Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Area Studies Asia/Africa


Mono-bachelor: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Combined bachelor: as secondary subject only, without teacher training option.
Please note the ‘Course catalogue’ and the ‘Bachelor’s and Master’s courses at the HU’ FAQ.

Standard time for completing course

6 semesters

Start of study and Entry Restriction

Cf. course catalogue

Course structure

Area Studies Asia/Africa is offered as:

Mono-bachelor: 180 CP*
Secondary subject: 60 CP for a bachelor’s core subject from a combined bachelor’s without teacher training course programme

* One credit point (CP) is calculated to equate to an average workload of 25 to max. 30 hours for preparation, follow-up and attendance at lectures.

Studies abroad

A study-related visit abroad, preferably in a region covered by the course, is highly recommended and should be planned for after basic studies (1st-3rd semesters) at the earliest.

Course objectives and content

Area Studies Asia/Africa is a multidisciplinary and multi-regional B.A. course dealing with the regions of Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia. The course content is divided into three thematic areas:

Language/communication – with linguistic, sociolinguistic, communication studies and philological topics;
Culture/identity – literary studies, religious studies, cultural studies and ethnological questions;
Society/transformation – historical, social studies and ethnological perspectives.

Mono-bachelor students can choose a regional focus.

An introduction to scientific work and regional studies debates, teaching methods and discussing current topics in Africa and Asia form an integral part of the course. The students acquire the ability to apply regional studies methods to individual or multiple regions of Asia and Africa. The course provides an awareness of the relevant theories, corresponding language skills and a basic knowledge of the relevant specialised areas and regions. Students acquire theoretical and methodological skills, an ability to detect problems, conduct research and analysis and compose texts, as well as presentation techniques and practical experience. They become qualified for professional activities in non-academic fields, as well as for international partnerships, journalism, management and political consulting or environmental and cultural work, as well as further academic education.

The best place to find information about course content is the annotated university calendar (hu-berlin/vorlesungsverzeichnis). You’ll find the module descriptions, the course curriculum and other details in the course and examination regulations, available online at, no. 98/2014, 1st revision no. 76/2016, 2nd revision no. 49/2020.

Languages/choice of language

You will learn the basic language skills: assured communication in standard situations, basic free communication skills, good reading comprehension, basic written expression skills, and more advanced skills in communication culture and the handling of specialised texts. The primary objective of the language training is the ability to apply regional studies to three areas: society/transformation, culture/identity and language/communication.
The first study semester begins with a mandatory introduction week, which includes a more detailed presentation of the languages on offer. You will find advance information on the current languages on offer in the annotated university calendar and at the Language Centre web page. Courses are offered subject to a minimum number of participants.

At the Department of Asian and African Studies, we teach the following languages:

Region of concentration



Hausa, Setswana, Kiswahili, Afrikaans, Bambara2

East Asia

Chinese (modern & classic), Japanese1

Southeast Asia

Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Vietnamese, Myanma2, Tagalog2

South Asia

Hindi, Telugu, Urdu2, Arabic3

Central Asia

Dari/Persian, Mongolian, Tajik, Tibetan, Uzbek, Pashto2

If you choose Japanese, we recommend acquiring a knowledge of the Hiragana and Katakana alphabets before beginning the course (see
Not permanent available.
Offered in collaboration with the language centre and recognised as an external language course on the B.A.

Students can register for one of the available African or Asian languages online during the introduction week via the ‘AGNES - Online Study and Examination Portal’ ( (Skills in an additional Asian of African language may be acquired as part of the career-related additional qualification.)

Study Counselling in the relevant sector (see below) informs students who already know an African or Asian language about the recognition procedure.

Why study Asian/African Studies at HU?

Thanks to the Asian/African Studies bachelor’s course, Humboldt-Universität is the only university in Germany to offer a basic course combining a wide-ranging introduction with the ability for in-depth study in the field of regional studies for Asia and Africa.
The course at the Department of Asian and African Studies provides a theoretical and methodological foundation. It enables the study of relevant regional languages, providing the skills for the detailed treatment of a region and a subsequent, discipline-oriented master’s course.
In job market, it also opens up the opportunity to enter trans-regional fields and to specialise in a particular cultural area.

What special skills and interests do you need for this subject?

The course primarily targets theoretical and methodological approaches which are relevant for examining Asia and Africa. You should be interested in at least one of the regions of concentration and enjoy learning languages. You have knowledge of the regions or countries (e.g. geographic, cultural) or will find out about them during the course. Future students should also be prepared to critically question perceptions of non-European cultures and be open to new ideas.

Mono-bachelor structure (180 CP)

Mandatory modules (120 CP)

1. Core curriculum

Module 01: Introduction (10 CP)
Module 02: Society/Transformation basic course (10 CP)
Module 03: Culture/Identity basic course (10 CP)
Module 04: Language/Communication basic course (10 CP)

2. Language training

Students must complete 4 consecutive language modules of one of the languages offered at the department of Asian and African Studies. The language can be changed, under the condition that no examination was not finally passed.

Module 05: Language course I (10 CP)
Module 06: Language course II (10 CP)
Module 07: Language course III (10 CP)
Module 08: Language course IV (10 CP)

3. Advanced curriculum

Module 09: Methods (10 CP)
Module 10: Project module Asian/African current affairs (10 CP)
Module 17: Free choice (5 CP)

4. Graduation

Module 18: Closing module (18 CP)

Mandatory elective modules (30 CP)

1. Advanced curriculum
Students must choose 2 modules

Module 11: Society/Transformation advanced course (10 CP)
Module 12: Culture/Identity advanced course (10 CP)
Module 13: Language/Communication advanced course (10 CP)

2. Practical experience
Students must choose 1 module

Module 14: Internship (10 CP) - support is provided by: Sprungbrett
Module 15: Practical orientation/ Language training (10 CP)
Module 16: Complementary language training (10 CP)

General elective modules (30 CP)

In addition to specialised study, Students acquire subject-specific, non-specialist and interdisciplinary key qualifications of 30 CP. The general elective modules can be chosen from the module catalogues of other subjects or central institutions (see:

Secondary subject structure (60 CP)

Mandatory module (10 CP)

Module 01: Introduction (10 CP)

Mandatory elective modules (50 CP)

1. Core curriculum

Students must choose one module

Module 02: Society/Transformation basic course (10 CP)
Module 03: Culture/Identity basic course (10 CP)
Module 04: Language/Communication basic course (10 CP)

2. Advanced curriculum

Students can choose between two options:

1. Up to four modules from the mono bachelor's course catalogue (modules 02-04, 09, 11-13)
2. Up to four language modules (modules 05-08)

General elective course offerings for students coming from other courses of studies

Module 02: Society/Transformation basic course (10 CP)
Module 03: Culture/Identity basic course (10 CP)
Module 04: Language/Communication basic course (10 CP)
Module 19: Asian/African languages I (10 CP)
Module 20: Asian/African languages II (10 CP)
Module 21: Asian/African languages III (10 CP)
Module 22: Asian/African languages IV (10 CP)


As advanced master’s course for the Asian/African Studies BA, the Department of Asian and African Studies offers:  Asian/African Studies (, Nr. 40/2021).

Please also note the Global History master’s course (, no. 25/2012), and the Global Studies Programme (, Nr. 37/2012, 1st revision no. 1/2013). For further master’s courses, see the ‘Course catalogue’.

Important addresses

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Asian and African Studies: Invalidenstr. 118,, Tel. +49 30 2093-66001

General questions concerning study organisation:
Course Advisory Service and classification and recognition of studies and qualifications:

  • Africa: Dr. Naumann room 411, Tel. +49 30 2093-66006,
  • Arabic: Dr. Holz, room 301, Tel. +49 30 2093-66077,
  • China: Dr. Wasserfall, Johannisstr. 10, room 406, Tel. +49 30 2093-66129,; for language practice: Dr. Lin, room 406, Tel. +49 30 2093-66127;
  • Japan: Dr. Salomon, Johannisstr. 10, room 305, Tel. +49 30 2093-66923,; for language practice: Jutta Borchert, Tel. +49 30 2093-66927,
  • South Asia: Dr. Bajwa, room 216, Tel. +49 30 2093-66058,
  • Southeast Asia: Dr. Bultmann, room 115, Tel. +49 30 2093-66020,
  • Central Asia: Dr. Schmoller, room 209, Tel. +49 30 2093-66050,

Applications: How to apply, Information for prospective international students
Links to job market: careers information centre, Hochschulteam calendar of events

Version: December 2023
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