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Programs : Brochure

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Program Description:



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This program page at a glance
Here is an index of the information you will find on this page:

1. About the Program
2. Nuts and Bolts
3. Student Comments
4. Costs
5. International Organizations in Vienna

6. Application Information


1. About the Program

The Spring Semester Vienna Diplomatic Program (VDP) is designed primarily for students interested in international organizations and diplomacy. Students must have completed two semesters on campus prior to studying abroad. Most participants major in economics, history, and/or political science. Vienna is a United Nations city, and many international organizations have their headquarter there.

Though Vienna is a German-speaking city, no knowledge of German is required. Illinois partner universities offer numerous courses in English. It's relatively easy to live and study in Vienna with English because English generally is the second language of the European Union and many Austrians speak it routinely.

Because students write a major research paper that entails original research, good academic preparation is important. Student preparation will vary with specific interests, but successful students likely will have taken courses in some mix of the following: comparative politics, European history, European politics, the European Union, international economics, international law, international organizations, and international relations. PS 280 and PS 283 are particularly recommended.  A GPA of 3.2 or strong evidence of previous research experience is expected.

All students in the VDP will take Political Science 393, "Diplomatic Studies Practicum." Students complete an online module for the course and meet twice in Urbana-Champaign before departure.  The pre-departure component includes work with academic material, advising, and program orientation.  Students conduct a research paper on a Vienna international organization and submit it by the end of the semester. In addition to PS 393, students are required to take basic German and two approved VDP courses, to be selected in consultation with Professor Pahre. Students can take any electives they desire in addition to these requirements.

The University of Vienna (UV) and Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) offer many courses in English on topics in international law and diplomacy, international business and economics, as well as on European integration and current relevant issues. (See course descriptions on these UV and WU pages.)

The UV and WU courses in English vary considerably from semester to semester. Spring 2012 offerings in English included Drafting International Agreements, Genetics and Politics in Times of Globalization, Information Society and E-Government, International Civil Procedure, International Diplomacy, International Strategy and Organization and Old and New Cold War: Vietnam and Iraq.

2. Nuts and Bolts

This Spring Semester program begins in Urbana-Champaign with two weeks of Political Science 393, followed by two weeks of orientation in Vienna and the second Viennese university semester.  The second semester in Vienna runs from 1 March to 30 June and includes a two-week Easter break. Click here for AIEP Calendar.pdf

Students live in local dormitories with a mix of Austrian and other foreign students.

Students are affiliated with the Austria-Illinois Exchange Program, which provides the following support:

  • on-campus and on-site orientation
  • assistance with travel and travel transfers
  • assistance with accommodation arrangements
  • on-site academic, bureaucratic, and personal advising
  • excursions to several international organizations
  • semester-long mentoring with German language and culture

VDP students may participate in AIEP field trips and other social activities.

On-site administration for the program, including housing arrangements and on-site advising, is managed by the  AIEP. For more information, please contact Alexandra Pölzlbauer ( and/or Robert Jenkins (

3. Student Comments

The benefits of the VDP came from a number of things. The structure of the program itself was wonderful due to the open-ended classwork schedule. Having the freedom to work on PS 393 on our own time allowed us to get the most out of our time in Europe . . . Vienna was such a beautiful city to spend a semester in and I do not believe I would have had the same experience in another place.

- Joe Benz (participant, Spring 2011)

Participating in the first semester of the Vienna Diplomatic Program was an amazing experience. This program assumes that students have a high level of motivation, are able to manage their own semester-long research project and are able to represent themselves and their university professionally to diplomats from various international organizations. Throughout the semester, there were many lectures that VDP students were encouraged to attend at the American Embassy, the Renner Institute and the Vienna Diplomatic Academy, just to name a few.

Though a working knowledge of German is not required, I felt personally motivated to learn as much of the language as possible in the semester I spent in Vienna. Now that I have returned to Illinois, I am continuing with my German language studies. Though I feel I gained more linguistic experience just being in a German-speaking country for 5 months than I would have in a classroom setting in the United States, there is still a lot I don't know, and I am looking forward to being able to communicate well in German as well as English and French.

The academic aspect of the VDP was amplified by being in Vienna itself. Just walking through the streets of the city, you are exposed to more history and culture than most people have ever seen. Every district has something exciting to offer -- you just have to figure out what it is. Vienna is an incredibly cosmopolitan city. Just walking down the streets, it's not uncommon to hear dozens of different languages being spoken all around you. The cultural side of Vienna is certainly comparable to if not richer than the lures of places like Paris and Berlin. I heard Vienna once described as the "best city in Europe that no one knows about" and I think this is definitely true. I enjoyed my 5 months so much that I am seriously considering returning to Vienna after graduation.

- Faith Swords (participant, Spring 2006)

4. Costs

Scroll to the top of this page and find the box labeled "Budget Sheets." Then click the link that corresponds to the term you are interested in.

5. International Organizations in Vienna

Most UN-affiliated organizations are located at the Vienna International Center (VIC). Vienna is the third UN city, after New York and Geneva. It serves as headquarters for some UN-affiliated organizations, and many others maintain offices there.

Security and related issues
Energy-related organizations
Regional economic organizations
Social Policy
Drug policy
United States Missions in Vienna
European Union offices in Vienna  

6. Application Information

All paper materials must be submitted to the reception desk at Lincoln Hall Room 2002.

Please click Apply Now above to apply. Note that you will be charged a non-refundable $100 application  by clicking Apply Now

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2018 09/15/2017
09/22/2017 01/19/2018 07/01/2018
Spring Semester 2019 09/15/2018 09/16/2018 TBA TBA

Indicates that deadline has passed