Introduction to German Studies
This year-long module provides an introduction to the study of German and is compulsory for most students of German. It covers the main fields of German Studies: literature, culture, history, linguistics, media and film. You will be introduced to the study skills required for academic study: critical and analytic skills, reading skills, presentation skills and writing skills. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week working in small groups in addition to four hours of private study.
Using up-to-date material from the German-speaking world this core module will help you improve your command of written and spoken German. Continuing with the four skills areas of A-level work (writing, reading, listening, and speaking) you will develop them further through a variety of exercises whilst gaining insights into contemporary German life, culture and politics. For this module you will have one 1-hour grammar lecture each week and three 1-hour tutorials per week where you will work in small groups usually led by German native speakers. In addition you are expected to undertake at least four hours of private study each week.
German 1 - Beginners
This module is designed to take students from ab initio level (absolute beginners) to a level of written and aural comprehension, writing and speaking skills roughly commensurate with A-level. At the end of the module, students should be able to comprehend and respond to written and aural texts over a wide range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics and engage in everyday social conversation. For this module you will have one 1 hour lecture and four 1-hour tutorials per week. In addition you are expected to undertake at least six hours of private study each week.
You may choose three out of four of the listed modules
Language and Context
This module considers the main forms and functions of English vocabulary, grammar and discourse and explores how they are used in real social and cultural contexts. You will look at how language is used for different purposes and how people use language to reveal and conceal social realities as well other topics surrounding language and context. For this module you will have a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar per week.
Beginnings of English
You will be introduced to the language, literature and culture of medieval England and study Old and Middle English texts. In this module you will familiarise yourself with the knowledge needed for reading and understanding medieval texts. In addition you will be introduced to the basics of grammar and spelling conventions. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour seminar per week.
This module will introduce some of the core skills necessary for literary studies through focus on specific poetry and prose texts. You will address topics including: close reading, constructing an argument and handling critical material. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars.
Drama, Theatre, Performance
This module, taught through a combination of practical workshops, seminars, and lectures, considers key concepts in the study of dramatic texts, theatre history and performance. The module frames these concepts, taking into consideration questions about who performs, where, to whom, why and how, through explorations of key moments in the Western theatrical tradition.
Linguistics 1: The Sounds of German
This module investigates the sounds of German and how they can be described accurately (“phonetics and phonology”). Students will learn to transcribe German using the notation of the International Phonetic Association, and we will look in particular at aspects of German pronunciation that are hard to master because they are different to English or similar to French. We will also look at how foreign words (including English words) are integrated into the German sound system, and at regional variation in spoken German. Developing accurate listening and transcription skills will form a major part of the module. There will be a one hour lecture and a one hour workshop each week, in addition to four hours private study time.
Reading German Literature 1
In this module you will be introduced to the critical reading and textual analysis of German narrative literature and poetry from the late 18th century to today. You will study two mid-length narrative texts and a selection of poems which represent key phases and aspects of German literary and cultural development from ‘Goethezeit’ to the post-1945 and contemporary period. In analysing and discussing a range of texts and authors, you will be introduced to key concepts and techniques of textual analysis, to the structures of narrative and poetry, and to selected themes and developments in literary criticism. The module combines one 1-hour introductory lecture per week with in-depth study in small tutorial groups (one 1-hour tutorial per week), in addition you will undertake four hours of private study per week.
Reading German Culture
In this module you will learn to analyse short literary and popular texts (including film) which portray life in the metropolis Berlin and represent key phases in German historical and social development in the 20th Century: the 1920s, the immediate post war-period, post-unification Berlin. Exploring cultural representations of urban life the course will address key questions such as: How do textual perceptions of the ‘big’ city reflect attitudes towards relationships conditioned by class, gender and race? For this module you will have one 2-hour seminars each week in addition to four hours of private study.
Hitler and the Third Reich
This module will explore the period of National Socialism in Germany (1933-1945). You will be introduced to an outline of the historical context of this period and critically review the ideology and politics of the time with a focus on society and culture. You will evaluate original sources (in original and in translation) such as posters, speeches, newspapers and films. In addition, theoretical writings on select topics such as propaganda, ‘leader cult’, media, childhood, womanhood and ‘the other;’ will assist in your critical analysis. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week in addition to four hours of private study.
Dutch 1: (Inter Faculty Dutch1a)
This module will introduce you to the basics of Dutch language, including pronunciation, spelling and the morphology of nouns, adjectives, articles, pronouns and verbs, through topics relating to social and everyday life in the Netherlands. Each session will consist of a variety of activities arising from the themes and structures which underpin the course programme. You will be taught in small groups by a native speaker: one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar per week in addition to private study. This module assumes no prior knowledge of the language and is compulsory for students studying Dutch as part of their degree course and optional for students of German.
In English, you will choose from a wide range of options to develop deeper understanding of the issues and critical approaches across at least two areas of the discipline, depending on what areas of literature, language and drama most interest you.
Your German language studies will be consolidated to prepare for the year abroad. You will also take modules in literature, history, politics and society. Modules in German culture and media are also available.
This core module consolidates your proficiency in the four skill areas of German Language 1 (writing, reading, listening, and speaking) in order to develop these further. Using contemporary material this module is also tailor-made to prepare you for the period you will spend in a German-speaking country studying, working or teaching. It includes German CV writing, interview preparations, presentations, translation from and into German and advanced grammar work. For this module you will be taught in small groups, usually by German native speakers. You will have one 2-hour seminar and one 1- hour grammar tutorial each week in addition to a minimum of four hours of private study.
German 2 - Beginners
This module will consolidate students' proficiency in the four skill areas of German Language 1 (writing, reading, listening and speaking) and develop these further. The vehicles for instruction will be texts from newspapers and other sources, which will be used for discussion of translation issues and grammatical structures, linguistic analysis and textual comparison, oral presentation, and essay writing. You will have one 1-hour lecture and four 1-hour tutorials each week in addition to a minimum of six hours of private study.
You must choose three modules in English covering at least two of the following areas:
Literature 1500 to the present
Each of the modules offered will provide a comprehensive introduction to the changes in the genres of prose, poetry and drama across the period studied, placing the works encountered in the context of key aesthetic, social and political/historical contexts.
English Language and Applied Linguistics
Building on the study of English language undertaken in year one, your second year language modules provide the exciting opportunity for you to explore aspects of language use in the mind, in society and in literature.
Medieval languages and literatures
You can choose to pursue one or more of the medieval areas introduced in year one, or you can opt to study a new but related area. In all cases you will develop your understanding of language change and variety, registers, styles, modes and genres, as they appear in medieval texts, and become more expert in reading with reference to wider medieval cultures.
Drama and Performance
Year two modules provide the opportunity to develop approaches from the first year by studying 20th and 21st-century theatre; by exploring key critical approaches to drama in theory and practice, and by focusing on a key period in the development of our nation’s theatre.
For a sample of typical modules from each area please see our single honours BA English listing.
Introduction to Literary Translation
This module aims to give students an improved critical understanding of the linguistic and cultural differences between English and German, to enhance their translation skills and provide insights into the ways in which literary texts work. Within the module students translate a variety of German literary texts into English. We work on German prose, poetry and drama into English, exploring different strategies and theoretical approaches to translation. You will have one 2-hour seminar and one 1-hour workshop per week in addition to four hours of private study.
New German Cinema
Between the mid 1960s and the mid 1980s West German cinema rose to new national and international success due to the work of a number of young directors who were commonly perceived as representatives of a "New" or "Young" German cinema. This module will analyse selected films from this period. You will be introduced to the individual styles of different directors (Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders) as well as to their common thematic preoccupations. The analysis will aim to situate the "New German Cinema" within the contexts both of the development of the film industry and of contemporary social and political developments in West Germany. You will have one 2-hour seminar and one 1-hour workshop per week in addition to four hours of private study.
Reason and its Rivals: From Kant to Freud
This module discusses a selection of theoretical approaches to modernity. You will start by studying Immanuel Kant’s assertion of individual reason as the founding stone of enlightened social organisation. You will then explore interrogations of that position in the work of Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud. You will have one 2-hour seminar per week in addition to four hours of private study.
Media in Germany
The aim of this module is to explore the history of print and broadcasting in Germany from 1933 to the 1990s, and investigate the relationship between media content and culture. You will develop a foundation in the key concepts of media studies and gain insight into the connection of media and ideology. For this module you will have one 2-hour seminar per week in addition to four hours of private study.
From Runes to ROFL: Language Change in the Germanic Languages
This module will introduce students to the history of the Germanic languages, from the earliest linguistic evidence up to the present day. We will investigate the major sound changes that distinguish Dutch, German and other Germanic languages like English from the rest of the Indo-European language family (which includes French, Greek, and many other European languages, as well as Sanskrit). You'll look at the process by which Dutch and German went their separate ways , ultimately emerging as two standardised languages in the 17th century. You'll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Dutch II (Inter Faculty Dutch 2a)
This module assumes a basic knowledge of the Dutch language (usually acquired during year one of your course). You will revise and develop basic structures using contemporary material. The four skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing are expanded to enable participation in discussions with reasonable fluency and accuracy. Students on a degree course with Dutch are also prepared for their year abroad in a Dutch-speaking country. This module is compulsory for students studying Dutch as part of their degree course. You will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar per week in addition to private study.
Postwar Belgian Cinema
This module provides an introduction to Belgian cinema. You will focus on a number of films from 1950 to the present day and will study the films narratives in relation to developments in Belgian history and society. The module will also introduce some critical tools for the analysis of visual media. It is compulsory for students studying Dutch as part of their degree course and optional for students of German. You will have one 2-hour seminar and one 1-hour workshop per week in addition to four hours of private study.
You will choose from a wide range of modules enabling you to specialise in key areas of English. Joint honours students enjoy the same wide range of final year options in English and German as single honours students. In German, you will develop your command of German to a high level and use it in increasingly sophisticated contexts. You will also study optional modules drawn from the areas of literature, history, politics, society, media and linguistics.
This core module aims to consolidate the high level of language skills you will have acquired during the time spent in a German-speaking country in Year 3. In classes taught by native speakers of German, you will further refine your advanced proficiency in written and spoken German. Contemporary texts and discussions of up-to-date topics are a key feature of this module and you will be encouraged to build on the knowledge and skills acquired during your year abroad. For this module you will have three 1-hour seminars each week working in small groups in addition to four hours of private study.
Selected German Modules
Translation and Linguistic Exchange
This module offers in-depth discussion of grammatical, lexical and idiomatic aspects of German and English as well as issues of translation, register and cultural difference. You will be taught primarily through the medium of translation, both from and into German, using a variety of texts and passages on a range of topics and in a range of registers. You will work in a team with exchange students who are German native speakers and this will foster dialogue about linguistic and translation issues as well as general cultural exchange. You will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar per week in addition to four hours of private study.
German Studies: Dissertation II
This module involves the in-depth study of a topic in German Studies resulting in a dissertation written in German. You will write a 4,000 word essay in German or English on a topic of your particular interest and expertise (normally related to a German module which you have taken in your second or final year). In addition to extensive private study you will have two 1-hour seminars per semester followed by five individual meetings with your supervisor. This module is also available as a 20 credit version where you will write a 7,000 word essay in German or English.
Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was one of the most fascinating and culturally productive periods of German history, but it was equally plagued by crises and violent conflicts. This module aims to introduce central issues in the literary and social developments of Weimar Germany. You will study a wide range of materials (literary texts, film, aesthetic and political programmes) to analyse key features of the period. Topics will include the impact of the Great War, developments in the press and the cinema, political confrontations, cabaret, and unemployment. You will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar per week in addition to extensive independent study.
Recent Women's Writing
In this module you will explore a number of novels and stories written since 1960 by German-speaking women writers. You will also study selected texts on the cultural, political and social contexts of the rise of the second wave feminism in the 1970’s, the changing position of women in the FRG, GDR and Austria, and the increasing awareness of ethnic pluralities. You will compare texts and contexts and explore a variety of reading strategies developed in feminist criticism. For this module you will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar each week in addition to extensive independent study.
The Language of Social Media
This module will study in depth and on the basis of primary resources the characteristics of the language used on social media and other means of computer-mediated communication (eg. chats, Facebook, Twitter, email, texts). It will also focus on the challenges that the analysis of the language used in these media presents to linguistic theory.
Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors
In this module you will take part in the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools to act as inspiring role-models. Students split their time between the university-based seminar and their allocated school, where they are placed in the language department as a language assistant. Students are required to design and deliver a teaching project aimed at improving pupil understanding of selected aspects of the German language and culture. Students will be supported by the module convenor and the education specialist on campus, and by their contact teacher at their school. Typically there are fortnightly seminars of 2-hours at university and 7 half-days spent in school. Students can choose to be ambassadors for German or French, Spanish, and Russian. Placements are predominantly in secondary schools, with a limited number in primary schools.
The final year is when all the different strands of your teaching and learning experience as an undergraduate culminate in the opportunity to demonstrate and apply all the different kinds of skills you have acquired in researching a topic, extended analysis of specialist themes and areas, and in independent study.
You will have the opportunity to study a range of authors, genres, linguistic approaches, and textual forms and contexts, in both national and international contexts, thinking about English in the broadest possible terms. You will also have the opportunity to specialise in areas for which you have developed genuine aptitude and passion during your undergraduate career.
A typical list of options available can be found on our single honours BA English listing.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.