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KU Rachel Carson Center Exchange Program


Professor Ed Russell (right) with students Brandon Luedtke (left) and Adam Sundberg (center) at the RCC during the summer of 2013

The 2014 KU Rachel Carson Center Exchange Program application is now available.

What is the Rachel Carson Center?
The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany, is one of the world’s leading centers for research in environmental humanities. Its programs include fellowships for visiting scholars, publications, colloquia, workshops, and a doctoral program. The Carson Center is part of Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU). It is a joint initiative of LMU and the Deutsches Museum (both in Munich), and it is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by LMU.

What is the exchange program?
The KU History Department and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society have created an informal agreement for the exchange of doctoral students at the dissertation stage. The program makes it possible for students at one institution to go to the partner institution to do research, audit courses, participate in events (such as colloquia), and learn from scholars from other parts of the world.

Who can participate?
The program is designed for doctoral candidates doing dissertation research in environmental history. In some circumstances, students at an earlier stage of their program may participate.

What infrastructure will be available?
The Carson Center will supply an email account, Internet access, a desk, a shared printer, a telephone, and access to its library of books and journals in environmental humanities. The Carson Center will issue an identification card that gives access to the university library and the nearby Bavarian state library. The RCC has its own library service that manages loan requests. The RCC library staff delivers books from Munich libraries (or through interlibrary loan) to the center and makes photocopies of articles (within reason).

How long can I stay?
From two months to one calendar year.  

Can I take courses at the Carson Center?
You can attend the weekly lunchtime colloquium at the Carson Center, work-in-progress-sessions, and international workshops at the center. You can audit other LMU courses if the professor grants permission. If you want to audit courses, plan your stay to fit the Carson Center academic calendar. Summer semester lasts from April to September, with classes from mid-April to mid-July. Winter semester runs from October to March, with classes from mid-October to mid-February. During periods without classes, students write papers and prepare for examinations. If you audit courses, the Rachel Carson Center will send the KU History Department a letter certifying your participation and evaluating your performance. Auditing courses at the Carson Center will not result in transfer credits to KU.

Where will I enroll while at the Carson Center?
KU policies require that you remain enrolled at KU while abroad. You and your advisor can work out the KU courses in which you enroll. You will not be enrolled at LMU.

What language skills are needed?
The language of the Carson Center is English. Most of the events and courses within the center will be in English. We recommend knowing some German because it will help you become part of the community and enjoy daily life. You will usually need to know German if you want to audit courses at LMU Munich (a few are in English). Your language skills (in German and/or other languages) must be adequate for your research project.

Where will I live?
You will find your own housing in Munich. Many students live in shared apartments. The Carson Center can provide suggestions, but finding a place can take time.

Can I travel while at the Carson Center?
The primary purpose of the exchange is to do dissertation research, and some students may find it helpful to use Munich as a base while they visit archives or libraries around Europe. 

How much will it cost?
In July 2013, the KU Office of Study Abroad estimated these costs for a student in Munich. Except for airfare and residence permit, the costs are per month. 

  • Airfare: $1600
  • Board: 250 €/month
  • Housing: 450 €/month. The average rent for a sublet room is about 350 €. Rooms in shared flats or apartments cost between 400 and 650 €. Dorm rooms (which are harder to get) run between 280 and 360 €.
  • German Residence Permit: 70 €
  • German Health Insurance (required for residence permit): 50 €/month
  • Personal Expenses: 250 €/month

These estimates do not include expenses associated with KU. For example, a student enrolled in dissertation hours for the semester in which he/she is at the Rachel Carson center would have tuition/fee costs for this term. However, provided the student works with the Office of Study Abroad in their planning, she would qualify for in-state tuition rates, reduced campus fees, and financial aid. These estimates do not include research expenses (travel to archives, photocopying, etc.)

Please check the Bavarian State Ministry for Sciences, Research and Arts website for its cost estimates. The ministry breaks costs down differently from KU, but the monthly total estimate was close to KU’s in July 2013.

What funding is available?
KU students are responsible for their own funding. Potential sources include KU fellowships and financial aid, Fulbright, DAAD, and the National Science Foundation (among others). We strongly recommend contacting the grants office at the Hall Center for advice. A limited number of paid internships may be available at the Carson Center.

How do I apply?
Submit the application to the KU Department of History by email attachment.

When are applications due?
An email to KU history graduate students will announce deadlines. We recommend starting on the application at least three months in advance of the deadline to allow time to research opportunities, discuss the exchange with your advisors, apply for funding, apply for a passport, take the German language exam (if you know German), and write the application.

When you start thinking seriously about applying, and well before the application due date, please notify Professor Sara Gregg, Director of Graduate Studies. This information will help her coordinate plans if more than one student wants to apply.

What criteria govern selection?
The KU selection committee will look for a good fit between the student’s goals and the opportunities at the Carson Center. Strong applications will show a well-developed research plan, adequate language skills, sufficient financial support, and the ability to represent KU at its best. Acceptance will be contingent on funding. 

Once KU settles on its nominees, it will send applications to the Carson Center, which has final approval. The programs will aim to exchange roughly equal numbers of students, so some students who wish to participate may not be able to do so. We envision an average of about one KU student per year going to the Carson Center.

How do I work with the KU Office of Study Abroad?
Upon notification of selection, students should meet with an Office of Study Abroad staff member to complete international travel/research requirements for KU. The Office of Study Abroad is located in 108 Lippincott Hall and is open 8-5, Monday-Friday.

What are visa requirements?
Information on visa requirements is on the Bavarian State Ministry for Sciences, Research, and Arts website. The German Foreign Office website also discusses visas.

Where can I find more information about the Carson Center and studying in Germany?
See the Rachel Carson Center’s website. The Bavarian State Ministry for Sciences, Research, and Arts has a useful website for students.

Do I submit a report after the exchange?
Within three weeks of returning to KU, please submit a dossier to your advisor and to the director of graduate studies (Sara Gregg) with the following information.

  • Application: A copy of the application you submitted before going.
  • Report: Describe what you accomplished in Munich. Organize the report around the categories and plans in the application. Add any additional information that seems appropriate.  
  • Program evaluation: Evaluate the exchange program. What worked well? How could it be improved? What advice would you offer to future participants? ​

Whom can I contact for more information about the exchange?
Please contact Sara Gregg, Director of Graduate Studies.


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