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Faculty of Philosophy and Heidelberg College for Jewish StudiesNear Eastern Studies – Master

The Middle East bears the imprint of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. Near Eastern Studies as a subject brings together the different disciplines dealing with this multi-facetted region – Islamic studies, Jewish studies, Israel studies, history and sociology of the Middle East. The languages of the region lay the basis for a transcultural approach, particularly through the combination of modern Hebrew plus another Middle Eastern language (Turkish, Arabic, Persian).

Facts & Formalities

DegreeMaster of Arts, Joint Degree
Type of programmeConsecutive
Start of programmeWinter semester only
Standard period of study4 semesters
Language(s) of instructionGerman, partially English
Fees and contributions171.80 € / Semester
Application procedureConsecutive master’s programmes with access restriction
Application deadlinesInformation about deadlines can be obtained after you have put together a degree program.

Course Content

The subject matter of the Master’s in Near Eastern Studies is getting to know the Middle East from the angle of society, culture and the humanities. It particularly focuses on contacts between Jewish and Muslim cultural and societal formations in the region seen from a synchronic and diachronic perspective. The degree is sponsored equally by the professorships in Islamic Studies at Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies. It is directed equally at graduates with a bachelor degree in Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies or in related subjects with corresponding source-language elements. It allows for a pronounced interdisciplinary access to the historical diversity of cultural and societal formations within the Middle East region, connecting the methodology of philology and history with that of sociology and the humanities. This connection is reflected in the modular structure of the course, above all through the equal treatment of content from Jewish and Islamic studies, and language skills. It is supplemented by a good grounding in the fields of socio-cultural studies and the humanities, taking account of the methodological pluralism which both disciplines traditionally share, and laying the basis for interdisciplinary exchange.

Course Structure

The two-year Master’s programme in Near Eastern Studies with a sociology and humanities emphasis is a joint degree offered by Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies. Involved are the Islamic Studies professorships at the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near East and the Ben Gurion chair in Israel and Middle East Studies, along with other subjects from Jewish studies.

The course offers students from Germany and elsewhere the opportunity to build on their first degree (in Islamic studies, Jewish studies, Middle East studies) and acquire a further transdisciplinary qualification in the field of Middle East studies. Students take the equally weighted major subjects “Jewish Middle East” and “Islamic Middle East”, which involve multiple opportunities for forming their individual profile. Through intensive language training, they learn, or deepen, their skills in modern Hebrew as well as Arabic, Turkish or Persian, and broaden their knowledge of methods used in the humanities and sociology. This way, the students will acquire a comprehensive education in research-oriented regional studies and receive wide-ranging opportunities for acquiring further academic qualifications.

The Master’s in Middle East Studies does not include a minor subject, nor can it be studied as a minor in another Master’s programme.