The Master’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Basel deals with historical, cultural, social and political topics concerning the eastern Mediterranean area «from Sarajevo to Cairo», which is strongly influenced by Islam. Accordingly, a key feature of the master's program is the inclusion of Southeast Europe, the present-day Republic of Turkey, and the Eastern Arab world (including Egypt). Compared with similar programs of study in Switzerland and at German-speaking universities in general, the focus in Basel is therefore on «Near Eastern Studies». Study focuses on developments from the early modern period, starting around 1500, to the present day. The philology of modern Arabic and/or Turkish serves as the starting point for a historical and sociological approach to Islamic culture and religion.

Focal areas of teaching and research

In Basel, the historical geographical term «Near East» was deliberately chosen as a descriptive complement to the regional research field of «Middle Eastern Studies» in order to reestablish teaching and research on the connections between Southeast Europe, Turkey and the eastern Arab world in the eastern Mediterranean that broke down at the end of World War I.

The focus is on the political and intellectual history of the Middle East in the 19th and 20thcenturies. The master’s program deals with the primary political and ideological currents of this period, such as nationalism, Islamism and confessionalism, as well as the rise of modern nation-states in the Middle East and Southeast Europe. The program also includes modern cultural and social studies of the region, as well as current politics and international relations in the Middle East. 

Study is based on methods, models and theories from the social sciences, which are combined with the working methods of humanities disciplines such as history, philosophy and literature.

An example of the research agenda of the Master’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies is the topic «Islam in Southeast Europe»: In light of the accession of Southeast European countries with Muslim populations to the European Union, Islam is set to attract increased attention in Southeast Europe in the future. A large portion of Muslims living in Switzerland already originate from countries in Southeast Europe.

The department is involved in numerous collaborations at the University of Basel, such as the «Cultural Topographies». It has close ties with the departments of Eastern European Studies, Religious Studies and Political Science, as well as the Faculty of Theology.

Program structure

A master’s is a second degree that a person can earn after completing a bachelor’s. The master’s program requires a total of 120 credit points (CP). The Master's Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies is combined with a second degree subject, each worth 35 CP. The subject in which students write their master’s thesis (30 CP) is considered to be their major; the other subject is their minor. Free electives (20 CP) are also included. One ECTS credit point equates to approximately 30 hours of work.

Master of Arts (120 CP)
Major of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
65 CP (35 CP + 30 CP for the master thesis)
Minor of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
or extra-faculty
35 CP
Free electives
20 CP
Two degree subjects

Combination of subjects

The Master’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies allows many interesting combinations with other fields of study in terms of content, methodology and future professional activity in the Middle East region. Students are free to select a second master’s degree subject that meets their specific interests. Students can choose a subject offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or a subject from another faculty. 

Students are free to choose any free elective. These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of their degree subjects, gain an insight into other degree subjects offered by the University of Basel, or acquire language skills.

Career opportunities

The Master’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies differs clearly from the bachelor's degree in terms of academic level. The advanced academic instruction provided by this program qualifies students for work in science, research and teaching, or prepares them for subsequent doctoral studies or a career as a Middle East expert in political or journalistic institutions. 

The extensive linguistic, historical and cultural knowledge provided by the program, often combined with experience abroad, opens up excellent employment opportunities in numerous non-university areas, although such opportunities often require practical training in the respective professional field. Prospects include careers in the following fields: intercultural cooperation, integration/migration, aid agencies and international organizations (International Red Cross, Caritas, etc.), diplomatic service, journalism (newspapers, media), civil service, business and banking, museums, the publishing sector, libraries, archives, documentaries, or translation/interpreting (additional training required).

Master’s admission requirements

Admission to master’s programs is regulated by the university student regulations, dated September 28, 2011, and the stipulations of the individual degree program descriptions. More details of the general master’s admission requirements are provided here.

For students to be admitted with no additional requirements, they must hold a bachelor’s degree worth 180 CP from a higher education institution recognized by the University of Basel.

Subject-related requirements are defined in the admission requirements (section 3) of the study program for the relevant subject. The guidelines may also contain further useful information that is key to successful studies.

Registration dates

Students must register for their bachelor’s or master’s degree program within a specified timeframe – even in cases of delayed registration.

Information events

The University of Basel organizes regular information events for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Details can be found on the events page of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Some subject areas also offer their own separate information or welcome events. Please consult the page for the relevant subject area for event dates and locations.

Master’s examination & degree


Deadlines and dates for master's studies (see data sheets at Dokumente und Merkblätter)

From the fall semester 2019, the revised framework regulations for the Master of Arts will apply. Registration for the master's thesis is independent of registration for the master's examinations. It is now also possible to examine only one subject per session, i.e. the two master's examinations can be divided into two sessions (attention: only for master's degree subjects, it is not possible to separate the two examinations for study programs). New registration deadlines apply for the master's examinations, these have previously taken place at the same time as the registration for the master's thesis.

From the registration in spring semester 2019 onwards, the same acceptance and submission date (last date of the registration deadline) will apply to the master's thesis for all students.

Master’s thesis
Semester takeover, submission  Takeover FS 2018, submission FS 2019 (old / new Master's regulations) Takeover SS 2019, submission SS 2020 (old / new Master's regulations) Takeover FS 2019, submission FS 2020 (new Master's regulations) Takeover SS 2020, submission SS 2021 Takeover FS 2020, submission FS 2021 Takeover SS 2021, submission SS 2022
Registration form available from


expired expired 06.04.20 05.10.20 05.04.21
Application Master’s thesis


expired expired 05.05. - 20.05.201 03.11. - 19.11.20 04.05. - 20.05.21
Takeover date


expired expired 20.05.20 19.11.20 19.05.21
Submission date expired 22.02.20 01.10.20 19.02.21 18.08.21 19.02.22
Submission of Master’s thesis confirmation form expired by 27.02.20 at the latest by 08.10.20 at the latest by 25.02.21 at the latest by 26.08.21 at the latest by 25.02.22 at the latest
Review submission by lecturers expired 19.06.20 18.12.20 18.06.21 17.12.21 17.06.22
Notification of grades by 31.01.20 at the latest by 31.07.20 at the latest by 31.01.21 at the latest by 31.07.21 at the latest by 31.01.22 at the latest by 31.07.22 at the latest
Review inspection 14.01. - 13.02.20 16.06. - 13.08.20 19.01. - 12.02.21 15.06. - 12.08.213 18.01. - 17.02.22 14.06. - 18.08.223
Master's examinations for students of the degree subject and program


FS 2019 (old / new Master's regulations) SS 2020 (old / new Master's regulations) FS 2020 (new Master's regulations) SS 2021 FS 2021 SS 2022
Application forms (degree subject / program) available from


04.02.20 01.09.20 01.02.21 24.08.21 01.02.22
Application deadline for examination

17.09. - 26.09.19

18.02. - 27.02.20 15.09. - 24.09.20 02.03. - 11.03.212 21.09. - 30.09.21 22.02. - 03.03.22
Examination session

16.12. - 20.12.19

25.05. - 29.05.20 14.12. - 18.12.20 31.05. - 04.06.21 17.12. & 20.12. - 23.12.21 30.05. - 03.06.22
Notification of grades 13.01.20 15.06.20 18.01.21 14.06.21 17.01.22 13.06.22
Application for MA degree documents
Semester FS 2019 SS 2020 FS 2020 SS 2021 FS 2021 SS 2022
Application deadline for degree
(Application form)

14.01. - 13.02.20

16.06. - 13.08.20 19.01. - 12.02.21 15.06.-12.08.213 18.01.-17.02.22 14.06.-18.08.223
Graduation ceremony


12.09.20 27.03.21 11.09.21 26.03.22 17.09.22

1 21.05.2020 is a public holiday (Ascension Day).
2 SS 2021 begins only on 01.03.2021 (Carnival holidays: 22.02. - 26.02.2021).
3 Please note the summer break of the Student Administration Services.

All data subject to subsequent changes.

Teaching committee