The programme

Cultural diversity has shaped Middle Eastern societies throughout their long histories, and continues to do so to this day. The diversity and dynamics of these cultures are the subject of the master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East.

Until the mid-1990s, Oriental Studies was often blamed for its backward-oriented perspective and lack of practical applications. Today the situation has reversed completely: ongoing crises and conflicts have moved into the spotlight of academic teaching and research to such a degree that not losing sight of the historical roots and cultural richness of the Islamic cultures of the Middle East and their entanglements with one another has become difficult.

Counter to reductionist tendencies of this kind, the master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East allows students to concentrate above all on cultural and historical questions.

The core philologies of the Middle East (Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew) provide a basis for further studies on diversity and historical change in the region. The interdisciplinary and transcultural approach of the programme offers students an opportunity to analyze the entanglements of diverse Middle Eastern cultures as a long term phenomenon.

With a specialization in one of five subject areas (history, art and archaeology, religious studies, language and literature, or linguistics), enhanced by firm soft skills – as taught for instance in the course Presenting Academic Papers – and a profound methodological background, graduates will have received excellent preparation for a career in academia.


  • Degree: Master of Arts
  • Duration: 4 semesters (8 semesters if part-time)
  • Start: October (winter) or April (summer)
  • Languages of instruction: English and German
  • Application deadline: 15 July (winter) / 15 January (summer)
    [click here for details on admission]
  • Requirements: Bachelor's degree in a relevant field (NC 2.5); proficiency in English, German, and a Middle Eastern language
    [click here for details on requirements]


15 ECTS Foundational module
15 ECTS Methods and theories of cultural studies
Courses and workshops
30 ECTS Specialization modules
History, art and archaeology, religious studies, language and literature, linguistics
30 ECTS Complementary modules
Electives in digital humanities, political sciences, etc., or further language courses, additional specialization modules, work experience, ...
30 ECTS Master's thesis
120 ECTS total