Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of History

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of History | International | Erasmus | Incoming Students | Studying at the History Department: Course Selection and ECTS

Studying at the History Department: Course Selection and ECTS

Which epochs can I study at the IfG?
  • Ancient history
  • Medieval history
  • Modern and Contemporary history


There are also professors with regional or thematically-oriented research and teaching emphases, including:
  • History of Eastern Europe
  • Southeast European History
  • History of Western Europe and transatlantic relations
  • Comparative history of Europe in the Middle Ages
  • Social and Economic History
  • History of Science
  • Digital History


As an Erasmus student at IfG you can attend all courses offered by the department. You can find all the courses on AGNES, HU's course catalogue.


What types of courses are offered at the IfG?
Lecture (VL) [2 ECTS]

Lectures may provide an overview of a long period or a broad subject area, or an in-depth introduction to a specific research area. These are courses of two hours per week for which grades are normally not awarded. In most cases, however, there are tests or a final exam that is graded.


Exercise (UE) [3 ECTS]

Exercises are courses that enable the reading of source texts, the acquisition of subject-specific language knowledge, or the preparation of an excursion. They have a structure similar to that of a seminar, meeting two hours per week without a written examination and grades, but often with presentations. Erasmus students can receive a grade for a 5-8 page essay.


Seminar (SE) [4 ECTS]

Seminars are courses in which students acquire in-depth knowledge and develop the competence to apply this knowledge independently or to analyse and assess new problem situations. They meet two hours per week (2 SWS), require a large reading load, and typically require presentations The writing of a graded term paper of 12-15 pages is possible. The grade is otherwise based on the homework.


Bachelor seminars (BAS) [5 ECTS]

Bachelor seminars enable a theoretically and methodologically in-depth study of narrower thematic fields of knowledge. They focus on the intensive examination of specialist discussions and thus prepare for the development of a topic for the Bachelor's thesis.

Master's seminar (MAS) [5 ECTS]

Master's seminars form the core of the course. Research-oriented, with special questions arising from the current professional discussion, they train the student to do specialized historical work. They work intensively with sources and reflect on their theoretical and methodological problems.


Research Seminar (FS) [4 ECTS]

Research seminars serve the independent development of research topics conceived by students. The seminar participants select individual question complexes from a larger topic context originating from the research focus of a lecturer and train their research competence with regard to the concluding module Master's thesis through the discussion of specific questions and methodological options as well as through the independent research work supervised by the lecturer.

Research Colloquium (FK) [2 ECTS]

The research colloquium is held to present and discuss theses by students, research projects by academic staff, or work by guests from other academic institutions. In most cases, registration before the visit is desired.


Excursion (EX) [2-4 ECTS]

Excursions are usually multi-day trips to study objects relevant to the student’s research interests.


→ Courses are not automatically graded. Instead, you must take exams or write homework or papers if you need a grade.

For these additional activities you will receive extra ECTS:

  • Exam / Test: 1 ECTS
  • Essay: 2 ECTS
  • Term paper (10 pages): 2 ECTS
  • Term paper (15 pages): 4 ECTS
  • Term paper (20 pages): 5 ECTS
  • Term paper (25 pages): 7 ECTS


IMPORTANT: You will receive ECTS points for participation (attendance, cooperation, and presentations). Written work is usually not obligatory. Count these points together and write them down in the Learning Agreement (from participation and examination or term papers).


The grades awarded for student work correspond to the following values:

  • A = 1.0 - 1.5 outstanding
  • B = 1.6 - 2.0 very good
  • C = 2.1 - 3.0 good
  • D = 3.1 - 3.5 satisfactory
  • E = 3.6 - 4.0 sufficient
  • F = 4.1 - 5.0 failed / not sufficient


Which courses can I choose and where can I find them in the course catalogue?

You can find the course catalogue on AGNES. Select the semester in the upper left corner (e.g. winter semester 2019-20) and then click on Vorlesungsverzeichnis. The Institute's courses can be found under Faculty of Philosophy → Institute of History.

Here you can find the courses of the Winter Semester 2019/20.

In addition, you can participate in modules of the Berlin Perspectives programme offered through the bologna.lab initiative. These modules are taught in English. You can register here.

These courses can be found on AGNES under Vorlesungsverzeichnis → bologna.lab: Neue Lehre, neues Lernen → Berlin Perspectives.

Here you can find the courses scheduled for the Winter Semester 2019/20.

You can also attend Q-tutorials, i.e. exercises organized and conducted by other students. The offered courses are partly in English.

These tutorials can be found on AGNES under Vorlesungsverzeichnis → Projekttutorien and under Vorlesungsverzeichnis → bologna.lab: Neue Lehre, neues Lernen → Q-Programme Q-Tutorien.

You can find a list with the current offers for the coming semester here (project tutorials) and here (Q-tutorials).


What does SWS stand for?

SWS means weekly semester hours: this number indicates how many hours per week a course takes place: two SWS are the rule. The course therefore takes place, for example, Monday from 12-14 o'clock. Only the tutorials are one hour (1 SWS).

The ECTS points are not based on the SWS!


What do c.t. and s.t. mean?

c.t. - cum tempore

The abbreviation c.t. tells you to add the 15-minute ‘academic quarter’ to a given time. Courses announced for 10 c.t. begin at 10:15.

s.t. - sine tempore

Events scheduled to begin exactly at the indicated time are labelled s.t. A course announced for 10 s.t.  begins promptly at 10 o'clock.