Successful start of the part-time academic master's degree program at the University of Kiel

Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine (MMHM)

The part-time academic master's degree program Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine (MMHM) at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel got off to a very successful start in the winter semester of 2021/22. Students from all over Germany and from abroad have enrolled. At the opening event at the start of studies in the winter semester 2021/2022, the dean of the medical faculty welcomed Prof. Dr. Joachim Thiery the students. Prof. Dr.Dr.hc Michael Illert from the board of the Center for Scientific Continuing Education at Kiel University reported on the development and background of the new master's degree program. The course director Prof. Dr. Hartmut Göbel presented the course program to the students and introduced the content of the individual modules.

Kick-off event for the new master's degree program at the University of Kiel Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine

Kick-off event for the new master's degree program at the University of Kiel Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine with the students of the 1st semester

Nationally and internationally renowned teachers present an interdisciplinary academic body of knowledge on the topic. In the interactive courses, students can also actively contribute their different professional experiences and specialist knowledge. The diverse teaching formats such as case seminars, clinic days, group discussions and excursions provide extensive prerequisites for this. Internships and clinical case discussions in the outpatient and clinical areas are a central element during the 4 semesters.

The course is part-time. It takes place as part of face-to-face weekends from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Additionally, once per semester, an intensive clinical program with internships is carried out over 5 days during a week of attendance. Examination techniques, practical exercises and case demonstrations are taught throughout the day. Topics with a focus on primary headache disorders are discussed theoretically and practically in the Kiel Pain Clinic. The content on secondary headache disorders is developed on a subject-specific basis with the clinics at Kiel University Hospital. The master's program includes 60 points according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It consists of 4 learning modules, practical clinical courses and a master's thesis. The part-time part-time study takes place over 4 semesters:

  • First semester – basics, organization, clinical processes: epidemiology, classification and health economics of headache disorders; pathophysiology, comorbidities, basic research; Medical ethics, organization of treatment, communication within the team, professional groups involved, clinical processes.
  • Second semester – Diagnosis and therapy of primary and secondary headache disorders: phenotypes, diagnosis, examination procedures and therapy; primary headache disorders, secondary headache disorders, facial pain, neuralgia.
  • Third semester – organization, care structures, science, perspectives: Special headache therapy in the tertiary headache center; Care coordination, payers, self-help, public awareness; clinical and experimental research, perspectives in the care of headache disorders.
  • Fourth semester – Master’s thesis: Subject-specific Master’s thesis, completion of academic examinations; Awarded “Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine”.

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Göbel, Prof. Dr. Dagny Holle-Lee and PD Dr. Charly Gaul on the occasion of the attendance weekend on the topic of acute therapy and prevention of migraines in March 2022

The experiences of the first 2 semesters show a very high level of commitment from the students with an interdisciplinary composition. The enrolled students consist of doctors from the fields of neurology, anesthesiology, orthopedics, rehabilitation and physical therapy. Psychology and sports therapy graduates are also enrolled in the continuing education course. The entry requirement for the part-time master's program is a completed university degree. Possible subjects include human medicine, dentistry, psychology, health, nursing, natural and technical science or a related subject. You must also have at least two years of professional experience. The International Headache Society is the patron and has offered a scholarship for foreign candidates. This could be awarded to a colleague from the Danish Headache Center, University of Copenhagen.

The experiences so far document the extraordinary commitment of the lecturers involved. The exchange of experts during the courses also leads to a significant expansion of the wealth of knowledge. The courses are compressed in time and intensive. They are organized to be compatible with the busy schedules of the healthcare professionals involved. The duration of the modules includes 370 hours of attendance, 1,350 total hours, corresponding to 45 ECTS points. In addition, there is the master's thesis with a processing time of 16 weeks, for which a further 15 ECTS points are awarded.

Through the learning modules, scientific and clinical core competencies for the specialized treatment of migraines and headaches are acquired. Students deepen their skills in the classification and diagnosis of headache disorders. You will learn to draw up individual treatment plans based on evidence. They include the scientific background. In a multidisciplinary environment, in-depth insights into scientific studies and the research field in migraine and headache medicine are provided. The organization of the healthcare system, communication as well as public relations and self-help work are other areas of activity. Although headache disorders can now be diagnosed and treated very precisely, only a small proportion of affected patients receive state-of-the-art care. The lack of access to appropriate therapy is due to low treatment capacities and a lack of professional qualifications. Migraines and headaches are common diseases such as high blood pressure, tooth decay and diabetes. The World Health Organization lists headache disorders as by far the most common neurological diseases. There is consensus that contemporary headache treatment must be organized in a multidisciplinary manner. The professional groups in the modern tertiary headache center are interdisciplinary. The OPS 8-918 and other relevant procedure codes make this the basis for carrying out complex treatments. The master's degree program enables members of the relevant professional groups to implement current knowledge in a specialized manner. Some of the voices of the teachers and students involved are listed below (Boxes 1 and 2).

The next course will start in the winter semester 2023/2024. Further information about the application and the admission process can be found on the homepage of the Center for Scientific Continuing Education at Kiel University.

Homepage for the degree program:
Download: Description of the master's degree program and experiences of teachers and students

Center for Scientific Continuing Education (ZWW)
c/o University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel Campus
Arnold-Heller-Straße 3, House U27.
24105 Kiel Telephone: 0431 – 500 244 62
Fax: 0431 – 500 202 68

Course director:
Prof. Dr.
Hartmut Göbel Email:

Download Flyer
Flyer Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine MMHM

Further information at:
The team can be reached here: Contact and addresses for further questions .

Voices from students

“I work as a pain therapist at the Starnberger See Pain Center under the direction of Prof. R. Freynhagen. The decision to pursue the MMHM master’s program was and is absolutely the right thing for me. It is a super structured, varied and lively course of study. I find it fascinating that we have the privilege of being taught by many different, professionally and didactically highly qualified lecturers who impart their knowledge with great commitment. And it is admirable that we as a course have grown so closely together across disciplines within a short period of time. Because of all this and with the valuable support of my entire team, I am happy to travel the long distance from Munich across Germany to Kiel for every in-person event.”

Dr. Mirjana Slijepcevic, specialist in anesthesiology, Starnberger See Pain Center

“I applied for this course of study because I would like to offer migraine and headache sufferers specialized support that will help improve their headache situation and quality of life. In addition to medical and medication treatment, there are effective, evidence-based self-management strategies that I would like to focus on. The course exceeded my expectations. The lecturers are nationally and internationally leading. The lectures and seminars provide a comprehensive insight into the latest research results and treatment methods. The connection to the Kiel Pain Clinic allows intensive, practical exercise and discussion of the topic. The interdisciplinary composition enables an enriching change of perspective and is an important prerequisite for modern, multimodal pain treatment. It’s always a highlight to come to the face-to-face events in Kiel.”

Dominique Gudmundsdottir, Leichlingen, MSc. Exercise Physiology, sports scientist, sports therapist, yoga teacher

“When I read the information about the course in a specialist magazine, I immediately thought that this was finally something completely new in terms of further training opportunities. And my initial assessment has not been disappointed to date. The last two semesters were filled with very good and interesting lectures that could never have been found in this form anywhere else. These were then accompanied by internship weeks, which we had at the Kiel Pain Clinic and were thus able to gain a lot of insight into the work of this multimodal clinic. It takes a lot of time, but this is rewarded with high-quality input and has often proven to be helpful in my daily work.”

Dr. Joachim Kleinert, Fulda, specialist in anesthesia and has been practicing for almost 20 years with a focus on special pain therapy and palliative medicine.

“I am a neurologist and pain therapist at the Bundeswehr Hospital in Ulm, where, among other things, I treat headache patients on an outpatient basis and also supervise inpatient multimodal pain therapy. What motivated me to take part in the Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine degree program was the fact that the knowledge in headache medicine has developed enormously in the last few decades and has become so extensive that it can hardly be used effectively in the traditional form through literature research or further training is to be acquired. Now after the first two semesters, I can already say that this is a very special and worthwhile course with internationally renowned headache experts as lecturers, a very structured transfer of knowledge, but also space for interaction, lively discussions and group work. I personally find the interdisciplinary composition of the students and the practical aspects of studying at the Kiel Pain Clinic particularly enriching. I am thrilled that such a course of study is now offered in Germany.”

Dr. Ursula Müller, Ulm, specialist in neurology, Bundeswehr Hospital Ulm

Voices from the expert world

“The academic course “Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine” at the University of Kiel is an excellent initiative. There is a large unmet need for education and training in the area of ​​headache disorders worldwide. An academic program as detailed and carefully planned as that in Kiel is greatly welcomed in the headache and pain community. The master's degree program is perfectly located at the Kiel Pain Clinic and at the University of Kiel with balanced theoretical and clinical courses and aims to equip graduates with solid scientific and clinical knowledge, skills and competencies in the field of headaches. In addition, this stimulating and comprehensive program will also help meet the significant need for skilled and dedicated headache specialists and increase awareness of headache disorders.”

Professor Rigmor Højland Jensen MD, Dr.Med Sci. Director, Danish Headache Center, Department of Neurology, Principal Investigator Master of Headache Disorders, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

“As a representative of German pain medicine, which strives to provide good care for patients with chronic pain that keeps pace with current scientific developments, I extremely welcome the fact that the University of Kiel is committed to improving the quality of care for patients Migraines and headaches tried. The new course of study will develop into a milestone that will also have a lasting impact on health policy. Ultimately, the patients and the modern care benefit from this, as they come across trained doctors with a high level of expertise to treat their headache disorders.”

Dr. med. Johannes Horlemann, President of the German Society for Pain Medicine eV

“The academic course “Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine”, which was developed at the University of Kiel, is excellent and covers everything that students should learn about headaches. It is very well thought out and comprehensive. This course was urgently needed to enable further training for therapists interested in specialized headache medicine. I congratulate the developers on their great work.”

Prof. Alan M. Rapoport, MD; Past President International Headache Society (IHS), David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, California

“Migraines and headaches are the most common neurological diseases. Many patients with headaches and facial pain are urgently looking for competent and up-to-date care. The course helps to close an important gap in the academic training of experts. It will certainly have a very positive impact on treatment in Germany in the coming years with further qualified treatment offers and research initiatives for those affected.”

PD Dr. med. Charly Gaul, Secretary General of the German Migraine and Headache Society (DMKG)

“Headache disorders are so common and disabling that their impact on people and society cannot be overstated. The Master of Migraine and Headache Medicine degree program is a unique opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience to help many thousands of patients in need. The commitment of the Kiel Pain Clinic and the University of Kiel to headache patients is known worldwide. When I looked at the structure of this master's program, I was not surprised at how comprehensive and well thought out it is. An unusual feature is the focus of the third semester on organizing headache care, a topic with which the Kiel Migraine and Headache Center and the University of Kiel have great experience. I have no doubt that this excellent program will have a positive impact on the health of German citizens. I highly recommend this program and hope it is replicated in other countries.

Dr. Elizabeth Leroux MD, FRCPC, Professor of Neurology, Head of the Headache Center, South Health Campus, University of Calgary, Canada