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Slavic Studies

Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Application: not required
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: English for academic purposes (reading scholarly literature) by the end of the preparatory stage
Language of instruction: German and Slavic languages

Faculty of Modern Languages


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

Course outline

Slavic Studies engages with the languages and literatures of the Slavic countries in their historical and cultural contexts. The B.A. course combines sound language training with a basic knowledge of linguistics, literary studies and cultural studies and the techniques required for academic work in those fields. At a variety of levels, the course provides a window on Eastern Europe and imparts linguistic and cultural skills that are not only of key importance in an increasingly globalised and connectivised world in general but also count as much-sought-after expert knowledge in connection with the ongoing rapprochement between the countries of Eastern, Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe and the European Union.

The Slavic Studies course in Heidelberg familiarises students with the enormous wealth of the Slavic languages, literatures and cultures and the features specific to them. At the same time, they learn to analyse and interpret the roots underlying linguistic, literary and cultural phenomena in the Slavic countries from an historical and culture-comparative perspective. The course provides an overview of the Slavic languages and literatures from the great literary milestones of the Middle Ages to the present state of East European societies after the upheavals of 1989. It also goes into greater depth on selected topics.

Heidelberg University’s Institute of Slavic Studies enables prospective students to choose from the most important Slavic languages and literatures. In view of this linguistic and cultural diversity, the Department attaches great importance to comparative approaches. The comparative perspective points up the similarities and the particularities of the various Slavic languages and cultures and casts light on their relations with other regions and civilisations. In line with this predilection for the comparative viewpoint is the interdisciplinary exchange with neighbouring subjects and institutions, notably a cooperative course run in conjunction with the Department of East European History. Finally, the Heidelberg Department is closely connected not only with leading institutes in Europe but also in North America, a constellation that students can profit from in a variety of ways.

Teaching and supervision

With professors who can look back on long years of (international) teaching experience, young scholars and highly qualified lecturers equally well-versed in language instruction and the academic side of their subject, Heidelberg’s Institute of Slavic Studies boasts an extremely motivating staff structure. The friendly and open atmosphere and the small groups typical of language classes and seminars facilitate individual treatment and intensive personal supervision of the students. At an early stage, promising students are invited to participate in projects organised by the Institute (conferences, translation projects etc.).

This ease of contact between students and staff applies equally to contact among the students themselves. Involvement in Student Representation is an opportunity to play an active role in Institute life.

If you have questions about the course or problems getting your classes organised, do not hesitate to contact your Academic Advisor. There is also a special counselling service for undergraduates in the form of a student tutor whose specific job it is to support the B.A. students. In introductory beginning-of-term get-togethers, weekly office hours and via e-mail, s/he will help you find your way around at the Institute/University and put together your own personal timetable.

Language instruction

The Slavic languages divide up into East Slavic, South Slavic and West Slavic tongues. The Institute of Slavic Studies in Heidelberg is one of the few departments in Germany offering instruction in Slavic languages from all three areas:

  • Russian (East Slavic)
  • Bulgarian, Serbian and Croatian (South Slavic)
  • Polish, Czech (West Slavic)

Notably Bulgarian can hardly be studied in such depth anywhere else in Germany.

Proficiency in Slavic languages is not required to embark on the Heidelberg B.A. course in Slavic Studies. Basic instruction in all the languages represented at the Institute is available without any prior knowledge of the languages chosen. Language acquisition is additionally supported by a tandem-partner system and conversation classes with fellow-students who are native speakers of the language in question.

As of the winter semester 2015/2016 the undergraduate courses in Slavic Studies are all B.A. programmes. Students working towards a Teaching Degree entitling them to teach at German secondary schools will choose Variation B (“Russian Studies”) of the 50% B.A. course in Slavic Studies with a Teaching Degree option. They will be required to combine this with another 50% (joint-main) subject relevant for instruction at secondary schools.

Course structure

The B.A. course is modular in its structure and divided into a Foundation Stage (1st and 2nd semesters), a Consolidation Stage (3rd and 4th semesters) and an Advanced Stage (5th and 6th semesters). In each of these phases the curriculum is subdivided into three sectors: language acquisition, academic studies (classes in linguistics and literary studies) and cross-disciplinary skills. The B.A. course normally takes six semesters. It can be combined with any subject for which the University provides a Bachelor course.

Catalogue of subjects

The following B.A. programmes are available at the Institute of Slavic Studies in Heidelberg:

  • B.A. in Slavic Studies 75% (main subject)

This course involves studying two Slavic languages. On the academic side, students attend classes in literary studies AND linguistics. Cross-disciplinary skills are an integral part of the programme. The course ends with the B.A. thesis and a final written examination in Slavic Studies.

  • B.A. 50% (first or second main subject) Variant A

The course involves studying two Slavic languages. On the academic side, students embarking on the Consolidation Stage will specialise either in literary studies OR linguistics. Students selecting Slavic Studies as their first main subject will complete the course with a B.A. thesis in Slavic Studies. Those choosing Slavic Studies as their second main subject will do their B.A. thesis not in Slavic Studies but in the other subject they have selected. They will not need to hand in a thesis on a topic in Slavic Studies at the end of the course.

  • B.A. 50% (first or second main subject) Variant B (“Russian Studies”)

In this course students concentrate initially on language acquisition in Russian. At the same time they acquire a basic knowledge of another Slavic language of their choosing. In the academic sector prior to the Advanced Stage, students will attend seminars on Russian literature and linguistics. In the Advanced Stage they specialise in literary studies OR linguistics. Also part of the programme are cross-disciplinary skills (related to teaching). If Slavic Studies is the first main subject, the course rounds off with a B.A. thesis in that subject.

  • B.A. 25% (subsidiary subject)

In this course students study one Slavic language. On the academic side, they will specialise from the outset in literary studies OR linguistics. They are not required to complete a B.A. thesis or sit a final examination in Slavic Studies.

Admission to the B.A. examination is conditional on proof of proficiency in English at the B2 level. Evidence of this will normally be furnished either by the school-leaving certificate (Abitur or equivalent) or by other relevant certificates/diplomas.

Main research interests


1. History of the Slavic languages and language change

  • historical grammar (incl. Old Church Slavic)
  • historical lexicology
  • text editing

2. Functional analysis of Slavic languages

  • structural analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics of present-day Slavic languages
  • language varieties and the dynamics of their evolution
  • standard Slavic languages after 1989

3. Comparative linguistics and language typology

  • comparative grammar of Slavic languages
  • lexical semantics and phraseology
  • research on languages in contact

Literary studies

  • Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbian/Croatian, Bulgarian literature, notably in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • general and comparative literary studies
  • literary studies and philosophy
  • portrayal of Nazi race and extermination policies in Slavic literatures
  • modern Slavic poetry
  • literary translation from Slavic literatures

Formal requirements

Application and admission

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

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

Possible subject combinations are listed in the Catalogue of Subjects.

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations B.A. (vom 26.03.2015)
Examination regulations B.A. (vom 21.07.2011)
Examination regulations B.A. (vom 14.06.2010)
Examination regulations B.A. (vom 08.01.2009)
Examination regulations B.A. (vom 26.04.2007)

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.

M.A. course

Heidelberg University offers a consecutive M.A. course in Slavic and East European Studies.


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

Academic advisors

general counselling

Marlene Bainczyk-Crescentini
For contact information and office hours please visit the website of the Institute of Slavic Studies.

Personal counselling on issues arising from the structure of the B.A. courses and planning one’s studies

Matthias Puchta, M.A.
For contact information and office hours please visit the website of the Institute of Slavic Studies.



Institute of Slavic Studies

Schulgasse 6
D-69117 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office: Office 222
phone: +49 (0)6221 542636
fax: +49 (0)6221 543105

Student representation:
Zentrales Fachschaftsbüro
Albrecht-Überle Str. 3-5
D-69117 Heidelberg

E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter
Letzte Änderung: 2018-09-06
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