Faculty of PhilosophyGlobal History

The degree programme in Global History offered by Heidelberg University, gives students profound insight into the processes by which borders have been historically transgressed.

Theories and approaches within the field of global history suppose that history can no longer be defined as a universal, linear and progress-orientated process of development, but rather as a process of differentiation amongst different and multiple historicities. The traditional positioning of Europe at the centre of historical narratives is thus critically evaluated, and history is understood as a way of applying order and interpreting events in the past. Courses, seminars and lectures combine geographical approaches to history (area studies), with thematic approaches (topics) and so draw on debates developed at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) relating to processes of cultural transfer between Europe and Asia.

Special Features and Characteristics

The degree programme facilitates and supports interdisciplinary approaches, and aims to promote Global History as an academic discipline via communication with the global scientific community, and through its practical application.


  • Ancient history: Political anthropology. Ancient religions. Greek cultural history Roman economic and social history Towns in late antiquity. Greek and Latin epigraphy. 
  • Medieval history: Comparative history of Europe in the Middle Ages. Configuration of regimes. Formation of perceptions and identities. Forms and presentation of governance. Formation of political will and its ritualisation. History of orders and piety. History of the Mediterranean region. Transcultural history. 
  • Early Modern history: Comparative history of Europe in Early Modernity. Perceptions of the self and other. Identity formation. Forms and representation of governance. Political theory. Media history, historical analysis of images. 
  • Modern history: General history of the 19th and 20th century. Global history: Globalisation processes and transnational networks. History of European expansion and colonial history. Culture and knowledge transfer, transnational history of science, information cultures. 
  • Contemporary history: Comparative history of Europe. Overcoming dictatorships and development of civil society in the 20th century. Historical peace and conflict research. Cultures of remembrance. Contemporary history in mass media 
  • American history: History of race relations and Afro-American civil rights. The role of the USA in international relations. Constitutional history. Cultural history. 
  • Eastern European history: History of Russia, the Ukraine and the Soviet Union in the 19th and 20th century. Comparison of dictatorships Stalinism - National Socialism. Second World War, occupation experiences, the Holocaust, forced labour and collaboration. Transitional justice, reparations, legal and justice cultures. History of knowledge and science. Revolutions. Social and national movements. 
  • National history: History of socio-political regimes in medieval Europe. Comparative national history in the European context. History of the Electoral Palatinate. Rank and power in the royal nobility. Urban cultures of remembrance in the late Middle Ages. 
  • Historical methodology: with specialisation in paleography/codicology and diplomatics, and in close collaboration with the Department for Latin Philology of the Middle Ages and the Modern Era. 
  • Economic and Social Statistics: Links between economic, social and cultural historical perspectives and methods. European economic and social history from the 18th to the 21st century. The history of industrial labour relations and industrial crises, theory of economic and social history, corporate history. Gender studies Commemoration and remembrance. 
  • Public history: Interactions between history and the public sphere. Applied history. Audiovisual aspects of history. Historical exhibitions. History of science and politics of knowledge. History of the Federal Republic of Germany and Western Europe after 1945.

Occupational Areas

Graduates of a degree programme in Global History may pursue a career in a range of sectors, including: 

  • universities and research institutes 
  • international political institutions and non-governmental organisations 
  • journalism and specialist journalism 
  • publishing houses and libraries 
  • cultural and political consultancy  
  • historical museums and exhibitions 
  • public and private archives 
  • history marketing and agencies 
  • media and communications 
  • cultural institutions and sponsoring 
  • adult education and further education 
  • administration and public service


Studierende Global History Uni Heidelberg

I have always been enthusiastic about history and analysis of sources, which is why I decided to turn my passion into a reality. I chose Heidelberg as the university is renowned for History and the department is very close-knit.

Olivia Mayer, 23, Global History, 2nd semester Master