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Studies

Program

The structure of our two-year program builds on the conviction that global history is best understood as a complex interplay on different spatial scales. Global historians, in our understanding, are not exclusively concerned with “the global,” however it be defined; rather, they think about ways to link larger processes and global structures to regional, national, and local contexts. Our course structure therefore helps students make connections between global perspectives and the specificities of the local and national. Students are encouraged to think globally, but at the same time to specialize in the history of a particular region. The close cooperation between global approaches and area studies is thus a particular emphasis of our program.  

Global history is one of the fastest-growing fields in the discipline of history today, and it has generated a variety of approaches. In our program, students will be introduced to these different approaches and invited to think about the global past from different angles and in different ways. While learning to think globally, they will also be encouraged to select a regional specialization. In fifteen seminars over two years, students will be exposed to themes and issues on both a global scale and within more confined regions and national settings. Depending on interest and language skills, students are encouraged to - and supported in - designing their own intellectual trajectory by drawing on a wide variety of courses offered at Freie Universität and Humboldt Universität. During the fourth semester of the course program, students are expected to complete a master’s thesis - a piece of original scholarly work based on their own research. Upon completion, students are awarded a double degree both from Freie Universität and from Humboldt Universität in Berlin.  

 

Course Structure  

The two-year program comprises of four different parts.

1. The Core Courses (40 ECTS points, 6 seminars) specifically address issues on a global scale. Seminars include survey courses on global history from the early modern period onwards; courses on the theory and method of global history; and seminars devoted to specific topics (such as migration, nationalism, empire, dictatorship, violence, religion etc.) discussed on a global scale. The core courses are obligatory and are offered exclusively for the MA Global History. Language: English exclusively  

2. Students are encouraged to choose an area of regional specialization. This can be any world region (such as East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East). In four seminars (30 ECTS points), they will be able to deepen their knowledge of the country or region in question, and improve their language skills. Language: English; optional German and different languages.   

3. In the comparative section (20 ECTS points, 4 seminars) students are free to choose seminars that focus on regions outside their regional specialization. This is an opportunity to learn in depth about the history of other regions of the world, or to pursue specific topics (e.g. nationalism, environmental history, colonialism etc.) in regions outside their area of expertise. Language: English; optional German and different languages.

4. The master’s thesis (30 ECTS points) is an empirically based, scholarly work on a specific topic. The thesis is written in close cooperation with a supervisor. The accompanying master’s colloquium gives students the chance to present and discuss their thesis topic with their peers and supervisor. Language: The master’s colloquium is in English, but in accordance with their supervisor students could opt for writing their thesis in another language.    


Language Skills  

The MA Global History is an English-speaking program; all the mandatory core seminars are held in English. When choosing their course plan, students can draw on a wide variety of courses, both in English and German. It should, however, be noted that students without German language skills may be limited in their choice of regional specialization. For example, courses on Southeast Asia or North America are usually taught in English, while many other regional and comparative seminars are held in German. It is entirely possible to complete the program in English, but students proficient in German will have more options to choose from. (In most seminars, students are allowed to hand in English language term papers even if the seminar is taught in German.)

Additionally, seminars on a specific region may require further language skills, such as Spanish or Portuguese for seminars on Latin America, and Arabic for seminars on the Islamic world.