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Public History Master

consecutive and application-oriented Master’s degree at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut at the Freie Universität Berlin

in cooperation with the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam (ZZF)

Koserstraße 20
14195 Berlin
Prof. Dr. Martin Lücke, Prof. Dr. Paul Nolte
(030) 838 56806

About the MA in Public History
Study and Examination Regulation
Course of Studies
Career Prospects


About the MA in Public History

In the winter semester 2008/09, the Freie Universität Berlin and the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam introduced the Master’s degree program in Public History. This new degree accounts for the media’s growing interest in history and society’s increasing interest in museums, memorial sites and other spaces of historical commemoration and education. This unique Master’s degree program prepares students for occupations that require the preparation and dissemination of academic research for the general public.

In the new degree program students develop skills and competences which enable them to present historical problems and issues to the general public via different forms of media. The MA in Public History emphasizes the dissemination of modern history and especially the contemporary history of the twentieth century. While covering academic questions this degree program also takes into consideration aesthetic, political and commercial dimensions of history. In addition, this program will firmly ground students in the theoretical and practical aspects of “public history”. Students will gain knowledge about historical culture and learning, as well as application-oriented skills such as presentation techniques, organization and planning and project management.

The MA is designed to train future experts in the field of public history. Theoretic and methodological reflections about the perception of history, memory culture and competing interpretations of historical knowledge are central to this program. At the same time, the MA in Public History provides a practical exploration of the public representation of history in various media, museums and other environments. The course format consists of advanced seminars and research colloquia in which the current scholarship and research are discussed. Simultaneously, student projects contribute to the necessary practical knowledge. With the help of experts who work in media, politics and the private sector, students not only gain a broader understanding of the subject matter in a professional environment, but also have the opportunity to form networks that facilitate their future professional life.

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The information supplied here is to be used for guidance only. For the official rules and regulations please consult the admission criteria for the degree program in Public History, which can be found in the Official Journal of the Freie Universität Berlin ("FU-Mitteilungen").

In order to apply for this degree program the following requirements have to be met:

  1. A good Bachelor degree or equivalent university degree in History or a related subject.

  2. English language skills at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (“Gemeinsamen Europäischen Referenzrahmen für Sprachen”) This equals seven years of English in school education. Information about placements and proof of language skills can be found on the respective internet page of the Academic Advisory Service.

  3. Concerning the requirements of German language skills, please visit the following link.

First work experiences in a field concerned with the public dissemination of history (e.g. in the media, museums, archives, publishing houses, activities in history workshops or in history marketing) are welcome. However, the Master in Public History is not a further education program that requires work experience.

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  • Start of the MA program: each winter semester
  • Degree: Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Duration of study: 4 semesters
  • Application period: 15.04.-31.05.
  • Language of instruction: German


The usual procedure for applications for consecutive Master’s degree programs at the Freie Universität Berlin requires the following: during the application period 1.) fill out the online form and 2.) print the application form, sign it, and send it to the Admissions Office together with the required copies of the necessary diplomas or other final grade certificates.

In order to start your application, please visit the homepage of the Admissions Office.

Applications that are sent directly to the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut of the Freie Universität Berlin will not be considered.

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Study and examination regulations

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Course of Studies

The Master’s degree program in Public History comprises 120 credit points. It takes four semesters to complete its seven modules. One half of the program is concerned with academic problems and questions, the other is practice-oriented.

Module 1 Topics and controversies in Modern History” ("Themenfelder und Kontroversen der Modernen Geschichte") is the program’s introductory module. It provides a grounding in German, European and global Modern History  as well as methodological skills. Moreover, it discusses historical problems while taking into consideration their relevance to political culture and cultural memory.

Module 2 Historical Learning and Cultures of History”("Historisches Lernen und Geschichtskultur") supplies the students with the academic foundations of the dissemination and learning of history and illustrates their importance in the different fields of “Public History”. Furthermore, various approaches to historical learning and methods in youth and adult education are introduced.

Module 3 Computer-Based Research and Teaching of History”("Computergestützte Erforschung und Vermittlung von Geschichte“) familiarizes the students with computerized support in the fields of history and introduces them to the principles of desktop publishing.

Module 4 Media, communication and the public in historical perspective” ("Medien, Kommunikation und Öffentlichkeit in historischer Perspektive") deals with a range of problems, methods and concepts of communication research and analyses them with help of a selection of case studies. A main aim of the subject is the discussion of different forms of historical media analysis.

In module 5 History in Practice” ("Praxisfelder der Geschichte") encourages the students to apply, and critically reflect on, their knowledge of Public History.In the seminar, public historians and practitioners from areas like media, museums and memorial sites, and private businesses and associations introduce their sphere of action and expertise. The seminar is complemented by an  internship of eight weeks in summer.

In module 6 Theories and Forms of Historical Representation” ("Theorien und Formen der Geschichtsdarstellung") different approaches, theories and forms of the representation of history are discussed. Common appearances of historical knowledge in the public and in academic discourse are analyzed, theorized and put to practical use.

Module 7 Public relations and cultural management” ("Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Kulturmanagement") supplies practical knowledge and skills in marketing, organization theory and communication in the areas of public relations and cultural management. In addition, students are familiarized with the following issues: legal terms and conditions related to contracts, events, foundations, press work, copyright, and private and public cultural promotion.

The degree program will result in an MA thesis that can be of either academic or project-related content.


Course of Studies










Module 1 „Topics and Controversies in Modern History“

Module 2 „Historical Learning and Cultures of History

Module 3 „Computer-Based Research and Teaching of History


Reading course

Seminar I

Workshop I

Workshop II








Module 4 „Media, Communication and the Public in Historical Perspective“

Seminar II

Module 5 „History in Practice“


Practice Class









Module 7 „Public Relations and Cultural Management“

Module 6 „Theories and Forms of Historical Representation


Workshop I











Workshop II


MA thesis


Career Prospects

This degree program qualifies students for a wide range of professional occupations that include career opportunities in the fields of media, in publishing houses, museums, memorial sites, associations, foundations and in private businesses.

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FAQ: Master degree program Public History