This course, combining politics with degree-level study in German language and culture, is open to beginners in German as well as post-A level students. Beginners’ German students follow an intensive language course designed to take them to degree level within four years, while post-A level students take language classes at an advanced level. Absolute beginners, GCSE, AS (all beginners’ pathway), or A level students (advanced pathway) in German are warmly invited to apply. All students graduate with the same degree.
You will normally divide your time equally between German and Politics, taking core modules in both subjects along with options from a wide range of modules which will allow you to tailor your degree to your own interest. This course offers modules in German language, literature, linguistics, history, politics, culture and film. In politics, you will take a range of options from three core areas: political theory, comparative politics and international relations. At the end of the course, you will have acquired a solid knowledge base in Politics as well as an understanding of German history and culture. You’ll also have valuable linguistic, analytical and presentation skills, and your international experience will help you to stand out as a graduate.
The German core language course develops the four skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing. Beginners will work intensively on a structured language programme to enable rapid progress. In addition to core German language, you will take a core German Studies module introducing you to the study of German linguistics, literature, history and film. Post-A level German students will take further optional modules focusing on areas of German studies of their choice, including the option of beginners’ Dutch. In Politics, you will take modules in contemporary political theory, comparative politics and international relations. You will learn to apply and gain a thorough understanding of the history of political ideas.
Your German language skills will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. In German, you will take modules in literature, history, politics and society. There is additionally a wide choice of modules in German culture, media and linguistics. In Politics, you will take a range of options from three designated 'core' areas: political theory, comparative politics and international relations.
Spent in Germany or Austria as a language assistant in a school, on an approved course of study or on a work placement.
Former beginners and post-A level students take the same German language classes, and graduate at the same level 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 German literature, history, politics, society, media and linguistics. You may also choose to write a dissertation. In Politics, you may elect to research and write a dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff, and/or take options in political theory, comparative politics and international relations.
See also the School of Politics & International Relations.
A levels: ABB, B in German at A level, if applicable. No language qualification is required for the beginners' pathway.
English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
Pearson Test of English (Academic) 67 (minimum 55)
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
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
At the University of Nottingham we treat all applicants as individuals; we may make some a lower offer than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.
Your exam grades are very important, but we also look at a range of other factors and aim to give everyone an equal opportunity to demonstrate their achievements. If we judge that you have experienced extenuating circumstances that have had an adverse effect on your academic achievement, we will take them into account. These may include:
being from a less advantaged family environment in terms of income, education and experience
being from a school or college where high academic achievement is not the norm
having daily family, caring or work responsibilities
being a care-leaver, refugee or from a travelling community
We will recognise these personal and/or educational circumstances as a positive factor when assessing your overall potential. However, whether or not we make you an offer depends on our overall assessment. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
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 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 comprehensive range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics and engage in everyday social conversation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Political Ideas in Revolution
You’ll be introduced to some of the founding fathers of political thought such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli and Hobbes. The evolution of political thought such as the concepts of liberty, equality and the Enlightenment will also be examined. You’ll consider their impact on modern political thought and practice, bringing together key political ideas with historical development. In this module you’ll have 2 hours of lectures per week.
Power and the State
In this module you’ll compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern states by examining different topics such as Democratic and Authoritarian Rule, Political Culture and Legal and Constitutional Frameworks. You’ll also be introduced to the method of comparative politics and theory testing. There is a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops on different weeks totalling around 3 hours per week throughout the semester.
Problems in Global Politics
For this module, joint honours students will explore a range of issues in contemporary international relations. It focuses on the problems of security and insecurity since the end of the Cold War. You’ll learn to develop critical and reflective thinking using a variety of approaches and methods related to the study of global politics. You’ll have 3 hours of lectures, seminars and workshops per week studying this module.
Typical Year Two Modules
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.
Democracy and its Critics
You’ll examine the concept and organisation of democracy using primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates. You’ll consider the principles and arguments of democracy and its critics as well as the future for democracy in the context of accelerating globalisation. A variety of approaches and methods will be used to help you develop your skills for the study of political theory. You’ll have three hours a week of lectures and seminars studying this module.
Civilisation and Barbarism
You’ll explore some of the major themes of international relations using a variety of different sources including novels, essays, manifestos, treatise and film. Power and Order is the underlying theme linking together areas such as imperialism, emancipation, human rights, terrorism and torture among others. The interconnectivity between all of these areas and the sources will help you appreciate texts from the breadth of your studies. There will be three hours a week of seminars and lectures for this module.
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.
Introduction to German Dialects
This module explores the various dialects spoken in Germany and other German-speaking areas. It examines the key linguistic features which can be used to identify a dialect, and explores the use of dialect, which has changed considerably over the past centuries, but particularly since 1945, and which also varies considerably regionally. It also looks at the interactions between the dialects and the standard language (‘High German’). 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.
From Bourgeois Wife to New Woman: Sex and Gender in Modern Germany
This module focuses on three periods in the modern history of the German-speaking lands: the emergence of bourgeois gender roles in the nineteenth century & the women’s movement around 1848; the fin-de-siècle, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality in Viennese society; and the Weimar Republic, exploring the myth and reality of the so-called ‘New Woman’. Drawing on a range of political, theoretical and autobiographical texts and visual material, the module considers the interrelation between social and economic developments, gender roles and notions of masculinity and femininity. We also discuss the ways in which ideas and images of masculinity and femininity are deployed in the representation of political and social institutions and processes. Each week you will have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar, as well as four hours of private study time.
Year Three: You will spend this year in Germany or Austria as a language assistant in a school, on an approved course of study or on a work placement. For more information, please see the Department of German Studies' Study Abroad page.
Typical Year Four Modules
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 Three. 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 two 1-hour seminars each week working in small groups in addition to four hours of private study.
Translation from German
This core module will enhance your practical command and effective understanding of written and German and English on the basis of your progress during your year abroad, through translation of a variety of German texts and passages. This module will develop your translation skills towards professional standards for translation into English. For this module you will have one 2-hour seminar each week working in small groups in addition to four hours of private study.
Politics and Drugs
This module examines the implications of narcotics abuse for the political system from both a national and international perspective. Contemporary British drug policy will be the explored and questions raised by drug control policy will be discussed. You’ll consider the production, consumption and trade of drugs as a global problem. You will spend around three hours a week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
This module introduces a range of debates concerning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to give you an appreciation of the importance of the issue. The reasons for states to develop or acquire WMDs will be explored through core concepts such as deterrence, the security dilemma and organisation theory. You’ll discuss whether WMDs are good or bad and if Britain should build a missile defence system among other topics. Three hours a week are spent in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Dissertation (German Studies)
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.
‘Heimat’ in the German Cinema
Heimat, a political and psychological concept of rural rootedness, is at the core of German identity, and the Heimat genre has been ever-present in the German cinema since the days of the silent cinema. This module will explore the cultural and historical contexts of the concept of Heimat through the study of Heimat films from different historical moments. We will explore the artistically ambitious and politically controversial 1920s/30s mountain films; the immensely popular Heimat films of the 1950s; the aesthetically challenging and critical anti-Heimat films of the 1960s/70s; Edgar Reitz’s landmark historical saga of the 1980s; and post-1990s reinventions of the genre. We shall ask why film-makers in Germany and Austria keep returning to this genre. In addition we shall consider the question of the alien within the Heimat, the gendering of Heimat and the representation of nature and modernity in these films. You will have a two hour seminar, a one hour syndicate workshop, a two hour screening, plus extensive independent study each week.
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.
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.
You will develop a broad understanding of political theories and ideas, and the ability to think independently and to develop a reasoned argument. You will have acquired a high level of expertise in spoken and written German, and your international experience will demonstrate to employers that you are independent, adaptable and able to cope in challenging situations.
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.*
In 2014, 94 % of first-degree graduates in the School of Politics and International Relations who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £23,047 with the highest being £48,000.*
* 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.
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.
There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.
To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.
* 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.
The International Office provides support and advice on financing your degree and offers a number of scholarships to help you with tuition fees and living costs.
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 abroad. Students' language skills and cultural understanding, developed during their year abroad, are assessed by a presentation.
The assessment forms part of the final year language module R23201 or R23202 (essay and oral, worth 10 credits) and contributes 20% to the overall module mark.