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History and Cultures of the Ancient Near East: Focus on Ancient Oriental Studies

- Master´s programs

Department of History and Cultural Studies
Ancient Studies
Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Prof. Dr. Jörg Klinger
Fabeckstr. 23-25
14195 Berlin

  • For admission to the master’s program in History and Cultures of the Ancient Near East, applicants should fulfill the following requirements:
  • Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin with concentration in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, or an equivalent degree with an Ancient Near Eastern Studies component which corresponds to the same degree at the Freie Universität Berlin.
  • Proof of language skills in at least two foreign languages relevant to the subject, especially Latin, English, French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Persian, or Turkish (level B1 GER).

Applicants whose first language is not German and who have earned their initial degree from a university (or equivalent institution) where the the language of instruction is not German are required to submit proof of proficiency according to the DSH or German Language University Entrance Exam for Foreign Students.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to arrange for a personal interview at the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies before submitting their application.

Further information is available in the Zugangssatzung für den Masterstudiengang Geschichte und Kulturen Altvorderasiens mit den Schwerpunkten Altorientalistik und Vorderasiatische Archäologies (pdf-Datei).

Students do not pay any tuition fees, the university only charges semester fees and contributions each semester.

The Master's program in the History and Cultures of the Ancient Near East can be taken either with a philological and historical focus in Ancient Near Eastern Studies or with an archeological focus in Near Eastern Archeology. The course is designed as an integrative and consecutive program with a strong grounding in research, usually taken in preparation for a further advanced degree.

The philological concentration in Ancient Near Eastern Studies is centered on the cultures and languages of the Ancient Near East, roughly covering the area of modern Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, from the end of the 4th millennium BC to the Hellenistic Period. The focus is largely defined through the use of cuneiform writing. These areas have yielded a large number of sources in such typologically diverse languages as Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite, and Hurrian, as well as more poorly understood languages such as Elamite, Ugaritic, Luwian, or Urartian. Accordingly, the course is designed to provide in-depth specialization in the relevant philologies and cultures. In addition to these specializations, the course conveys a broad repertoire of relevant research methods as well as the analytical tools necessary for independent scientific research. These include the fundamentals of editorial techniques for primary sources and the development of in-depth knowledge of economic, social, political, religious, and cultural processes within the early civilizations of the Ancient Near East. In addition, Students should develop expertise and independence in research methods beyond their specific field of study. Additional interdisciplinary courses in Theology, Semitic Studies, or Near Eastern Archeology provide the necessary background for research in Ancient Near Eastern Studies as a cultural-historical field.

The focus on ancient oriental studies has both a linguistic and a cultural-studies and historical component. It explores the cultures and languages of the ancient Near East from the end of the fourth millennium BC through the age of Hellenism, with cuneiform forming an important connective element. Graduates will acquire expert knowledge in ancient oriental philology and cultural history. They will also gain exposure to a broad repertoire of academic methodologies and analytic experience that will enable them to conduct their own independent scholarly work.

1st Semester Admissions
Unrestricted admission
Admission for Higher Semesters
Unrestricted admission
Application and Registration Period
Only for 1st semester: April 15 - May 31 (for winter semester) and December 1 - January 15 (for summer semester), only for higher semesters: July 1 - August 15 (for winter semester) and January 1 - February 15 (for summer semester)
Enrollment Period
see notice of admission
Program Start
Winter and summer semester
Master of Arts (M.A.)
4 semesters

Course of Studies

The Master's program in History and Cultures of the Ancient Near East with concentration in Ancient Near Eastern Studies is divided into modules within the field of concentration in addition to interdisciplinary modules, including course work in Near Eastern Archeology.

The structure of the program is defined by the regulations, containing detailed descriptions of the contents and goals of individual modules and example course sequences. The regulations for exams define the type of and requirements for individual assessments in the modules and the final examination for the program. These regulations also define the available credits for each module or course and the required hours for the completion of the program.

The Master's thesis should demonstrate that the student is capable of independently treating a defined research subject. Following successful completion of the program, the candidate will be awarded with the degree of Master of Arts.

Modules in the Concentration Ancient Near Eastern Studies

Core Courses


Methods of Textual Research


Focus on Cultural History


Primary Language Skills

Core Electives

Core Module

A Core Module should be chosen in a third language, e.g. Hittite or Sumerian

Advanced Module

 Two advanced reading modules should be chosen in the third language

Interdisciplinary Courses


One core elective should be chosen from the concentration Near Eastern Archeology:

Archeological Hermeneutics, International Research Concentrations, or Archeological Fieldwork


Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the History and Cultures of the Ancient Near East

Graduates of the program will have acquired in-depth knowledge and research skills in preparation for further qualifications for a career in the field.

The Master's program in History and Cultures of the Ancient Near East with a focus on Ancient Near Eastern Studies prepares graduates for work primarily in the area of cultural studies, including research and teaching institutions. Based on the relevant admission requirements, the program can prepare students for a doctoral program.