German Engineering Program

Student Year
Freshman, Sophomore, Junior
Courses Offered By
College of Engineering

This Berlin-based 6-week, 6-credit, faculty-led program connects Notre Dame engineering students with Germany’s multifaceted engineering landscape. The 2020 program will be led by Professor Robert Nerenberg (Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences). Besides classes and field trips in Berlin, students will also go on academic excursions to other German cities, where they will interact with engineering experts from different fields.

Course Title: Sustainability and Urban Infrastructure

European cities provide the ideal site to teach a course on sustainability, given their long urban history and adaptation of infrastructure over time. Germany is on the forefront of sustainability, with solar and wind power and advanced water management. This course will use simple mathematical models to describe the concept of sustainability and the consequences of neglecting it. Then, it will describe urban infrastructure systems, how they developed historically, and how urban systems can transition to more sustainable modes. While environmental systems will be emphasized, the course also will address power and electrical grids, and transportation/communication systems. Differences between developed and developing countries will be highlighted. The water/energy nexus, water/food nexus, and industrial pollution prevention/waste minimization techniques will be discussed.

The companion course, “European History, Society, and Politics,” provides an introduction to the political, social and cultural history of Germany from the end of the Second World War to the present. We will use what we learn in the city of Berlin and on excursions to inform our understanding of German and European culture. Excursions to cities such as Dresden and Munich augment visits to important Berlin landmarks, such as the Reichstag and the Philharmonic. GEP students will come to know a country that has produced some of the world’s greatest engineering feats.

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