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Degree: Master of Science
Application required: access-restricted
Course commences: winter semester only
Standard course duration: 4 semesters
Format options: full-time / part-time
Language requirements: none
Language of instruction: German (mostly)


Fakultät für Chemie und Geowissenschaften

Course outline

The M.Sc. course in Geography at Heidelberg University allows students to choose their own study emphases, concentrating either on Research, Methodology or Practice.

The Research sector is closely associated with ongoing research projects in the Departments of Anthropogeography, Social & Economic Geography, North American Geography, Physical Geography and Geoinformatics and also in the Department of Geography at the South Asia Institute.

Course structure

The four-semester M.Sc. course is divided into the following sectors:

A. Compulsory components

A1. Introductory class for all students “Topical Issues in Geography (in Heidelberg)”

Students are acquainted with present research emphases at the Institute of Geography (incl. Department of Geography at the South Asia Institute) and hence with potential avenues to explore in the Research sector of the course.

A.2 Large-scale excursion

The big highlight for all geography students.

A.3 Electives (free choice)

An important supplement or additional focus in the overall study plan (e.g. Archaeology, Biosciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Anthropology / Ethnology, Earth Sciences, History, Political Economics, Political Sciences, Physics, Prehistory and Protohistory, etc.).

A.4 M.Sc. thesis

Six months allowed for completion.

B. Variable components for individual emphasis

B.2 Research focus:

Equal emphasis on Physical Geography, Human Geography and Geoinformatics or main emphasis in one of these sectors. At least 5 ECTS each must be acquired in Physical Geography, Human Geography and Geoinformatics. A maximum total of 45 ECTS is allowed for the Research focus sector. The subject matter is geared to the research interests of the various Departments at the time in question. Students can develop and work on research interests of their own in the framework of the “Small Research Group”. The “Research Forum” is a venue for the discussion of innovative research methods.

B.2 Methodology focus

More intensive engagement with geographical methods (e.g. GIS, geophysical methods, dating methods for soils and sediments, lab methods, social network analysis, etc.) accounting for a maximum of 30 ETCS (minimum 5 ECTS).

B.3 Practical focus

Focus on non-university professional internships/practicals accounting for max. 30 ECTS (min. 10 ECTS).

For more detail on the structure of the course, take a look at the pamphlet on the M.Sc. course.

For all essential details on the individual modules (requirements, structure, credit points, etc.), please consult the Module Handbook for the course.

Subsidiary subject

The M.Sc. course in Geography can also be taken as a subsidiary (minor) subject accounting for 20 CP.

Main research interests

Physical Geography

  • geomorphology and soil geography, hydrogeography, landscape development, climate research, environmental research, arid-zone research and geoarchaeology.

Human Geography

  • Department of Anthropogeography: geographical urban research, (new) cultural geography and political geography. In the last two years, the Department has also embarked on projects investigating socio-environmental issues, notably the connections between global climate change and globalisation processes. In regional terms, the work of the Department focuses on Southwest Germany, the Near East, Southeast Asia and China.
  • Department of Economic and Social Geography: organisation and development of economic relations in a spatial perspective. The main research interests of the group centre on the geography of services, the geography of knowledge, and organisation and social networks.
  • Department of North American Geography: development of urban spaces, population and economic activity in the United States and Canada, e.g. urban inequality, significance of global cities, retail trade and consumerism, language and spatial development. In addition, there is ongoing discussion of urban-geography perspectives geared to the analysis of processes in urban development.


  • New web-assisted geographic information services (3D urban and landscape models), location-related applications (LBS, notably specialised routing, navigation and traffic-related applications), dynamic sensor data and especially web-supported geoprocessing and geoanalytic functions (notably as a profile of the OpenGIS Web Processing Service WPS, In addition, recent developments in Web 2.0, such as the geodata of OpenStreetMap collected by communities of volunteers, are investigated for data quality and user potential.

Department of Geography at the South Asia Institute

  • Geographical development research, man-environment relations. Research interests focus on analysis of resource utilisation patterns and recent changes in land and landscape use. Crises, conflicts, risks and development potentialities are investigated with reference to theory-guided empirical case studies from South Asia and discussed and dealt with integratively against the backdrop of globalisation processes. Both thematically and regionally, there is an emphasis on the peripheral areas of high mountain ranges.

Formal requirements


As of summer semester 2015 access to the course will be restricted, but there will no longer be a restriction on admissions. The current Admission Regulations are available 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 Institute of Geography 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. Applications must be addressed directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the M.Sc. application form here and enclose the necessary documents.

Further information

Current information on procedure
Internet pages of the Institute of Geography

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.Sc. (9 June 2010, last change 29 July 2015)
Examination regulations M.Sc. (9 June 2010)

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. Stefan Hecht
Im Neuenheimer Feld 348, Office 006
phone: +49 (0)6221 544593


Institute of Geography
Im Neuenheimer Feld 348
D-69120 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office

Sona Sykorova
Im Neuenheimer Feld 348
Office 120
D-69120 Heidelberg
phone: +49 (0)6221 544598
fax: +49 (0)6221 544997


Student representation

Berliner Str. 48, Office 102
phone: +49 (0)6221 545564

Editor: e-mail
Latest Revision: 2016-06-29
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