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Historical Methodology

Degree            Bachelor of Arts
Application not required
Course commences winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration 6 semesters
Focus options 25% only
Language requirements certified knowledge of Latin (Latinum or equivalent)
Language of instruction German
Format options full-time/part-time


Faculty of Philosophy

Course outline

With this course in Historical Methodology, the Department of History adds a further programme to its existing repertory. Historical Methodology is a blanket term for the scholarly disciplines that historians draw upon for the technical and methodological know-how required to deal with historical source material and bring it to life. In principle of course, the list of disciplines could be more or less infinite, depending on the requirements posed by the material in question. But there is a staple group of auxiliary disciplines in the narrower sense of the term that are indispensable resources for historians working on historical sources. They include palaeography (study of script and handwritings), diplomatics (theory of documents and official records), sphragistics (study of seals), epigraphy (study of inscriptions), chronology (time reckoning), numismatics (study of coins), heraldry (study of armorial bearings), genealogy (research on individuals and families), the investigation of emblems/symbols of rule in medieval and modern history, and the theory of the New Media (historical e-literacy).

This B.A. course is available as a subsidiary subject only (25%) and has been in existence since the winter term 2007/08. There are no restrictions to the combination with other historical subjects and it is of course highly suitable as a subsidiary subject for students taking the B.A. course in History as a main subject (= 75%).


Course structure

The B.A. course divides into two basic modules in the first four semesters and an in-depth module in the fifth. Students must take Palaeography or Diplomatics. If History is the main subject, the otherwise obligatory introductory seminar on medieval history in basic module I is replaced by an introductory seminar on Latin in the Middle Ages and the modern age.

Prerequisites and language requirements

Alongside the general higher education entrance qualification, prospective students need a high degree of proficiency in Latin (Latinum or equivalent). If the requisite language proficiency is not documented on the school-leaving certificate entitling the graduate to embark on a course of study in higher education, (A-levels, Abitur, etc.), the time required for the acquisition of adequate Latin skills (one semester only) has no effect on student compliance with the standard course duration.

In the framework of the ERASMUS programme, students on this course can apply to take part in classes held at the Vatican Library.

Main teaching interests

  • palaeography
  • diplomatics

Formal requirements


There are no admission restrictions. Click here for instructions on how to enrol.

International applicants

There are special regulations for international applicants. For more information, apply to the International Relations Office of Heidelberg University (Seminarstraße 2).

Subject combinations

Subject combinations are listed in the Catalogue of Subjects.

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations B.A. (28 March 2007)
Examination regulations B.A. (28 March 2007, amended 2 November 2015)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.


Academic advisor

Dr. Werner Bomm
Grabengasse 3-5, Office 141
Mondays 10 am - 1 pm & Thursdays 2 – 4 pm
phone: +49 (0)6221 542443



Department of History
Neue Universität
Grabengasse 3-5

phone: +49 (0)6221 542280
fax: +49 (0)6221 542267

Student representation
Central Student Representation Office
Albert-Überle Str. 3-5
D-69120 Heidelberg

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Latest Revision: 2018-07-10
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