Structure and Content

The duration of study of this modularized program is four semesters in full-time (8 semesters in part-time). Students participate in the shared foundational modules, then they select one of five areas of specialization: History, Art and Archaelogy, Religious Studies, Language and Literature, Linguistics. The core component of the program is the module "Theories and Methods", in which students oganize and conduct their own workshop. Students without German language skills must take their spezialization area in Art & Archaelogy and Linguistics.





15 ECTS Credits Foundation Module

In the foundational area three out of eight modules have to be selected:

  • Arabic, Persian or Turkish for students without prior knowledge of the respective language
  • Classical Arabic and Persian Literature
  • The Languages and Linguistics of the Middle East
  • Problem-centered and interdisciplinary history of the Islamic Middle East
  • History of Religions in the Middle East
  • Introduction to Islamic Art and Archaeology

In the seminar of the winter semester, students become acquainted with current scientific approaches in their diversity. Topics to be discussed transcend single-discipline persoectives oft he Oriental Studies. The acquired knowledge will be expanded and intensified during the summer semester: Students will organize and conduct their own workshop.

30 ECTS Credits Specialization Modules (History, Art and Archaeology; Religion, Language and Literature, Linguistics)

History courses in the master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East draw chiefly from the areas of specialty of the scholars that teach them: Turkish and Iranian history and culture.

Students of history trace the course of past eras and defining events and learn to identify the structures and dynamics that underlie them. This is achieved through the careful lecture of source texts in their original language: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and others.

Through the guided application of historical theories and methods, students are given opportunity to approach and contribute to reseach questions that are actively being discussed in international academic contexts.

The Department of Turkish Studies at the University of Bamberg places its primary focus on the history and culture of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. It offers courses that discuss the histories of areas of the Middle East that in some eras encompassed large parts of the Arabic world and the Balkans.

The object of study of the Department of Iranian Studies is the history and culture of the Persian speaking world of the 11th to the 20th century: all those areas of the world where Persian was or still is used as the language of administration, literature, and intercultural contact. Beyond the Iran of the present day this also includes Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and at times wide swaths of Central Asia, India, and Anatolia.

The languages of instruction are German and English.

Art and archaeology
Students of art and archaeology engage with the works of art and material culture of the Middle East from the 7th century up to the present day. The curriculum comprises courses on architecture, various art forms, as well as archaeological records.

Through close examination of case studies and equal consideration of objects of comparison, iconographic elements, and the often variable cultural and histocal background, the master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East, teaches the skills necessary for the description, analysis, and interpretation of works of art on an academic level.

Students examine authentic mediaeval archaeological finds and records, seek interpretations in the primary and secondary literature, discuss works of art in specialist seminars, and develop their own positions and perspectives – a firm foundation for independent research.

Instruction in art and archaeology is provided in English.

Religious studies
Students of religious studies concern themselves with the inter-religious and intra-religious diversity among the cultures of the Middle East, both past and present. They examine the religions in question – especially the Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – in terms of their function as systems of faith, society, and everyday life.

The master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East combines instruction in the methods of cultural, literary, and religious studies with more introspective theological, philosophical, and legal considerations.

Intensive study of primary sources – religious and philosophical texts, archaeological records, pieces of art, and modern media – ideally in their original languages, forms the basis of instruction.

Students practise the hermeneutical and scholarly methods characteristic of religious studies and learn to interpret and put into context the theological, philosophical, and legal ramifications of religiosity in the Middle East.

They chart philosophical and religious developments across history, examine the forms and consequences of inter-religious and intra-religious contact, and evaluate the interaction of religious forms of expression with other aspects of society.

The academic perspective on religiosity in its historical and contemporary guises enables students to understand and critically analyze past and (allegedly religiously motivated) current events in terms of their religious and social histories.

Courses in religious studies are taught in German and English.

Language and Literature
The centrepiece of courses in this subject area are the language and literature of the Middle East from 8th century up to the present day. Particular emphasis is placed on Arabic and Persian as literary languages, but the examination of texts in languages such as Hebrew and Turkish rounds out the curriculum.

Students of the master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East with a specialization in literature receive intensive training in these languages, especially in Arabic and Persian.

Over the course of their studies, students acquire well-grounded proficiencies in literary history and theory, allowing them to discuss authors and genres, narrative structures, and the particulars of pre-modern and contemporary literary trends within academic settings.

The analysis of original texts is complemented by the careful perusal of secondary literature.

In an approach novel to the field, students apply comparative methods in an effort to correlate written records in multiple languages with one another, relying on the firm foundation of current literary theory they will have acquired in courses offered by the Universities of Bamberg and Erlangen-Nuremberg.

The languages of instruction are German and English.

Linguistics is the science of language as a universal characteristic of human beings. Linguistic instruction in the master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East focuses primarily on the methods of empirical linguistics: language documentation, variationist sociolinguistics, and language typology.

The practical skills of documentary linguistics are indispensable for approaching the theoretically oriented questions raised by sociolinguistics and language typology. For this reason, students are trained in methods that will allow them to independently collect and evaluate natural language data, and subsequently present their results within the scope of varied theoretical frameworks.

Students are also given opportunity to acquire or deepen proficiency in at least one language of the Middle East.

Linguistic research at the University of Bamberg places special emphasis on Turkic languages such as Turkish and Azeri, and Iranian languages like Persian, Zazaki, and Balochi. Unique in Germany is the focus on Kurdish, one of the world's largest minority languages.

Notably, instruction in linguistics is provided entirely in English: ideal preparation for a career in linguistic research.

The Complementory Area is used to strengthen and supplement the individual study profile and offers a great scope: Courses from the participating disciplines e.g. language courses or courses from the political sciences at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, or „Internet Computing for the humanities“ could be successfully completed in the complementory area. An internship of at least six weeks each is part of this area.

30 ECTS Credits Master's Thesis and Defence

With their Master’s thesis at the end of their university studies, students proof that they have in-depth expertise and are able to work independently in accordance with scientific methods. They give a clearly structured oral presentation of the topic and the method of their thesis.  

Degree: Master of Arts 

Duration: 4 Semesters (8 Semesters part-time) 

Languages: German and English