In Phase 1 the students took a introductory class (fall quarter) about  the history and culture of Hamburg. In the first part of the class, the students learned how the port of Hamburg became a significant center of trade, how the rise of national socialism in Germany and World War II impacted the city, what the political landscape of Hamburg  was like in the last 50-60 years, and what kind of popular music emerged from Hamburg. In the second part of the class, the students each chose a Hamburg-related research topic and then worked out a detailed research proposal. The completed research proposal was used to apply for either the Undergraduate Research Grant (URG) or the Weinberg Academic Year Grant. The successful application for funding was also the initial starting point of phase 2.