Information Master of Arts

1. Subject Profile
2. Requirements for Prospective Students
3. Fields of Professional Activity
4. Structure of the Study Program
5. Information on Study and Exam Regulations
6. Reading Suggestions

1.    Subject Profile

1.1 History and Methods

Human Memory

The science of history has a long tradition at Münster University. The subject area is distinguished by a great variety of institutes, departments, work groups and research centers that is unique in Germany.
Numerous renowned historians taught or are still teaching at Münster University. History in Münster holds a leading position in many areas both nationally and internationally.
As an auxiliary science, the science of history deals with the way people thought and acted through the ages. Its goal is to create a collective memory of the homo sapiens and to convey past events in order to comprehend the present. To this end, the science of history does not only convey historical knowledge, but also tools for orientation in a world that is changing faster than ever.   

1.2 Teaching and research focus

History as a subject area at Münster University hosts various sub-disciplines, i.e. Ancient History, Byzantine Studies, Historical Auxiliary Sciences, Medieval History, Medieval Latin Philology, Modern and Contemporary History, Eastern European History, Westphalian History, the History of International Relations, Latin American History, North American History as well as Early History.

All sub-disciplines are devoted to comprehensive specialized research and offer a large selection of courses. Another source of diversity are the types of courses featuring different approaches in their way of conveying knowledge, i.e. lectures, seminars (Proseminar, Hauptseminar, Oberseminar), exercises (Übungen), colloquia, revision courses, internships and field trips. The Bachelor program also provides foundational knowledge on an interdisciplinary level as the subject area of history has a lot of shared interests with some of the disciplines from other departments. Contacts are particularly close with the subjects of Ancient Studies, English, Art History, Geography, German, Theology, Early History and Ethnology.

The institute libraries comprise more than 130,000 books which make them one of the biggest ensemble of libraries of its kind in Germany.

We cooperate closely with the archives and museums, which allows for a practical training of our students.

1.3 The Master’s Program – Sub-Disciplines

The Master’s program “History” is a one-subject program of two years providing students with specialized academic knowledge of the history of different eras and cultures, enabling them to embark on independent research and to acquire key qualifications in presentation, argumentation and research techniques. All of this happens on the basis of theoretical approaches to history and through the discussion of the latest research results and sources. The program grants every student the opportunity to form his/her own study and research profile. The teaching staff of the Department of History support the students with a mentoring program individually tailored to their situation.

The program allows for a specialization in a certain historical period (Ancient History, Medieval History, History of the Early Modern period, Modern and Contemporary History) as well as a spatial specialization (Central Europe, France, Italy, East-Central Europe, Great Britain, Commonwealth, North America, South America, Near and Middle East). It encourages students to choose a clear thematic focus. Alongside the topics of our interdisciplinary research clusters like the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”, students and researchers mainly deal with the fields of cultural history, social history, history of political culture, economic history, legal history, urban history, the history of confessionalization, the history of science, the ancient history of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, international history and the history of international relations, gender history, the history of colonialism and human rights, migration history, the history of ethnic minorities, global/transnational history as well as history in museums and the media.

The curriculum covers various sub-eras. Apart from the elective modules, there are two compulsory modules: “Pre-Modern Period” (Vormoderne) and “Modern and Contemporary History” (Neuere und Neueste Geschichte). The individual profile can be enhanced wiht the module “Theories and Concepts of History” (Geschichtstheorien und Geschichtsbilder). As it is our endeavor to prepare students for the professional world, the program also includes an optional practical module and courses concentrating on vocational orientation.

Ancient History

The object of research and training in Ancient History is the history of the Ancient Mediterranean world and its bordering areas from the second millennium B.C. until the 6th century A.D – ranging from Ancient Greece, Hellenism and the Roman Empire to the Late Antiquity. Aside from political and cultural history, students will explore the constitutional and social history as well as the religious history of the Ancient world. The Institute of Epigraphy does research on Greek and Latin inscriptions and is affiliated to the Department of Ancient History. The two research clusters “Asia Minor” and “Historical Regional Studies of Ancient Greece” study the historical topography and environment of Asia Minor and Greece. All of the mentioned institutions are members of the “Centrum für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Mittelmeerraumes”.
This broad research portfolio in Ancient History is directly incorporated into teaching. The courses cover a wide range of topics and give insight into different methodical approaches. Students may choose to enroll in the Master‘s programs “History” or the Master’s program “Antike Kulturen des östlichen Mittelmeerraums”. Both programs offer a particularly wide range of courses covering the fields of Historical Science and of Ancient history in all their disciplinary variety, which has become very rare at German universities.  

Medieval History

Medieval research at Münster University, covering the time period from the 5th until the 15th century, takes a leading position at a national and international level. It has been and still is responsible for a number of groundbreaking innovations. An excellent example of this is the Collaborative Research Center 496 “Symbolic Communication and Social Value System from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution”. In analyzing the functions of symbolic communication in medieval and early modern society, the researchers broke new ground in a field that deals with some of the most important topics in cultural studies and the humanities. Teaching gravitates around the following topics: the cultural history of Politics, the history of international relations, the structure of medieval aristocratic society, the history of cities, the history of knowledge and reception, medieval cultures of writing as a historical phenomenon, and domination and integration strategies in the Christian and Islamic Middle Ages. A key strength of the subject of Medieval History at Münster University is the existence of the Chairs of Byzantine Studies and Medieval Latin, valuable disciplines allowing students to broaden their vision of the era. Their course credits are applicable to the study of Medieval History. This type of combination is unique throughout North Rhine-Westphalia.

Modern and Contemporary History

The object of Modern and Contemporary History is the modern period stretching from the 16th century to the present. In the framework of the Collaborative Research Center 496 “Symbolic Communication and Social Value System from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution”, there is a close cooperation between the researchers from Medieval History and staff from other disciplines within the humanities for the time period until the French Revolution. Hence, the WWU study program provides a particularly wide range of teaching and research possibilities, with special emphasis on the political, constitutional as well as the social and cultural history of the old empire of the early modern period, the international relations and the historical peace research of the modern period, the history of the United States of America and Latin America, issues of agricultural history and industrialization, the history of demographic change, the history of National Socialism (Nazism) and European fascism, and last but not least the development and structure of the political system of the GDR (East Germany). Moreover, the program deals with the way history is communicated in expositions and museums.
The research cluster for the contemporary history of Great Britain and the Commonwealth is one of a kind in Germany.

Non-European History with special emphasis on Latin America

The Chair for Non-European History at the Department of History is an integral part of the broad study offer for history students at Münster University, with a regional focus on Latin America and chronologically stretching from the colonial period to the 20th century. Teaching especially concentrates on political, social and cultural history.

The WWU is the only German university with Chairs for both North American and Latin American History, which allows them to work in synergy for joint courses and research projects.

North American History

The history of North America, which is taught at very few universities in Germany, is represented by a separate Chair at the Department of History. The course offer covers the history of the United States from the colonization of the area by the ancestors of the American Indians around 25,000 before Christ until the 1990s. Research and teaching focus on the 19th and 20th century and the following sub-disciplines: cultural history, ethnic history (migrants, American Indians, Afro-Americans), transnational history, religious history, educational history and history in film). Students will look into the field of North American History both from the inside perspective and from the outside, exploring the region with its transnational and global relations in a transdisciplinary approach.

Eastern European History

Münster University is the only institution in North Rhine-Westphalia to teach Eastern European history in its whole geographical spectrum (East-Central, South-East, and Eastern Europe) and historical depth (Middle Ages and Modern Period). The subject area also provides methodical variety covering political, social, cultural, and intellectual history. Research and teaching focus on the contemporary history of East-Central Europe, the history of historiography about East-Central Europe as well as the history of the West and East Slavs in the early and high Middle Ages. 

Regional History of Westphalia

As a university with regional presence, the WWU is the only institution for higher education in Westphalia with an independent Chair for the regional history of Westphalia. The course offer provides students with a regional focus in their studies of Medieval, Modern and Contemporary History. The regional history of Westphalia at WWU operates as a comparative history of the region of Westphalia and its surrounding areas, focusing on urban and cultural history and the history of historiography in Westphalia.

Auxiliary Sciences of History

The auxiliary sciences of history are the methodical tools of historians. The course offer is compulsive for every history student regardless of the individual study program. Among other things, it deals with sub-disciplines like chronology, diplomatics, epigraphy, numismatics, paleography, and sphragistics.

2. Requirements for Prospective Students

Prospective students must hold a “Bachelor of Arts” degree with a distinguishable specialization in history and a grade of 2.5 or better. Foreign language proficiency in English and a second modern foreign language is also required. The Latinum is only required if the student specializes in Ancient or Medieval History.

3. Fields of Professional Activity

A Master of Arts degree in history qualifies students for an academic career as well as for jobs in libraries, archives, publishing houses, public relations, cultural management, advertising, etc.

4. Structure of the Study Program

4.1 Module structures

4.2 Exams

The Master exam takes place during the study period. It consists of

•    the requirements of the courses within the modules (presentations, essays, seminar papers)
•    a Master’s thesis in the exam module. It shall prove that the student is able to elaborate and appropriately present a limited topic using the acquired tools and methods. The exam module also includes a final colloquium covering three topics from the historical period or region the candidate has chosen to specialize in.

4.3 Internships

No information available yet

4.4 Other Requirements

No information available yet

5. Information on Study and Exam Regulations

To view the exam regulations, please refer to

6. Reading Suggestions

No information available yet.