Berlin Sunrise looking at Fernsehturm

Columbia Summer Core in Berlin: Art Humanities and Music Humanities

Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer

Learn how to look and listen more deeply by simultaneously taking Art Humanities and Music Humanities together in one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in Europe.

Program Notifications Sign-Up

Notify me when the application for this program is available

Please check back in November 2022 for updated information about summer 2023. In the meantime, please submit your email in the space above to be notified when the application is open. For general questions, please attend an upcoming group advising session.

Combining these two Core courses into a single experience offers the opportunity for a rich exchange between the multiple contexts of Western artistic and musical creation. Open to Columbia undergraduate students, this is a special opportunity to take the courses in Columbia’s Core that pertain to the arts in a city whose artistic resources are particularly rich in the visual and musical arts.

I would absolutely recommend this program. Berlin is a city that offers so much, and the cultural offerings are really good AND the museums are not crowded. I really felt like we had a exclusive ticket to see everything by ourselves. -- Summer 2019 participant

Program Overview

  • Take both Art Humanities and Music Humanities in 6 weeks
  • Distinct disciplinary focus with overlapping emphasis on German musical and visual cultures
  • Shared concerts, museum visits, and trips to important sites in the region
  • Live and study with other Columbia undergraduates in a student residence in the heart of Kreuzberg
  • 3 points of credit for each course appearing on Columbia transcript

Eligibility and Application

  • Must be a currently enrolled student in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, or the School of General Studies
  • May not have taken Art Humanities or Music Humanities
  • Students may apply to only one Summer Core program, either Paris or Berlin
  • All students must meet the basic requirements for studying abroad: a 3.0 cumulative GPA and good academic and disciplinary standing in their home school; and
  • Although knowledge of German is not required, some study of the language may be useful for students living in Berlin


Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application” button above. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
    • Personal Statement
  • Letter(s) of recommendation

NOTE: This program includes an interview process for admission.


Note: The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.

Humanities O1121. Masterpieces of Western Art. 3 points
Art Humanities teaches students how to look at, think about, and engage in critical discussion of the visual arts. The course focuses on the formal structure of works of architecture, painting, and other media, as well as the historical context in which these works were made and understood. In addition to discussion-based classes like those held in New York, Art Humanities in Berlin will make extensive use of the city through field trips to museums, buildings, and monuments.

Humanities O1123. Masterpieces of Western Music. 3 points
The focus of Music Humanities is the masterpieces of Western art music in their historical and cultural contexts. The specific goals of the course are to awaken and encourage an appreciation of Western music, to help the student learn to respond intelligently to a variety of musical idioms, and to engage the student in the issues of various debates about the character and purposes of music that have occupied composers and musical thinkers since ancient times. Students become actively involved in the process of critical listening both in the classroom and in the live performances that are as central to the course in Berlin as in New York. Using a “great works” approach, the course will look at the changing genres and styles of music, examining composers’ choices and assumptions, as well as those of their patrons and audiences, as it moves chronologically from the Middle Ages to the present.

**Please note that attendance at all class meetings, concerts, and excursions, unless otherwise indicated, is mandatory.

If you have the opportunity to go on this program—do! Of course you can take these classes at home in NYC but when taken together and when only focusing on these two classes, you can really engage in the subjects and explore them. Plus everyone (faculty and students) are phenomenal and all eager, curious, and willing to engage. - Summer 2019 participant

Summer 2022 Updates

Here you will find information and links to resources about how COVID-19 might impact your upcoming study abroad experience so that you can remain informed as the situation evolves. Please note that these planning protocols as well as policies may be modified at any time prior to your departure or while you are in-country.

Academic Schedule

For each section, Art and Music courses will alternate from Monday-Thursday. All classes meet in the morning.

Required site visits will take place on several days per week in the late afternoon and evening, and on some Fridays and Saturdays. In addition, the Music Humanities class will attend two evening musical performances together. Because of the intensive nature of the course and the number of excursions outside of class, students should not plan any weekend travel in advance.

Grades and Transcripts

Grading Policy

Click here for the Columbia summer program grading policies.


Upon successful completion of the program, grades are entered into SSOL as Columbia grades and are calculated as part of your GPA.

No credit is granted to students who do not complete the full program

Life in Berlin


Students will be housed in doubles at at the Global Institute of our partner in Berlin, CIEE. The residence at the Global Institute is equipped with shared kitchens on each floor and laundry facilities in the basement. You may read more about the CIEE residence here.

It is required that all students live in program housing on the program.


No meals are included and there is no meal plan. However, cost of food in Berlin is generally affordable with grocery stores, kebab shops, cafes, and other restaurants in the neighborhood.

There are several low-budget travel guides that give information about where to eat in Berlin, as well as many sites online devoted to eating in Berlin. In general, it is easy to accommodate food restrictions in Berlin. We recommend taking the time to do some research beforehand if you are unsure about what to expect.


The program already has many course-related activities that will help students engage with the cultural life of Berlin. Instructors may also organize additional events at their discretion. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many student discounts available to them and to explore Berlin on their own when there is free time. The program includes two overnight excursions to sites in Germany.

Daily Living and Schedule

This program has a very full schedule and students should expect to devote most of their time in Berlin to the program and complementary activities. Classes meet Monday through Thursday; most Fridays and weekends are reserved for excursions. Students will spend a lot of time with each other and the instructors of the course.


The CIEE's Berlin Global Institute in Berlin is the home base of the program and where you will live and take all of your classes. The Global Institute is a group of buildings owned and administered by CIEE, a program provider in study abroad. It also serves as a center for other programs. Conveniently located near both bus and subway stops, the Institute has been recently renovated and features state-of-the-art facilities. There is public cafe on the premises as well as common areas and study spaces.

Located in the multicultural neighborhood of Kreuzberg, there are many nightlife,food, and music opportunities just outside the front gate. Berlin itself is well-served by public transportation and easy to navigate. Known for it's sense tolerance, laid-back vibe, and thriving local communities, Berlin is perhaps one of the best cities in Europe for young people. A world-class city for the arts, Berlin provides a stimulating and rich environment for study ad personal exploration.



Walter Frisch is H. Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer Professor of Music at Columbia University in New York, where he has taught since 1982. He has also been a guest professor at the University of Freiburg in Germany, Yale University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has lectured on music throughout the United States, and in England, France, Spain, Germany, and China. His writings have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. He taught Music Humanities in Paris in Spring 2016.

Professor Frisch is a specialist in the music of composers from the Austro-German sphere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from Schubert to Schoenberg. He has written numerous articles and books on Brahms, Schoenberg, and Schubert. His book German Modernism: Music and the Arts (2005) investigates the relationships between music and its cultural context in Austria and Germany during the period 1880-1915.

Professor Frisch has twice won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor award for his writings. He has also been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Irina Oryshkevich holds a PhD from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, where she continues to teach on a part-time basis. Her areas of specialization are Early Modern European art and architecture as well as Renaissance historiography. Aside from receiving her degree from Columbia, she has been a fellow at the university’s Society of Fellows (2003-2005) and the Italian Academy of Advanced Study (2007-2008) as well as a recipient of a W. Fulbright (1994) and Getty fellowship (2008-2009).

Dr. Oryshkevich has been teaching Art Humanities regularly since 1994, as well as courses on Early Christian, Italian and Northern Renaissance, and Flemish Baroque art at Columbia, Fordham, Princeton, and CUNY. Since 2013, she has also been teaching courses on her other favorite subject, the architecture of New York City.

Holger A. Klein was educated in Art History, Early Christian Archaeology, and German Literature at the universities of Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich, London, and Bonn. His research focuses on Late Antique, Early Medieval, and Byzantine art and architecture, more specifically, on the cult of relics, reliquaries, and issues of cultural and artistic exchange.

Professor Klein served as Director of Art Humanities from 2003–04 and 2007–09, Director of Graduate Studies from 2010–12, and as Department Chair from 2012–15. During the 2015–16 academic year, Prof. Klein was Alliance Visiting Professor at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and taught Columbia undergraduates at Reid Hall. He currently serves as Interim Director of the Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies.

Professor Klein is the recipient of several awards and prizes, including the 50th annual Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching (2011), which honors a Columbia professor's commitment to undergraduate instruction as well as inspiring leadership; the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award (2012), which recognizes unusual merit as a teacher of undergraduate and graduate students as well as outstanding scholarship; and the Wm. Theodore de Bary Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum (2014).

Mariusz Kozak joined Columbia University in 2013. His research focuses on the emergence of musical meaning in contemporary art music, the development and cognitive bases of musical experience, and the phenomenology of bodily interactions in musical behavior. In his work, he bridges experimental approaches from embodied cognition with phenomenology and music analysis, in particular using motion-capture technology to study the movements of performers and listeners.

Program AssistantS

Sean Colonna is a fourth-year graduate student in historical musicology. His research focuses on the way in which the formation of the concept of a "drug"--and the subcultures that developed around the use of substances subsumed under that concept--relates to the aesthetics of Romanticism, particularly the concept of the sublime. Before beginning his studies at Columbia, Sean worked as a music teacher through Teach for America and was subsequently awarded a Fulbright scholarship to work as both an English instructor and rehearsal assistant for a gymnasium in Potsdam, Germany.

Leah Werier is a sixth-year PhD Candidate in the Art History Department and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS). She is writing a dissertation on modern and contemporary art titled: “from Vitrine to Screen: An Archaeology of the Shop Window.” Inspired by German critical theorist Walter Benjamin’s writings in the Arcades Project, Leah argues that the shop window is a critically important architectural site intertwined with concepts of gender, sexuality, race, class, and desire. She has spent the past three summers studying German and researching in Berlin. Her research is supported by the DAAD and she was thrilled to call the city her home for the 2017-2018 academic year. In her free time, Leah enjoys riding her bicycle around Berlin and exploring the city’s many arts and music events.

Financial Considerations

*Summer 2022 Tuition & Fees

Please see our cost breakdown for detailed information on additional estimated expenses.

*Tuition and fees are subject to the Board of Trustees' approval and may change.


If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to your study abroad. In general, summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students.

Funding Your Summer in Berlin

Global Learning Scholarship

The Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement (UGE) is pleased to announce Global Learning Scholarships to help students fund their participation in this program. If awarded, these partial scholarships will be applied toward tuition charges for this program.


  • Open to Columbia University and non-Columbia undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need

  • Recipients must be accepted to this Columbia-led program

To Apply:

After starting a program application, complete the “Global Learning Scholarship” questionnaire in your UGE account.

Scholarship Applications Due:

March 7 (closes at 11:59 pm EST) or program deadline, whichever occurs first.

Withdrawal PolicY

If you decide to withdraw from the program after it has already started, please be aware of the financial consequences and office policies by clicking here.

Resources for Accepted Students

Fact Sheet

Arts and Architecture, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM
Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies
Language of Instruction:

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Monday, January 27, 2020
Admissions Decision Date: 
Monday, March 2, 2020
Program Dates: 
Thursday, June 4, 2020 to Saturday, July 18, 2020
There is an interview process for this program. Program start/end dates are not yet finalized.
Application Deadline: 
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Program Dates: 
Thursday, May 26, 2022 to Saturday, July 9, 2022
Students should arrive to Berlin on the morning of 5/26 and will move out of housing on 7/9.