German and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:RT21
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:4 year UG (year 3 out)
Qualification name:German and Contemporary Chinese Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
German and Contemporary Chinese Studies | BA Jt Hons
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
German at A level 
IB score
32; including 5 in German at Higher Level, or 6 at Standard Level (B programme) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
20 (across RT11, RT21, RT71 and RT41)


This course offers you the opportunity to combine studies in German and Chinese languages, literatures, societies and cultures.
Read full overview

This course offers you the opportunity to combine studies in German and Chinese languages, literatures, societies and cultures. There is a wide range of optional modules available in literature, history, politics and society, allowing you to tailor your degree to your own specialist interests. By the end of your course, you will have a high level of expertise in German and Mandarin, and your international experience will help you stand out as a graduate.

Year one 

You will take core modules in both languages and introductions to German, Austrian, and Chinese literature, history and culture. Mandarin is available from beginners’ level.

Year two

In German and Chinese, your language studies will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. You will take modules in literature, history, politics and society from a wide choice of modules in both German and Chinese Studies.

Year three

Spent abroad, divided between the two languages, on a work placement, a school assistantship, or at a German or Austrian university; you will also spend one semester studying Chinese language and culture at our own campus in Ningbo.

For more information see our Year Abroad page.

Year four

You will develop your command of both languages and their use in increasingly sophisticated contexts and study optional modules drawn from the areas of literature, history, politics, society, media and linguistics. In German, you may also choose to write a dissertation.

More information 

See also the German Studies website.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including German at A level

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies.

Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS.

Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.


Flexible admissions policy

We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


Typical Year One Modules


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.
Introduction to Contemporary China 

This is an introductory course designed to provide students with an overview of contemporary China and help students establish a foundation of knowledge and skills to pursue more advanced studies of China in their later years of study. You will examine a variety of topics such as Chinese economy and politics, security and foreign relations, and Chinese media since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 with particular attention paid to the changes in China since 1978. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar each week.



German 1
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 two 1-hour tutorials per week where you will work in small groups.


Plus Mandarin Chinese modules at the appropriate level (beginners', intermediate, advanced, or proficiency level).


Introduction to the Business and Economy of China

This module introduces you to the economy, business, institutions and economically-related political aspects of contemporary China with a focus on the reform period. You’ll gain an overview of macro- and micro- economic, institutional and political factors that affect business and development in China, as well as major economic sectors in China. Issues covered include: economic development, economic reform, exports and FDI, the financial and banking system, state and non-state firms, technology, major challenges including income inequalities, and the state’s role in the growth and management of the economy. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.

Introduction to the Chinese Legal System

Studying this module you will gain an introduction to the origin, key elements and characteristics of the evolving Chinese legal system including the history of Chinese law, the organization of the P.R. China as a state and its constitutional laws, the law making process in China, the legal institutions and the Chinese court system, the criminal process, and the civil process and legal profession in China. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.

Reading German Literature
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).
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 German 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.
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.
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.

Typical Year Two Modules


German 2
This core module consolidates your proficiency in the four skill areas of German 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.

Plus Mandarin Chinese at the appropriate level (intermediate, advanced, proficiency or research level)


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.

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 per week.

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.
Fremdsprachen lernen und lehren

This module introduces you to some major theories of how languages are learned and to some approaches to how languages can be taught, particularly focussing on German and English. We will consider the differences between first and second language acquisition; whether there is a ‘best’ age to learn a foreign language; why some people learn languages more easily than others; and some particular problems for English-speaking learners of German and German-speaking learners of English. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in linguistics, as well as to those who might be considering teaching on the Year Abroad or in the future. For this module you will have one 2-hour seminar each week.

Runes to ROFL: History of 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). We will then look at the process by which Dutch and German went their separate ways, ultimately emerging as two separate standardized languages in the 17th century. We will also look at how the languages are developing today, especially obvious in the borrowings from many other languages and in the innovations that have emerged in “computer mediated communication”. You will have one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar on this module. 
East Asian Business in the Global Economy

This module builds on the first semester module on the organization and globalization of business in the major economies of East Asia. Focussing on Japan, China and Korea, you will be able to identify characteristic features of East Asian business systems, the internationalization of various types of business systems and the trajectories of interaction between East Asian and north Atlantic businesses. This will involve the analysis of the emergence of distinctive national business systems, trends in globalisation and debates about global convergence, impacts of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis, financial liberalisation and flows of foreign direct investment in East Asia, Trade policies in East Asia and what they mean in Europe, government-business relations in East Asia, and the rise of 'collective management'. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.

The Rise of Modern China

In this module you will study the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. You will focus in particular on the ways in which Chinese society responded to the arrival of ‘modernity’ in the form of the Western powers and Japan throughout the period in question, but also how different groups in China tried to remould or redefine China as a ‘modern’ nation-state and society. In this module you will have a two-hour lecture each week.

Social Change and Public Policy in China’s Reform Era

In this module you will learn how the Chinese central government has responded to socio-economic changes by issuing a number of key policy initiatives, most notably in the field of social security, health, education, labour, innovation and the environment. In the first part of the module participants will be sensitized about the interplay between socio-economic transformation, administrative reform and public policy making during China's reform era (1978).

In the second part of the module students will learn about the expanded spaces for participatory policy making in China by analysing case studies in all five substantive policy fields. As part of their course assignments students will be asked to write one 3,000 word essay and put insights into practice by developing group presentations on a selected public policy. This optional module will provide a socially relevant policy curriculum and help students develop necessary skills for a democratic practice of policy inquiry. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.

Typical Year Three Modules

Spent abroad, divided between the two languages, on a work placement, a school assistantship, or at a German or Austrian university; you will also spend one semester studying Chinese language and culture at our own campus in Ningbo.

For more information see our Year Abroad page.


Typical Year Four Modules


German 3

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.



Plus Mandarin Chinese modules at the appropriate level (advanced, proficiency or research level)


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 (10 credits)

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 ridden 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 four hours of private 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.

Chinese Film and Literature

In this module you will first examine the close linkage between literature and cinema in China and the consequences and then explore trends in modern Chinese literature and cinema, with a primary focus on different genres and themes developed since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. By placing Chinese literature and film within their cultural, social and historical contexts, you will analyse, interpret and appreciate such phenomena. You will analyse individual texts in translation and films with English subtitles to increase your awareness of the major developments in literature and film as they are embedded in the wider changes in contemporary China. You will have one 3-hour practical class each week studying this module.

Government and Politics of Taiwan and Hong Kong: Alternatives to Leninism

In this module you’ll learn about the two countries that choose a different pathway from mainland China whilst still under the leadership of the communist party. You’ll address a number of questions in order to gain a good understanding of the processes of these unique countries and be able to critically reflect on their differences with mainland China. You’ll have two hours of lectures and a one-hour seminar weekly studying this module.

Media & Communications in Globalising China

Media systems are critically important in any modern political system, and this module leads you directly to the heart of understanding how the media relates to contemporary society and politics in the People’s Republic of China. It introduces you to the unprecedented transformation in contemporary Chinese media and communication in the context of economic reforms, development of new media technologies and globalisation through a two hour weekly lecture.




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.


Year abroad

Your year abroad will be divided between the two languages. You will experience a work placement or a school assistantship, or will study at a German or Austrian university. Students also spend one semester studying Chinese language and culture at our China Campus in Ningbo.

For more information see our Year Abroad page.



You will have an understanding of German and Chinese culture and history, and will have acquired a high level of expertise in spoken and written German. Your Mandarin skills will be at an advanced level and your time spent overseas will demonstrate to employers that you are independent and adaptable.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 96% of first-degree graduates in the Department of German Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,455 with the highest being £27,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates. 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the second and final year of the degree programme. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

Mandarin is compulsory when spending the second semester at Ningbo Campus.

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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