Egyptology and Coptic Studies (B.A.) (two subjects)
Egypt from the pyramids to Cleopatra and much more! In the B.A. degree programme at Göttingen, you will discover the history of Egypt from its beginnings up until the Islamic era. You will learn the Egyptian language, read hieroglyphics and other forms of writing and analyse papyri documents and inscriptions. You will intensively deal with the monuments of Egypt and archaeological sites along with the culture, literature and religion of the Egyptians. You will deepen and broaden your knowledge by taking part in excursions to (inter)national museums and by accomplishing internships.
- Egyptology and Coptic Studies
- Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) (2 subjects)
- Standard period of study:
- 6 semesters
- Only the winter semester
- Language of the programme:
(enrolment without previous application)
- Orientation events:
- Orientation events are offered
The science of Egyptology researches the culture of pharaonic Egypt. The topic of Coptic Studies is Late Antique Christian Egypt. Both foci are represented in Göttingen in a single institute and are taught as one subject. Therefore students can gain a particularly comprehensive view of the characteristics and development of architecture, figurative art and literature in pre-modern Egypt. The research foci at the institute currently are the history of religion and language, the history of the Coptic Church, archaeology, architectural history, cultural theory and "gender studies", as well as the history of Egyptological and Coptic science.
The institute is closely connected to the Egyptian collections in Hildesheim and Hannover, granting students possibilities to work with original objects from early on in their education. The insitute publishes an important academic journal, the „Göttinger Miszellen“, and initiated the long-term project „Digital Edition of the Coptic (Sahidic) Old Testament“. The institute is fostering a lively exchange with international scientists, scholars and research institutions, and is regularly organising guest lectures and conferences.
A look at another culture poses questions about the people, the nature of their co-existence and also about their thoughts and beliefs. With the objectives of gaining information from archaeological finds and findings and discovering their own answers, students learn how to deal with the scientific approaches of archaeology, the history of religion, art and literature, linguistics as well as cultural, social and church history. The geographical region of ancient Egypt approximately corresponds to that of modern-day Egypt. In addition, its sphere of influence extended to West and South Africa as well as to the Near East. Its timeline spans several millennia from the prehistory of the Nile Valley up to the High Middle Ages.
The courses usually first give a broad overview as an introduction to a topic, presenting the history and the current state of research. In further sessions, particular aspects are brought into focus and case studies are examined in more detail.
In lectures, the topics are prepared and presented by the lecturers. In seminars, there is more time for exchange on the topics and students' own discussions; they also present case studies in papers. In the tutorials, student tutors help the students to work on the tasks from the seminars (literature research, presentations and assignments, exercises for the language courses).
The excursion usually leads to a museum and offers special access to the objects, which are lectured on and discussed. An internship can be completed in a variety of ways: Either by working on special projects at the Seminar for Egyptology and Coptic Studies, for example in the editing of the "Göttinger Miszellen", in the organisation and implementation of conferences, etc. In addition, students can apply for and find support for internships at numerous Egyptological and Coptological institutions near or far.
The PONS programme can be used for a study stay abroad of one or two semesters, and the acquired achievements are credited in Göttingen.
As a rule, it will be a great advantage to students on the B.A. degree programme in Egyptology and Coptic Studies if they can already read English and French. These and further language skills, for example basic knowledge of ancient Greek for Coptic Studies, can, however, be acquired during the course of studies at the University. A wide range of courses are readily available for this aim. Current information regarding this can be found on the homepage of Central Institution for Languages and Key Competencies (German abbreviation: ZESS).
During their studies, students take Middle Egyptian and Coptic for two semesters each. In the courses, basic knowledge of the two ancient Egyptian language levels is taught so that small texts can already be translated and read at the end of the seminar. If there is further interest, additional reading courses such as Modern Egyptian or Coptic dialects can be taken.
The "Egyptology and Coptic Studies" degree programme belongs to the Faculty of Humanities. Due to the variety of faculties at the University of Göttingen and the miscellaneous subjects they offer, there are numerous possible subject combinations. Combinations with content-related subjects are recommended. Examples of these include Ancient Oriental Studies, Archaeology of the Greco-Roman and Byzantine World, Prehistory and Early History, History, Classical Philology, Art History, Theology, Religious Studies, and General Linguistics. Other recommendations include combinations with method-oriented subjects such as Literature, Modern Linguistics and Modern Cultural Studies (e.g. German Studies, Cultural Anthropology).
Graduates of this degree programme will have mastered the script and language of the Egyptians and can independently analyse and interpret ancient Egyptian texts.
During the course of studies in Egyptology and Coptic Studies, understanding of the societal backgrounds of the Egyptian sources (objects as well as texts) and their archaeological relationships will be developed. With increasing success, the students will write papers and prepare and give presentations. In this way, they will practise dealing with complex situations and will be able to use strategies to solve problems and impart knowledge.
Once the courses have provided them with a deep insight into varied sub-sections of the subject, the students will delve into a special topic for their thesis. This intensive method of study makes the students competent in various non-academic tasks or lays the foundation for future academic specialisation.
For the non-academic job market, this course of studies prepares students by providing a series of transferable skills: skills regarding the creation of written papers, talks, and presentations; dealing with computers/media; grasping complex issues and problem solving. In particular, students also acquire intercultural competence and knowledge transfer techniques: Ancient Egypt is far removed from our present culture in both space and time. Therefore, students of Egyptology and Coptic Studies develop a particularly high degree of comprehension of other people, societies and cultures.
With the academic level they have acquired, graduates can aspire to the following areas of activity, amongst others: work in libraries or publishing houses; further education (community colleges, broadcasting, television, lecture tours, journalism, guided tours).
The path towards research and teaching as well as work in museums goes via an M.A. degree course.
Related and consecutive/graduate programmes
During their undergraduate studies, students have the option of focusing on "Egyptology" or on "Coptic Studies". During the course of 6 semesters, they attain a total of 180 ECTS credit points (abbreviated to "C"). This consists of 66 C in each of the two selected subjects (i.e. Egyptology and Coptic Studies and, for example, Prehistory and Early History), 36 C in the so-called "area of professionalisation" and 12 C from their Bachelor's thesis.
For the area of professionalisation, students can additionally take options from the modules in the two subjects and/or from a wide-ranging set of key competencies modules (for example "French for cultural scientists", "Preparing and giving academic presentations for undergraduate students" or "Activities in student self-governance").
A module is a teaching unit (as outlined in the study and examination regulations) attached to particular learning objective and can be represented by various forms of courses: seminar courses, lectures, tutorials, independent work and group work. The number of credit points attached to the module depends upon the minimum amount of work required from students to have successfully participated (incl. preparation and follow-up work).
In undergraduate studies, the testing of acquired knowledge is split up across the entire period of studies. The final examination is the writing of a Bachelor's thesis in the final semester. Depending upon each module, students work through the contents of their courses during the current semester in the forms of presentations, papers, minutes and portfolios. In addition to these, at the end of a module, there can be a group oral examination or a written examination. More detailed information about which type of examination is scheduled for each module can be found in the catalogue of modules in the examination and study regulations.
Students of "Egyptology and Coptology" in the two-subject Bachelor's programme take the lecture "Exploring Egypt: Pharaonic and Post-Pharaonic/Coptic Culture", in which a broad overview of the contents of the study, the most important research and findings is given. Depending on their choice of focus, they first learn Coptic or Middle Egyptian. Both language courses, accompanied by tutorials, run for two semesters each.
In the second semester, students can expect an introduction to the history of Egypt. Depending on their choice of focus, they take courses on Pharaonic or Coptic history. Within the framework of the proseminar "Exploring Egypt: Egyptological and Coptological Methods and Techniques", they also learn how to write scientific presentations and papers and familiarise themselves with the most important basics and tools for the study of Egyptology and Coptology.
From the third semester onwards, seminars are taken on the topics of "Archaeology and Monumentology", "Literature" and "Religion" and students take part in an excursion. In the second half of their studies, students can choose from a wide range of compulsory elective modules to deepen individual subject areas."
Study procedure in Corona times
The current Corona pandemic also poses great challenges for university teaching. Seminars are currently being held online via the "Zoom" and "Big Blue Button" programmes, while some lectures are being held asynchronously. The lecturers as well as the student group of the Seminar for Egyptology and Coptic Studies are supporting the students in this process with the help of virtual consultation hours and overviews of digital learning material, among other things. The library is only open during the lockdown for borrowing and returning literature, but online literature can be accessed via the SUB website or lecturers provide the required literature.
- Winter semester only
- 1st subject semester:
- open admission (enrolment without previous application)
- 2nd to 6th subject semester:
- open admission (enrolment without previous application)