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Frequently Asked Questions for Applying Students

I have completed my Bachelor / Diploma/ Master Degree Program in Mass Communication (Journalism) from the Institute of Communication studies. I work in the related field. Now I intend to continue my studies at your prestigious university. Am I qualified enough to study in your program?  What are my chances as an applicant with no official degree in Anthropology?

Yes, we accept students with a BA in Mass Communication studies or a related field. But please note that you must prove that you have worked a minimum of one year in a field related to your previous studies and that this work must have taken place following graduation, not prior to it. We also accept students coming from other programs if they can prove that they have some knowledge in camera, editing techniques and/or can explain their motivation. A BA or MA in Social or Cultural Anthropology strengthens your application but is not necessary to be admitted to the program.

Is my Bachelor / Diploma/ Master Degree Program recognised by the Freie Universität Berlin?

Please consult the Anabin Datenbank (only available in German) to obtain information about the recognition of foreign educational qualifications in the Federal Republic of Germany.

What is the teaching language? Do I need to have knowledge of the German language?

The entire program is in English. You do not need to have any German language knowledge. But a little understanding of German will help you during your in-house stay in Berlin.

Can I receive credit for any kind of earlier studies in the same field?

No, there will be no recognition of subjects you might already have taken. All content in our program is obligatory.

Is the Master graduation certificate from the distance learning program any different than other Master certificates that do not have web-based courses?

No, there is no difference in the certificate. You will receive a normal and official Master certificate (Master of Arts in Visual and Media Anthropology).

Do you have a similar program in English that is not a distance learning program?

At the FU Berlin, we only offer a Master Program in Social and Cultural Anthropology (in German) with one profile Module in Visual Anthropology. You need to have completed and passed the German language test (DSH-2) to study this program.

When will be the next chance to participate in the program?

The program starts every year beginning of October. Check our website for application periods (see Entry Requirements and Admission).

It is written that applicants are required to have at least basic technical skills in camera, photography and editing. Could you please be more specific about that? Do you need  a confirmation letter for these skills?

We do not require that our students be professional filmmakers/photographers, and you do not need to submit a letter that guarantees that you have technical knowledge. Some basic operational knowledge is good, and the will to learn is even better!  We provide students with basic filming and editing workshops (at the in-house classes in Berlin), and the less experienced students just have to be willing to put more time into learning how to operate the cameras and editing software (Final Cut Pro).  We have an editing studio at our institute, and provide students in their final project work with editing assistance if they need it.  Students can also choose to work only with photography (digital and/or analogue), and we offer courses that provide photography projects.

Are technical aspects of film and photography a part of the program?

We can offer only some basic technical courses. The emphasis is placed on applied visual anthropological knowledge. But you will have the chance to learn the vocabulary you need to communicate with professional camera-people and editors as a director of documentary films. You can also use the editing studio at our institute. But to be admitted you should have some basic knowledge and experience with digital camera techniques.

Is it possible to pursue the Master program while working (full-time)?

The study program is full-time, but it's emphasis is e-learning. We try to offer most life-stream-classes in the evening (European time zone from between 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM). Due to many differerent time zones of our students, we can not guarantee that the courses take place for all students worldwide in the evening hours, but all classes are recorded. In case you miss out one class you can listen to the recording whenever you find the time. Furthermnore we use a world-clock-meeting planner to find the best course schedule for each generation of students.  

There are also two in-house classes: at the beginning of the program and again in April the following year and it is highly recommended to particpate but not mandatory. You can participate our program while working. You will have two courses per module (one module each semester), and for each course roughly 5.5-7.5 hours of work per week + 1 hour discussion (around 12-18 hours a week).  See for detailed workload: FAQ 3 Online modules.

Internship: When do we have to do an internship and for how long? Do we have to look for a placement on our own or will you provide us with possible contacts?

The internship should last 9 weeks and should be admitted in the 3rd (winter)-semester (October to February). You will have to find an internship yourself at a film production company, broadcaster, online media portal, software company, TV-station, museum or other related field of the Master program. We will provide students with contacts for finding companies, festivals, etc.

Do I have to translate all of my application paperwork and other proofs?

We need a certified translation of the certificate of your first degree as well as all work experience-related documents, only if they are not written in German or English.

Chinese certificates, however, have to be notarized by the German Embassy in Beijing.

How do I prove my previous work experience?

You must have a minimum of one year work experience (internship, job, project, self-employment), related to your first degree. The minimum of one year's work experience must take place after the completion of your first degree. This work experience should be presented as a detailed schedule or table, including: 1. employer/internship supervisor; 2. job description; 3. duration of the employment/placement; 4. proof description (copy of contract, certificate of employment/internship completion, or a signed letter from the employer/supervisor).  All documents related to your work experience must either be in German or English.

Could you please give some examples of eligible work experience?

Eligible work experience varies depending on the subject area of your undergraduate or first degree. Please see below for examples of work experience that have been included in previous applications (N.B. eligible work experience is related to an applicant’s undergraduate or first degree and/or to other media domains):

Lead Researcher for Scanlines, online video database and archive website of video art in Australia since the 1960s, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Educator, Art Installer and Curatorial Intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia

Artist in Residence at Sarai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India

Production Assistant, Tusta & Tma Video Production, Novi Sad, Serbia

Communication and Management Officer, FP7 project of the European Commission HEROMAT – Protection of cultural heritage objects with multifunctional advances materials

Film Score Producer, Cineforum, Labirinto, Italy

Project Coordinator, EN/CONTRASTE – Photographic lab for rural and urban youth, Quito, Ecuador

Production Manager, NRK Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Oslo, Norway

Festival Producer, Films from the South Foundation (NGO), Oslo, Norway

Internship teaching Youth Empowerment with Rural Development Fund (NGO), Andhra Pradesh, India

When will I be informed about my admission status?

We will be informing applicants of their admission status in mid-June per email, and the accepted students will receive the official confirmation from the Freie Universität Berlin per post around the month of August.

Do I have to obtain a student visa for the MA Visual and Media Anthropology program?

The requirements and necessity of obtaining a student visa for the MA Visual and Media Anthropology program varies depending on the nationality of the prospective student and whether he/she intends to live and study in Berlin or travel to Germany only for the in-house classes.

The general prerequisites for obtaining a residency for the purpose of studying in Berlin include:

  • Registered residence in Berlin - the Berlin Foreigners Registration Office can only issue residence permits to foreign nationals who are registered residents of   Berlin. Click here for more information on registering your residence in Berlin.
  •  University place - you must be enrolled or have conditional approval for studying in order to be issued a residence permit.

Required documents include:

  • A valid passport
  • 1 current biometric photo
  • Completed "Application for Issuance of a Residence Permit" form (only required for first-time applicants)
  • Proof of secure livelihood e.g. a German bank account with more than 7,608 Euros / submission of a declaration of commitment by a third party on an official form / bank guarantee at a German bank / declaration from parents scurrying the livelihood for the duration of the studies / scholarship / bank statement
  • German Health insurance certificate
  • Certificate of enrolment or conditional approval for studying

Please note, the above information is intended as a general guide only and may vary depending on your country of origin. Please visit the Ausländerbehörde webpage for more information.

Website for the Berlin Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde), which issues residence permits and student visas.

How do I get my study materials?

Course materials are provided via our Learning managment platform. Some lecturers will provide additional material also via email, especially for the in-house workshops. As is the case with most courses, materials are available via the modules accessible via the homepage, you will find all you need for your courses: the individual units and their materials--including tasks, the compulsory reading, films to watch online, the discussion boards to exchange opinions with your fellow students and so on.

Can I get a certificate for individual modules? Or can I start during the second semester?

We expect all participants to complete the entire program.

Could you give me some more precisie information about the learning management System? Are we going to be able to watch the movies online?

Yes, you will be able to watch the movies online (videostreamed).

How are the online-discussion appointments (virtual classroom...) organised? What kind of equipment shall we have (DSL, Webcam, PC or Apple, Software.....) ?

There will be organised online discussions with life stream and recording almost every week, both with Zoom Video Conference Software or Adobe Connect and in the virtual world classrooms of the university (such as Second Life and Sine Space). You are required to have access to high-speed internet. You can use either PC or Apple-technology. A Webcam is necessary and you will need a microphone or headset for the video life meetings with your lecturers and classmates. If you want to attend the vr-classes in second life, you need an Avatar in Second Life and a computer with sufficient system requirements for vr-performances.In case your hardware is not sufficioent, you can attend the life-stream of the virtual reelity classes in our video conference rooms (zoom and Adobe Connect).

How will the assignments be introduced ?

The types of assignments depend on the course. Some will be in the form of questions requiring short or long answers, while some will be more of a practical nature (a photography project, a written essay for example or a presentation in class). Regarding equipment, post-production facilities etc., please see section 7. Technology.

How many hours should I be working per week?

You should calculate for one week and one module:

  • Watching a film (online via videostream): 1 to 2 hours
  • Mandatory reading: 2 hours
  • Reading up on the filmmakers: 30 minutes
  • Reading the unit content (text): 30 min.
  • Assignement questions: 1-2 hours
  • + 1 hour chat or skype discussion

You should be working roughly between 5.5 to 7.5 hours (+ 1 hour discussion) for each unit (6.5 hours mandatory, and 2.5 more are recommended). You have to complete two units per week, which means:

You should be working roughly 12-18 hours per week.

For a detailed workload, read the official regulations 


The students will have to write a final paper for each module or alternatively finish a short film project.

What are the Tuition Fees?

Information regarding the exact tuition fees and semester fees can be found here.

Are there any scholarship opportunities?

Scholarship opportunities can be researched independently, e.g. at the following scholarship data base (unfortunately only in German, but it is available to foreign students). You should also check the following websites for scholarship opportunities:

How many funds do I need for accommodation, living etc?

You should calculate for a room in flat-sharing community approximately 300-600 € per month. For a single flat with one room, this will cost around 550-900 € per month. Typical student areas for living are Berlin Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Neukölln and Wedding. Some helpful websites are www.wg-gesucht.de, www.immobilienscout.de, wgcompany.de and www.zweitehand.de.

Since you are only required to stay in Berlin during the in-house-classes (but of course are welcome to stay longer), you could book a hostel for only these two week-period. For example, see http://www.diefabrik.com/.

Do I need a Toefl-Test or other prove of my proficiency in English?

You do not need to give us any certificate (TOEFL or other) to prove your proficiency in English. We trust that our applicants are able to judge their own capacity in completing an M.A. level course in English.

What kind of film/video-technology is used during the in-house classes?

We use the latest HD-camera-technology for the camera courses. It is an advantage if you own a digital video or photography camera, but it is not a precondition. You can borrow the digital camera equipment from the institute  and you are allowed to use the editing studio at the institute (Adobe Premiere Pro), however editing suites and technical equipment are limited and issued on a first come first serve basis.

When can we have a semester abroad, what do you recommend? Does the FU have any partnerships with universities where we can study Visual Anthropology?

It is possible to study one semester abroad at our Erasmus-partner universities in Europe.

In order to be considered eligible for the ERASMUS program, students must either have an EU citizenship (or be residents of: Norway, Liechtenstein, Turkey, the western Balkan States and Switzerland) or an unlimited residence permit status and /or a permanent home in Germany. With a temporary visa for study purposes, citizens of any other states than those mentioned above are not allowed to apply for the ERASMUS program.

Here you can find a link to the list of our partner universities.

You can also stay without studying at a university in a foreign country, e.g. for producing your film or media project.  For most of you, this will be in the winter semester  (project semester) or during the German summer holidays after the second semester. The DAAD has a special Program for short time-scholarships for students  (only in german at the moment). Many of our students got this scholarship before. Please don't hesitate to ask the coordinator or program director if you need a reference letter.

Do I need to get Health Insurance? 

In Germany it is necessary by law that you get health insurance. You have the choice between a private insurance (either from your home country or from Germany) or you can get health insurance from the German social health insurance fund.

90% of the students in Germany opt for the social health insurance fund. This insurance costs 66,04€ a month. It also covers your family at no extra costs. You will be issued an insurance card and can go to any doctor, dentist or hospital without paying for the treatment or equipment.

With a private health insurance you need to pay for the treatment in advance and get reimbursed by your insurance company once you hand in the receipts. This can get costly, e.g. one day in a hospital costs 500€.

It has happened in the past that foreign students with private health insurance coverage from their home countries did not get all the money reimbursed – they only got the money the treatment would have cost in their home countries.

You do not need to get health insurance in advance. Once you get to Germany you can get insured during the first days of your stay.

If you need get private health insurance from your home country, you need to get additional nursing care insurance coverage for as long as you are in Germany. If you get the social health insurance for 66.04 €, the nursing care insurance is already included.

Social health insurance for students and their accompanying family is sold through insurance companies. This insurance costs the same at every insurance company: 54.78€. It does not matter which company you choose.

We recommend that you get health insurance once you arrive in Berlin.

The Distributed Campus supports international students in their preparation for study abroad stay at the Freie Universitaet Berlin by offering a multimedia online portal including a number of components. You will find answers to many of your questions there. The timeline feature offers a systematic checklist to accompany students through programmable pre-departure activities, starting with the application, through questions concerning passports and visas, to arrival in Berlin. This checklist is customizable by organization, including the fixing of group departure dates and including activities specific to a student's enrolled group.

In cooperation with the resident director and other program staff, students following this timeline may be confident that they will get done what they need to get done on time and in the right way to ensure that nothing will get in their way to a successful study abroad.

You have to register first. This is only possible after your immatriculation at Freie Universitaet Berlin.

Will this program allow me to continue my studies in a doctoral degree?

Yes, you can continue to a PhD program at any university in Germany or abroad after finishing the M.A. in Visual and Media Anthropology.

In order to continue with a PhD in Germany after the M.A. program, you must first find a professor at a German university who will accept you as his or her PhD candidate (depending on your field of interest / your research idea and proposal and the capacities of the professor at the moment you are applying). Most German universities await an excellent final M.A. grade before accepting you as a PhD student. Prof. Undine Frömming and all professors employed at our university are allowed to supervise PhD candidates.  Most professors accept only a few PhD students per year and few professors are specialized in Visual and Media Anthropology.

Our institute does not offer any PhD Programs at the moment, only individual supervision. This type of PhD means you will write your thesis alone and conduct fieldwork alone, but under the supervision of your professor (monthly meetings at the office hour and one online colloquium). You can even stay in your home country and participate in the online colloquium and arrange Skype meetings with Prof. Frömming. The advantage of this type of PhD is that this supervision is at the moment free from any tuition fees (difficult to find at any other university in other countries). Your only fee is the student fees of the Freie Universität Berlin.

If you prefer a PhD program with weekly classes etc., you should apply to another university or to one of our partner programs, e.g. Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies http://www.bgsmcs.fu-berlin.de/en/index.html.