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Study history at the KU

What is and to what end do we study history?

This was the question with which historian and writer Friedrich Schiller began his first lecture at the University of Jena in 1789. The question is timeless and is often still asked today, although usually in a different form: ‘What’s the point? It was all such a long time ago! Why do we need to know this?’. The response: History deals with changes in society, the economy, the state, politics, and culture from early times up to the present day. It does not just tell us about the past, but also provides information that we can use in the present.

Despite what many people think, it is not about simply learning dates off by heart. Instead, students learn how to approach historical sources (such as inscriptions, certificates, monuments, and newspaper articles) and questions. The aim is to use research literature to understand and explain developments throughout history up to the present day in order to ultimately answer the following question: Why are ‘we’, as a society, where we are today?


The study of history is divided into three main periods:

  • Ancient history (Ancient Greece and Rome)
  • Medieval history (6th–15th century)
  • Modern history (15th century to the present day)

The KU also offers the following sub-disciplines:

  • Comparative regional history and early modern history
  • Economic and social history
  • Latin American history
  • Theory and methodology of history teaching

The interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree program allows students to study history in combination with other subjects with equal weighting and to focus on the areas where their strengths and interests lie.


Career prospects:

It is important to consider career prospects when choosing a degree program. Unlike students of some other subjects, historians are not limited to one particular profession. A Bachelor’s degree qualifies graduates for further study and an academic career. In addition, history graduates may work in museums, archives, libraries, universities, and adult education institutions. They are also suitable for careers in areas such as journalism, media, publishing, or politics thanks to the close connections between history and all of these fields. We recommend that students try to gain relevant experience in the areas that they are interested by completing internships during their studies.

More information is available in German on the History website.