Cultural and Social Studies (B.A.)

The Programme

“Cultural and Social Studies” (CuSo) is an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s programme in English and German. The goal of the programme is to gain an understanding of the contemporary social and cultural world through its historical interconnections as well as its intersectional structures and discourses. You will become acquainted with theoretical and methodological approaches of different disciplines (cultural history, literary studies, linguistics and comparative social sciences).

While offering a profound consolidation in all four academic fields, your studies will specifically deepen your knowledge of the following interdisciplinary and thematic fields:

  • EUROPE/S – History, Culture, Politics
  • MEDIA − Image, Text and Language
  • DIFFERENCE – Migration, Gender and Diversity

You can find more information on the content and structure of the programme in our information brochure.

The programme explicitly invites students with education from non-German speaking countries, who can gradually acquire knowledge of German. At the same time it is very attractive for students who know both German and English and want to study in an international environment. All students have to acquire or prove competence in a third language. Courses are held in English and German.

 

CuSo-Logo190px

Qualifcations and Career Opportunities

The Bachelor’s degree in Cultural and Social Studies opens doors to appealing career opportunities and paves your way to an international working environment. Through interdisciplinary perspectives, applied multilingualism, as well as experience abroad and in professional practice, you also acquire key qualifications and intercultural competences for consecutive Master’s programmes or direct career entry in various fields in Germany and internationally, e.g.:

  • Cultural and project management
  • Press, public relations, and journalism
  • Education
  • NGOs
  • Politics
  • Business, human resources consulting, and marketing

Course of Study

Module 1: Introduction | Module 2: Consolidation (15 ECTS credits each) 

  • Overview of disciplinary approaches to studying culture and society in a lecture series by professors of the faculty
  • Accompanying seminar that focuses on the acquisition of basic academic writing competences in the context of cultural and social sciences
  • Consolidation Module – two courses in general cultural sciences

These modules are taught entirely in English.

Elective Module 3 | Elective Module 4 (30 ECTS credits each)

Choose two of three modules in the programme’s focal areas and attend four courses in each:

  • EUROPE/S – History, Culture, Politics
  • MEDIA – Image, Text and Language
  • DIFFERENCE – Migration, Gender and Diversity

You can attend courses in English and/or German. Please note that you have to acquire at least 6 ECTS credits in German (orally or in written form).

Module 5: Optional Module (12 ECTS credits)

You can deepen your focus on one of the topics offered in modules 3 and 4 by attending two more courses in one of these modules.

OR

You can take two courses in Economics at the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics of Viadrina.


OR

You can take two courses in “Digital Societies”, offered in cooperation with the European New School of Viadrina.

 

All three options are available in English and German.

Module 6: Methods, Academic Writing and Research Skills (12 ECTS credits)

The module focuses on methods in science to ensure access to academic standards as they are common in the social and cultural sciences in Germany. It contains the following three elements:

  • Peer-writing class (ideally to be attended in the beginning)
  • Attend a colloquium in one of the four academic disciplines (mostly in German)
  • Programme-specific, interdisciplinary colloquium in which you write and present an exposé of your Bachelor’s thesis

Module 7: Language Skills (36 ECTS credits)

For students who obtained their university entrance certificate (HZB) in Germany:

  • One foreign language which is not English (B2)
  • One other foreign language (B1), (C1) if this is English

 

For students who did not obtain their university entrance certificate (HZB) in Germany:

  • German (B2, but students are strongly advised to reach C1 level if they plan to continue their studies in Germany)
  • Another foreign language (B1), (C1) if this is English (students with Anglophone backgrounds are excluded from choosing English as a foreign language)

 

Module 8: Practical Skills (18 ECTS credits)

This module provides practical skills and preparation for the job market through:

  • Compulsory internship of at least four weeks (6 ECTS credits):
  • by means of a three-months internship abroad, students can fulfil the obligation of the mandatory stay abroad (earning the module’s total of 18 ECTS credits at the same time)
  • students with non-German background can do a three-months internship abroad (ideally in a German-speaking environment) or in Germany
  • Other practical skills courses, e.g. workshop or seminars at the Viadrina in German (also an additional opportunity for students who learn German to practice their language skills)

Bachelor’s Thesis (24 ECTS credits) and Final Exam (6 ECTS credits)

• The thesis can be written in English or German
• The oral exam (60 minutes) can be held in English or German

Examination Board

In order for your previous course achievements to be recognised in the Bachelor Cultural and Social Studies, please complete the application form and e-mail it to the chairperson of the examination board, together with a transcript of your course achievements.

After your application has been reviewed, the examination board will forward the recognised achievements directly to the examination office for entry in viaCampus.

If you have acquired at least 30 ECTS (2nd semester) in your previous studies, e.g. at another university or in another study program at the Viadrina, which can be recognised in the Bachelor Cultural and Social Studies, you can be placed in a higher semester.

The procedure for placement in a higher semester has two steps:

  1. Before you enrol, please submit an application for placement in a higher semester by e-mail to the chairperson of the examination board and enclose a transcript of records with the application. Please note that you always enrol in a higher semester through viaCampus, not via uni-assist.
  2. After enrolment, please submit an application for recognition of your previous course achievements by e-mail to the chairperson of the examination board. Please also enclose a transcript or a copy of your course achievements with this application.

After evaluating the application, the examination board will inform the examination office directly about which courses have been recognised.

 

You can register your Bachelor's thesis if you have obtained at least 75% of the ECTS required for the degree (minus the credit points for the thesis and for the final exam colloquium), i.e. a total of 126 ECTS.

We will provide the application form here at the beginning of the summer semester 2024 at the latest.

If you have any questions, please contact the programme coordinator before submitting an application.

Please note that internships are recognised by the Career Center.

For matters that are not listed here and that require approval, please submit an informal application to the chairperson of the examination board. In addition to your request and the reason for it, please state your name, matriculation number and semester in the application. Applications must be submitted at least 10 days before the deadline (e.g. submitting the Bachelor’s thesis).

FAQ

... for Prospective Students

You can enrol for the first semester only in the winter semester, not in the summer semester.

German students and/or international students who have acquired their university entrance certificate in Germany (e.g. Abitur) enrol directly at the Viadrina through viaCampus. You can enrol through viaCampus in the period from 1 June to 15 September for the following winter semester.

Foreign students who have not acquired their university entrance certificate in Germany enrol via uni-assist. You can enrol via uni-assist from 1 June to 15 July for the following winter semester.

For enrolment in a higher semester, see question 2.

You can enrol for a higher semester online through viaCampus from 1 June to 15 September (for the winter semester) or from 1 December to 15 March (for the summer semester). This applies regardless of your citizenship or the country in which you obtained your university entrance certificate, so foreign students also enrol for a higher semester through viaCampus and not through uni-assist.

When enrolling, please state that you would like to enrol for a higher semester. Parallel to your enrolment, please submit an application for placement in a higher semester to the examination board. Please also include a transcript of records or comparable proof of your previous academic achievements in your application. A prerequisite for placement in a higher semester is that you have acquired at least 30 ECTS credits (for placement in the 2nd semester) in courses relevant to the CuSo programme in your previous studies.

If you have any questions regarding enrolment in a higher semester, please contact the chairperson of the examination board or the programme coordinator before submitting your application.

University entrance certificate (German “Abitur” or equivalent)

If you obtained your degree outside Germany, you can check on the online platform anabin whether it qualifies as an equivalent to the German “Abitur”.

 

Language skills

In order to be able to successfully complete the English-language courses in the Bachelor Cultural and Social Studies, in particular the introductory modules offered exclusively in English, you should already have a good command of English at the beginning of your studies (level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

The following certificates, among others, indicate that you have sufficient language skills:

 

You do not have to provide proof of German language skills at the time of enrolment. However, if you have not received your university entrance certificate in Germany, you must reach at least B2 in German during your studies to complete Module 7.

You do not need to have any knowledge of German to enrol. However, students who did not obtain their university entrance certificate in Germany must acquire German language skills at least at a B2 level during their studies (Module 7).

für Studierende

... for Students

In the course catalogue on viaCampus you will find all courses as well as detailed information about the individual courses, e.g. a description of the course content, the credits to be earned, the course dates and the modules in which the course is offered. Some courses are available in more than one module, so please make sure that you register for the course in the correct module on viaCampus to ensure that the course is recorded correctly.

In addition to registering for courses on viaCampus, you should also register for your courses directly on Moodle at the beginning of the semester (see question 2).

The detailed information on each course in viaCampus also includes a link to the e-learning platform Moodle. Please also register on Moodle for the courses you want to take, because this is where you will find the course materials you need for the semester, such as a syllabus or course readings. Please always use your Viadrina account (euv000000@europa-uni.de) to register on Moodle.

Regarding your course achievements please note that ...

  • you must provide at least three course achievements in the form of a term paper (6 or 9 ECTS)
  • you can take a maximum of 5 course achievements in the form of a written or oral examination (course achievements from other faculties at the Viadrina and from abroad not included)
  • you must complete all course achievements in Modules 1 and 2 in English
  • you must complete at least one course achievement in Module 3 or 4 in German
  • you must complete at least 6 ECTS in Module 8 in the form of an internship (compulsory internship of at least 4 weeks full-time)
  • you must acquire at least 30 ECTS in one of the four disciplines (cultural history, comparative social sciences, literary studies, linguistics) in order to ensure that you are eligible for master’s programmes in the respective field.

 

§ 8 of the Study and Examination Regulations specifies which course achievements can be obtained in which modules and for which number of ECTS. In Modules 1 - 5, students can only obtain 6 or 9 ECTS. For the individual courses, the lecturers then determine which types of course achievements are available in the respective course.

In general, you can receive 6 ECTS for one of the following achievements:

  • a term paper with a total length of usually 10-15 pages
  • several essays with a total length of usually 10-15 pages
  • written examination (lasting 90 minutes)
  • oral examination of usually 20 minutes
  • oral presentation with written elaboration (10-15 minutes plus 8 pages)

You can receive 9 ECTS credits for one of the following achievements:

  • a term paper with a total length of usually 20-25 pages
  • several essays with a total length of usually 20-25 pages

 

Course achievements with 3 ECTS can only be acquired in Modules 6 and 8.

The curriculum template is a recommendation and shows that you can complete the programme in six semesters (standard period of study). 30 ECTS per semester are the general rule, but the sample study plan is not binding, which means that you can also deviate from it.

However, we strongly recommend that you take the two courses in Module 1 (“Lecture Series: Introduction to Cultural and Social Studies” and the accompanying seminar “Introduction to Terms and Methods”) as well as the Peer Writing Group (Module 6) in the first semester in order to lay the necessary foundations for successful studies right at the beginning.

In addition, we advise you to follow the target of 30 ECTS per semester when choosing courses in order to graduate within the standard period of study.

When we compile the course catalogue and assign the modules, we have to consider a number of things, and the programme’s academic manager usually has good reasons for assigning or not assigning certain courses to a module. In principle, the module assignments in the course catalogue are therefore final and binding.

If, in exceptional cases, you would like to attend a certain course in a module to which it is not assigned, although it seems to fit the module’s content, you can request that the course is assigned to the additional module within the first three weeks of the semester. To do so, please first ask the lecturer to confirm that the course can be assigned to the module you want. Then, please contact the academic manager to obtain their approval. If both have agreed, please contact the programme coordinator, who will then add the module in viaCampus. The best and easiest way is to obtain all approvals in one email thread, which contains the course title, course number and the desired module, and forward it to the programme coordination at the end.

Please note that you should register for the course in viaCampus only after the additional module has been assigned, otherwise the course will not appear in the correct module in your transcript of records (see question 1).

No, according to the Study and Examination Regulations, students must complete Modules 1 and 2 exclusively in English. Therefore, we only offer courses in English in these modules.

The programme includes three different “colloquia”:

  1. The “Technical Colloquium” (Module 6, 3 ECTS): This is one of the (research) colloquia of the various professors of the faculty, in which Master’s and PhD students present their work. In their 5th or 6th semester, CuSo students should participate in the colloquium of a professor corresponding to the discipline of their Bachelor’s thesis. Thus, they will get an impression of how to write a thesis this field.
  2. The “Preparatory Course for the BA Colloquium” (Module 6, 6 ECTS) is a specific colloquium for CuSo students, which you should attend during the semester in which you write your Bachelor’s thesis (usually in the 6th semester). In this colloquium, you will present an exposé of your thesis and discuss it with your fellow students.
  3. The “Final Exam” (“Abschlusskolloquium”) is the oral Bachelor’s examination that you must take after your thesis has been graded and you have completed all course achievements (see also question 15).

Students who have obtained their university entrance certificate in Germany must do their stay abroad in a non-German-speaking country.

Students who did not acquire their university entrance certificate in a German-speaking country can also complete the compulsory stay abroad in Germany or another German-speaking country. In principle, a stay abroad in the country of origin is also possible. Please note, however, that students may not spend their stay abroad in their country of origin if they wish to take advantage of ERASMUS+ funding.

If you would like to spend a semester abroad, you must apply for a place at one of our many partner universities well in advance, because the application process takes some time! The deadline for applying for the entire academic year (joint deadline for winter and summer semesters) is always in December of the previous year. So, usually you apply during your 3rd semester for a stay abroad in the 5th (or possibly even 6th) semester.

You can find the exact deadlines and further information on the application process on the website of the International Office.

All students must provide proof of their proficiency in 2 foreign languages.

Students who have obtained their university entrance certificate in Germany must provide both of the following proofs:

  • B2 in a foreign language other than English
  • B1 in another foreign language or C1 in English

Students who did not acquire their university entrance certificate in Germany must provide the following two proofs:

  • B2 in German
  • B1 in another foreign language or C1 in English (only for students who did not acquire their university entrance certificate in an English-speaking country)

If you provide the certificates that apply to you, you will receive the full 36 ECTS in Module 7.

It is generally possible to recognise language skills that were not acquired at Viadrina in Module 7. This also applies to languages that are not offered by Viadrina’s Language Centre. For the languages offered at the Viadrina, the Language Centre provides information on which certificates are recognised at which level. The examination board decides on the recognition.

If you plan to take language courses outside of Viadrina during your studies, we strongly advise you to contact the programme coordinator in advance to determine whether the courses you would like to take can be recognised in Module 7.

If you have previous knowledge of the language, you need to take a placement test in order to gain access to the course level that is suitable for you. The placement tests always take place in the first two weeks of the semester. You can find the exact dates on the Language Centre’s website.

If you have no previous knowledge of the language, you do not need to take a placement test, just register for course level A1.

You need German language skills at level B2 to complete the BA CuSo. Further courses are therefore not mandatory.

However, if you are also planning to continue your Master’s studies in Germany after completing your Bachelor’s degree, we recommend that you reach at least the C1 level in German, as this is required in most German-language Master’s programmes. So, if you already have B2 in German when you enrol, it may still be a good idea to expand your knowledge to the C1 level (or even C2) during your studies and/or to keep it active, e.g. also by attending courses in German.

In any case, you must have your certificates recognised by the examination board.

Requirements for registration

You can register your Bachelor’s thesis if you have earned at least 75% of the ECTS required for the degree (minus the credit points for the thesis and for the final exam), i.e. a total of 126 ECTS. However, in order to have sufficient resources for the Bachelor’s thesis in the last semester, we recommend that you complete as many course achievements as possible, especially the language courses, before you start writing your thesis.

 

Registration

To register your Bachelor’s thesis, you must first submit an application for admission to the final examination (“Antrag auf Zulassung zur Abschlussprüfung”) to the examination office. In this application, you must list your achievements and name the examiners for your final exam (“Abschluss-Kolloquium”) (see question 15). You should therefore contact them before registering. If you fulfil all the requirements for registration, you will receive the so-called form for issuing the topic of the Bachelor’s thesis (“Laufzettel”) from the examination office.

After entering the topic of your thesis and signing this form, you must obtain all the necessary signatures. This form also includes the date on which the topic of your thesis is officially issued, which is the starting date for the eight weeks that you have to complete the thesis. When the form has been completed and signed by everyone required, the examination board will forward it to the examination office.

 

Topic and scope

The Bachelor’s thesis should have a length of 40 pages and must be related to one of the four disciplines of the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences (Cultural History, Comparative Social Sciences, Literary Studies, Linguistics). You are free to choose the topic of the thesis.

There are different ways to find a topic for the thesis. Some students, for instance, write about a topic from the elective modules that they found particularly exciting and/or about which they have already written a term paper. Other students are interested in the courses and research of a certain professor and would like to write their thesis under the supervision of this professor, but do not yet have a specific topic in mind. In this case, it is a good idea to visit the professor’s office hours and talk about possible topics and research questions for the Bachelor’s thesis. Attending the professor’s colloquium of as part of Module 6 can also spark ideas for the topic of your thesis.

Once you have found a topic, you should discuss it with your first supervisor in good time to ensure that the content and scope of the topic and the related research question are suitable for a Bachelor’s thesis.

 

Time for writing the thesis

Starting from the day your topic is officially issued, which is noted in the form for issuing the topic of your theses (see above), you have 8 weeks to complete your Bachelor’s thesis. After submitting the thesis, the reviewers have 4 weeks to evaluate it.

 

Selection of the reviewers

The Bachelor’s thesis is evaluated by two supervisors/reviewers. One of them, usually the first/main supervisor, must be a (junior) professor or a “Privatdozent”. Please contact potential supervisors of your thesis well in advance. Once you have found your first/main supervisor, they can also help you find a second supervisor, e.g. a member of their academic staff.

 

Formal requirements

Please discuss the guidelines for editing your Bachelor’s thesis and the preferred citation method directly with your main supervisor. Many professors also provide information on writing and editing theses on their websites.

Requirements for eligibility to take the examination

You can take the oral Bachelor’s examination if you have completed all course achievements and your Bachelor’s thesis has been graded with at least 4.0. Any missing course achievements must be submitted to the examination office at least 3 days before the examination. When all course achievements have been submitted, the examination office will issue a letter confirming that you have fulfilled the examination requirements, which you must submit to the examiners before the start of your Bachelor’s examination. Please do not take the examination if you have not yet received this letter of confirmation.

 

Structure and content of the examination

The examination lasts about 60 minutes and consists of three parts: one topic from the field of cultural studies, one topic from Module 3 and one topic from Module 4. The topic of your Bachelor’s thesis is usually one of these topics (defence of the thesis). The examination is taken by two examiners, so one of them will examine you in two topics.

 

Selection of the examiners

When choosing your two examiners, the same requirements apply as for the supervisors of your Bachelor’s thesis (see question 14). However, the two examiners and the two supervisors do not have to be identical.

 

Arrangement of the examination date

You arrange your examination date individually with the examiners. Please contact your examiners in good time and make sure that you receive the reviews of your Bachelor’s thesis one week before the examination date. Since the supervisors have 4 weeks to write the reviews, there should usually be at least 5 weeks between submitting your thesis and taking the oral examination.

Your achievements are included in the overall grade as follows:

  • 60% Course achievements (Modules 1 – 5, possibly 8).
  • 10% Module 7 (Languages)
  • 20% Bachelor’s thesis
  • 10% Final exam

Application and Enrollment

University entrance certificate ("Abitur" or equivalent)

If you obtained your degree outside Germany, you can check on the online platform anabin whether it qualifies as an equivalent to the German “Abitur”.

 

Language skills

In order to be able to successfully complete the English-language courses in the Bachelor Cultural and Social Studies, in particular the introductory modules offered exclusively in English, you should already have a good command of English at the beginning of your studies (level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

The following certificates, among others, indicate that you have sufficient language skills:

 

You do not have to provide proof of German language skills at the time of enrolment. However, if you have not received your university entrance certificate in Germany, you must reach at least B2 in German during your studies.

Please submit your application between 1 June to 15 July via uni-assist. Viadrina's international office provides further information on the application procedure for international students.

Please note that you have to submit a certified translation of all documents that are not issues in German or English.

The application period for students, who want to apply for advanced semesters runs from 1 June to 15 September (for the winter semester) and from 1 December to 15 March (for the summer semester). All applications for advanced semesters need to be submitted online through viaCampus, regardless of the applicant's citizenship and the country in which they received their university entrance certificate. This also applies to applicants who do not hold a German citizenship and received their university entrance certificate outside Germany.

Please send the following documents until 20 September (winter semester) or 15 March (summer semester) to the admission office (“Zulassungsamt”):

  • the completed and signed application for enrolment (available on viaCampus after completing your online enrolment),
  • a certified copy of your university entrance qualification,
  • a health insurance certificate*,
  • a self-addressed, stamped envelope, size DIN A4, for sending the student ID card (chip card) and returning your submitted documents,
  • f you have previously studied in Germany: certificates of enrolment from German universities showing the semesters of study and university semesters you have completed to date,
  • if you have previously studied in Germany: a certificate of exmatriculation from your last German higher education institution,
  • proof of payment of the semester fee (e.g. printout of the online transaction),
  • a copy of an ID document showing your surname, first name, date of birth, address and the date of validity. You have the option of blacking out all other details. This copy of the ID is used exclusively for identification purposes and protects against identity theft.
  • the confirmation of placement in an advanced semester. Please apply for placement in an advanced semester to the programme’s examination board at the same time you apply for enrolment through viaCampus.

 

* Notes on student health insurance

For enrolment, we require proof of your insurance status - either legally insured or exempt from compulsory insurance. Please contact a statutory health insurance company and either get insured there (e.g. as a student) or get a confirmation that you are exempt, so that your insurance status can be reported electronically to the Viadrina. The chip card or a paper certificate is not sufficient.

In order to report your insurance status, the health insurance companies may require the sender number of the Viadrina: H0001747.

Students,

  • from 30 years of age
  • in further education courses
  • who are enrolling for a doctorate
  • who are enrolled at the College

do not receive a student tariff. They can insure themselves voluntarily at the regular rate. The electronic health insurance certificate is not required for these students.

Contact

Dr. Oliver Kossack

Programme coordinator

Office hours

Monday 13:00 - 15:00 or on appointment

Prof. Dr. Nicole Richter

Chairperson of the examination board

Office hours

on appointment

Prof. Dr. Britta Schneider

Academic manager

Office hours

on appointment