Franco-German University - facts & figures

The Franco-German University (FGU) consists of a group of affiliated member universities from both France and Germany. It has a decentralized campus, with the administration located in Saarbrücken. The university is an international institution and was established by means of an intergovernmental agreement in 1997 (“Weimar Agreement”). The agreement provides the legal basis for this international university, defining both its governing bodies and responsibilities. The agreement concerning the establishment of the FGU came into effect in September 1999.




  • Governing Bodies of the FGU
  • Responsibilities and Objectives
  • Increasing Mobility – Propagation of Bi-national Technical Competence
  • Creation, Promotion and Execution of Integrated Franco-German Courses of Study
  • Promotion of Research and Development
  • Advancement of Graduate Education
  • Development of the FGU Degree
  • Development of Cooperation Agreements with Third Countries
  • Integrated Courses of Study with a Double Degree
  • Advantages of an Integrated Course of Study
  • The FGU in Short


Governing Bodies of the FGU


The governing bodies of the FGU are the President and the Vice-President, the University Council and the Assembly of the member universities. The President and Vice-President, a German and a Frenchman, are elected by the Assembly of member universities on the recommendation of the University Council.
Both countries send an equal number of members to the university council and it is this council which establishes the University’s guidelines. The Assembly of member universities is made up of one representative from each of the member universities.
The President has a secretary’s office run by a Secretary-General. A team of French and German employees work in the Secretary-General’s office in Saarbrücken.
This international institution is financed equally by France and Germany.


Responsibilities and Objectives


The Franco-German University aims to reinforce cooperation between France and Germany with regard to university education and research. It therefore promotes the relations and the exchange between French and German universities as well as bi-national activities and projects in the areas of training, initial occupational training, further education, research and the training of the new generation of academics.
The FGU has thus a very special and central role in the relations between French and German universities.
In performing this function, the University ensures that:


  • as many disciplines and types of colleges as possible are taken into account
  • there is a comprehensive and geographically-balanced availability of cooperation schemes between French and German universities.


Increasing Mobility – Propagation of Bi-national Technical Competence


A major goal of the FGU is to increase the mobility of students and lecturers between France and Germany. An ever-growing group of university graduates from various subject areas with specialist qualifications and inter-cultural competence is hoped to develop as a result.


Creation, Promotion and Execution of Integrated Franco-German Courses of Study


One of the fundamental tasks of the FGU is the initiation, coordination and financing of courses of study between French and German partner universities. In doing so, those programmes, which meet the criteria laid down by the FGU, are taken into account. The bi-national course of study must lead to a double degree. Both the acquisition of certificates required to proceed with the course and the length of the course of study must be divided equally between the two universities. The course of study at the partner university is to last at least 3 semesters. Moreover, the Franco-German University expects its partners to offer a joint course of study.


About 6000 students are currently taking one of more than 160 bi-national courses of study in France and Germany under the management of the university (academic year 2013/14). In addition to the basic courses of study the FGU also offers post-graduate and masters courses.


Besides professional qualifications (in the fields of architecture, the arts and social sciences, engineering, mathematics/IT/natural sciences, medicine, law and economics), the integrated courses of study offer intensive training in technical terminology, the mediation of intercultural skills and the possibility of gaining work experience abroad. Upon completion of the course of study the graduates are awarded a German and a French graduation degree.


Promotion of Research and Development


The Franco-German University promotes cooperation in the field of research and development and in this connection supports in particular an intensive exchange of experience and the collaboration of talented young scientists.
This takes place in the form of three promotional programmes.


  • A Franco-German workshop
  • Franco-German summer theme schools
  • A Franco-German summer university



Advancement of Graduate Education


As a university, the FGU offers an “institutional roof” for the cooperation programmes between German graduate colleges and French écoles doctorales as well as for recurring seminars and colloquia.

German and French universities can apply to the FGU for a Franco-German graduate college with a detailed and high-quality research and study project. The FGU passes these applications on to the relevant responsible organizations with its comment. On the German side this is the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and on the French side the Ministère de l'éducation nationale, de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche (MENESR) / Mission Scientifique, Technique et Pédagogique (MSTP). The contribution of the FGU is the awarding of mobility grants during residence of the doctoral candidates with a scholarship in the relevant partner country.


In addition to this the FGU provides information about the options of the Franco-German procedure for awarding doctorates (cotutelle de thèse). The special feature of a Franco-German doctorate is the joint supervision and assessment by a French and German lecturer. This procedure also includes a significant period of research at the partner university and the doctorate examination being taken in both languages before an examination board consisting of an equal number of French and German examiners.


Development of the FGU Degree


Experts are currently drawing up the prerequisites for the award of a first bi-national academic degree.


Development of Cooperation Agreements with Third Countries


In conformity with the Weimar Agreement the FGU has the possibility of expanding its programmes to third countries. Relevant concepts are currently being developed and ten such Projects have already been awarded financial support.



The Franco-German University and their partner universities (180, academic year 2013/14) all over France and Germany.


Integrated Courses of Study with a Double Degree


  • German and French students form a joint group and complete their course of study together in accordance with the course of study determined by the partner universities or according to bi-national examination regulations, some from their first semester.
  • The length of the course – within the standard period of time allowed for a student to complete the course – is divided equally between both partner universities. As a rule, the period of time spent in each university is at least 3 semesters.
  • At present, degrees from both partner universities are awarded for the successful completion of the integrated course of study. It is planned that FGU degrees will be awarded in the future.
  • The course of study is compiled jointly by professors of both partner universities.
  • The course of study is approved by the relevant Boards of both universities.


Advantages of an Integrated Course of Study


  • Acquisition of two national degrees, in most cases without extending the duration of the course of study
  • Participation in a fixed course of study with a period of study of at least 3 semesters at the partner university 
  • Becoming thoroughly acquainted with studying in the other country 
  • Exemption from tuition fees at the partner university 
  • Possibility of receiving a DFH mobility grant for the duration of the stay abroad 
  • Extended stays abroad resulting in inter-cultural competence 
  • Intensive technical language training 
  • Possible periods of practical training in the other country 
  • Events linked to students’ courses during the period of study at the partner university
  • Membership of a German-French group of students enjoying special supervision and support for the duration of the course of study, and who, in many cases, keep in touch even after graduation. (Alumni)
  • Recognition of the university certificates acquired at the partner university owing to the existence of a joint course of study


The FGU in Short


Number of employees in the Secretary-General's Office: 19
Legal status: International institution
Location: Saarbrücken (administration), decentralized campus
Number of students: about 6000 (last update: 09/2014)

Subject areas: Architecture, humanities and social sciences (more than 130 bi-national Engineering courses of study), Economics, Mathematics/information technology/natural sciences, Medicine, Jurisprudence



Franco-German University

Villa Europa

Kohlweg 7

D-66123 Saarbrücken


Tel.: +49 (0) 681 93812 -100

Fax: +49 (0) 681 93812 -111

e-mail: info(at)