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MA Sociocultural Anthropology

Ma Ethnologie 2014 English

Programme Coordinator

Dr. Benjamin Baumann

Institute of Anthropology, Room 110.01.07
Phone: +49-6221-54-15103  

Please contact our programme coordinator
• if you have questions regarding the curriculum, degree requirements, scheduling, application etc.
• for the accreditation of courses from other departments
• for the application of your oral exam and Master-thesis

Please note:

Due to the corona pandemic we can currently not provide counselling by phone.



Admission to the MA Anthropology requires the following:

A BA or equivalent university degree in cultural/social anthropology, or a degree in a course of studies comparable in topics and theoretical orientation (sociology, area studies, philosophy, geography) with at least 70 credit points acquired in anthropologically relevant seminars.

Without a degree in social and/or cultural anthropology but with considerable knowledge of anthropological methods and theory, applicants need to submit a letter of motivation, transcripts of their BA studies and a summary of their BA thesis proving their familiarity with anthropological methods and theory. Please highlight the seminars you consider to be anthropologically relevant in the submitted transcripts. The letter of motivation must convincingly explain the specific motivation to apply for the consecutive M.A. programme anthropology based upon the applicant’s thematic and regional areas of interest. How do your interests relate to the programme’s contents and aims? What study focus would you like to choose and why? In addition, the letter must detail the language and methodological qualifications of the applicant that will equip them for our MA programme. How do you want to build on and possibly expand these qualifications in your studies? These documents need to be submitted by Email to the programme coordinator before submitting any admission documents online. The programme coordinator will review the documents and issue an informal permission to start the application process.

Applications from applicants without a BA degree in sociocultural anthropology/Ethnology who haven't submitted the additional documents in advance cannot be taken into account. Please contact the program coordinator when you are unsure, whether you have to submit additional documents.

All applicants need to prove very good proficiency in English, i.e. at least level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

  • a minimum score of 72 in the internet-based TOEFL
  • a minimum score of 5.0 in the IELTS
  • a certificate of the language centre of Heidelberg University with "good" (2.0) or better

Please note that applicants with a degree from a university whose language of instruction is English and who have written their BA thesis in English do not need to provide TOEFL or IELTS scores. B-level proficiency or higher needs to be proven in one more foreign language other than German or English. A certificate for one's first mother tongue (if it is not German or English) is not required.

All applicants apply online via heiCO. The closing date for the application is March 31 for the summer semester, Septermber 30 for the winter semester.

Please don't forget to submit proof of prior academic certifications (certified copies), all previous academic transcripts, and proof of English language and/or another foreign language proficiency. If your university does not issue a final grade, please submit an internal university ranking. Applicants with no BA in Social/Cultural Anthropology need to submit the additional documents via email prior to their online application (letter of motivation and a summary of their BA thesis).

You will be informed be heiCO, whether your application was successful. The Institute of Anthropology is not allowed to communicate any details about the application process to applicants. Please refrain from contacting the Institute of Anthropology or the programme coordinator with questions regarding the state of the application process and direct all questions related to the posting and receipt of your application directly to:

Once admitted to the MA Anthropology, follow the steps detailed on the International Relations Office’s homepage to matriculate prior to the start of the semester. Further details and information on the application are available at the International Relations Office. Please contact the International Relations Office for any technical questions relating to the application process.

Please inform the programme coordinator immediately after you have received the official admission notification.

Tuition Fees

German nationals and EU residents pay the Universität Heidelberg administrative fee of EUR 171.80 per semester.

International students are subject to the administrative fee, plus the state of Baden-Wurrtemburg’s International Student fee of EUR 1500, for a total of EUR 1669 per semester.

General Information

The consecutive Master‘s Programme in Anthropology provides the opportunity to specialise in a variety of thematic and regional areas. This programme combines theoretical training with practice-oriented approaches. The MA is open to international students. Language of instruction is English, but a few non-compulsory courses are also offered in German.

The focus of the Master‘s Programme in Anthropology is cultural difference and practice in local and global contexts. Our aim is to provide students with an anthropologically informed understanding of the complexities of human ways of life and thinking. This includes, in particular, the ability to critically question seemingly universal models of thought, value orientations, and practices. Throughout the course, students are provided with a comprehensive grounding in classical as well as contemporary debates in social and cultural anthropology and are immersed in the distinctive research methods of the discipline. Thus, our Master‘s Programme deepens students’ regional, theoretical, and methodological knowledge, and enables students to pursue independent anthropological work.

Please have a look at the information system of Heidelberg University if you want to know which courses are offered in the Master's Programme at the present term.

In the Icon Pdf module handbook you will find a detailed description of the structure and aims of the M.A. Anthropology.

Exemplary study plans will be presented here soon. In the meantime, please contact the programme coordinator!

The Institute of Anthropology at Heidelberg University

The Institute of Anthropology (IfE) at Heidelberg University is part of the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS). The studies of Anthropology at the IfE can be complemented by courses at two further institutes at CATS: The Department of Anthropology at the South Asia Institute, and the Chair of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS). The Institute of Anthropology focuses on Southeast Asia, while the Department of Anthropology at the SAI offers courses in Medical Anthropology and the Anthropology of South Asia. In addition, the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), with its focus on transcultural studies, offers students avenues for comparison with East Asia and access to current, innovative, and internationally linked research. Students of the MA in Anthropology can also take courses offered by the programmes 'Master of Health and Society in South Asia' located at the South Asia Institute and the 'Master of Transcultural Studies' offered by the HCTS.

Regional and Theoretical Foci

The Institute of Anthropology in Heidelberg offers a wide spectrum of theoretical fields with the core areas Ritual and Performance, Political Ecology (environment), Social Structures, and Nature-Culture relations. Further foci are Intercultural Ethics, Transcultural Studies, Gender, Mobility, and Research on the Anthropocene. The researchers specialize in Mainland and Insular Southeast Asia. The Institute of Anthropology offers language courses in Thai and Bahasa Indonesia for Anthropologists, while the South Asia Institute offers numerous South Asian languages. There exist numerous possibilities to learn other European and Non-European languages at Heidelberg University

Course of Studies and Contents

The MA Programme in Anthropology is structured as follows:

  • Each student needs to complete a one-semester course covering basic themes of sociocultural anthropology while linking them with current debates in the field (Module 1). Students read canonical texts from the history of anthropology alongside contemporary research and seek to build an understanding of how concepts, methods, and positionalities within the discipline have shifted over time.

  • Students pursue in-depth study in one or more theoretical fields and/or geographical regions (Module 2). Students choose from a variety of seminars from the programmes five research foci, participate in discussion sessions, and craft research papers addressing a chosen topic within the scope of the seminar.

  • Students build methodological skills and gain experience undertaking independent research during the Laboratory (Modules 3, 4, and 5). During this two-semestrical seminar consisting of Lab 1 and Lab 2 students formulate an individual ethnographic project and pursue research, either within the structure of a research internship with an outside organization, through independently organized fieldwork or through an in-depth engagement with anthropological theory.

  • In Modul 6, native speakers of German have the opportunity to lead BA tutorial sessions and gain teaching experience. Otherwise, students will take additional seminars from Module 2 to deepen theoretical or regional knowledge.

  • In pursuit of a well-rounded and expansive interdisciplinary knowledge base, students are advised to take courses outside of the Institute of Anthropology. Students also have the opportunity to acquire language skills in courses offered within the Institute or the University’s Zentrales Sprachlabor. (Module 7)

  • In their final semester, students complete their Master’s Thesis, participate in the Master’s Colloquium with other students at the same stage, and sit a final oral exam at the very end of their studies (Modules 8, 9, and 10).

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Letzte Änderung: 30.01.2023
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