Philosophische FakultätIslamic and Middle Eastern Studies – Master

Students of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies adopt a non-denominational historical perspective in the study of the history, society, literature and religion of societies shaped by Islam in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeastern Europe.

Facts & Formalities

DegreeMaster of Arts
Type of programmeConsecutive
Start of programmeWinter semester only
Standard period of study4 semesters
Language(s) of instructionGerman, partially English
Fees and contributions151.05 € / Semester
Application procedureConsecutive master’s programmes with access restriction
Application deadlinesInformation about deadlines can be obtained after you have put together a degree program.
May be studied as a minor subjectYes

Course Content

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies is a historical field of study which draws on philological methods for the cultural and regional study of the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe. The Master’s degree programme is designed to equip students with the skills they require to analyse original texts written in Arabic, Turkish, or Persian, and to independently investigate and critically reflect on research questions. Students also acquire in-depth knowledge of appropriate historical and philological methods, alongside understanding of historical, cultural, religious, and social characteristics of Middle Eastern territories. This enables students to address contemporary research questions in the context of historical factors, whilst conversely, historical issues can be considered in view of relevant contemporary aspects.

Students are able to specialise in areas including modern history, religion, and scholarship in the Ottoman Empire and its successor states. This includes topics such as communication and integration within Middle Eastern societies, as well as with Europe and South Asia, or the transition from empires characterised by religious and linguistic pluralism, to colonial rule and nations associated with the modern era.

The proper investigation of many key research questions depends on the use of texts written in the original language. The Master’s degree at Heidelberg offers students the opportunity to work with original texts in print, digital, and handwritten formats.


Course Structure

The Master’s degree programme in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies consists in two components - one component focused on language, and the other on thematic content. In the language component, students learn a third Middle Eastern source language (Arabic, Turkish, or Persian) and build on existing language skills. Students’ language skills are developed through elective practice classes.

As part of the content component of the course, students attend three main seminars which are complemented by compulsory and compulsory elective course components, and reflect current research concerns. Seminars and accompanying lectures and classes offer intensive exposure to rigorous academic processes, enabling students to become familiar with relevant research methods. Particular focus is placed on hands-on work with print and handwritten source texts from the Middle East. A compulsory elective module enables students to pursue a specialism of their choice.

The Master’s degree programme in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies does not allow for study of an additional minor subject. It is possible however, to study Islamic Studies as a minor subject. In such cases, students will select a variant focussing either on a language (studied at beginner level) or a content area (in which they should have existing linguistic knowledge).