Universität zu Köln (University of Cologne), Germany

The University of Cologne is one of the largest universities in Germany, with more than 40,000 students. This exchange is with the Historisches Institut, which is one of the largest history schools in the German-speaking world.

University of Cologne website

Who can go?

Postgraduate research students in the Schools of Classics and History.

The exchange allows for one student to study abroad for one semester per academic year. 

How to apply

In order to apply, you should submit the following to your School’s study abroad coordinator:

  • cover letter explaining how the exchange will help you research and what activities you will undertake during your term in the host institution
  • CV
  • short description of the proposed research at the host institution (up to 500 words)
  • letter from your supervisor approving the application and the proposed programme, and commenting on the progress of the student and the relevance of the proposed visit.

If more students apply than there are places, the directors of postgraduates will convene a committee to review all applications and make a decision on the basis of academic merit.

If you are selected to participate in this exchange, you will be required to complete an application for admission to the University of Cologne. This will include filling out an application, a CV, a letter of motivation and proof of language skills.

Current students can contact study abroad coordinators to find out more. 

Your studies

The academic year at the University of Cologne is split into two semesters:

  • Fall semester: October to February (optional pre-semester German language courses begin in September)
  • Spring semester: April to July (optional pre-semester German language courses begin in March).

Passport and visas

If you are an EU national, you usually won’t require a visa and may enter Germany with your national identity card or passport. See the University of Cologne's advice on visas.

You should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your trip, and for at least six months after you return to the UK. You should scan your passport and keep a copy for your records.

If you are a European Union national, you will not require a visa and may enter the European Union countries with your passport or national identity card. Please note that you may have to comply with legal obligations, such as registering your address with the local authorities.

If you are an international student who has a visa to study in the UK, and you have any questions about the implications of studying or working abroad whilst matriculated at St Andrews, you should consult Student Services by emailing advint@st-andrews.ac.uk. You can also check the passports and visas page for further information.

About the University

Founded in 1388, the University of Cologne is the sixth oldest university in central Europe. The university has six faculties covering a broad spectrum of disciplines, and has developed an internationally outstanding research profile in all the areas covered.

The University is an excellent destination for PhD students in the Schools of Classics and History, who will have the opportunity to obtain advice and supervision by leading scholars in their field, and to take advantage of the facilities of the University (as well as other libraries and institutions of the area) by gaining access to material that is not easily available in St Andrews.

This exchange is with the Historisches Institut, a very research-active institute with a variety of externally funded projects and national and international research collaborations and networks.

In addition to traditional departments, the Institute also includes region-specific departments for Anglo-American, Iberian and Latin American, and East European History.

The city of Cologne is a large metropolitan city with an ancient history dating as far back as the first century AD. With its cathedral and mediaeval city gates, it serves as a wonderful backdrop for historical studies. It is also well known for its thriving culture of carnivals, museums, festivals and Christmas markets.


As an exchange student, you will not pay tuition fees to your host university, and will only be liable for your normal St Andrews tuition fees.

Research Council students should make sure that they have their funding body’s permission to study abroad, notifying them particularly for any mobility grants that they may be receiving.

Students from countries outside the EU or with which Germany does not have a social security agreement must pay for health insurance.


The University of St Andrews does not guarantee housing at the University of Cologne. However, you have a good chance of securing a spot in student dormitories, provided that you apply by the deadline set by the University of Cologne. If you choose to look for private accommodation, it is suggested that you do so at least two months before your arrival.

Please see the University of Cologne’s website for more information about living in Cologne.

Travel and transport

Germany is a well-connected country with a choice of airports and public transport options available.

Cologne Bonn Airport

If you arrive at Cologne Bonn, you should take a regional train or an intercity express to Cologne Central Station. The journey takes about 15 minutes and departs regularly throughout the day.

Düsseldorf International Airport

An overhead railway ‘SkyTrain’ connects you to the Düsseldorf Airport train station. From here you can get either a regional train or an intercity express to Cologne Central Station. This connection takes approximately 40 minutes.  

Frankfurt Airport

Cologne Central Station can be reached on an intercity express. The journey takes approximately 85 minutes.

Weeze Airport or Frankfurt-Hahn Airport

If you arrive at either Weeze Airport or Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, the best way to get to Cologne is by bus. A connecting bus from both airports to Cologne Central Station takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes.

Cologne Central Station

The University is approximately 20 minutes away from Cologne Central Station and is easily reachable by underground and tram.

Transport in Cologne

Cologne has various public transport links available which make travelling around the city easy. Further information about public transport, including train and tram routes, timetables and ticketing can be found on the University website.

Student support

A welcome week is organised by the International Office for all international students at the beginning of each semester.

The Cologne Student Union serves all seven universities in Cologne and has a consulting department which offers a wide range of support from academic to personal.


Global Office
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Westburn Lane
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2245
Email: studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk