Please contact our programme coordinator
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.
Anthropology at Heidelberg University
Anthropology at Heidelberg University is located at three institutes: the Institute of Anthropology, the Department of Anthropology at the South Asia Institute, and the Chair of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies. The three institutes are located alongside one another on the recently completed Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) campus in the Bergheim district of Heidelberg. While the Institute of Anthropology focuses on Southeast Asia and Oceania, the South Asia Institute, with its eight departments, offers a comprehensive curriculum on the cultures, histories, literature, politics and economy of the South Asian region. In addition, the Karl Jaspers Centre, with its focus on transcultural studies, offers students avenues for comparison with East Asia and access to current, innovative, and internationally oriented 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 Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies.
Heidelberg University, a Centre of Excellence
The Ruprecht Karls University of Heidelberg is not only the oldest German university, but also a leading international institution. It has been officially recognized as one of eleven universities of 'excellence' in Germany by the German Research Council and the German Council of Science and Humanities, and is ranked among the top ten universities in Europe by the Third European Report on Science & Technology Indicators. The university offers a broad range of disciplines and has numerous international partners. It is also part of the Metropolitan area of „Rhine-Neckar“, with other universities nearby (for example the University of Mannheim), and is situated in one of the most culturally interesting regions of Germany.
Regional and Theoretical Foci
Anthropology in Heidelberg offers a wide spectrum of theoretical fields with the core areas Ritual and Performance, Medical Anthropology, Media Anthropology, Political Ecology (environment) and Nature-Culture relations. Other foci are Intercultural Ethics, Migration and Urban Anthropology, Transcultural Studies, Social Structures, Gender, and the Anthropology of Aging. Regional specializations include South Asia, South East Asia and Oceania. There are numerous possibilities to learn other European and Non-European languages. The Institute of Anthropology offers introductory courses in Thai, Bahasa Indonesia and Tok Pisin while the South Asia Institute offers numerous South Asian languages.
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 module handbook you will find a detailed description of the structure and aims of the M.A. Anthropology. An English translation will be published soon.
Our brochure provides general information about the Master's Programme.
Course of Studies and Contents
The MA Programme in Anthropology is structured as follows:
Each student must complete a one-semester course covering basic theories and methods of sociocultural anthropology (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 with time.
Students pursue in-depth study in one or more theoretical areas and/or geographical regions (Module 2). Students choose from a variety of seminars in the Institute and in adjoining departments, participate in discussion sessions, and craft research papers addressing a chosen topic within the scope of the seminar.
To build methodological skills and gain experience undertaking independent research, students formulate an individual ethnographic project and pursue research, either within the structure of an internship with an outside organization or through independently organized fieldwork. (Modules 3, 4, and 5).
Native speakers of German have the opportunity to lead BA tutorial sessions and gain teaching experience. Otherwise, students may take additional seminars in anthropology. (Module 6). Native speakers of German have the opportunity to lead BA tutorial sessions and gain teaching experience. Otherwise, students may take additional seminars in anthropology. (Module 6).
In pursuit of a well-rounded and expansive knowledge base, students must 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).
Previous seminars available to students of the MA Anthropology have included:
- Anthropology of Drugs
- Global Mental Health
- Anthropology of the Future
- Provenance and Repatriation: Conflicts and Challenges
- The Anthropology of Infrastructure
- Introduction to Medical Anthropology
- (Forced) Migration and Health
- Gods, Demons, and Climate Change
- The Anthropology of Memory
- Ecologies of Music and Sound
- Thinking Anthropologically through Indonesian Cinema
Graduates of the MA Anthropology have completed research theses with the following titles:
The MA Programme in Anthropology is a prerequisite for the PhD, and also prepares students for a number of professional areas of work such as:
- research and teaching at universities and other scholarly institutions
- international development
- peace and conflict research
- youth and adult education
- culture management
- cultural mediation, e.g. working with migrants and refugees and in the health care system
- inter-cultural education
- international organizations
- journalism, media and publishing
- museums and exhibition activities
- public relations, advertising, tourism
- organization and market research, consulting.
Admission to the Master's Course requires the following:
- A BA degree (or another equivalent university degree) with at least 70 credit points in Anthropology (approximately 50% of the degree), or a degree in a course of studies comparable in topics and theoretical orientation
- 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), by means of either one of the following tests:
a minimum score of 80 in the internet-based or 570 in the paper-based TOEFL
a minimum score of 6.5 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.
- Knowledge in one more foreign language.
can enroll directly (without prior application) till one week before classes at the Central University Administration. However, they need to contact the course director who needs to certify that the admission requirements are met.
For further details and information contact the course coordinator.
can only apply at the International Relations Office. The closing date for the application is June 15 for the winter semester, November 15 for the summer semester. Please use this Application form. International students must submit by mail proof of prior academic certifications, all previous academic transcripts, and proof of English language proficiency. Once admitted to the MA Anthropology, international students must matriculate in person at the International Students Office Serviceportal prior to the start of the semester. Further details and information on the application are available at the International Relations Office.
International students can find support for housing at the Studierendenwerk Heidelberg.
German nationals and EU residents pay the Universität Heidelberg administrative fee of EUR 169.25 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.
Forms / Downloads
- Plagiarism declaration (please submit the signed declaration together with you term papers)
- Style sheet for the first page of term papers
- Brochure MA Anthropology
- Application form for the MA Anthropology
- Examination regulations MA Anthropology (only in German; in the version of December 03, 2015)
- Examination regulations MA Anthropology (only in German, in the version of October 02, 2014)
- Old module handbook MA Anthropology
- New module handbook MA Anthropology (in the version 2019)