History was made in the city of Charlemagne – and this not only applies to the politics of the Carolingian dynasty, but also to the flint trade in the early period and the complex negotiations in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars. Whether Celtic finds, medieval relics, or the Charlemagne Prize – all the different ages come to life in the European city of Aachen. It is particularly exciting to study history at such a momentous place.

This degree thoroughly trains and educates prospective historians who have academic ambitions. The courses offered cover a whole range of historical eras: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, early modern, modern, and contemporary history are all delved into equally. In this respect, the degree at RWTH differs from courses of study elsewhere that focus more on certain ages rather than others. Methodically, the course of study’s concept focuses on the development and interpretation of historical records in various materials, media, formal and linguistic manifestations. In addition to classical historical methods, the degree also offers students interdisciplinary perspectives that are characteristic of all RWTH programs: it integrates subject-specific approaches to the past that also use the diversity of methods used in related disciplines, such as the humanities and social sciences. For this reason, the course of study includes special historical disciplines such as medical and architectural history, economic and social history.

Programme Structure

In this degree, the past comes alive through new digital forms of access. The media-supported teaching that is typical of the university makes historical facts and connections visible and understandable. This reflects the requirements that historians will later encounter in their professional career. From the third semester, the course will include at least a five-week internship in a museum or archive, for example.

Semester Curriculum
1 Introduction to Antiquity Introduction to the Middle Ages Introduction to Early Modern/Modern


Old and or Modern Languages

Societal Perspectives

Texts and Arguments/
Historical Perspectives

3 Basics of Sources and Historical Records Basics of Antiquity or Basics of Middle Ages Basics Early Modern/Modern
5 Particular specialization in an age of your choice Standard specialization in an age of your choice Bachelor’s Thesis

Minor subjects and a multifaceted core elective selection help create your own profile of historical interests. The interdisciplinary specialization area, which should run from the fourth to the sixth semester, not only includes historical perspectives, but also insights into other subjects and their connection to history. Students can also attend lectures in medical history, architectural and art history, economic and social history, history of technology, and church history.

Entry Requirement

  • Abitur or equivalent HZB
  • Proficiency in German

Career Prospects

This course of study qualifies students for a variety of activities that require the ability to research, analyze, evaluate, and comprehensibly present historical contexts. Historians are judicious critical thinkers who can trace phenomena from contemporary history back to their roots and open up new horizons of understanding. Last but not least, they develop approaches to solving social, political, or economic problems by determining their causes.
Historians often work for political foundations, political parties and associations, museums, memorials, archives, and research companies. Further fields of activity open up in the field of education, for example in cultural and scientific organizations as well as in adult education. However, it is also possible to pursue a career in a completely different field: for example in management consultancy, public relations, marketing, advertising, and journalism.

RWTH graduates benefit from their diverse methodological knowledge and interdisciplinary experience because they can look at interrelationships from many different perspectives. With their experience in analyzing, evaluating, and representing complicated circumstances they are valued not only as specialists in their discipline, but also as generalists.

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