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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Program Terms: Spring, Year
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Budget Sheets: Spring
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English, German Click here for a definition of this term Language Prerequisite: See Program Description
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Click here for a definition of this term Credit Available For: Wharton
Other Eligibility Requirements: Prior Coursework as Required by Subject Click here for a definition of this term Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Click here for a definition of this term Housing Options: Homestay, University Residence Hall/Apartment Click here for a definition of this term Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 15
Program Description:

BFM LogoGoethe University

This unique program in the heart of Germany combines language learning, an internship, and courses at a world renowned university. Students participating during the spring semester arrive in January and complete an internship at a financial institution while simultaneously enrolled in an intensive German language course. Students then take classes in the business faculty or other departments during the regular semester.

For additional information, visit the Goethe University Exchange Students website and the main Goethe University homepage. The Goethe University Guide for Visiting Students is also very helpful.
The City of Frankfurt

Situated on the Main River, Frankfurt is one of the largest cities in German, with a metro population of nearly 6 million. The European Central Bank, German Federal Bank, many commercial banks, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange are headquartered in the city, which was formerly the head office of the U.S. Army in Germany. Frankfurt is more than 1200 years old, and is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, with numerous cultural festivals, museums, attractions, and sights spread throughout.

Did you know…?

Nicknamed “Bankfurt”, Frankfurt is home to the headquarters of many German and European financial institutions, including the European Central Bank. It is also the home of the university’s namesake and legendary writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose house can be visited in the center of the city.

Zyklon B, the deadly cyanide gas used during Nazi Germany rule, was invented by IG Farben, a German chemical company, in what is now a building on the Goethe University campus.

Contrary to popular belief, the Frankfurter was not invented in Frankfurt. It was invented in Vienna, Austria, by a butcher who emigrated from Frankfurt when he was a child. 


The program at Goethe University is for Wharton students only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite:
  • Huntsman Students are required to complete at least 4 semesters of college-level German for academic year participation (or 5 semesters for spring participation) or the equivalent, by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure, each course with at least a grade of “B”. 
  • Wharton Students are required to complete 2 semesters of college-level German or the equivalent.

Language of Instruction

German, English


A full course load at Goethe University consists of 30 ECTS credits per semester. Generally, this is between 4 and 5 classes. Though the program is conducted with the business faculty, Penn students can select courses in most other bachelor’s studies disciplines as long as they have adequate pre-requisites and home school academic advisor for study abroad approval. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level. Due to conflicts between the US and German academic calendars, students cannot participate in only fall semester study abroad.

All students are strongly encouraged to take the two-week pre-semester intensive language course at Goethe University. 

Huntsman Students are required to take all content courses in German.
Wharton Students are encouraged to take content courses in German, but can opt to take courses in English. 

Academic year participants start in early October, while spring semester participants start in late March. The program ends at the end of July. Due to conflicts between the US and German academic calendars, students cannot participate in only fall semester study abroad.

Goethe University Academic Calendar
Goethe University Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.

Students are required to take examinations, complete papers, and fulfill all other requirements of their courses. The faculty at the Goethe University grade exchange students as they do their German counterparts. Students should keep syllabi, bibliographies, notes, corrected papers, and examinations for submission to Penn. 

Grades are reported to Penn on the Goethe University scale and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:

Goethe University Grade Penn Grade
1.0 – 1.3 A
1.7 – 2.0 A-
2.3 B+
2.7 B
3.0 B-
3.3 C+
3.7 C
4.0 C-
Below 4.0 F

BFM Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by Goethe University prior to the start of each semester. More information on orientation activities can be found will be provided upon acceptance into the program.

Language Courses         

Penn students are strongly encouraged to enroll in an intensive German course prior to the semester at the university.

Internship Opportunities

Students may be selected to complete an internship at one of the financial institutions in Frankfurt during the months prior to the semester. This is organized by the Goethe University Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. If interested, please notify your Penn Abroad program manager during the application period. You will need to submit a resume and CV by a specified date for eligibility. This deadline is typically before the actual application deadline. 

Group Excursions

Students are encouraged to participate in field trips and excursions offered by the International Office. Student clubs also offer opportunities to explore the city and region.

BFM Special FeaturesBuddy Program

The Faculty of Economics and Business Administration offer an optional buddy program. In addition, the International Office also has opportunities for a buddy program.

BFM CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

During the pre-session/internship phase of the program, students can opt to live in private housing that they arrange on their own or with host families in the surrounding area. All host families have been carefully screened by the University staff and every effort is made to place each student with a compatible host family.

During the semester, students may choose to live in either dormitories or private housing. The dormitories are co-educational and offer single en suite rooms. Blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, dishes, and utensils are not provided and must be brought or purchased. Students can eat meals in university cafeterias and restaurants with other German students. There are shared kitchens located on each floor of the dormitory, where students can prepare their own meals. Dormitories offer an excellent opportunity to meet and intermingle with local students.

Private housing can be arranged with other German students throughout the city and while dishes, utensils, and other appliances are not provided, most German roommates are happy to share their kitchen supplies with their overseas roommates.

Information regarding accommodation is accessible on Goethe University’s website. Details on moving into student housing are also available.

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. Visit SFS's website for more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

DAAD/German Academic Exchange Service Prizes and Scholarships: Prizes for stays of two to three months in Germany in conjunction with independent senior thesis research, language or other summer course at a German university, internship/practicum at a German institution or company. Scholarships for undergraduate semester or academic year abroad (four to ten months at a German university). Interested students should contact the appropriate Global Programs Manager in the Penn Abroad office.

Please review the Penn Abroad application process, policies, and procedures.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Frankfurt, contact a Penn Abroad Past Participant or Exchange Student.