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M.Sc. Geographies of Global Inequalities

Why is poverty persisting in many regions of the world? How do communities fight, address and live with rapid global warming and changing environments? How do border regimes produce a global inequality in access and exclusion to nation states? What does it mean to live in a society with different legal status? How to explain gender inequalities in societies worldwide? How to explain the COVID-19 equity gap? How can environmental politics be thought of beyond modern binaries of Nature and Culture? What does decolonial thinking, practice and politics entail? How is it that in crises and disasters not all people are equally likely to come to harm? The English-language Master of Science "Geographies of Global Inequalities" is concerned with these kinds of questions.

The “Geographies of Global Inequalities” Master's program is hosted by the Human Geography section of the Institute for Geography in Berlin. After a standard period of study of 4 semesters, successful students will be awarded the degree of Master of Science (M.Sc.). The language of instruction is English.


The English-language Master of Science "Geographies of Global Inequalities" is concerned with global inequalities from a relational perspective. The geographical perspective on inequalities focuses on the connections between global dependencies and ruptures. The regional focus of the program is both on people and places in the so-called Global South and North. It takes into account that economic and societal privilege or disadvantage in a globalized world is not captured by binary divisions, but much more complex: spatially fragmented, relational and unevenly distributed while existing in close spatial proximity.

The Master’s program chooses its theoretical focus in postcolonial, feminist, political-economic and socio-ecological theories and concepts. These are complemented by different "lenses", such as intersectionality, or science and technology studies. The theoretical perspectives allow a social science-informed view of relevant topics in the subject of geography, such as health, mobility, racism, urban research, poverty and inequality, work and labor markets, multispecies relations, livelihood research, global governance, socio-ecological transformation and gender. The methodological training focuses on qualitative methods of empirical social research. Particular importance is attached to ethnographic methods. Questions of research ethics, data management and the use of software tools are integral to our methods courses.

At the core of the Master’s program is a taught empirical research module with an empirical student project, where students have the opportunity to apply the theoretical and methodological knowledge, gain crucial experience in practical research and lay a solid foundation for their Master thesis research. Climate-friendly alternatives for compulsory research trips are offered. Examination consists of essays and reports, or alternative formats such as websites or blog posts, videos and podcasts. The degree program offers family-friendly study options. The program is aimed at international BA and BSc graduates in geography, cultural and social sciences and related subjects.

The following information pertains to the Study and Examination Regulations of 2023 (effective from the study period starting with the winter semester 2023/24).

Graduates of the Master's program are familiar with the topics, debates, and concepts of human geography and critical social sciences for the spatialization and analysis of global inequalities. The program offers a qualification in the research field of geographies of global inequalities with thematic focuses such as mobility and migration, human-environment relations, crisis or poverty research. Graduates have gained an overview of the theories, concepts and topics in the research field, acquired knowledge about qualitative and ethnographic social research methodologies, and can independently implement and apply these in the context of empirical research work. Graduates acquire further and in-depth conceptual and theoretical knowledge in selected focus seminars that deal in depth with research approaches and topics in geographical inequality research. They know basic methods of qualitative social science research and have scientifically conceived and empirically processed a self-chosen research topic in the Master's Thesis. Graduates are familiar with the general principles of scientific work and good scientific practice and are able to take these into account in their first scientific activities.

The Master's program encompasses a total of 120 credit points (abbr. CP) and subdivides into modules which as a rule comprise several interconnected forms of teaching and learning.

These 120 credit points are distributed over a number of areas, each consisting of a set of modules:

  1. the foundations with a total of 20 LP,
  2. the core area to the extent of 25 LP, 
  3. the specialization area amounting to 10 LP,
  4. the area of professional practice and scientific work to the extent of 20 LP,
  5. the interdisciplinary elective area amounting to 15 LP, and
  6. the Master's thesis with presentation of the results to the extent of 30 LP.


(1) In the foundations of the amount of 20 LP, the following modules must be completed:

  • Module: Introduction to Geographies of Global Inequalities (10 LP) and
  • Module: Geographies of Global Inequalities: methods and methodologies (10 LP).

(2) The following modules are to be completed in the core area with a total of 25 LP:

  • Module: project work I: thematic and methodological preparation (10 LP),
  • Module: Project Work II: empirical research and data analysis (7 LP) and
  • Module: Project Work III: Presentation and Discussion (8 LP).

Within the modules there are thematic choices. There is a choice between two thematically and/or regionally different projects per academic year.

(3) The following modules are to be completed in the area of specialization with a total of 10 LP:

  • Module: Advanced Class (Conceptual) (5 LP) and
  • Module: Advances Class (Thematic) (5 LP).

(4) The following modules must be completed in the area of professional practice and scientific work, which is worth 20 LP:

  • Module: Internship and Project Management (15 LP) and
  • Module: Good Scientific Practice (5 LP).

(5) Students write their Master's thesis in English during the fourth semester. After completion it is defended through a presentation and oral examination. WIth suitable scientific supervision, the Master's thesis can be written in cooperation with, for example, a scientific research facility outside Freie Universität Berlin.

More information can be found in the Study and Examination Regulations for the Master's Program Geographies of Global Inequalities of the Department of Earth Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin (to be found for download in the section "Further Information")

Graduates possess knowledge, skills and experience that enable them to take up a professional activity. Possible fields of activity include national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), think tanks, development and humanitarian organizations, the journalistic and media multiplier sector, authorities, associations, organizations, consultancies, administrations and politics. Graduates are qualified for doctoral studies and are able to meet the professional requirements in science and practice with modern methods.

The Human Geography section at Institute for Geography at the Freie Universität Berlin offers comprehensive, broad training and exemplary fundamental research in human geography. The three professorships and research groups focus on global inequalities from different thematic and theoretical vantage points. More information can be found here

The Institute of Geographical Sciences are located on the green Freie Universiät Berlin GeoCampus in Lankwitz.

Application period

Application deadlines for Master's programs

More information can be found on the central pages of the Admissions Office of the Freie Universität Berlin: https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/studium/bewerbung/index.html 

 Prerequisites for admission

(1)   The admission requirement for the Master's program is a German or equivalent foreign Bachelor degree in geography or in social, cultural or regional sciences.

(2)   Applicants who have not graduated from an educational institution where English is the language of instruction must provide evidence of English language skills at level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Selection Quota and Selection Criteria

(1)   80% of the study places remaining available after considering the preliminary quotas shall be awarded by the selection procedure regulated in these Statutes (university quota). 20% of the study places shall be awarded on the basis of § 15 par. 1 sentence 1 No. 2, BerlHZG. The quota of § 15 par. 1 sentence 3 BerlHZG is 5%.

(2)   Selection shall be based on:

  1. the degree of qualification, which is determined by the examination results of the preceding university degree (§ 15 par. 2 sentence 1 No. 1, BerlHZG),
  2. a weighting of the subject or subjects studied in the previous degree program, which provides information on the subject-specific motivation and suitability for the master's degree program (§ 15 par. 2 sentence 1 No. 4 BerlHZG), and
  3. additional qualifications acquired outside of a university degree program (§ 15 par. 2 sentence 1 No. 5 BerlHZG).

(3)   In the selection procedure, selection points are awarded for the criteria according to par. 2 No. 1 to No. 3. The maximum number of points that can be awarded is 100.

More information can be found in the Admission Regulations for the Master's Program Geographies of Global Inequalities of the Department of Geosciences of Freie Universität Berlin (for download in the section Further Information)

Tuition fees

There are no tuition fees. However, there is a small matriculation fee to be paid which includes a public transportation ticket.

General information regarding your application is available on the central pages of the Freie Universität Berlin Mr. Stefan Schütte. Before contacting please check whether questions have already been answered in the FAQs.

For all parts of the study program, departmental academic advising is offered by lecturers. Additional academic advising and support from students for students (mainly for the first semester) is offered by the mentoring scheme.

A compilation of frequently asked questions, which is particularly interesting for those interested in applying, can be found here