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Language and Cultural Studies

Study Ethnology, Anthropology in Germany

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The field of study of ethnology and anthropology deals with the diversity of human cultures and the different ways human beings live together. It takes an in-depth look at people in different societies and cultures and examines cultural and social contexts and dynamics. The examination of diverse societies, economies, and political systems raises your awareness for cultural diversity and cultural differences.


31 Higher Education Institutions

Bachelor, Master

German, English

4-7 Semesters

What content can I expect?

The field of study of ethnology and anthropology comprises the following areas, many of which overlap.

  • European ethnology
  • Folkloristics
  • Social anthropology
  • Cultural anthropology

In general, you will study the analysis and interpretation of cultural “orders” and the dynamics of modern societies. You will learn to systematically compare human cultures on a global and intercultural level while using theoretical and methodological approaches. Your focus will be on the question: what distinguishes and connects people? Furthermore, you will acquire knowledge of the everyday cultures of different countries and regions, including examining their different systems such as their economies, political systems, and societal structures. This will give you greater awareness of cultural diversity and cultural differences, thereby increasing your cultural sensitivity.

Anthropology explicitly focuses on the human being. It also examines human evolution in biological and socio-cultural terms.

For a degree in ethnology/anthropology, you should definitely have a strong interest in cultures. Empathy can also help you to better understand different perspectives, cultures and people.

Many degree programmes also recommend that you spend time abroad. This way you can put your theoretical knowledge of dealing with other cultures into practice right away. And if you decide not to go abroad: Most degree programmes also have internships as a compulsory part of the curriculum.

The content of the degree programmes is usually spread over a standard period of study of six semesters for the Bachelor’s degree and four semesters for the Master’s degree.

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Are you interested in an in Language and Cultural Studies? Run a non-binding eligibility check now.

What prerequisites do I need for this field of study?

The basic requirement for studying ethnology/anthropology is that you have a general higher education entrance qualification or an equivalently recognised qualification.

Then, depending on the degree programme and higher education institution, there may be additional admission restrictions: For many degree programmes, for example, you have to prove that you have foreign language skills at a certain level. It depends on the degree programme whether proof of one (modern) foreign language is sufficient or whether you should have a command of at least two (modern) foreign languages. In some cases, learning a foreign language is even an integral part of the curriculum. In addition, there may be local admission restrictions, such as a numerus clausus (NC), or other selection procedures specific to a degree programme. However, there are also degree programmes that are free of admission restrictions.

How much does it cost to study ethnology or anthropology?

It is difficult to generalise about how much money you need for your studies. Many factors influence your personal budget: In which city do you want to study? What kind of accommodation do you prefer? And above all: What is your lifestyle?

Let’s start with probably the biggest cost factor: The amount of rent and living expenses can vary greatly within Germany. Big and popular cities are of course often much more expensive and it’s harder to find accommodation. But no matter which city or town you choose: With student halls of residence or shared flats, you can usually save money and you also meet new people very quickly! As soon as you have decided on where you want to study, you should start looking, as halls of residence can fill up quickly. Here, you can find information on local halls of residence and the respective application process for most cities.

Another cost factor is the tuition fee or semester contribution. Public higher education institutions rarely charge tuition fees. However, please note that there can be exceptions to this rule. The costs you will incur at public higher education institutions are more likely to be in the form of semester contributions. These finance, for example, the local student union and sometimes also a ticket for local public transport. Depending on where you study, this may be valid for the city, the region or even for all of Germany. Ask your higher education institution whether such an offer is currently available. Here, too, the amount of the contributions varies, ranging from approximately 100 to 400 euros, depending on the higher education institution.

Some advice: For learning materials, second-hand books or the library are pretty useful ways to save money. The student dining halls also often offer an extensive range at a low price.

To finance your studies in Germany, you should also find out about scholarships. There are many different scholarship programmes and excellent grades are not the only deciding factor. You can learn more about scholarships here and find suitable programmes directly on My GUIDE.

What career opportunities do I have with a degree in ethnology and anthropology?

As is often the case with the humanities, you have many options to choose from after graduation. This can make your choice of future career complex. That’s why additional qualifications, stays abroad or internships can be a great advantage: With your specialisations, you can figure out what you are interested in and employers can see references.

Various fields of activity and areas of work are open to you:

  • Media: You can find employment in journalism, radio, television or publishing, for example.
  • Social work: Migration or development cooperation, for example, also offer job opportunities.
  • Education and politics: Here you can find a job in adult education, for example, but also in political education.
  • Museums and cultural institutions, also in the form of cultural management or project work.
  • Tourism
  • Higher education institutions, private and public research institutions
  • You can also work for international organisations or consulting firms.

If you work in the public sector, your salary will be fixed. NGOs or cultural institutions sometimes follow the public pay scale, but usually, pay a little less. In larger companies or consulting jobs, you have the possibility of a higher salary.

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Check your eligibility to study at German higher education institutions (non-binding)

Run a quick and non-binding check to determine whether your certificates make you eligible to study at German higher education institutions. Depending on which educational certificates you provide, you may qualify for all degree programmes or only for certain subjects or types of higher education institutions. It is possible that you do not currently meet the requirements to be eligible to apply to a German higher education institution. In such a case, you may be able to attend a Studienkolleg. Please note that the eligibility check results apply exclusively to undergraduate programmes and are not legally binding.

Once you have completed the non-binding check, degree programmes that match your eligibility will be marked with a corresponding icon.