International Programmes 2023/2024

Iranian Studies: Iran in Antiquity and Late Antiquity Iranian Studies

Freie Universität Berlin • Berlin

Master of Arts
Teaching language
  • English

The courses are held in English (100%). The Master's thesis needs to be written in English.

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter and summer semester
Application deadline

Summer semester: 1 December – 15 February

Winter semester: 24 April – 15 August

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

The aim of the MA Iranian Studies is to make the students familiar with various aspects of Iranian languages, cultures, history, and religions from antiquity to the late antique era. In this respect, the Iranian cultural domain extends over a large part of Western Asia; it far exceeds the current political borders and includes the modern states of Iran, Afghanistan, the western regions of Pakistan, the “republics” of the old Soviet central Asia, and areas within the Caucuses. Other peripheral areas came under strong Iranian influence at other times. The Median, Persian, and Parthian dynasties extended their empires westward into the ancient Near East, the eastern Mediterranean world, and Egypt as well as northward into Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Course organisation

The core of the programme consists of an intensive philological training in old, middle, and modern Iranian languages. The MA Iranian Studies offers Avestan and Middle Persian as part of the compulsory modules of Old and Middle Iranian Philology. These can also be complemented by languages such as Old Persian, Sogdian, Parthian, and Bactrian, which form part of the Iran and Turan elective module. Students who have not previously studied Persian will have the opportunity to study it as part of the programme. Those who know Persian can opt to study Kurdish (in its different varieties) or other modern Iranian languages (Modern Iranian Languages). We supplement the language training with the teaching of Iranian and Indo-Iranian linguistics in the Introduction to Iranian Linguistics elective module.

The Iranian Religions in History compulsory module examines the formation and development of Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, two religions that are commonly associated with pre-Islamic Iran. Zoroastrianism is a research focus for many faculty members at the Institute of Iranian Studies.

Within the Iranian History in its Sources mandatory module, students explore aspects of Iranian history by engaging Iranian sources pertaining to an era or topic. This module offers students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Old and Middle Iranian languages by reading original material from the antique and late antique eras. Participants of the module will work with epigraphic and numismatic materials as well as copies of manuscripts of ritual and religious texts.

Within the MA Iranian Studies programme, the students will have the opportunity to obtain 20 credits from other departments. The Institute of Islamic Studies, for instance, provides an excellent opportunity to study Islam and its development in Iran more closely.

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

In total, the semester contribution amounts to 312.89 EUR. It includes a fee of 198.80 EUR for the transportation ticket contribution. This allows you to use public transportation in Berlin for free. Other costs covered by the semester contribution include a 50 EUR enrolment fee, a 54.09 EUR semester contribution to the student support service ("studierendenWERK Berlin"), and a 10 EUR contribution to the student union.

Costs of living

Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is quite reasonable. However, the cost of living has also risen somewhat in Germany in recent years. The prices for food, accommodation, clothing, cultural events, etc. are slightly above the EU average. You will need around 950 to 1,200 EUR each month to cover your living expenses. The biggest expense is monthly rent, which is between 400 and 700 EUR in Berlin.

Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements

In order to be admitted to the Master’s programme, applicants need to fulfil the following admission requirements:

  • Applicants for the Master’s programme in Iranian Studies require a first university degree from a German university or a higher education institution outside of Germany in History and Cultures of the Middle East (concentration: Iranian Studies) or a foreign degree equivalent in content and structure to the History and Cultures of the Middle East (concentration: Iranian Studies) Bachelor's programme of the Freie Universität Berlin.

  • One of the following Bachelor's degrees can also be accepted: Middle Eastern or Central Asian Studies, Indo-European Studies, Studies in Ancient Civilisations, History, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Social Science, Politics, Ethnology, or Theology.
Language requirements

Proof of English skills (level C1 CEFR)

Application deadline

Summer semester: 1 December – 15 February

Winter semester: 24 April – 15 August

Submit application to

Possibility of finding part-time employment

There are many ways of earning money while you study, for example as waiting staff, academic assistants, or private tutors. Knowledge of German will improve your chances of finding a part-time job, but it isn’t necessarily required. However, it is important to be aware of the legal regulations.

The student support service at the university, called studierendenWERK Berlin, and the local representative of the "Bundesagentur für Arbeit" (Federal Employment Agency) can provide information about jobs for students. When searching for a job, look at online job boards, ads in local newspapers, and notice boards on campus.


You have the option to stay in a public/private student dormitory or in a private (shared) apartment. Student dormitories are not administrated by the university itself, so Freie Universität Berlin does not have any on-campus housing. However, it works together with "studierendenWERK Berlin" regarding student accommodation.

If you do not wish to stay in a student dormitory, you can try to find a room or an apartment on the private housing market. Many students in Berlin live in shared apartments ("WGs"). You can find these offers online (e.g. WG-gesucht or Craigslist) or on notice boards on campus.

Available rooms/apartments near the university are rare. Therefore, students mostly commute from other parts of the city. The commute via public transportation usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour, which is considered a normal travel time in Berlin due to the city's size.

Freie Universität Berlin

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Freie Universität Berlin is a leading research institution. It is one of the 13 German universities being funded through the German government’s Excellence Strategy and is part of the only University Consortium of Excellence, the Berlin University Alliance, which consists of four partners in Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

You can choose from more than 180 subject areas. No matter which area you are interested in, be it archaeology, physics, Jewish studies, law, or psychology, you will find your subject at Freie Universität Berlin.

As an international university, Freie Universität Berlin has partnerships with numerous universities across the world and maintains offices in Beijing, Cairo, Eastern Europe (Tbilisi, Georgia), New Delhi, Moscow, and São Paulo. About 17 percent of the students come from abroad, as do 38 percent of the doctoral students. At Freie Universität Berlin, you will meet people from all over the world.

Various support services are available for students. In particular, students who are new to a German university and to Berlin will profit from these services, for example, the introduction week, the mentorship programme, or the Student Services Centre. UniSport offers programmes ranging from Aikido to Zumba, which are very popular among students. The many cafeterias and canteens on campus offer food and drinks; this also usually includes fair trade, organic, vegetarian, and vegan options. Environmental protection and sustainability are generally important topics at Freie Universität Berlin, and there are many opportunities to get involved in related activities offered by students and the university.

University location

Freie Universität Berlin is one of the major universities in the capital of Germany. It is located in the green district of Dahlem, in the south-western part of the city. There is no other campus in Berlin that is as green as the campus of Freie Universität Berlin. You can simply step out of the university buildings to enjoy outdoor activities: lunch on one of the many terraces and rooftops, swimming in the nearby lakes, or reading between cherry and apple trees. Dahlem is also home to one of the biggest botanical gardens in Europe. By using public transport, you can easily access the heart of Berlin and enjoy its cultural life and diversity. The U3 subway line connects Dahlem with the popular and central districts of Schöneberg, Kreuzberg, and Friedrichshain; however, all of the other districts can also be easily reached.

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