What is "Culture"?

Culture captivates and polarises, it connects and separates. Culture is the source of collective meaning creation and understanding, the basis of our belief systems, institutions and the production of man’s inventiveness. Cultural beliefs and values are however demarcated excluding others. Culture enables the marginalization of other groups of people, it can also be exploited for identity politics utilizing the image of a clash of cultures. What is understood by culture and how it is talked about is therefore often unclear and controversial.

While pursuing Cultural Studies at the University of the Bundeswehr, students will explore the concept of culture and its diverse definitions and learn empirical approaches to analysing culture. Besides focusing on the concept of culture per se and how it is considered by different academic disciplines such as religion, politics, ethics and ethnography, the Cultural Studies Program aims to juxtapose cultural phenomena by comparing various social and regional contexts. Geographically, the focus of the program is on the significant cultural ties between Europe and Africa, in particular the Mediterranean region, North Africa and francophone sub-Saharan Africa.


(Translator: Lindah Achieng Ouma)

Interested in pursuing the Cultural Studies Degree Program?

Requirements: What prospective students should bring with them

  • Keen Interest in critically analysing cultures, politics, law, history and religion;
  • Eager to learn intercultural encounters and foreign languages;
  • Interested in internships and study visits abroad;
  • Ability to read texts in a self-reflective manner and discuss different perspectives on complex topics;
  • Interested in learning foreign languages, Arabic and French.

Content of the Degree Program

The study of culture takes a transdisciplinary approach. Questions that arise in understanding cultural phenomena are addressed across various disciplines comprising ethnography, history, law, Political science, and religious studies (with an emphasis on Islam). Students are educated on cultural theory as the basis of understanding culture. They also gain extensive knowledge of the African continent and practical knowledge of cultural processes within Africa and Europe.


Scientific methods of the Degree Program

Qualitative social research methods are used to assess cultural phenomena. Methodological modules are particularly taught in the early trimesters to provide a well-structured approach to answering research questions in cultural studies. Students are expected to conduct field research by themselves, applying qualitative research methods such as interviews and developing questionnaires.


Study Plus

Study Plus is a program designed to offer a wider range of learning opportunities for students while at the University of the Bundeswehr. This program allows students of Cultural Studies to attend courses from other disciplines besides their course-specific modules. Students can select courses based on their interests to expand their knowledge and gain specific skills.


Language Courses

Students are required to learn Arabic and French to facilitate their cultural exchange experience in fieldwork and handling firsthand data. Previous knowledge of both languages is not a prerequisite to qualify for the courses. Students will acquire basic knowledge of both languages at the first year of their studies. They will be taught by trained language teachers in small interactive classes with the latest didactic knowledge. Thereafter, students can specialise in one language.


Summer schools, Internships and trimester abroad

Summer schools and internships are mandatory requirements for the degree program. During the summer trimester, students have the chance to travel abroad for an internship, which will help improve their language skills and provide them with cultural experience. A wide range of options is available for students at the Faculty of Social Sciences which the Institute of Cultural Studies is part of. The faculty has a large network of cooperation partners in Germany and abroad e.g. cultural foundations and institutions, embassies, universities and international collaborations. Students can study one trimester in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at a partner university abroad, and the credits earned there can be transferred to their regular studies.

Objectives of the Degree Program - Career and professional outlook

The program is designed to equip the students with intercultural competency, which is usually essential for international deployment as future officers. Knowledge of culture and religion is important due to the geographical proximity of Europe and North Africa and the associated intercultural interdependencies and challenges. Furthermore, an understanding of sub-Saharan Africa is becoming crucial due to the increasing role of the Bundeswehr in globalization. In line with Europe’s security policy of cooperation and networking with other regions worldwide, skills acquired through the study program are essential to everyday professional life, whether at home or during foreign missions.

Thanks to its emphatically transdisciplinary approach and the resulting professional diversity, the Cultural studies program provides the best possible career prospects outside of the military. The degree program is highly practical. Language training and exposure to the African continent enable one to comprehend and operate effectively in culturally diverse environments such as diplomacy and development cooperation. The program's professional profile is also pertinent to companies and organizations that help shape the dynamic relations between Africa and Europe.

Contact us

If you have any questions concerning the degree program, please contact:

Dean of Studies:

Prof. Dr. Daniel-Erasmus Khan

Email: khan@unibw.de

Telephone: +49 89 6004 4690

Building 33, Room 3134


Research Assistant:

Lisa Kammermeier, M.A.

Email: lisa.kammermeier@unibw.de

Telephone: +49 (0)89 6004-2409

Building 33, Room 2251

Cultural Studies (M.A.) - still under construction

More information on the master's degree program in Cultural Studies will be available here soon.