Vienna: Human Rights

The Spring 2015 group sits outside of a University of Vienna building.

Program Term:


Language Requirement:



 Eric Benjaminson

Application Deadlines:



Please note: In Spring 2024, the program will take place in Paris.

The Spring quarter Vienna Human Rights program offers students an opportunity to complete three Human Rights minor core courses abroad, considered from the vantage point of Central Europe.

    This sequence is taught in English by University of Chicago faculty, its precise topics shifting from year to year in accordance with the interests and expertise of that year’s faculty. In addition to the three Human Rights core courses, students take a fourth course in German, taught at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced levels.

    Vienna provides a unique destination to study the history and philosophy of human rights, as well as contemporary issues in the field today. The location of the first United Nations World Conference on Human Rights that took place after the Cold War in June 1993, Vienna plays a key role in this program. Excursions and site visits in and around the city complement the content of the courses.

    The program is headquartered at the University of Vienna, a major European institution of higher learning, dating from the fourteenth century with a diverse international student body.

    Kathleen Cavanaugh, Kate Brackney, and William Schultz will teach in the Spring 2023 program.

    All participants also take a German language course.

    Program participants live in the Residenz Molkereistrasse, a modern student residence hall designed according to environmentally responsible, energy-efficient principles. It is located in the Leopoldstadt section of Vienna near the Prater Park (with its famous Ferris wheel). Like their Austrian peers, students will make their way to the University using public transportation, which is ample and user-friendly.

    Students reside in single rooms arranged into apartments. Each apartment includes a common area, kitchen, bathroom, television, and internet access. The building also includes bike and laundry rooms.

    Participants in the Vienna Human Rights program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: the three courses in the Human Rights core sequence and the German language course. The Human Rights sequence meets the Human Rights minor core requirement. Students who have already met this requirement may use these courses as electives. Their use, partial or total, in a different program of study (major or minor) that is not Human Rights must be approved by the undergraduate chair of the student’s respective program. The language course will normally count as an elective. This course is neither keyed to Chicago’s German language sequences nor equivalent to any specific on-campus course. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.

    Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Vienna Human Rights program during the 2022–2023 year are listed below:

    Spring tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Vienna Human Rights program fee: $5,200

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • transportation on site
    • meals
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (including cell phone usage)
    • health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • other miscellaneous expenses

    Previous program participants report spending in the range of $200 to $275 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that the cost of living in Vienna is relatively high and that, while it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    The Vienna Human Rights program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

    The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic and disciplinary standing who are beyond their first year in the College. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the Human Rights sequence is taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take German on campus before the program begins.

    Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record and personal statement. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

    To discuss the Vienna Human Rights program and the possibility of participating, please contact Eric Benjaminson.