International Programmes 2023/2024

Science, Technology and Medicine in the Ancient World (STMAW) Science, Technology and Medicine in the Ancient World (STMAW)

Freie Universität Berlin • Berlin

Master of Arts in Science, Technology and Medicine in the Ancient World
Teaching language
  • English

The programme's language of instruction is English. This means that all courses are taught in English, all assignments are to be submitted in English, and all examinations are conducted in English.

Full-time / part-time
  • full-time
Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Additional information on beginning, duration and mode of study

The programme only starts in the winter semester; courses in the winter semester usually start in mid-October.

Application deadline

Admission deadlines are published on the central programme website of the Student Services Centre as well as on the website of the programme.

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

Science, Technology and Medicine in the Ancient World is an interdisciplinary Master's degree programme that focuses on the many different areas and contexts in the ancient world in which the transmission and development of knowledge and/or scientific thinking plays a central role.

At the heart of the programme is the idea that all people at all times and in all places have used signs - both observable and conventional - to make sense of their world. It is only, however, with the emergence of knowledge practices that are embodied in artifactual materials, and especially with the development of notational systems in the fourth millennium BCE, that we can trace the calculating mind through time. As part of this programme, you will examine both textual and non-textual records, although with the textual elements as the primary point of orientation to non-textual materials.  

The programme offers a broad overview of the different types of knowledge that existed in the ancient world, as well as the different ways in which ancient forms of scientific thought have been studied over the last century. Alongside standard coursework in methods and approaches, the programme focuses especially on the history of notation, writing systems and human consciousness.

Through courses in ancient medicine, astronomy and mathematics and/or the various forms of divination in the ancient world, programme participants will develop a fine-tuned awareness about the different epistemological and ontological paradigms at work both in the ancient world and several present-day analytical approaches and disciplines.

Alongside the core content of the programme, the Master's programme also seeks to inculcate the principles of scientific practice, which are explicitly taught throughout the programme.

Course organisation

The Master's programme is divided into two areas, each composed of several modules which, in turn, comprise two courses – a third area is reserved for your Master’s thesis. See this table

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A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Specialist literature in other languages
  • Language training provided
  • Courses are led with foreign partners
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
  • International comparisons and thematic reference to the international context
  • Content-related regional focus
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

1. You must hold a first university degree (e.g. a Bachelor’s degree) comprising at least 180 credit points (ECTS) and

  • in addition you must have earned at least 30 ECTS in content relevant to the study of the MA programme (30 ECTS or more of this first degree should be in courses that are relevant to STMAW or with an emphasis on the History of Science and/or Knowledge in the Ancient World)
  • those 30 ECTS may also have been completed outside the first degree in accordance with section 1, such as relevant ECTS gained in previous Master’s degree programmes

If you have earned less than 30 ECTS from your first degree in courses that are relevant to STMAW you can also meet the admission requirements by demonstrating other relevant qualifications.

For an explanation of the admission process, please visit the programme website or refer to the detailed admission regulations in English and in German (the latter is the legally binding version). The link for the official admission regulations will be added soon.

Language requirements

You must provide proof of excellent English language skills (at least level C1 CEFR) if you have not obtained your first university degree in a programme where English is the language of instruction.

You must provide proof of language skills, with at least 10 ECTS or the equivalent in one or more of the following languages: Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, Ancient Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, or other ancient Semitic languages such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and ancient Ethiopian.

Applicants do not need to provide proof of German language skills.

Application deadline

Admission deadlines are published on the central programme website of the Student Services Centre as well as on the website of the programme.

Submit application to

If you are applying with a first university degree obtained in Germany, apply here: Application portal of the Freie Universität Berlin

If you are applying with a first university degree obtained in a country other than Germany, apply here:

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.

Career advisory service

The Career Service of Freie Universität Berlin aims to support international students at Freie Universität by providing information, advice, and events concerning career planning, internships, and applying for positions.

Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • Tutors
  • Specialist counselling
  • Cultural and linguistic preparation
  • Support with registration procedures

Freie Universität Berlin

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