Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Joint MA - European History

Student's opinions about the programme

Martin Hamre

MA Student in European History at Humboldt University Berlin from 2015-2017

Why did you choose to study a Master of Arts in European History?

I heard about the program during my bachelor studies   at the Humboldt University. I was fascinated by both the opportunity to study in different European capitals and by the content of the program: modern European history, which was and still is my favourite subject. Especially the opportunity to study aspects of the European history with different ‘national’ approaches and perspectives at three universities seemed very attractive to me. European history is very manifold, and so are also the different national historiographical approaches to topics such as the two World Wars, fascism, colonialism, and the emergence of modern democratic European societies. This master is a unique possibility to experience these different historiographical approaches.


Why did you choose to study your Master’s degree at Humboldt
University Berlin?

I chose the Humboldt University because I obtained my bachelor degree there and was both satisfied with the quality of the education and the city Berlin itself.


What is the best part about Humboldt University Berlin?

The faculty of history of the Humboldt University offers a great variety of seminars and lectures on different subjects. However, there is also the possibility to check out other faculties and so-called “Überwahlpflichtfächer” as part of the Master’s degree. For example, I was singing classical music in the Humboldt University choir and earned study credits for that. It is also possible to participate in cheap language courses as part of the Master program. The university itself is located in the centre of Berlin, which is an advantage in order to avoid long commutes.


How is social life with your fellow students?

The social life is good if one is proactive and talkative. However, it is a very big university with many students and therefore the atmosphere is less familiar than at smaller universities. Nonetheless, most students are open-minded and friendly, and the city itself offers many opportunities to enjoy the common leisure time.

Where did you spend your exchange semester and what can you say about

I went to Vienna in my second semester. It was a great experience. The city is outstandingly beautiful and the quality of the education at the University of Vienna is high. The atmosphere is very welcoming for international exchange students, especially concerning the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), an organisation that offers a huge variety of activities including trips to other cities, parties, and practical help.

In my third semester, I went to London and studied at the King’s College. Sadly, the KCL decided to leave the Master’s program after my stay, which means that I am one of the last HU students who studied and obtained the joint degree there. However, I enjoyed studying in London.

Do you know what you want to use your Master’s degree for in relation to
future career prospects?

I am considering a career in academia, but I am also very interested in cultural and international relations, political foundations, NGOs and diplomacy in general. I think that the Master’s degree with its transnational, European focus is a good preparation for all these future career prospects. During my studies, I did not only experience the everyday life in three different European capitals, but I also improved my English language skills, and most importantly: I met numerous new people and networks, which I will profit from in the future, whatever career I will end up with.

What is your best piece of advice for future students?

Be proactive and determined, but don’t forget that a Master’s degree like the European History program is offering you the chance to experience cultural exchange. Therefore, don’t focus exclusively on the studies. Engage with the local student community and enjoy the various opportunities in Berlin and the other participating cities.


Sandra Mashehova
MA Student in European History at Humboldt University Berlin (2015-2018)

Why did you choose to study a Master of Arts in European History?

I obtained Bachelor’s degree in International Area Studies with the focus on European integration. Afterwards I wanted to broaden the horizons by looking at the European affairs from the historical perspective. An important part of this Master program is also a semester spent abroad, which allowed me to learn about different national historical narratives and diverse viewpoints on politics, economy, culture or European identity. The program also stresses historical, sociological and cultural ties that connect European countries.


Why did you choose to study your Master’s degree at Humboldt University Berlin?

The Humboldt University in Berlin is well-known all around the world and its reputation was one of the decisive aspects why I applied for the Master’s degree at this university. I equally accorded importance to the content of the Master’s program European History that matched most the Master I wanted to pursue.

What is the best part about Humboldt University Berlin?

Humboldt offers a various range of courses (both in English and in German) on the diverse facets of modern European history. This enables me to focus primarily on the topic of my interest – contemporary European history and European integration. The structure of the courses also encourages students to be active in the discussion, to develop their own arguments and to be able to analyze number of primary sources. In addition, I appreciate the friendly and professional approach to students.


What is it like living in Germany and being a student at Humboldt University Berlin?

Berlin is an amazing and lively city with a unique atmosphere and friendly, tolerant, open-minded people. It offers a great deal of possibilities to spend leisure time, ranging from museums, exhibitions to numerous concerts etc. It is a multi-cultural city which gives an opportunity to get to know other nationalities and cultures.

Humboldt University is modern and innovative. It provides students with great service and counselling on various topics and thus facilitates the student life. A great advantage is also the location of the university and its library – they are situated in the city center. The location enables me to be flexible – I can go to work before or after my courses and thereby combine my studies with work. I also appreciate the dining facilities that accommodate students’ different eating habits, for example by offering healthy and vegetarian/vegan food.


Where did you spend your exchange semester and what can you say about that?

I spent my exchange semester in Paris, at the Université Paris Diderot. It was a good and beneficial experience. The main reason why I chose Paris was the need to collect materials for my Master’s thesis. Plus, I enjoyed that vast majority of courses which were held in French so I could improve both my written and oral French. From other positive aspects of my stay in Paris I would stress the possibility to get to know the city from a non-touristic perspective.

Do you know what you want to use your Master’s degree for in relation to future career prospects?

In my future career I would like to utilize the experience from three different European cities and universities and also the intercultural competences and knowledge of foreign languages the Master in European History allowed me to gain or enhance. The work I would like to perform should be connected with international relations, preferably involving analysis of European issues. More concretely, I am interested in working for a think tank or an NGO.