Home > Courses >

English Studies

Degree: Master of Arts
Application required: access-restricted
Course start: winter semester / summer semester
Course duration: 4 semesters
Form of course: full-time / part-time
Language requirements: English (on application)
Language of instruction: English
Other: postgraduate, consecutive

Faculty of Modern Languages


For more information on the course, go to the website of the Anglistisches Seminar (“Studium”) and/or to the study guide to the English Department ("Studienführer").

Coures outline

The M.A. in English Studies offers a choice of focus on linguistics or literature. It builds on the knowledge and proficiency acquired in a preceding B.A. course in the same (or a related) subject. At Heidelberg the research component is writ large. With a strong multi-disciplinary and comparative bias, the syllabus is flexible and extensive, enabling students to acquire specialised knowledge, develop critical acumen in handling information, analyse and interpret texts and data for projects of their own and present their findings orally and in written form. This kind of expertise is essential both for academic work and for professions of a media-related, intercultural, creative, literary or linguistic nature.

Course structure

During the first three semesters, students attend four lectures and four seminars and also complete two research-oriented “Independent Studies” projects under professorial supervision. Within these terms of reference they can structure their programmes to accord with their specific academic interests. The current course catalogue (in English) gives an accurate impression of the range of courses on offer. In the fourth semester, students write their M.A. thesis and prepare for the oral examinations.

Heidelberg University’s Department of English is also notable for its exciting extra-curricular activities. The highly productive Creative Writing Group meets every week, examples of its members’ work have been published widely in a variety of anthologies. The Department’s renowned drama group, the Schauspielgruppe des Anglistischen Seminars, stages at least one production every term. The internationally acclaimed English Department choir regularly performs works by composers from the English-speaking world.

Career prospects for graduates

  • higher education (doctorate required)
  • teaching at educational institutions, adult education, private schools in Germany and elsewhere
  • training and coaching
  • journalism / public relations
  • museums and archives
  • tourism
  • administration, business and industry, culture management
  • in-house communication (corporations)
  • translation and publishing
  • advertising
  • information technology

Subsidiary (minor) subject

The M.A. programme in English Studies requires the selection of a subsidiary (minor) subject accounting for 20 CP. If they so wish, students can stay in the Department and choose an alternative focus. For example, if their main focus is on linguistics, they could opt for English literature as their subsidiary subject (or vice versa). In this case, a separate application is not required.

Alternatively, students can choose their subsidiary subject from another University department. The Heidelberg University Faculties all enjoy an outstanding reputation. Students can profit from this to extend their interdisciplinary perspectives.

Click here for a list of all subsidiary subjects on offer.

The M.A. course in English Studies can also be taken as a subsidiary subject accounting for 20 CP.

Main research and teaching interests

The central aim pursued by the staff members of the English Department at Heidelberg University is not only to provide as broad and diverse a perspective on the contemporary state of play in their subject as possible but also to emphasise the riches revealed by a historical view of linguistics, literature and cultural studies. Accordingly, the study of literature at the Department concentrates not only on the “great classics” of British and North American literature and on theory formation in literary and cultural studies but also homes in on new English-speaking literatures and cultures. Thus we find early modern literature rubbing shoulders with experimental texts and the very latest publications discussed in “Hot Off the Press”, a class that enjoys something approaching cult status.

In linguistics, things are very similar. Alongside the traditional emphasis on British and American English and their regional varieties, there is increasing engagement with more recent international varieties of English. In linguistics classes, the description of present-day English figures just as prominently as the study of the processes operative in language change. Equally important is the concern with earlier stages of the language, a good working knowledge of which is indispensable for the understanding of historical texts.

The consistently outstanding showing of the English Department in various academic rankings over the last few years is largely the result of its research excellence. Five chairs with the corresponding number of assistants, various extraordinary professorships and the substantial research done by the non-professorial staff guarantee an exceptional degree of exchange between teaching and research materialising in an unusually large number of doctorates.

The staff of the English Department specialise in the following areas:


  • general linguistics
  • sociolinguistics
  • corpus linguistics
  • computer-aided communication
  • stylistics
  • cognitive linguistics / metaphor and cognition
  • pragmatics (contemporary and historical)
  • history of linguistics
  • discourse analysis
  • foreign-language teaching
  • dialectology

Literary Studies / Cultural Studies

  • the novel, drama and poetry in Britain
  • Anglo-Irish literature
  • historiography of American literature / literary institutions
  • literature and culture in the early American republic
  • hypertexts and hybrid genres
  • narratology in non-linear narrative forms (games, blogs, etc.)
  • narratology and cognitive studies
  • literature and gender
  • post-colonial literatures
  • cultural performance / performative practice (paratheatricals)
  • media and media switch
  • literary and cultural theory

Formal requirements

Application and admission

Access to the course is restricted. Please consult the Admission Regulations here.

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 Department of English Studies for further information on how to proceed.

International prospective students
Verification of study credentials is normally time-consuming, accordingly prospective students from other countries are required to apply in writing. Application deadlines are 15 June for the winter semester, 15 November for the summer semester. Applications should be addressed directly to the Dezernat Internationale Beziehungen (International Relations Department). When applying, please use the application form for admission to the M.A. course here and enclose the requisite documents.

Further information
Updated information on procedure
To obtain the requisite application documents, please write to

Examination regulations

Examination regulations Master's degree programme (9 February 2012)

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

For general questions:
e-mail to

For specific questions relating to the M.A. in English Studies:
PD Dr. Margit Peterfy
Kettengasse 12, Office 331
Tuesdays 11 - 12 am, Thursdays 11 - 12 am
phone: +49 6221 542851

Please check the English Department website for uptdates ("Aktuelles") or altered office hours during vacations ("Personen").



Anglistisches Seminar
Kettengasse 12
D-69117 Heidelberg



phone: +49 6221 542836
fax: +49 6221 542877

Student representation


Editor:: Email
Latest Revision: 2018-03-08
zum Seitenanfang/up