General information on admission requirements and procedures
Application requirements
Application materials and deadline
Essay task 2023
Language skills
Further qualifications
What's in the M.A. National and Transnational Studies? - Differences between MA NTS and BAPS
Studying a dual degree with Master of Education

General information on admission requirements and procedures 

Admission to the Master of Arts programme National and Transnational Studies: Literature, Culture, Language is offered for each fall semester.

This is a very selective programme which admits only those applicants who can prove that their interests and previous qualifications make them especially suitable for this degree course. Applicants are selected by a departmental admissions committee.

Detailed information on the application requirements and the selection of applicants can be found in the latest amendment (Änderungsordnung) to the general programme regulations for this M.A. course (Prüfungsordnung):

PDF: Amendment of regulations (Änderungsordnung) [de], version from 12 June 2020 (German)

An English version is currently being prepared and will be published as soon as possible. In the meantime, the most important aspects of the application requirements can also be accessed below on this website.

Application requirements:

Prospective students must have completed a first academic degree (Bachelor or equivalent) with a standard period of study of at least 6 semesters.
This first degree must be in a field which is thematically relevant to this M.A. programme. These fields are:

  • Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Cultural Studies
  • Book Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • History
  • Political science
  • Sociology
  • Social Anthropology
  • Ethnology
  • Philosophy
  • Theology
  • Education
  • Art History
  • Psychology

Applicants must prove a special qualification and suitability for this programme, which is assessed through the grades attained in MA-relevant focal subjects during their BA studies (or equivalent) as certified by their BA diploma (or equivalent) and transcript of student records, through the application essay, the CV and (where applicable) evidence of previous international and professional experience (see below).

All prospective students should have a strong interest in literary and cultural studies, linguistics and/or book studies, as well as in the study of national and transnational identities.
Applicants who have already dealt with national and transnational identities in their undergraduate studies are especially welcome.
Students previously unfamiliar with the methodologies of literary and cultural studies, linguistics and/or book studies should be prepared to familiarise themselves with these fields during their first semester on the M.A. programme.

Application materials and deadline

All applicants must complete the online application form on the university's application platform (Bewerberportal) and then upload all their other application documents (see the list below) as pdf files.

Documents in any language other than English or German have to be translated into one of these two languages by an officially certified translator. The translation must also be accompanied by a (likewise certified) copy of the document in its original language. International applicants should also consult the admissions website of the university's International Office.

Application documents must include:

• proof of qualification for admission to higher education, e.g. a school leaving certificate like Abitur, A-levels or international equivalent
• undergraduate diploma(s)
• transcript(s) of records: enlists titles of and performance in courses taken in previous degree programme(s) 
• proof of language skills (for non-native speakers only)
• short essay (c. 2,000 words / 5 pages, in English)
• curriculum vitae (in tabular form)
• proof of stay abroad (where applicable)
• proof of internships (where applicable)

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS FROM INDIA, CHINA AND VIETNAM: The APS certificate is now a required document for the application as well. If you require further information, clarification, or have any questions about it, please contact us via e-mail.

The application period for the academic year 2023/2024 began on May 2, 2023 and ended on July 15, 2023. One application per candidate is possible during this period; applications outside the designated application period cannot be accepted.

Relocating and planning your studies may take quite a while. To maximise the time successful applicants have to prepare, we offer three application phases. In this way, successful candidates have a maximum of time to apply for visas (which can be time-consuming) and to arrange funding, travel, and accommodation before the start of the MA NTS orientation week, likely in October 2023. Particularly applicants from outside the EU are strongly advised to apply as early as possible. The earlier you apply, the earlier you will be notified:

Application phase Application dates Notification
1 02 May 2023 - 07 May 2023 on/around 12 May 2023
2 08 May 2023 - 11 June 2023 In the week starting 19 June 2023
3 12 June 2023 - 15 July 2023 from 28 July 2023 onwards

For more information, contact:

University Registry, Student Services Office [de] (Studierendensekretariat) (e.g. for inquiries concerning formal aspects of the admissions procedure)

the University's International Office

the University's central Student Advisory and Counselling Centre (ZSB) [de]

the English Department's Student Advisory Service for inquiries about the contents of the degree programme

Essay task 2023

The dynamics of borders: National and transnational perspectives

Not only since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of the ‘border’ has regained much attention around the globe. Borders have been violently drawn and redrawn, moved or maintained, abolished or avoided. They may be open for most goods and capital but simultaneously impermeable for many human beings. They leave legacies and shape national, collective, individual, and often transnational histories. The porosity of borders is constantly modified according to political and economic agendas, many of which rely on the longevity of coloniality and thereby on the interplay between power and race, gender, class, and/or ability. The border, then, never is a neutral fact. As such it raises a number of questions: Who gets to decide how borders operate? What role do nation states play in their maintenance and what role do borders play in the maintenance of nation states? How do borders as concepts impact the literary and cultural imaginations of both the national and the transnational? How do they shape regions as ‘borderlands’?

Literary and cultural products across a vast array of genres have long since engaged with such questions, particularly in research fields such as national and transnational studies, postcolonial studies, and diaspora studies. Drawing upon a contemporary text of your choice* or referring to an area of linguistic inquiry, explore your own understanding of the dynamics of borders in a short essay of approximately 2,000 words. We encourage you to choose a text that allows you to draw on your own disciplinary knowledge acquired during your BA studies and connect it to transnational perspectives. Also take into account positions you find in related disciplines, either in the humanities or social sciences. 

In other words: Draw upon a piece of artistic expression or use an example from linguistics to try to explain the ambivalence of what is happening to the notion of the border with regard to transnational developments and/or the nation state.

Your essays must meet commonly accepted standards of academic writing with regard to both form and referencing. Essays containing plagiarism will be disqualified.

*We use ‘text’ in a wide sense here, encompassing but not limited to novels, drama, poetry, books as artefacts (book studies), museum exhibits, films, (new) media, video games, architecture, activist practices, music and music videos, etc.

Language skills

As English is the official medium of instruction on this M.A. programme, excellent English language skills are a precondition for enrolment. Students' English language skills must correspond to the "C2" level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Applicants who are not native speakers of English must demonstrate their language skills through the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE, grade A, B or C) or another equivalent language certificate (e.g. CAE grade A or B; TOEFL iBT 109+; or IELTS Academic 7.5+). Please note that we consider you a native speaker if English is an official language in your country.
English as a medium of instruction in previous studies is not accepted as proof of language proficiency.

If you have a type of language certificate which is not listed here, and are not sure whether this will be acceptable, you may contact the MA NTS's student advisory service  (e-mail, for advice. It is best to do this well before the application deadline, because if your present language certificate is not acceptable and you need to acquire a different one (e.g. CPE, CAE, TOEFL, IELTS Academic), this usually takes some time.

German language skills are desirable (e.g. to facilitate everyday life), but not mandatory. Hence, it is not necessary to submit a German language certificate like DaF or DSH. However, those students who wish to learn German while they are here can attend German language courses at the University's Language Centre at different levels.

Further qualifications

We welcome prospective students to include proof/reference of potential stays abroad, internships, or extracurricular activities and other qualifications you think are relevant for your application (e.g. campus groups, reading groups, activism). These qualifications are desirable and not obligatory, and we also take into account that not everyone has the possibility to stay abroad for long amounts of time, or to take up (often unpaid) internships. In addition, we take into account whether applicants speak different languages, so if you do, for instance, because you come from a multilingual country or have studied languages during your BA, do include information on your language proficiencies in your CV.

What's in the M.A. National and Transnational Studies? – Differences between MA NTS and BAPS

The English Department offers two research-oriented MA programmes and some students apply to both of them at the same time which is fine. So what’s the difference between these two programmes, what do they share? And, what is specific to the M.A. NTS?

Both programmes are international in their outlook and student intake, and both MAs are well-established and successful. Thematically, the programmes overlap considerably and many of the classes offered in one programme will also be options in the sister programme. Both focus on book studies, on English linguistics, and on anglophone literatures and cultures from any of the over fifty nation states in which these are produced. In addition, the MA NTS focuses on questions of transnationalism and nationalism, and on globalisation and diaspora. These focal themes are also studied in inter- and transdisciplinary terms: the MA NTS accepts students with a wider range of undergraduate degrees than the MA BAPS does, and NTS students sometimes have the option to go beyond literary studies or linguistics, for example when it comes to their MA thesis.

You can find more detailed information on the MA NTS curriculum here.

Studying a dual degree with Master of Education

Simultaneous enrolment, in both MA NTS and the Master of Education programme in the English Department is possible and encouraged. Pursuing a dual degree can have several advantages, such as the possibility to have M.Ed. courses count for the External Module, writing one Master's thesis to graduate from both programmes (certain requirements need to be fulfilled), and using the required Praxissemester in the M.Ed. as proof of work experience for the MA NTS Work Experience module, among others. Some of our students also like to combine the research orientation and choice of one’s area of specialisation in the MA NTS programme with the professional qualification of the M.Ed. that provides the foundations for becoming an English teacher in the German school system.