- I.1 Is the IR Online Master of Arts degree equivalent to other master degrees offered by the Freie Universität Berlin? IR Online offers a Master of Arts degree that fully corresponds with the standards and demands of all graduate programs offered by the Freie Universität Berlin, as outlined by the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Furthermore, IR Online is subject to permanent internal and external review procedures in order to guarantee an appropriate level and standard of instruction.
- I.2 Who are the authors of online modules and study content? IR Online has invited scholars from various countries to collaborate in the authoring and lecturing of IR Online modules. Thus, IR Online provides a unique opportunity to benefit from the rich expertise of a worldwide network of IR scholars.
- I.3 How many hours am I required to work for the study program each week? We estimate that one needs two to three hours a day to study and to work on assignments, as well as the full weekend. One advantage of e-education is the possibility to independently determine the pace of learning and working. Furthermore, regular vacations are scheduled, allowing for recreation periods. We would like to emphasize, however, that a distance learning program requires a high level of motivation and self-discipline.
- I.4 Do I get much contact with fellow students and tutors? Although IR Online is predominantly a distance learning program, personal contact is a central element of our education philosophy. Synchronous and asynchronous IT based-methods allow for permanent communication among students and tutors, independent of place and time. In addition, we offer a broad range of interactive tools, such as discussion boards and non-moderated chat forums for informal exchange. In-house classes constitute an opportunity to get in personal touch. A considerable amount of time is reserved for discussions and personal exchange.
- II.1 Where can I get more detailed information on admissions procedures, course content, and examination regulations? As with every program at the Freie Universität Berlin, IR Online has been set up by the responsible administrative bodies of the university and approved by the Senatsverwaltung für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur (Department for Science, Research and Culture of the Berlin Senate). All regulations concerning the program are published in “Mitteilungen der FU Berlin” (online). The examination and study regulations are also available on the IR Online website.
- II.2 Does a successfully passed intermediate exam suffice as a substitute for a university degree? No, a bachelor or a higher university degree is required. The approval of an equivalent degree is decided upon in a case by case basis and is subject to close review.
- II.3 Do I need to submit all transcripts legally attested and in certified translation? All documents must be legally attested. For further details, see Admission. Furthermore, documents must be submitted in certified translation if they are written in any language other than German or English.
- II.4 Which certificates are accepted as evidence of the required proficiency of English (only required for non-native speakers)? For non-native speakers, we accept the following certificates: "Test of English as a Foreign Language" (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 550 points (paper-based) or 213 points (computer-based). Alternatively, the "International English Language Testing System" (IELTS) or the "Cambridge Certificate" will also be accepted.
- II.5 Which documentation do I have to provide in order to prove relevant work experience?
We advise you to include any relevant documents that certify specific work experience in your application.
However, no specific requirements concerning certificates of work experience have to be met.
- II.6 How can I prove my computer skills? In order to complete the study program successfully, you should possess sufficient computer skills and equipment to access the internet, display and, as the circumstances require, print electronic course materials, and compose written assignments in common document formats. You will not, however, need to prove your computer skills in your application.
III. Online modules and in-house classes
- III.1 How can I access my study material Participants of the program receive a password that enables them to access the online learning management system Blackboard, providing easy access to our virtual library and web-based data, including relevant course material and multimedia files.
- III.2 What technical requirements does my computer have to meet? Our learning management system works best with an updated operating system and browser (this means that updates are regularly offered by the software provider and installed by the user). We recommend a currently supported version of the Windows operating system (XP, Vista, or Windows 7) and the browser Mozilla Firefox. Other (up-to-date and supported) operating systems such as Mac OS (Apple) and Linux, and alternative browsers such as Windows Explorer and Opera, should also meet these standards. In case of doubt, please contact our webmaster (email@example.com).
- III.3 I work full-time and would find it difficult to take part in all in-house classes. Is it possible to skip one of the on-site instruction periods? Participation in all in-house classes is mandatory to obtain the Master's degree. We are fully aware of the fact that professional life and in-house classes might not always be easy to combine. In order to facilitate time-management, the scheduled dates of the in-house classes are published in advance on our website. If there are any problems concerning dates and compatibility with your work situation, please contact us for individual advice. In exceptional cases, the in-house class may be substituted, in whole or in part, with additional written assignments.
- IV.1 What are the total costs for tuition, in-house classes, living expenses, and other costs?
For the full-time study option, total fees for the two years of study in the sixth run of IR Online (2011-2012) amount to 16.734 Euro, which represent 8.250 Euro in annual tuition plus an administrative charge of 117 Euro per year of studies.
For the part-time study option, tuition fees are 17.500 Euro, covering up to four years of study, plus an administrative charge of 117 Euro per academic year.
Additionally, students have to cover costs arising during in-house classes, such as travel expenses, visa, room, and board. Other expenditures (living costs, insurance etc.) depend on your personal needs.
- IV.2 Can I get financial support for my studies?
Unfortunately, IR Online is currently unable to provide scholarships or tuition fee discounts on a regular basis. We therefore recommend that our students contact national foundations, ministries, regional and local authorities, international and national organizations, and similar institutions in order to find out about other forms of financial help.
In some countries candidates may obtain scholarships from their (ex)universities or from organizations such as, for example: the Soros Foundation (for students from Central and Eastern Europe), the German Academic Exchange Service (for German and international students), D.E.S (for British students), www.grants.at (for Austrian students), Rotary International Foundation, etc.
There are also some German foundations which offer scholarships to foreign students to cover the partial costs of tuition, depending on the nationality of the applicant and other considerations. Please note that the competition for these scholarships is very strong.
Some students also decide to apply for a student loan in their country. If you have been living in Germany for more than six years, you might also be entitled to apply for a student loan from the German government.
If you want to apply for a scholarships or loans, we recommend checking deadlines and application procedures carefully and contacting the respective organizations directly. We are happy to support your application for financial support with information on the program.
Please contact us for any further information on that matter.
V. Study options
- V.1 What are the benefits of studying IR Online as a two-year study program (full-time) IR Online has been designed as a two-year full-time study program which allows you to work and study at the same time. In the past, most of our students have successfully managed to combine their studies with the obligations of a full-time job. Studying IR Online full-time means that you will earn your degree in only two years, with lower costs for tuition fees.
- V.2 What are the benefits of studying IR Online part-time within four years? For some students in highly challenging professional contexts, it might be more suitable to study IR Online part-time. If you consider this option, please be aware that you will have to allocate a greater period of time for your studies and tuition fees will be higher.