Home > Courses >

Classical and Modern Literature

Limot, Walter: Jean Cocteau, 1934
© akg images / Walter Limot


Degree Master of Arts
Application required access-restricted
Course commences winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration 4 semesters
Format options full-time / part-time
Language requirements certified proficiency in Latin (on application);
further requirements dependent on major/supplementary focus areas
Language of instruction German and the languages of instruction in the major/supplementary focus areas
Other features postgraduate / consecutive

Faculty of Modern Languages / Faculty of Philosophy


Course Outline

This M.A. programme centres on a reasoned, theoretically and methodologically sound engagement with the manifold literary connections existing between Antiquity (Greek and Roman), Christian/Jewish cultural traditions and the great national literatures of Europe. The aim is to enable students to obtain an overview of the main lines of Hebrew/Jewish, Greek/Latin and modern literary and cultural development and to describe and discuss them convincingly and confidently. To this end, they will be expected to acquire the specific skills required by a course in Classical Studies on the one hand and the study of modern languages on the other. They will also need to be able to dovetail those skills productively for purposes of application. They will also learn to compare and contrast the different approaches and methodologies prevalent in the disciplines they are concerned with and to relate them to one another.

Course structure

Successful completion of the M.A. programme requires the acquisition of a total of 120 credit points, of which 70 are accounted for by classes in the main (major) subject, 20 by classes in a subsidiary (minor) subject and 30 by the M.A. thesis. The M.A. programme Classical and Modern Literature can be selected as a main course or as a subsidiary course. The standard duration of the course as a main subject is 4 semesters, the last of which is reserved for completion of the M.A. thesis. Students can also apply to study the subject on a part-time basis. Click here for Heidelberg University’s Part-Time Study Regulations.

The M.A. programme (as a main subject) is made up of three components:

  1. 28 credit points for classes in “Focal Area I” (Classical Studies: Latin)
  2. 28 credit points for classes in “Focal Area II” (modern languages: students can choose between English Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Comparative German Studies, Spanish Studies and Italian Studies)
  3. 14 credit points for classes in the “Supplementary Area”; here students can choose either another classical/ modern language (English Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Comparative German Studies, Ancient Greek, Spanish Studies, Italian Studies, Medieval and Modern Latin, Slavic Studies) or Jewish Studies

As a subsidiary subject, the programme consists of two components:

  1. 10 credit points for classes in “Focal Area I” (Classical Studies: Ancient Greek or Latin)
  2. 10 credit points for classes in “Focal Area II”; students can choose either a modern language (English Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Comparative German Studies, Spanish Studies, Italian Studies or Slavic Studies), Medieval and Modern Latin, or Jewish Studies

As a subsidiary subject, students majoring in the M.A. course Classical and Modern Literature can choose any subject for which the University offers an M.A. programme. Click here for a list of all subsidiary subjects available.

Main research interests

Classical literary studies

Classical literary studies (Latin and Ancient Greek) are taught at Heidelberg University’s oldest humanities institution, the Department of Classical Studies. Classical Studies sees itself as performing a bridge function between the humanities Faculties. The Department teaches and investigates Latin and Ancient Greek and the literatures written in those languages.

In research terms, Latin Studies focuses on the classical literature of the late Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire, theory of literature and philology, and the sustained impact of ancient literatures in the modern age. 

The central focus of teaching and research in the field of Ancient Greek lies on the Homeric epic, drama and historiography, theories of literature and history and the reception of tghose theories in the modern era.

Medieval and Modern Latin is a subject with a stake both in classical and modern literary studies. It examines the transmission from Antiquity to the modern age in all its complexity.


Modern literary studies

The departments devoting their scholarly endeavours to the modern literatures of Europe and North, Central and South America are grouped together in the Faculty of Modern Languages. As such they are part of a tradition that dates back not only to the establishment of the University’s Department of Modern Languages in 1873 but to the very beginnings of Renaissance humanism. The following subjects are involved in the M.A. course Classical and Modern Literature:

  • English Studies
  • German Studies (including Early German Philology/Medieval Studies and Scholarly Editing/Textual Criticism)
  • Comparative German Studies
  • Romance Studies (French, Italian, Spanish)
  • Slavic Studies (Russian, Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, Croatian/Serbian)


Jewish Studies

This subject is taught at the Heidelberg College of Jewish Studies (HfJS). The range and scope of the curriculum is unparalleled anywhere else in Europe. The College is thus in an ideal position to impress on its students the diversity and fascination of Judaism, its history and its literatures.

Central concerns in teaching and research are the Bible and Jewish Bible exegesis; the Talmud, Codices and Rabbinic literature; Jewish philosophy and history of ideas; Jewish literatures and the linguistics of Hebrew.

Formal requirements


Access to the course is restricted. The acceptance procedure for the M.A. course as a main (major) subject is set out in the Admission Regulations.

Admission to the course as a subsidiary (minor) subject requires a B.A. degree (or equivalent qualification) in at least one of the subjects selectable as a subsidiary subject with the emphasis amounting to at least 25% of the degree workload. In addition, evidence must be provided of an adequate knowledge of German and of the other relevant languages (depending on the choice of study focus).

Prospective students from Germany

Prospective students from Germany can enrol without prior application at the Central University Administration building by the beginning of the lecture period. To matriculate, they are required to show a written statement of admission issued by the representative of the Master’s programme they wish to attend, confirming that the requirements set out in the Admission Regulations have been met. Please apply to the academic advisors (see below) for further information on how to proceed.

International prospective students

Prospective students from other countries must apply in writing, so that their previous academic record can be verified. The deadline for international applicants is 15 July for the winter semester and 15 January for the summer semester. Applications must be addressed directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the M.A. application form here and enclose the necessary documents.

Further information

Updated information on procedure


Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A. (14 May 2014)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Zuständig für Anrechnungs-, Anerkennungs- und Prüfungsfragen ist der jeweilige Prüfungsausschuss, bzw. das Prüfungsamt. Nähere Informationen erhalten Sie bei der betreffenden Fachstudienberatung.

Academic advisors

Mainly for classical philology subjects:

Dr. Joséphine Jacquier
Department for Classical Philology
Marstallhof 2-4, office 205
69117 Heidelberg
office hours: Thurdays 10:00-11:00 by appointment via mail
phone: +49 (0)6221 542558

Mainly for modern-language subjects:

Dr. Martina Engelbrecht
Institute of German as a Foreign Language
Plöck 55, Office 106
69117 Heidelberg

office hours: Tuesday 11 - 12 a.m. , Thursday 10 - 12 a.m.

phone: +49 (0)6221 547742


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






Editor: e-mail
Latest Revision: 2019-02-26
zum Seitenanfang/up