Home > Courses >


Degree Bachelor of Arts

main and joint-main subject (75%, 50%): not required

subsidiary subject (25%): mandatory

Course commences winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration 6 semesters
Focus options 75%; 50% (with Teaching Degree option); 25%
Format options full-time / part-time
Language requirements

main subject (75%, 50%): certified proficiency in Latin (Latinum), knowledge of English and another modern foreign language;

subsidiary subject (25%): dependent on focus: for Ancient or Medieval History certified proficiency in Latin (Latinum) and knowledge of a modern foreign language; for Modern and Contemporary History knowledge of English and another modern foreign language

Language of instruction German, English and in exceptional cases other modern foreign languages


Faculty of Philosophy


Note for prospective students interested in coming to Heidelberg University to take the Teaching Degree course qualifying its graduates to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany:

In accordance with the statutory provisions laid down by the State of Baden-Württemberg, students wishing to embark as of winter semester 2015/2016 on a Teaching Degree qualifying them to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany can only do so by enrolling in two-tier courses with a Bachelor/Master structure (polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor programme with a Teaching Degree option; Master of Education course scheduled to start in winter semester 2018/2019).

As of winter semester 2015/2016, the subject described on this page can be studied in a polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor course with a Teaching Degree option. It has to be combined with another 50% subject of relevance for secondary-school education.

For more information, go to

Note for students already enrolled in a Teaching Degree course in the framework of the Examination Regulations for Teachers at Higher Secondary Schools (GymPO I):

In the winter semester 2015/2016 and later, students enrolled by 31 July 2015 in a Teaching Degree course regulated by the provisions of GymPO I (2009) are entitled to switch to a different main subject under the conditions set out in said GymPO provided that the change is in accordance with the statutory provisions.

In this case, the following transitional regulations apply:

For more information, go to

History as a university subject; language proficiency required

Historical studies can be divided up in different ways. These divisions are reflected in the allocation of the various sub-disciplines to different departments of the University and the manner in which they are incorporated into different programmes.

First we need to distinguish between History in general (without further specification) and specific histories like History of Law, History of the Church, Economic History, Medical History, etc. These are studied at the Faculties representing the subjects in question (Law, Theology, Economics, Medicine, etc.). Art History is a subject to itself, the history of music is a sector of Musicology.

Traditionally, History as a subject in its own right is divided into different eras or ages: Antiquity, Middle Ages, the Modern Age. In Heidelberg the main distinctions are reflected in the names of the sub-disciplines: Ancient History (Greek and Roman history), Medieval History (history of the early, high and late Middle Ages), Modern History (1500-1900: early modern history and late modern history) and Contemporary History (after 1900: contemporary history and current history). Prehistory and Protohistory is another self-sufficient subject. Covering epochs that have left no written records, it is closely bound up with Archaeology. Alongside these temporal divisions there are also geographical divisions that to all intents and purposes can be regarded as cases of regionally defined specialisation. In Heidelberg the Department of History teaches Medieval, Modern and Contemporary History, while Ancient History and Epigraphy has a department of its own. Over and above these divisions by era, there are regional and subject-related specialisations represented by professorships at the Department of History. These include American History (with the Schuman Library), Eastern European History (again with a library of its own), Economic and Social History plus Public History and Comparative Regional History in a European Perspective (with the library of the Institute of Franconian and Palatinate Studies). The team of scholars teaching History at the University also includes colleagues affiliated to other institutions such as the History of South Asia department at the South Asia Institute, the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe”, Transcultural Studies, the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, the Institute of Medical History (Medical Faculty) and the neighbouring College of Jewish Studies.

For the investigation of written sources, knowledge of the languages they are couched in is naturally indispensable. The B.A. courses with History as a main (75%) or joint-main (50%) subject require certified proficiency in Latin (Latinum or equivalent) and knowledge of English and another foreign language (besides German). B.A. students of History as a subsidiary subject (25%) focusing on Ancient or Medieval History will need the Latinum (or equivalent) and knowledge of a modern foreign language (apart from German). Those focusing on Modern or Contemporary History will require knowledge of English and another modern foreign language (apart from German). Evidence of such proficiency will normally have to be furnished by the beginning of the 4th semester. The University offers courses in the languages that students may need to catch up on. In cases where a student’s school-leaving certificate (Abitur, A-Levels, etc.) contains no confirmation of proficiency in Latin or in two modern foreign languages, students are conceded one semester each for learning the language in question (with the exception of English and French!) without this having any detrimental effects on their compliance with the standard duration of the course. However, no more than a total of two semesters for this purpose can be taken into account.

The language requirements for admission to the M.A. courses in History and Global History differ widely depending on study emphasis. For more details, look at § 3, paras. 4 and 5 of the relevant examination regulations.

Course outline and structure

As of the winter semester 2015/16, the only option available for studying History at an undergraduate level in Heidelberg is the B.A. course (the previous Magister course has expired). Students planning a career teaching at higher secondary schools (Gymnasien) in Germany can take the joint-main (50%) course in History with a Teaching Degree option. In this case they will need to combine History with another school-relevant subject for which a 50% course is available with a Teaching Degree option.

A B.A. degree in History is a prerequisite for admission to the M.A. courses referred to above and to the Master of Education programme with a (part-)focus on History.

The main aim of the B.A. course in History (standard duration 6 semesters) is to provide students with basic academic qualifications and broad foundational knowledge of History as a scholarly subject. The B.A. degree qualifies them to embark on a career involving the subject they have studied and indicates that they are require no assistance in dealing with academic problems associated with that subject. To this end, the course places a decided emphasis on a cultural-studies perspective, an interdisciplinary approach, practical relevance, and research. In short, the programme sets out to achieve a marriage between traditional skills associated with the study of History and new cultural and communication-related techniques. In this way students will acquire qualifications enabling them to pursue a career in information-related sectors, cultural studies, culture management, or science management.

The B.A. course in History is dedicated to the study of Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary History, including Comparative Regional Studies, Historical Methodology, Economic and Social History, Public History, American History, East European History, South Asian History, and the History of the Jewish People. The perspectives are correspondingly broad. At the same time, the basic modules in the first three semesters and the consolidation and extension modules in the 4th to 6th semesters are designed to enable and encourage students to focus on the epochs, regions or issues that interest them most. There is no final examination as such, but the 6th semester of the main/joint-main course is earmarked for the completion of the B.A. thesis, an extensive written essay of about 32 pages.

With the exception of the M.A. course (100%), History in Heidelberg is studied in combination with other subjects. More detail on this can be found in the examination regulations and the Catalogue of Subjects (see below). At Bachelor level, History can be studied as a main subject (75%), a joint-main subject (50%) or a subsidiary subject (25%).

Students working towards a Teaching Degree in which History represents 50% of the student workload and that leads ultimately to the Master of Education degree qualifying to teach at higher German secondary schools (Gymnasien) are expected to acquire skills associated with professional teaching at the B.A. level already. These account for 20 CP in the Cross-Disciplinary Skills sector.

History is taught by example. In introductory seminars (in the basic modules),advanced seminars and practical classes, students are trained in the engagement with academic issues and the acquisition of historical acumen by looking closely at selected (representative) instances of the problems in question. Study emphases cannot be regarded in isolation. They require an adequate overview of the broader implications. These more universal perspectives are supplied mainly by the lectures.

The mere rehearsal of established factual knowledge cannot be the aim of academic study. The material that has been handed down to us will only respond to the questions we put to it. Accordingly, reasoned inquiry and the constant fine-honing of methodologies attendant upon such inquiry are the best prospects we have for genuine progress in our subject.

Major research and teaching interests

In each of the subdivisions of History, the teaching staff are at pains to explore the essentials of the subject matter discussed in the course of the three semesters of instruction at their disposal. Heidelberg has a number of unusual study focuses to offer, predicated first of all on the existence of institutes and professorships that are not to be encountered at every university. These include Comparative Regional History, American History, East European History, History of South Asia, Economic and Social History, History of Medicine, Foundational Studies, and History of the Jewish People.

Other teaching emphases have to do with the scholarly interests of individual professors and lecturers (sometimes without any specific institutional affiliations).

Chief among these are

  • Ancient History: political anthropology, religions of Antiquity, Greek cultural history, Roman economic and social history, towns and cities in late Antiquity, Greek and Latin epigraphy.
  • Medieval History: comparative history of Europe in the Middle Ages, figurations of order, perception and identity formation, forms and representations of rule, formation of political will and its ritualisation, history of religious orders and piety, history of the Mediterranean area, transcultural history.
  • Early Modern History: comparative history of Europe in the early modern age, perception of self and others, identity formation, forms and representations of rule, political theory, media history, historical imagology.
  • Late Modern History: general history of the 19th and 20th centuries, global history, globalisation processes and transnational networks, history of European expansion and colonialism, transfer of culture and knowledge, transnational history of science and scholarship, information cultures.
  • Contemporary History: comparative history of Europe, overcoming of dictatorships and rise of civil societies in the 20th century, historical peace and conflict research, memorial cultures, current history in the mass media.
  • American History: history of racial relations and Afro-American civil rights, the USA in international relations, constitutional history, cultural history.
  • East European History: history of Russia, Ukraine and the Soviet Union in the 19th and 20th centuries, dictatorship comparison – Stalinism/National Socialism, Second World War, occupation experience, Holocaust, forced labour and collaboration, transitional justice, reparation, cultures of law and justice, history of knowledge and science, revolutions, social and national movements.
  • Regional History: history of political/social orders in medieval Europe, comparative regional history in European contexts, history of the Kurpfalz (Heidelberg and environs), rank and power in princely aristocracy, urban cultures of memory in the late Middle Ages.
  • Historical Methodology: emphasis on palaeography/codicology and documentology in close conjunction with the Department of Medieval and Early Modern Latin Studies
  • Economic and Social History: linkage of perspectives and methods in economic, social and cultural history, European economic and social history from the 18th to the 21st century, history of industrial relations and industrial crises, theory of economic and social history, corporate history, gender studies, memory and memorialisation
  • Public History: interrelations between historical studies and the public domain, applied history, audio-visual aspects of historical studies, historical exhibitions, history of scholarship and history of knowledge, history of the Federal Republic and western Europe after 1945.

Formal requirements


Bachelor 50%/75%

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

Bachelor (subsidiary subject) 25%

Click here for Heidelberg University’s Regulations for Admission in accordance with the University’s own selection procedure. Application takes place online.

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

History (14 June 2010, last amended 15 May 2015)
History (14 June 2010, last change 22 April 2013)

Study guide:

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.


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

M.A. course

Heidelberg University offers consecutive M.A. degree courses in History and Medieval Studies, a consecutive German-French M.A. course in Historical Studies and a consecutive M.A. course in Global History.


Academic advisor

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

Dr. Kilian Schultes
Grabengasse 3-5, Office 302
Wednesdays 4 – 6 pm
phone: +49 (0)6221 542504

Dr. Sebastian Kolditz
Grabengasse 3-5, Office 221
Tuesdays10 am – noon
phonel.: +49 (0)6221-54-2294


Department of History
Grabengasse 3-5



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


Student representation

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

E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter
Letzte Änderung: 2018-07-10
zum Seitenanfang/up