Information for visiting students

Studying in Mainz - General Information

Dear incoming students,

You are very much welcome here at the History Department of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz! International students of all disciplines, who want to learn more about Germany and its current and past place in Europe and the world, can attend our courses. In the following you’ll find useful information on our classes with historical and cultural historical background. All welcome, including students who are not majoring in history!

Video: Study at JGU Mainz

General Information

About 32.000 students are currently matriculated at the Johannes Gutenberg-University (JGU). Almost 15% are students from abroad, which makes it one of the most international universities in Germany. Thus JGU was honoured for her excellent ERASMUS Programme at multiple occasions. With more than 100 partner universities all over the world JGU is part of the global academic network.

The academic year starts on 1st October (winter term), but you are able to start your studies with the summer term on the 1st April as well. Classes are taught during the following times of the year:

  • Winter term: From the end of October until the middle of February
  • Summer term: From the middle of April until the end of July

More detailed information on important deadlines and dates may be viewed here.

The non-lecture period between terms is reserved for individual study, for example to writing essays and completing internships.

The History Department

Within the JGU the History Department belongs to the Faculty 07 “Historical and Cultural Sciences”. It is located in the Philosophicum (Jakob-Welder-Weg 18), right on campus.

Not only our departmental library is situated there, but also the departmental libraries of some of history’s neighbouring disciplines.

All other relevant places are close by. Several canteens as well as the main library are in walking distance, the latter even without getting into an unexpected rainshower.

The History Department is with approximately 3.000 students the biggest one in its faculty. Thus a vast number of different courses is offered in order to satisfy the students’ needs. An overview of all courses offered can be viewed here.

By teaching the students in smaller groups a familiar atmosphere can be maintained.

The history studies is structured in a Bachelor degree of 6 semesters and a Masters of 4 Semesters. As an incoming student you are free to choose from all classes. Courses are offered from ancient times up to contemporary history, including byzantine and Eastern European history as well as didactics of history for prospective teachers. An overview of all fields of work can be viewed here. Regional and national subjects are considered equally as important as international and aspects of world history with an emphasis on the European perspective.

Reading history in Mainz allows you to plan your studies independently and individually. Use your time abroad to choose courses of your interests and preferences!

We reserve spots in all courses for you. You can gain ECTS-Points in all courses. Your performances will be certified for you home university.

Before the start of lectures the International office will hand out a form to you which you can use to register for all courses. If you are unsure which history courses are suitable for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the International Coordinator for History, Dr. Matthias Gemählich.

A tiny special feature: Most classes take two hours. In reality this includes the so-called “academic quarter”, which is quite common in Germany. This means that most classes start 15 minutes later than officially stated. Usually this is specified by the addition “c.t.” (Latin: cum tempore). However, if the addition is “s.t.” (Latin: sine tempore), the course will start exactly at the time indicated.

If you have any short questions or problems you are more than welcome to get in touch with the Fachschaft Geschichte. They are the student representatives for all prospective historians in Mainz. Since many of them have already spent a semester or two abroad, they know from their personal experience which difficulties might come up during that time.

Special courses offered for international students

The History Department offers courses taught through French and English every term. We offer special classes for students from abroad. We wish to contribute to your successful studies by familiarising you with the basics of working academically in a German university context in a complementary tutorial especially for Incomings. It is primarily aimed at teaching you skills that will help you participate in other courses.

Are you curious about Mainz, its university and the History Department? For more information concerning an application see the International Office’s homepage.

If you need more information concerning studying history or the History Department Dr. Matthias Gemählich will be happy to help.

Loic Mainguy: "The staff as well as the students here in Mainz do everything to give the students from abroad a warm reception. The SIS, the TOMs, the Erasmus team and the Fachschaft; everyone is concerned with the newcomers’ well-being and helps with their integration in college life, both academically and socially."

Life and Leisure in Mainz

Mainz on the Rhine is not only the capital of the federal state Rhineland-Palatinate, but also famous for being the hometown of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of modern book printing and name giver to our university. Mainz is located at the heart of the Rhine-Main-area which means that Frankfurt City and Frankfurt airport are within 45 minutes and less than half an hour, retrospectively. Due to the high student numbers and its internationality the town of Mainz itself radiates a young, multicultural flair. Students are warmly welcomed all over town, the Staatstheater (the local town theatre) even offers shows free of charge for students of the University of Mainz.

The Centre of Foreign Languages (ISSK) offers free courses of German and several foreign languages (taught through German) as well as language Tandems.

Furthermore, students are provided with daily free sports classes by the university. Here you can find information on events like parties and cinemas.

Mainz is famous for its carnival. Once a year the whole city celebrates the Meenzer Fastnacht for five days, including a big parade.

You can find more information on Mainz, its events and its history on the website of the city of Mainz itself or at the Service for international students. The latter will also provide you with a so-called Tom-Buddy, who will help you with your first steps here in Mainz.