Study Program

Relating to the overall topic of “New Perspectives for a Globalized World: Environmental and Cultural Dimensions” the International Winter University Kassel 2018 offers the seminars listed below. As a student at the International Winter University you can choose one seminar and the German language course, which are included in the tuition fee. All seminars will be taught by faculty members from the respective disciplines. Classes meet daily in the mornings or afternoons. 

The seminars can be chosen freely upon personal interest. Eventhough previous knowledge in the selected field of topic can be useful for the completion of the course, the admission is not restricted to students of a similar subject.

Environmental Engineering - Renewable Energy Sources
45 Contact Hours, 4 ECTS credits - The seminar will take a closer look at Energy Systems from a German and European Perspective


Short Introduction 

Wind Energy

  • Wind energy physics, technical and economic issues o History and development
  • Wind Turbines
  • Installation, Operation & Maintenance
  • Offshore Wind Energy


The lecture will deal with basic principles of solar cells and the components of PV-systems for different applications. The development of grid connected systems in Germany – large systems as well as building integrated systems - will be discussed as well as PV -applications for rural electrification.

Hydro Power

  • Technological basics of the hydropower
  • Hydropower and hydromorphological requirements as a tool to evaluate the energetic and economic impact o Hydropower in Hesse

Low Energy Housing

The Energy System Building: Where and how is energy used in buildings, how much energy is used, what kind of systems (HVAC) are used, compare typical American systems (AC) with Central European systems; energy efficient buildings are “more” sustainable because about 80% of the environmental load is caused by energy process, importance of insulation and air-tightness.

Dependency between energy use in buildings and energy production (renewable): How can we influence/optimise the system to use more renewable energy sources and to be more efficient, low temperature/high temperature cooling opens the way for the integration of renewable energy sources, passive means of heating and cooling (night cooling, etc.), latest research in that field: Low Energy Systems (Activities in the frame of the International Energy Agency (IEA), national German research program, cooperation with ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air - Conditioning Engineers Inc.). Use the energy concept in building and for optimising of designs. 

The Centre for Sustainable Building (ZUB): Have a look at the LowEx office building of ZUB, where some of the systems are implemented, get results from the measurements, and the monitoring.

Solar Thermal Technology

  • Sky geometry
  • Available solar radiation
  • Solar collectors (air and water collectors, types, parameterisation and characteristic curves)
  • Solar water storages (types)
  • Solar thermal systems for one
  • Family houses (domestic hot water; combi systems)
  • Large-scale systems (domestic hot water; seasonal storages)

Bio Energy
Students will be introduced to the natural and economic situation of agriculture in Germany and to the research and teaching activities on organic farming in Witzenhausen near Kassel. The main focus will be on the production of bio energy, which receives much interest in the public due to the actual energy crisis. This topic will be covered with lectures on the production of biomass, on harvesting and conversion techniques.

Insight into realization of technologies will be given on a field excursion to a biogas plant in Wolfhagen, Bad Hersfeld or Allendorf.

Geothermal Technology
This lecture will provide an overview of geothermal energy and deals with geophysical and geological foundations concerning the earth’s structure, thermal cycling and causes of regional and local differences with respect to thermic flow.
Several geophysical methods of geothermic prospection will be introduced, as well. Furthermore, applied geothermal projects will be presented, while their technical value and problems are to be discussed.

As a preparation for the exam, the students will attend a tutorial in the last week of the IWU. Our tutors will review the content of the seminars with the students and clarify remaining questions.


The seminar also includes excursions to related sites in the surrounding of Kassel, such as(depending on availability)

  • Wolfhagen: a community with 100% renewable energy; including a windpark, bio gas plants, presentation of the communal concept for 100% EE
  • Allendorf (Eder), Viessmann - biogas plant
  • SMA: one of Germany’s leading companies for solar systems and inverter technologies

Assignment: Students will have to write an exam covering all seminar topics at the end of class (2h)

Credits: 4 ECTS, 45 contact hours.

In order to receive full credit, active participation is required. Students are not allowed to miss more than 2 classes.


German Cultural Studies - Reflections on German History, Literature and Art
45 Contact Hours, 4 ECTS credits


Reflections on German History: Literature and Art of the 19th and 20th century

In this seminar we will take a closer look at the so-called `Goethe-Zeit`. We are going to try to understand what led to Nietzsche’s dictum that Goethe himself was culture. In order to do so, we will have a look at his major works and will be introduced to Goethe’s concept to bring poetry and science together within the thinking. Thus, we will analyse Goethe as a scientist, i.e. Goethe’s theory of colour and the “Goethe-Elephant.”

In the second part of the seminar we will focus on the second half of the 19th century, during which time Nietzsche proclaimed the superman (“Übermensch”) in accordance with his central thesis of the “will to power.” This thesis had a great impact on the following decades as did his diagnoses concerning a fundamental change in the hierarchy of values
which describe the Christian morality as “overcome”. Nietzsche’s type of thinking was later called “philosophy of life” and influenced many authors like Thomas Mann.
The seminar closes with a third topic: Revolutionary art movements in Germany. On a excursion to Weimar, a small town in Thuringia which had become a cultural melting pot during Goethe’s time, we will see many cultural relicts of the time and we will explore the artefacts of the revolutionary art movements in Germany, like the ‘Bauhaus’, which was founded in Weimar, and Expressionism.

Further field trips include visits of museums in the Kassel area, like the Museum of the Brothers Grimm or the Ottoneum, which was the first fixed theatre in Germany and serves as a place for exhibitions these days. Among others, it is famous for the so-called ‘Goethe Elephant’, which Goethe used for his studies.


The content of this seminar is influenced and led by the areas of interest on the students’ part. The lecture will hence put special emphasis and provide background information on particular topics the students want to know more about.


  • Sheehan, James J.: German history 1770 - 1866. Oxford 1989.
  • Milward, Alan & Saul, S.B.: The economic development of continental Europe 1780 - 1870. London 1973.
  • Kitchen, Martin: The political economy of Germany 1815 - 1914. Montreal 1973.
  • James, Howard Mumford: Revolution and Romanticism. Cambridge, London 1974.n.n.

Further material will be provided during the course.

DOWNLOAD: Complete Course Outline - German Cultural Studies - Reflections on German History, Literature and Art


Learning the german language

(30 contact hours, 2 ECTS credits) 

Studying German right here in Germany and being able to practice your skills in everyday situations is a very effective way to improve your language skills, whether at a Beginners or Advanced level.

We offer German language courses at three different levels - depending on the number of participants and their German language proficiencies. Students will be assigned to the level that best fits their competence, determined by a language assessment which will be conducted online before IWU starts.

Studying in small groups, IWU students will enjoy a friendly and relaxed atmosphere condusive to interactive language learning. Our experienced teachers are carefully selected and are especially qualified for teaching German as a foreign language, applying the most innovative and progressive teaching methods.
Program is subject to change

Profile of the International Winter University
Programs Environmental Engineering
German Cultural Studies
Additional language courses are offered
Degree Transcript of records
Credits Up to 6 ECTS credit points
Duration About 3 weeks
Number of participants About 50 students per year
Program language English
Test performances Tests and participation in the modules
Tuition fees EUR 2,190, payment received on or before October 01, 2017 enjoy an early-bird discount of EUR 200.
Location Kassel
Start of studies December 29, 2017  -  January 17, 2018