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Application Theory & History


For formal questions, e.g. about documents, about the application process:

Current Opening Hours

Due to the measures taken to contain the Covid 19 pandemic, there will be no presence hours until further notice. We are happy to help you electronically: Please contact us by e-mail or telephone. In case of need, appointments can be arranged.


For questions related to the content:


  • Study Guidelines for the course of studies "Fine Arts" (degree: Master of Fine Arts)
  • Examination regulations for the course of studies "Fine Arts" (degree: Master of Fine Arts) until the end of summer semester 2021

Requirements for Admission

A higher education degree is required to be admitted to the Master study programme »Fine Arts« with the degree title Master of Fine Arts. Applicants who do not have a higher education degree at the time of application but who will acquire one in the six months following the end of the application period may also apply.

Applicants must also demonstrate an independent artistic position during an entrance exam.

Proof of proficiency in the German language is not required.

Application process + dates for theory & history

Applications are only possible for the winter semester. The following application steps are required during the application period from February 2, 2021 to March 5, 2021, 4 p.m. (deadline):

Step 1: Online application

Please create an applicant account in CampusNet. As soon as you start your application, it will receive an application number to which you can refer if you have any questions.

Step 2: physical application folder

  • Applicants must also submit an application folder or documentation of artistic works or projects for the entrance examination for the major in theory and history. In addition, the entrance examination procedure for the specialization "Theory and History" of the Master's program is structured as follows:
    A written presentation of three to five A4 pages should demonstrate the applicant's ability to formulate and express himself/herself and must include the following: Reasons for choosing the Master's program, an exposé of the scientific project, own objectives. The exposé must include the name and address of the applicant.
    In case of doubt, a one-on-one interview of about 15 minutes will take place about the submitted written presentation, on the basis of which a decision on acceptance or rejection will be made.

  • A printout of the online application (in your applicant account in CampusNet -> Application -> Print view -> Strg (Ctrl)+P -> print)

  • Curriculum vitae in German or English language

  • A passport photo

  • A certified copy of your university degree
    (Certificate or, if applicable, provisional certificate from the respective examination office)
    Applicants whose university degree(s) were not written in German or English must also attach a certified copy of their original certificates with a translation in German or English.

Submit the application folder - postal only:

Due to developments, it is not possible to submit the application portfolio in person. Please send us your application portfolio by mail between February 2 and March 5, 2021, no later than 4:00 pm. Please affix your application number clearly visible on the outside of the folder.

All documents must be received at the HFBK Hamburg no later than Friday, March 5, 2021 at 4:00 pm. Applications received late and/or by e-mail or subsequently submitted documents cannot be considered.

Postal address:

Hamburg University of Fine Arts, Lerchenfeld 2, 22081 Hamburg

Urgent recommendation for shipments from abroad: Do not indicate an amount on the customs sticker for "value of shipment" to avoid costs and lengthy formalities!

Step 3: Picking up the application folder

Your application file can be picked up either in person upon presentation of the waiver of objection or, if picked up by a third party, with a power of attorney and upon presentation of the ID card of the person authorized to pick it up on the designated dates.

The dates for the collection of your application file depend on corona-related developments.

You will be notified of the dates for pick-up, as well as the procedure and mandatory hygiene requirements, in a separate email in due course.

Postal delivery of your application portfolio is excluded.

And further:

The decision on admission to the program is made until the mid of June of the application year at the latest. Please refrain from making inquiries until then!
You will find all information and decisions in your applicant account in CampusNet.
Your application data will be stored for a maximum of 12 months.

Selection procedure

At the end of the application period, an entrance examination committee will examine the application folders. The commission is composed of three professors, two members of the intermediate academic staff with voting rights and two students without voting rights.

The commission evaluates the application folders in categories from A to C. Applicants who are rated A can begin their studies in the following winter semester. Applicants who are graded B have the opportunity to take part in a succession procedure. In those cases in which an evaluation is not possible on the basis of the application file alone, applicants will be invited for an interview. The interviews usually take place from mid to end of May.

ASA Open Studio 2019, Karolinenstraße 2a, Haus 5; photo: Matthew Muir

Live und in Farbe: die ASA Open Studios im Juni 2021

Since 2010, the HFBK has organised the international exchange programme Art School Alliance. It enables HFBK students to spend a semester abroad at renowned partner universities and, vice versa, invites international art students to the HFBK. At the end of their stay in Hamburg, the students exhibit their work in the Open Studios in Karolinenstraße, which are now open again to the art-interested public.

Studiengruppe Prof. Dr. Anja Steidinger, Was animiert uns?, 2021, Mediathek der HFBK Hamburg, Filmstill

Unlearning: Wartenau Assemblies

The art education professors Nora Sternfeld and Anja Steidinger initiated the format "Wartenau Assemblies". It oscillates between art, education, research and activism. Complementing this open space for action, there is now a dedicated website that accompanies the discourses, conversations and events.

Ausstellungsansicht "Schule der Folgenlosigkeit. Übungen für ein anderes Leben" im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg; photo: Maximilian Schwarzmann

School of No Consequences

Everyone is talking about consequences: The consequences of climate change, the Corona pandemic or digitalization. Friedrich von Borries (professor of design theory), on the other hand, is dedicated to consequence-free design. In “School of No Consequences. Exercises for a New Life” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, he links collection objects with a "self-learning room" set up especially for the exhibition in such a way that a new perspective on "sustainability" emerges and supposedly universally valid ideas of a "proper life" are questioned.

Annual Exhibition 2021 at the HFBK

Annual exhibition a bit different: From February 12- 14, 2021 students at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, together with their professors, had developed a variety of presentations on different communication channels. The formats ranged from streamed live performances to video programs, radio broadcasts, a telephone hotline, online conferences, and a web store for editions. In addition, isolated interventions could be discovered in the outdoor space of the HFBK and in the city.

Public Information Day 2021

How do I become an art student? How does the application process work? Can I also study to become a teacher at the HFBK? These and other questions about studying art were answered by professors, students and staff at the HFBK during the Public Information Day on February 13, 2021. In addition, there will be an appointment specifically for English-speaking prospective students on February 23 at 2 pm.

Katja Pilipenko

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

photo: Tim Albrecht

Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show took place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students showed their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation.

Exhibition Transparencies with works by Elena Crijnen, Annika Faescke, Svenja Frank, Francis Kussatz, Anne Meerpohl, Elisa Nessler, Julia Nordholz, Florentine Pahl, Cristina Rüesch, Janka Schubert, Wiebke Schwarzhans, Rosa Thiemer, Lea van Hall. Organized by Prof. Verena Issel and Fabian Hesse; photo: Screenshot

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

Alltagsrealität oder Klischee?; photo: Tim Albrecht

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

Ausstellung Social Design, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Teilansicht; photo: MKG Hamburg

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?