Academic Year Program (AYP)

The American College Program (ACP) is a study abroad program at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. The tradition of American students coming to Fribourg dates back to 1925. The ACP is one of the oldest study abroad programs available to American students and, since its inception, has hosted over 6000 participants...

Academic Information

Academic credit for all work completed at the University of Fribourg is duly recognized and accepted by North American institutions. Courses taken in Fribourg are compiled on an official University transcript (using ECTS credits) which is sent to the home institution of the student upon completion of his/her studies.

The program accommodates students majoring in a variety of disciplines: French language and literature, German language and literature, philology, international studies, economics, history, English linguistics, English literature, English philology and linguistics, social sciences, humanities, education, business, international law, theology, philosophy, even natural sciences, biology, etc. Students with any major can participate in the program, however it may be difficult to satisfy some core requirements for home institutions. Prior to enrollment, all students should discuss their particular academic situation with the Executive Director of the American College Program, as well as with their own advisor or dean. In all cases, students are encouraged to gain signed approval for courses before departing for Switzerland.

The American College Program offers three possibilities for academic year study abroad: there is the Academic-Year Program, the Autumn Semester Program and the Spring Semester Program. The goal of the program is to maximize language acquisition and optimize cultural immersion through the structure of a solid academic experience. These goals are best achieved over the course of one academic year. From experience in study abroad it has been observed that students learn the most and integrate best when they have the luxury of time. Most students find it takes them the first few months to develop language proficiency. Many students also discover that their ability to make friends in the local community is a direct reflection of their linguistic ability and familiarity with Swiss culture. However, as not all students have the possibility to go abroad for an entire academic year, there is also the option to come for one semester only.

The program is a full-time study-abroad offering. This means that most students take an average of 30 ECTS credit hours of classes for the Autumn Semester Program, Spring Semester Program, or a total of 60 ECTS credits for the Academic Year Program. Students are obliged to register for a course load of at least 30 ECTS credits per semester. Most colleges and universities will accept transfer credit only for final grades of "C" or higher, so it is especially important for students to maintain good academic standing throughout their year in Switzerland.

  • Academic Year

    Academic Year Program: Students arrive in Switzerland in early-September, have a land tour, take a two-week intensive language and orientation course, and enroll in academic courses at the University for the autumn semester, which begins in the second week of September and continues to the third week of December (some exam periods may extend into January please contact the ACP office for more specific information). During the academic holidays, which last until mid-February, students may travel on their own or return to the United States. The spring semester lasts from mid-February until the end of May

  • Spring Semester

    Spring Semester Program: Students arrive in Switzerland in early February, have a land tour, take a two-week intensive language and orientation course, and enroll in academic courses at the University for the spring semester, which lasts from mid-February until the end of May (some exam sessions may extend into June, please contact the ACP office for more specific information).

  • Autumn Semester

    Autumn Semester Program: Students arrive in Switzerland in early-September, have a land tour, take a two-week intensive language and orientation course, and enroll in academic courses at the University for the autumn semester, which begins in the third week of September and continues to the third week of December (some exam periods may extend into January please contact the ACP office for more specific information).

Other Information

  • Coursework in Fribourg

    Perhaps the greatest advantage of the American College Program is that students directly enroll at a prestigious Swiss University. What this means is that they follow courses and take exams with their Swiss and international counterparts. For most students this represents a significant linguistic challenge, especially at the beginning of the academic year. As can be imagined, the advantages of integration with regular students far outweigh the disadvantages of an American "ghetto effect." The integration allows for faster and more intense assimilation of French and/or German, and simultaneously aids the students in cultural integration and understanding.

    At the University of Fribourg, courses appropriate to students' major or other academic requirements generally differ between lectures and seminars. Requirements for both types vary: while lectures usually include reading assignments and  end-of-term examsseminars may ask for a paper, an exam and/or a presentation in conjunction with regular reading assignments

    In addition to regular University classes, the American College Program offers special supplemental courses to aid the students with language acquisition. The precise course offerings change each semester and sometimes depend on the linguistic needs of the group. All supplemental courses are taught at the University of Fribourg. Occasionally, special courses will be offered by visiting professors and lecturers.

    Typically, students on the program take some supplemental language courses to help them increase their language skills and/or to satisfy academic requirements at home. There are courses taught at the Language Centre of the University of Fribourg. Students in need of additional language study may take as many supplemental language courses as they can enroll for and can select the rest of their coursework from regular offerings at the University.

  • Transcripts

    All studies completed while participating in the American College Program at the University of Fribourg are documented by ECTS certificates and are included on an official university transcript. Once the student has completed his/her sojourn in Switzerland, the ACP office forwards an official transcript of all work completed to the student's home institution. The costs for one transcript per semester is included in the semester fee. All such paperwork is normally completed within two or three months after the end of each semester. Program grading policies conform to those of standard American institutions. A grading sheet is distributed to students during their orientation session.

    ACP/SIO Alumni: For further information about your transcript please consult the instruction given below and contact us with your request. 

    • The cost per transcript amounts to 13 CHF.
    • Additional services such as official translations and enclosure of 3rd party forms with your official transcripts are available for a special one-time processing fee of 36 CHF that has to be paid in addition to the 13 CHF per transcript.
    • All bank fees associated with the wire transfer are on your side; considering that the sending bank typically collects a fee separate from the funds being transferred, please make sure that the full amount is being paid in order to avoid that the receiving bank and intermediate banks deduct fees from the money being transferred so that the recipient receives less than what the sender sent. You can find the data necessary for a wire transfer to the ACP bank account below:
    • The transcripts will be sent by priority mail. The delivery can take up to 14-20 business days
  • Tuition-Fees-Expenses

    The cost of participation in the American College Program for a full academic year, or for the semester option, is calculated each spring and is provided upon request. The fee includes: tuition and fees, ground transportation from Zurich, ½ price student railcard for the year, including free travel after 7 p.m. for those under 25, two-week intensive language and orientation course, lodging for the duration of the program, breakfast, three-day land tour of Switzerland upon arrival, and special events. This fee does not include meals (other than breakfast) or additional personal expenses. Students can participate in the optional American College Program meal plan, as mentioned previously. The program fee is payable to the ACP according to the established payment schedule. Payment is considered a commitment of participation. The American College Program determines its budget and commitments in advance of student departure in order to keep the cost of the program low. The American College Program is one of the lowest cost study abroad programs available to American university students in Europe. We are proud to offer such a tremendous academic opportunity at an affordable rate.

    Once having confirmed their participation in the Program, students cannot receive any refunds for voluntary withdrawals except in very limited documented medical or personal emergencies.

  • Financial Aid-Loans-Scholarships

    Many universities affiliated with the American College Program allow their financial aid packages to be applied, with the understanding that the participant will return to the home institution to complete his/her degree requirements. Students interested in the American College Program who already receive financial aid should inquire at their financial aid office about the applicability of such aid. Most universities will provide any documentation necessary to secure continuance of pre-existing financial aid. This can be done by arranging cooperative agreements between your home institution and Fribourg.

    If the institution from which the applicant is applying from has signed and affiliation agreement with the American College Program then most federal, state and private scholarships and loans may be used for participation, as credits are transferred by the sponsoring institution and are directly applicable toward undergraduate degree requirements. Such awards may include TAPSEOGVAPerkins LoansPell Grants, and the like. Although participating students are responsible for completing all necessary forms, the American College Program is eager to help support the student with any documentation or supplemental information required by the sponsoring financial sources. Click on the link for more information about scholarships and financial aid:


  • Admission Requirements

    Admission to the American College Program is open to qualified undergraduates or graduate students in good academic standing at a recognized college/university. Generally, the program admits college juniors who have a solid degree of proficiency in French or German. This is demonstrated by having completed at least two years of college-level courses in the appropriate language. Sophomores, seniors and post-graduates are also welcome to apply, if they otherwise meet admissions criteria. Seniors must be careful to satisfy residency requirements of their home institutions; both sophomores and seniors should seek the approval of their home institution prior to departure. Candidates should be studying French or German during the semester immediately preceding participation in the American College Program; this is to ensure maintenance of proficiency before the start of the program.

    Students who would benefit from additional language study prior to the start of the program may be provisionally accepted under the condition that they complete a summer language course before their arrival in Fribourg.

    The program is designed for serious students with a good language background. The challenges of studying and living in a foreign country should be considered when applying. The greatest strengths of the American College Program - integration with native speakers and studying at a prestigious University - are also the greatest challenges to the participants. One of the primary goals of the program is to encourage independence and maturity.

    Application for admission to the American College Program at the University of Fribourg should be made directly to Fribourg, Switzerland. Applications can be obtained by contacting:

    American College Program - University of Fribourg

    Av. de l'Europe 20
    Office: 6.110
    Case Postale 102
    CH-1701 Fribourg

    Tel: +41 26 300-8190
    Fax:: +41 26 300-9690

    Completed application forms should be submitted as early as possible to provide adequate time for consideration. It is in the best interest of the candidate to apply early.