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Hertie Exchange Program

The Sanford School MPP Program offers a fall-semester (12 –credit) exchange program with the Hertie School of Governance (HSoG) in Berlin, Germany. Launched in 2005, the Hertie School is modeled after leading professional public policy schools in the United States, and offers an English-language MPP degree. Hertie’s strength is in international policy, particularly EU and global governance as well as technology policy and data science. The exchange should be particularly valuable for MPP students with those interests and/or those who may be writing a Master’s Project for a client based in Europe.

Read about a Sanford student’s experience in the Fall 2022 Hertie Exchange Program!

Students in the exchange program continue to pay tuition to their home institution. Students who are hosted by the Hertie School must acquire health insurance through a German health care provider that meets German legal standards. Housing, transportation, and living costs are not covered by the MPP Program.

All current, first-year MPP students in good standing are eligible to apply to study at Hertie for fall semester of academic year 2024-25. Dual-degree students who apply for this program must confirm their eligibility to participate, with their non-MPP program advisor. To apply, students must submit via email to the Director of International Academic Programming a PDF document that includes the following items:

  • Resume
  • One to two page “statement of motivation” highlighting the student’s interest in the exchange program, describing specific goals he/she would hope to achieve by participating in it, and demonstrating his/her adaptability for a semester-long international living experience

Each applicant’s overall performance in the MPP Program to date, as well as his/her prior international and work experience, will be considered in the application review process.

Please refer to communication from the MPP program regarding the Hertie application deadline. The Sanford Director of the Hertie Exchange Program, in consultation with MPP faculty and staff, will select up to two returning students and one alternate from the pool of MPP program applicants to participate in this study abroad opportunity.

 Hertie Program FAQ

Question: How many students each fall can be accepted into the program?
Answer: The program is designed for two Sanford MPP’s to go to Hertie and two Hertie MPP’s to come to Sanford. If the exchange ratio is imbalanced from previous years, adjustments may be made.

Question: What documentation will I need to study abroad?
Answer: [Visa requirements often change with little or no notice. We recommend that you consult with Duke Visa Services to confirm the German requirements in effect as you apply and begin your study travel.] Traditionally, students studying in Germany must have a valid passport with an expiration date at least three months beyond the date they intend to return to Durham. In addition, Germany generally allows U.S. passport holders to remain in their country for up to 90 days without a visa. A 13-week semester lasts 91 days, plus travel time, so you should obtain a student visa from the local municipal visa office in Berlin, Germany. You should schedule your appointment in advance (call/email ahead in June/July), since it may take up to eight weeks to get an appointment.

Question: How do I find housing?
Answer: Hertie is located in central Berlin in the Mitte district. Hertie recommends that you find temporary housing in the following districts closest to the school and accessible by public transit: Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg, Neukölln, Charlottenburg, or Schöneberg. Once you matriculate at Hertie, you should gain access to a housing Moodle on the Hertie student services webpage. There is a wealth of information to inform your pre-departure preparations.

Important Note: Hertie administrators and students who have participated in the program advise you NOT to transfer any money without first seeing the accommodations or receiving a legitimate contract.

Question: What happens to a participant’s financial aid package?
Answer: The financial aid package is maintained at the same level guaranteed in the MPP student’s first year. Hertie does not accept Duke University’s Student Health Insurance Plan, so MPP’s going to Hertie will need to purchase acceptable coverage independently. To ensure that Hertie Exchange participants aren’t paying for two insurance plans simultaneously, Duke will allow participants to suspend Duke coverage until they return to Durham for spring semester (January 1).

Question: What happens to a student’s guaranteed TA position, which is usually completed in fall?
Answer: The assistantship guarantee is shifted to the student’s final spring semester.

Question: How many courses do exchange students take, and which requirements do they satisfy?
Answer: Students enroll in Sanford’s 807 Master’s Project I plus three, 3-credit courses (electives) offered at the Hertie School, for a total of 12 credits.
Hertie electives cannot replace MPP core classes; however, pertinent courses may count toward the six-credit “management/leadership” requirement or toward concentration elective requirements.

Question: How is registration for courses accomplished?
Answer: Students register for fall in April through the DukeHub system, selecting 807 Master’s Project I and Continuation and leaving the remaining credits free. MPP contacts the Duke Registrar to add a placeholder “course” (PubPol 829.XX) to the fall roster until the student selects Hertie classes and registers for them in Berlin. Course titles and credit values are transferred from the Hertie record into the student’s record at Duke.

Question: How is participation in the 807 Master’s Project course managed?
Answer: Students enrolled in Sanford’s 807 MP course while at Hertie complete all assignments remotely (via email submission). 807 requires an MP Prospectus review meeting (usually scheduled in November) with the student’s MP Committee. This meeting may be held via video conference/Skype, or the student may wait until his/her return to the U.S. and hold the Prospectus review in spring semester (before February 1). An “Incomplete” will be issued for 807 if the prospectus meeting is delayed until early spring.

Question: How will grades earned at Hertie be translated on the Sanford/Duke transcript?
Answer: Grades are received from Hertie around February 1. They are converted by the Duke Registrar to the standard A, B, C, F scale used at Sanford.