Master's Program (MATS)Mobility

The purpose of the mobility-option in the third semester is to offer students of the MATS a wider range of opportunities to develop their own ideas or collect research data for the master thesis. They have the choice to spend the third semester in Heidelberg doing course work, or to go abroad on as study exchange or a research internship.

Due to the transregional nature of the MATS, spending the third semester abroad may be a valid option to further expand one’s transcultural background, to deepen language skills, or to acquire research experience and collect primary research data “in the field”. As such kinds of mobility require time and effort to plan and organize, students should – already at the beginning of the program – consider options of either studying at a research institution related to or complementing the transcultural agenda of the MATS, or conducting a guided, research-oriented internship.

Joint Program with Kyoto (Japan)

The MATS offers a joint program with its main partner in Japan, Kyoto University. Inaugurated in the spring of 2018, the study program is situated at two partner institutions, the Graduate School of Letters (GSL) of Kyoto University, and the HCTS of Heidelberg University. Students enrolled in the program begin their studies at one of these two partners, their home institution, but spend an equal amount of time at the other university. Supervised by international faculty of both, the GSL and the HCTS, students submit a single master thesis to receive a Master of Arts jointly awarded by both universities upon completion. 

Students interested in the joint program first regularly apply for the MATS at Heidelberg University. In their first semester, they can then apply for transition from the regular MATS to the joint program at Heidelberg and Kyoto. The applications will be reviewed by both Heidelberg and Kyoto University staff with a maximum quota of 5 students per year enrolled at Heidelberg University as their home institution. Once accepted, and being in good academic standing, students studying in the joint program spend the third and fourth semesters at Kyoto.

As in the regular MATS at Heidelberg University, students select one of the three study foci: "Knowledge, Belief and Religion", “Society, Economy and Governance”, and “Visual, Media and Material Culture”. In their fourth semester, which is their second semester spent at Kyoto, they will work on their master thesis, jointly supervised by faculty members of both institutions.

Further options for studying abroad

The MATS offers a wide range of opportunities for studying the third semester abroad. Students can apply in the first semester for a place for studying abroad at partner institutions with the HCTS has student exchange agreements: Kyoto University, Tokyo University, Seoul National University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Yale University. Students can also partake in the ERASMUS exchange scheme with partner universities in Europe.


Students who want to combine fieldwork with gaining work experience, may opt to do a research-related internship at an extramural institution/in an international organization in Germany or abroad or in an international organization in the third semester. Possible institutions include cultural organizations (e.g. museums), non-profit organizations (e.g. GTZ), and companies engaged in international contexts. The internship allows an analytical insight into concrete applications. Alternatively, guided field or archival work is possible.
Both options are closely mentored by the supervisor of the planned master’s thesis with whom the students design a small-scale research project to be realized in line with their internship or through the field/archival work. Upon completion of the project, students submit a written report to the supervisor. In this report students apply their acquired knowledge on research in practice, analyze the collected data, and discuss and evaluate their findings and analytical and theoretical problems. The study focus advisors and supervisors of the master thesis will guide students accordingly.