What's in the M.A. National and Transnational Studies? - Differences between MA NTS and BAPS
General information on admission requirements and procedures
Application requirements
Language skills
Further qualifications
Application materials and deadline
Essay task 2022

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.

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.

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.

Application materials and deadline

All applicants must complete the online application form on the university's application platform (Bewerberportal) [de] 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)


For the MA NTS, the application period for the academic year 2022/2023 has started in May 2022 and ended in July 2022The application period for the academic year 2023/2024 will begin in May 2023. One application per candidate is possible during this period; applications outside the designated application period cannot be accepted.

Applications will be processed in two phases and places will be offered accordingly. Applications received by 31 May will be evaluated in time for notifying candidates between early and mid-June. Applicants from outside the EU are strongly advised to apply by 31 May at the latest. In this way, successful candidates have a maximum of time to apply for visas (which can be time-consuming) and also to arrange funding, travel, and accommodation before the start of the MA NTS orientation week, likely in October 2022.

Candidates applying between 01 June and 15 July will be notified after the application period has ended.

For more information, contact:


Essay task 2022

The dynamics of crises: National and transnational perspectives

Not only since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic or the increased attention to ecological disasters, an understanding of transnational ‘crises’ has gained traction around the globe. We speak of crises in relation to climate change,  financial crashes, or when referring to military conflicts. In particular, the term ‘crisis’ is routinely mobilized when borders are crossed and/or closed. ‘Crisis’, then, is not a neutral term. It is entangled with ideologies and power imbalances that prioritize some crises over others. It exacerbates already existing marginalisations, often with regards to, e.g., race, gender, economic status, class, and/or ability. As such, the concept of ‘crisis’ itself raises a number of questions: Who gets to decide what counts as a crisis? What role do nation states play in crises, and is not the nation state itself engulfed in crisis? How are transnational notions of crises distributed across the globe? Literary and cultural developments 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 transnational crisis 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. 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 crisis 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, music and music videos, activist practices, etc.