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Transcultural Studies

Degree: Master of Arts
Application required: Limited intake
Course start: winter semester
Course duration: 4 semesters
Form of course: full-time
Language requirements: English C1, two other languages B1 (on application)
Language of instruction: English, German electives possible
Other: post-graduate  (consecutive)

Transcultural Studies

Faculty of Philosophy


Programme overview

The M.A. in Transcultural Studies is interdisciplinary and transregional in character. It follows the approach that cultures do not exist in ethnically closed, linguistically homogeneous and territorially limited spaces. Instead, they constitute themselves through transformations and interweaving that results from extensive contacts and relations. Mobility and connections moulded civilizations long before the development of global capitalism and modern communication technologies.

The emphasis of the M.A. in Transcultural Studies thus lies on transcultural processes in history and the present, and the related institutional and individual negotiating strategies in the respective regional and historical context, manifested in texts, images, sounds and other media. Geographically the study programme focuses on Asia, specifically East and South Asia, in relation to Europe.

The content of the course is divided into three main study foci. In “Society, Economy and Governance” the subject of investigation is political, social and economic interaction and exchange processes; global issues like migration, or consumer behaviour are discussed. „Knowledge, Belief and Religion" is concerned with religious practices and ideologies, as with preserving and transferring knowledge within and between different groups and region. "Visual, Media and Material Culture" examines concepts like authenticity, agency and mobility with respect to the production, presentation and critical reception of images, films and objects.

For further information on the study programme’s contents and structure as well as its course offering please visit the website of the M.A. Transcultural Studies.

Course structure


The M.A. in Transcultural Studies takes two years, i.e. four semesters, and is worth a total of 120 ECTS credits. A module generally consists of two to three courses and exends over one semester. The fourth semester is for writing the Master’s thesis. During the first three semesters the M.A. in Transcultural Studies has an import share of one course. The import may be taken from related Master’s programmes at Heidelberg University – depending on the offering and the student’s qualifications.

At the latest after the first semester, students choose one of the three following fields, which they will pursue for the rest of the course and use as a source of their topic for the Master’s thesis:

  • Society, Economy and Governance (SEG)
  • Knowledge, Belief and Religion (KBR)
  • Visual, Media and Material Culture (VMC)

Study Plan

The first semester serves as orientation and introduction to the broad field of Transcultural Studies. The core is a module in which students are taught the fundamental theories, methods and history of Transcultural Studies. In another module they can get to know the different study foci and make connections with their previous studies.

At the end of the first semester each student must commit themselves to one specific study focus.

The second semester is for intensive initiation into the chosen focus, engaging with specific methods and theories, and possibly expanding the student’s regional and culture-specific knowledge. The study focus is supplemented by a further module.

In the third semester, students continue to deepen their theoretical and methodological foundations of Transcultural Studies in the chosen study focus. At the same time they should use the courses to sound out possible topics for and prepare their upcoming Master’s thesis. An import from other programmes may be helpful here.

Students are encouraged to use their third semester as a "mobility window", i.e. to go abroad to study or do research. This can happen at a university through attending appropriate lectures but also through research-oriented internships. These have to be related to their course and their Master’s thesis.

The fourth and final semester is mainly for planning and writing the thesis. A specialist colloquium led by the supervisor assists the student in this process.


The M.A. in Transcultural Studies may be studied as a minor worth 20 credits. 



There is an entry restriction. Please consult the Admission regulations. Study programm only starts in winter semester.

German students
German students can enrol without prior application at the Central University Administration building by the beginning of the lecture period. They are required to show the written statement of admission issued by the representative of the desired Master’s programme, confirming that preconditions according to the admission regulations have been met. Please visit the website of the M.A. Transcultural Studies for further information.

International students

International students have to submit a written application to enable due examination of their previous academic achievements. The closing date for international applicants is 15 June for the winter semester. The application must go directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the following M.A. application form and enclose the necessary documents (see the website of the M.A. Transcultural Studies for further information.

Further information

Current information on procedure

Admission regulations

Admission regulations Master

Examination regulations

Examination regulations Master (last changes 06 July 2016)
Examination regulations Master (last changes 29 July 2015)
Examination regulations Master (last changes 22 April 2013)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

The respective examinations board or office is responsible for credit transfer, recognition, and examination issues. Further details are available from the academic advisor.


To study at Heidelberg University, fees must be paid at the beginning of each semester.

Academic Advisor

Takuma Melber

Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context"
Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies (GPTS)
M.A. Transcultural Studies
Karl Jaspers Centre
Vossstr. 2, Building 4400
69115 Heidelberg
Phone: +49-(0)6221/54-4323
Fax: +49-(0)6221/54-4012

For an appointment, please visit the homepage:

Editor: e-mail
Latest Revision: 2019-04-23
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