International Programmes 2021/2022

World Heritage Studies (WHS On-Campus) World Heritage Studies (WHS On-Campus)

Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg • Cottbus

Master of Arts in World Heritage Studies
Double Degree World Heritage Studies / Cultural Heritage in cooperation with Deakin University, Australia for selected students
In cooperation with

Deakin University, Australia

Teaching language
  • English

Courses are held entirely in English.

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

15 July for the following winter semester

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

Established in 1999, the international Master's programme World Heritage Studies (WHS) at Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus is the first graduate programme in the world to design its curriculum around the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. WHS On-Campus is the original, full-time study programme that is taught on campus in Cottbus, Germany.

The programme seeks to convey cross-sectorial knowledge with a focus on managerial skills needed for the identification, preservation, management, and presentation of cultural and natural heritage sites. It also provides a comprehensive understanding of the practical, legal, and stakeholder frameworks, together with the ability to critically reflect upon their affordance and limitations.

Grounded in a belief that heritage can and should be understood and protected from a wide range of perspectives, the programme combines theory and practice in various academic disciplines such as humanities, architecture, conservation, ecology, management, tourism, marketing, public relations, and beyond. It thus emphasises the links between culture and nature, tangible and intangible heritage values, and conservation and sustainable development.

The WHS On-Campus curriculum integrates four study areas in an interdisciplinary curriculum:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Art, Architecture and Conservation
  • Natural Heritage and Cultural Landscapes
  • Management

The study programme also includes two applied study projects and a Master's thesis.

World Heritage Studies is characterised by cultural, academic, and professional diversity, and fosters a globally conscious learning environment where students, academics, and industry professionals come together to define and recontextualise heritage for future generations.

In 2014, we started an excellence partnership with Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and initiated a double degree programme in World Heritage Studies/Cultural Heritage. The top five students accepted into the WHS On-Campus programme will have the possibility to study abroad in Melbourne for one semester and will receive full funding from the DAAD. They will be awarded two degrees upon the successful completion of the programme.

Course organisation

The study programme has a modular structure and consists of lectures, seminars, workshops, excursions, study projects and the Master's thesis. The recommended duration of studies is four semesters. The WHS On-Campus is a full-time study programme.

During the Master's programme, students must complete 120 ECTS according to the following study framework: two mandatory modules totalling 12 ECTS (World Heritage Studies – Body of Knowledge, Introduction/Coaching), nine compulsory-elective modules from four study areas totalling 54 ECTS (Humanities and Social Sciences; Art, Architecture, and Conservation; Natural Heritage and Cultural Landscapes; Management), two study projects totalling 24 ECTS, and the Master's thesis totalling 30 ECTS.

The following compulsory-elective modules are offered in the WHS On-Campus programme:

Study Area I - Humanities and Social Sciences:

  • Discourse on Culture and Heritage
  • Intercultural Competence
  • Culture and Globalisation
  • Legal Aspects of Heritage
  • Social Change and Continuity

Study Area II - Art, Architecture, and Conservation:

  • Conservation/Building in Existing Fabric
  • Archaeology
  • History of Architecture
  • Applied Art History and Museology
  • Urban Planning - Life, Work, and Recreation in the Future
  • Architecture, City, Space

Study Area III - Natural Heritage and Cultural Landscapes:

  • Ecology
  • Philosophy and Technology of Nature
  • Cultural Landscapes

Study Area IV - Management:

  • Heritage Management and Management Plans
  • Cultural Management
  • Tourism
  • Fundraising and Finance for Heritage
  • Marketing, PR, and Media
  • Heritage Impact Assessment

Additionally, complementary courses may be offered each semester.

The curriculum varies slightly for students selected for the double degree programme with Deakin University.

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Types of assessment

Reflecting the interdisciplinary character of the degree, the types of assessment applied in this programme vary from module to module. Group work and project-based learning are undertaken in the majority of courses. Written papers, often combined with an oral presentation of the results, are the most common form of assessment. Written exams are less common. Other forms of assessment, such as portfolios, poster presentations, or quizzes, may also be employed depending on the subject of the module.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
  • International comparisons and thematic reference to the international context
  • Study trips
  • Training in intercultural skills
Integrated internships

Students are highly encouraged to do an internship at a heritage-related institution during the course of their studies. Internships are voluntary and are dependent upon the interests and focus of each individual student. World Heritage Studies has established a network of partnerships with various heritage organisations and guidance may be offered in this regard.

The Leonardo Office of Brandenburg offers its services to students searching for internship opportunities within in the European Union, for which financial support may be available.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

Apart from a few degree programmes, education offered at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg is without tuition fees. However, the university does charge a semester fee of around 300 EUR each semester, which includes the semester transportation ticket. It also covers costs for the Student Services Organisation ("Studentenwerk") and the Student Council (StuRa).

Costs of living

Studies abroad often have different types of expenses from the ones you know from your home country. You are responsible for covering your own living expenses. Accommodation and other essential living expenses will amount to around 600–900 EUR/month. Of course, this amount depends entirely on individual lifestyle. The following list gives you an idea of some fixed and variable costs that you should take into account for your stay in Germany.

Monthly costs:

Rent (incl. utilities): 160–350 EUR, groceries: approx. 150 EUR, health insurance, medical fees, medication: approx. 90 EUR, miscellaneous (clothing, study materials, other activities): 200–300 EUR, total: 600–900 EUR

You will not need to pay for public transport in Berlin and Brandenburg. The semester ticket for buses and trains operated by VBB is already included in the semester fee.

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

Studying at BTU is mostly free of (study) fees. Because of this, there are only limited scholarship opportunities for international students. The International Relations Office is nonetheless pleased to be able to award a limited number of scholarships to international students already enrolled at BTU. You can find more information on BTU scholarship opportunities on our websites:

Academic admission requirements

Applicants should have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or equivalent in cultural sciences or other study areas relevant to the World Heritage Studies curriculum (humanities, social sciences, architecture, archaeology, art history, conservation, environmental sciences, geography, cultural management, or tourism).

Candidates with professional experience related to world heritage are also encouraged to apply.

Language requirements

A certificate of proficiency in English must be provided. Accepted tests and minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL with a score of 79 points or higher (Internet-based)
  • IELTS with an overall band score of 6.5 or higher
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English with grade B or higher
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English with grade C or higher
  • UNIcert, at least II

Exceptions can only be granted to applicants with a higher education entrance qualification from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Great Britain (including Northern Ireland), or the United States of America. Applicants who completed a secondary level degree in English in Germany or in one of the above-mentioned countries are also exempted.

German language skills are not required for admission to this study programme.

Application deadline

15 July for the following winter semester

Submit application to

International applicants must submit their application via the uni-assist e.V. online application platform "My assist":
The application is submitted entirely online, no hard copies required.

Detailed information on application requirements, process, documents and FAQs on the programme website:

Possibility of finding part-time employment

There are job opportunities both in town and on campus. Nevertheless, please do not come to Germany expecting to be able to finance your entire studies by working. The study load is high, and it is not always easy to find a part-time job. Students from non-European countries are allowed to work either 120 whole days or 240 half days annually. The 120-day rule is not affected by mandatory internships or student assistance jobs at university. Students from EU member countries, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can work without restrictions during their studies in Germany.


BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg is a university with three locations where numerous student dormitories are provided. Students can choose between different room types.

In Germany, it is also very common for students to live alone or with friends. If three or more people share an apartment together, this is called a "WG" in German ("Wohngemeinschaft", which means a shared flat).

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • Buddy programme
  • Accompanying programme
  • Cultural and linguistic preparation
  • Visa matters

Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg

Content Bild
© BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg

Located on three campuses and with about 60 study programmes, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg offers a broad spectrum of market-oriented programmes as well as traditional degree programmes.
From the natural sciences and engineering to economics, cultural studies, and even health sciences, BTU offers a wide range of courses. Our 14 study programmes taught exclusively in English are very popular among both German and international students from all over the world.
BTU is partnered with over 150 universities throughout the world, which provides students with a multitude of excellent opportunities to spend part of their time studying or conducting research abroad. Furthermore, in cooperation with our international partner universities, BTU offers a wide range of double-degree and joint-degree programmes.

30 Percentage of international students at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
90 Percentage of international students in the MA World Heritage Studies

University location

Cottbus is located in the north-east of Germany, between the country’s capital, Berlin (100 km), and Dresden (120 km). With a population of approx. 100,000 inhabitants, Cottbus is the second largest city after Potsdam in the federal state of Brandenburg. The Polish border is only approx. 30 km away. The location of Cottbus offers a convenient starting point for trips into the picturesque region of Lower Lusatia. The landscape of Lower Lusatia is characterised by the Spreewald with its small canals and waterways as well as by the Slavonic minority called Sorbs or Wends. Their language, similar to Polish, is still used and spoken in Lower Lusatia. For this reason, many of the road signs and informational boards in Cottbus and the surrounding region are written in both Sorbian and German. Cottbus gained importance as a trade centre in the 12th century. Parts of the original city wall from the 14th century as well as the beautiful townhouses around the old market square are proof of the city’s early splendour. Additionally, the city is characterised by buildings from the "Wilhelminian" times of rapid industrial growth in Germany, which occurred towards the end of the 19th century. The city that first rose to prominence with its cloth and linen weaving industry soon evolved into a growing centre of brown coal mining.
Senftenberg is the centre of the Lusatia Lake District. Former excavation and mining pits have been flooded in order to create the largest artificial lake system in Europe, with a total of 23 large lakes. The water sports area "Senftenberger See", with its water surface of 1,300 hectares, offers exceptional sailing and surfing opportunities, and it is suitable for all kinds of water sports. Senftenberg has thus become a tourist attraction within the region.