Master of Arts in Art History with special qualification in the History of Textile Arts

The history of textile arts as part of art historical education

Master Kunstgeschichte: Geschichte der textilen Künste

The internationally unique Master’s programme in Art History with special qualification in the History of Textile Arts at the Institute of Art History of the University of Bern integrates textile historical questions into the art historical training. Established in 2009 by the Abegg-Stiftung and the University of Bern, the department (Abegg-Stiftung-Professur) offers a comprehensive insight into the interdisciplinary field of textile research.

The teaching of the specific media characteristics, technical conditions and design possibilities of the textile arts characterises the content of the programme and familiarises students with the methods of scientific investigation, technical analysis and art historical discussion of textile objects.

The geographical focus is on Europe and, in particular, the regions of the Islamic world, which occupy a special position in the history of textile art as a connecting space between Europe and Asia. Excursions, museum internships and academic conferences are part of the curriculum, promoting access to current research discourses and providing practical experience in the conservation, presentation and mediation of textile artefacts.

Basic information
Degree: Master of Arts in Art History with special qualification in the History of Textile Arts, Universität Bern
Number of credits: 120 ECTS credits
Degree programs: Mono 120 ECTS credits
Duration: 4 semesters
Language: German
Beginning studies: Fall or spring semester

What is the history of the textile arts?

Textile artifacts are printed, embroidered, knitted, woven or tapestry-woven fabrics of various materials and periods, as well as the three-dimensional objects made from them, such as covers, clothing and furnishings. In their diversity, they often cross media, geographical and historical boundaries, requiring an interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching.

The history of textile arts explores the production, use, display and circulation of textiles and textile objects in their respective cultural contexts from the early Middle Ages to the 19th century. It engages with and reflects upon the methodology, theory and historiography of textile studies.

The rich collection of textile artifacts in Swiss museums allows Bern students to study the textile arts in their full breadth in situ. The changing curriculum covers topics such as:

  • The political and religious dimensions of textile artifacts
    Lecture series «Politische Stoffe» and «Religiöse Stoffe»
  • The economic aspects of textile production
    Seminar/Course «Lyonnais silks in the long 18th century: from production to fashion»
  • The global circulation of textile objects
    Seminar/Course «Interwoven globe»
  • The different functions of clothing
    Seminar/Course «Kleidung und vestimentäre Praktiken im globalen Mittelalter»
  • The history of the discipline
    Seminar/Course «Textilhistorikerinnen und ihre Rolle in der Geschichte der Forschungsgeschichte der textilen Künste»
  • Engagement with originals
    Excursion «Samte, Tapisserien und Kunstkammergegenstände in Bewegung» to Gottorp and Copenhagen
  • possess specialized knowledge in the history of textile arts.
  • combine theoretical knowledge with practical experience in the exploration of textile artifacts.
  • participate in current research discourses within the humanities, set new impulses, and shape the development of the field.
  • establish international connections with leading representatives in textile research, thus expanding their knowledge network and professional opportunities.
  • design their careers individually and creatively in museums, at universities, in the art trade, and as independent entrepreneurs.

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the master’s degree program in Art History: History of Textile Arts (mono):

a) Bachelor`s degree from a Swiss university with at least 105 ECTS credits in the branch of studies of Art history.
b) Bachelor's degree from a Swiss university in a different branch of studies with at least 60 ECTS credits in in the branch of Art History, provided that the master's degree can be successfully completed with an additional maximum of 60 ECTS credits or
c) Bachelor's degree from a recognized foreign university with equivalent qualifications, provided that the necessary requirements for the successful completion of the Master's programme can be met by earning a maximum of 60 ECTS credits.

If the bachelor's degree was earned more than ten years ago, additional credits may be required.

Language requirements

a) three modern foreign languages or
b) Latin plus two modern foreign languages

Evidence of language proficiency must be presented before the master's degree program can be completed. These language skills are acquired as part of extracurricular studies during the master's degree program. The ECTS credits will be listed separately in the diploma supplement as extracurricular attainments.

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M A in Art History with special qualification in the History of Textile Arts, Universität Bern by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Recognition of academic achievements
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Steps from application to registration

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.