courses. Exchange students are typically permitted to enroll in a variety of courses. However, prerequisites for all courses must be met before the time of enrollment.  Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.

Examinations and Grading Scale

Examinations can take the form of oral and written exams, project work or artistic projects. Depending on the specific purpose of the various orals, they are subdivided into supplementary examinations, final examinations, bachelor, master’s, diploma examinations and doctoral examinations (Rigorosum) for doctoral degree (in form of course examinations, Fachprüfungen or comprehensive exams); with reference to the type of examination a distinction is made between examinations on a single subject and examinations on different subjects forming a single entity (comprehensive exams). Comprehensive exams can be organized as a series of exams or as one single examination before an examination board.

Most of the examinations taken by the students are single subject examinations, i.e. end-of-semester or continuous assessment-based examinations in the individual courses which they attend. Examination dates are to be arranged for the students to be able to finish their studies within the given duration of studies as stated in the curricula. Students have to register online for exams. Examination dates, prerequisites and the period of time during which students can register can usually be found on the university homepage.

The Austrian grading scale is similar to the U.S. system except the system is numerical and a “D” grade equivalent does not exist. An individual grade (Note) is awarded for a class, thesis or part of a large exam. An overall grade (Gesamtnote) is awarded for multi-part exams.

What to Expect
Independent, self-directed study is heavily emphasized at Austrian insititutions. Courses often have no set assignments and students are assessed by one examination or project. While this style of instruction is less demanding on a daily basis in comparison to study at a U.S. institution, independent study may ultimately be more rigorous in its demands.

Please review country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.


Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Experiential Opportunities

Students can go for volunteer work. Although, there is no official support service providing students with placements, sometimes possibilities can be found in some fields of study.

Student Life


At the Graz airport or the train station, students who signed up for a buddy with the student union (highly recommended) will be met by him or her. 

Upon arrival at the university, there will be a Welcome Program for all new international program students. During orientation, students will be formally registered at the university and during the first week and offer a number of information sessions on various aspects of life in Graz, insurance, visa, sports facilities, academic advising, course registration and the Austrian system of higher education, in general, are offered. Orientation is a general overview of services and support, UniGrazOnline is a session about our online system and class enrollment, in the health insurance session students are supported in signing up for Austrian health insurance.

At the beginning of each semester, students are also invited to attend a reception by the Vice-Rector of International Relations and another reception by the mayor of Graz. The central event of the welcome weeks is the registration which is when students are officially enrolled.


The city’s location provides ample opportunities for trips and weekend excursions to cities all over Europe including neighboring countries in South-Eastern Europe. Various associations of the City of Graz arrange hiking trips to the surrounding areas.

The international section of the student union offers a mentoring program whereby returnees or Graz students interested in international exchange support incoming students with their first steps and help them settle in. They organize regular meetings (Stammtisch) where exchange students can get together and also meet Graz students interested in an intercultural exchange. In addition, they offer a variety of activities for international exchange students throughout the year, including trips to Vienna and other cities, ski trips, etc. Costs differ according to the length of the excursions or the type of activity and are covered by students themselves.

All exchange students can sign up for a variety of sports classes offered for a small fee by the university’s sports center.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in spacious single- or double-occupancy rooms in modern student dorms. A monthly stipend is provided to cover the cost of meals.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange program includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing and a stipend to cover the equivalent of 19/meals per week.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)


College Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application


College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses






Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of January 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.