Ute Frevert studied history and social sciences in Münster, Bielefeld and at the London School of Economics in the 1970s. She received a scholarship from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes to complete her doctorate in Bielefeld in 1982 and then worked for Jürgen Kocka. In 1989 she completed her habilitation and spent a year as a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Two years later, she accepted an appointment at the FU Berlin before going to the Universities of Konstanz and Bielefeld as a professor. In 2003, she moved to Yale University as Professor of German History. In 2005, she spent another year as a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. She is a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development since 2008.