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Anthropology (Ethnologie)

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: English (on application)
Language of instruction: English


Faculty of Behavioural and Empirical Studies

Course outline

This M.A. course enables students to choose from a number of thematic and regional subject emphases. It is notable for the way it combines basic research of a theoretical and thematic nature with more practically oriented approaches. The subject matter is the investigation of cultural difference at both local and global levels. The aim of this key discipline is to compare, describe and understand commonalities and differences in human living and thinking. In addition, in-depth concern with theories and methodologies provides students with crucial qualifications enabling them to reflect on and analyse human practice in a global context. A key ability here is critical inquiry into the apparently universal nature of thought models, values and practices with a view to identifying the culture-specific origins they often spring from. Accordingly, the empirical methods involved in fieldwork and an engagement with the concept of culture are just as essential as familiarity with approaches of an anthropological/ethnological, societal or epistemological nature. The M.A. course thus sets out to enhance students’ regional, theoretical and methodological knowledge as an indispensable basis enabling them to engage in independent academic work and devise problem-solving strategies of their own. The language of instruction is mostly German but many seminars are also run in English to take account of the increasingly international complexion of the University.

Information pamphlet on the M.A. courseAdobe

Course structure

Ethno Graphik

The M.A. course in Anthropology (Ethnologie) offers students:

  • immersion in essential theories in social and cultural anthropology (compulsory module PM 1); engagement with “classical” works on cultural anthropology is set in relation to present-day debates, theories and methods
  • specialisation in one or more theoretical preferences and/or one specific region (elective-compulsory modules WPM 2-3)
  • opportunities for individual or supervised research projects and the sound methodological training they involve (elective-compulsory module WPM 4)
  • outstanding opportunities for acquisition of non-European (and European) languages (elective-compulsory module WPM 5)
  • promotion of interdisciplinary skills, not least due to close contact with the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies and the South Asia Institute plus intensive connectivity with numerous neighbouring disciplines (elective-compulsory module WPM 5)

Subsidiary (minor) subject

In this course 20 credit points are acquired in a subsidiary (minor) subject. You will find a list of all subsidiary subjects on offer here Adobe.

The M.A. course Anthropology (Ethnologie) can also be taken as a subsidiary subject accounting for 20 CP.

Main research and teaching interests

The M.A. course Anthropology (Ethnologie) at Heidelberg University covers a lot of ground. The curriculum is extensive and interdisciplinary, ranging from ritual and performance research to medical anthropology and from media anthropology to Political Ecology (Environment). Other emphases include intercultural ethics, migration and urban anthropology and the anthropology of old age. Regional focuses extend from South and South-East Asia to New Guinea. Alongside specialisation in theoretical issues, the course also offers opportunities for supervised research internships in Germany and abroad.

Anthropology in Heidelberg

National and international comparisons show Anthropology (Ethnologie) in Heidelberg to be very broad in its scope. Alongside the Institute of Anthropology in the Old Town of Heidelberg the subject is represented by two chairs at the South Asia Institute and by the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies. While the Anthropology Institute focuses on the area extending from South-East Asia to New Guinea, the South Asia Institute offers comprehensive coverage of the culture, history, literature, politics and economy of South Asia. With the interdisciplinary humanities-oriented Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows”, the Karl Jaspers Centre also provides opportunities for comparisons with East Asia and offers students access to contemporary, innovative and internationally connectivised research.

To match this, there is also a wide range of language teaching. Alongside language courses in Bahasa (Indonesia) there is a long list of language-learning classes at the South Asia Institute. Alongside the Anthropology M.A. course, there is also the research-intensive English-language M.A. course “Health and Society in South Asia”, which provides further options for study.

Opportunities and prospects

The M.A. course in Anthropology is not only an ideal preparation for a doctorate on the same subject, it also qualifies its graduates for a whole range of other professional activities. These include research and teaching at universities and other academic institutions, development cooperation, peace work and conflict research, youth and adult education, culture management, cultural or health-related mediation for migrants and refugees, intercultural education work, international organisations, media/publishing, museums and the freelance exhibition sector, public relations, advertising, tourism and organisational and market research.

Formal requirements


Access to the course is restricted. The current Admission Regulations are available here.Adobe.

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 Institute of Anthropology (Institut für Ethnologie) 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 June for the winter semester and 15 November 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
Current information on procedure

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A. (8 June 2010)Adobe
Examination regulations M.A. (8 June 2010, amended 1 October 2014)Adobe
Examination regulations M.A. (8 June 2010, amended 3 December 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 advisors

Dr. Sina Emde
Institute of Anthropology (Ethnologie)
Albert-Ueberle-Straße 3-5, Office 101
phone: +49 (0)6221 543441

office hours: Tuesdays 12 am – 2 pm


Institute of Anthropology (Ethnologie)

Albert-Ueberle-Straße 3-5
D-69120 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office

phone: +49 (0)6221 542236
fax: +49 (0)6221 543556
Location + Location SAI

South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University

Department of Anthropology (Ethnologie)
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
D-69120 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office

phone: +49 (0)6221 548900 / 548954
fax: +49 (0)6221 544998

Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies

Chair of Visual & Media Anthropology
Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context"
Vossstrasse 2
Gebäude 4400
D-69115 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office

phone: +49 (0)6221 544097
fax: +49n (0)6221 544490

Student representation


Editor: e-mail
Latest Revision: 2018-03-08
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