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.
German Language I
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.
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.
You’ll consolidate and develop your knowledge of Russian which you have gained at A level. This module focuses on practical application of your language skills, including reading, writing, comprehension and oral communication. You will also study some grammar topics in depth. You’ll spend around nine hours per week in practical classes, workshops and tutorials, benefiting from experienced teachers most of whom are native speakers and the use of excellent language laboratory facilities.
Reading German Literature I
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.
Introduction to Russian History and Culture
This module introduces you to the development of Russian history and culture, starting with the foundation of the Kievan state in the 10th century, and following the development of Russia into a modern state up to the mid-late 19th century. Alongside the history of Russia, you will study aspects of Russian culture relevant to different periods of its history (painting, architecture, music, folklore and religious beliefs, etc).You will have three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Fantastic Worlds of Slavonic Literature and Cinema
In this module you have the opportunity to focus on the fantastic genre in literary texts and films. You will examine the whole range of literary and cinematic narratives including marvellous motifs in fairy tales, the grotesque and the uncanny as well as modern genres such as horror and sci-fi. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
German Language 2
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.
Russian Comprehension and Oral
This module will help you to develop your comprehension of Russian and your communicative skills, including reading, oral fluency in Russian, and translation from Russian into English. The module also includes some writing in Russian and study of more sophisticated grammar topics. You’ll spend around three hours per week in practical classes and lectures.
Russian in Practice
Through two hours of practical classes and lectures you are given the opportunity to develop your practical language skills. You’ll be given exercises in translation, comprehension and composition and also work on your spoken Russian in oral classes.
Introduction to Literary Translation
This module explores theoretical approaches and practical problems in literary translation. You will study different approaches to translating texts and compose a translation of a text of your choice. 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.
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.
The Fantastic in German Literature
The module examines a selection of literary texts in German which focus on the uncanny, the strange, the supernatural and above all the inexplicable, whilst also illustrating the development of German literature from Romanticism to Modernism. You will explore how authors make use of the literary devices of the unusual, seemingly supernatural or plain disturbing, look at the relationship between author, narrator and reader, and at whether the literary Fantastic changes from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth. You will study literary texts by authors such as E. T. A. Hoffman, Jeremias Gotthelf, Theodor Storm and Franz Kafka.You will have one 2-hour seminar per week in addition to four hours of private study.
German Life Writing
The module examines autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, diaries, interviews, and letters written by well-known authors and by relatively unknown individuals who have lived through key turning points in the 20th Century Germany such as the First World War, The Second World War, the collapse of the GDR, and German Unification. In this module you will consider key themes such as freedom and compulsion, guilt and responsibility, and they will examine individuals’ interpretation of their lives, and how individuals locate themselves in the larger historical narratives. For this module you will have one 2-hour seminar each 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.
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.
Spending around two hours per week in lectures and seminars, you’ll examine the creation of the Soviet state and Soviet cultural identity between 1917 and 1953. You’ll build on your knowledge of 20th century Russia acquired through Year One modules, and develop a deeper understanding of what it meant ‘to be Soviet’. You will also learn to engage with and analyse the contradictions and paradoxes of Sovietness as an identity in formation.
Screening Russia: Film and Society from Khrushchev to Putin
You’ll be given an in-depth understanding of developments in late-Soviet and post-Soviet society and culture as reflected in key films from the period 1959 to 2010. You’ll examine how films from this period are constructed technically and develop skills in analysing films in their historical and social contexts. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Reading and Writing the Russian Literary Tradition
In this module, you’ll study the development of the Russian national literary tradition and literature’s role in the formation of national identity. You will focus on prose and poetry by authors such as Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Goncharov, Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Two hours of lectures each week provide you with background understanding of the writers and concepts in question, as well as the role of literary historians and key literary critics.
German Essay and Oral
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. You will further refine your advanced proficiency in written and spoken German, usually with support from a native speaker. 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.
Through this module you’ll develop a high level of Russian language skills, both written and oral. The written skills include English-Russian and Russian-English translation, production of summaries and creative writing in Russian. Oral presentations draw upon and extend the practical language experience of your year abroad. You’ll also cover advanced grammar topics of Russian. You will spend two hours in practical classes and two hours in workshops per week.
Russian for Business Situations
You’ll be taught how to cope linguistically with straightforward business situations in which, as a new graduate, you are likely to be involved. Topics for study include introducing personnel, telephone calls, CVs, welcoming visitors, interviewing, business meetings, negotiations, describing companies, describing products and prices, guarantees, and delivery and payments.
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 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 four hours of private study.
The Morphology of German
In this module you will be introduced to morphology (the study of the structure of words) of German and the study of linguistics. Beginning with a general introduction to morphology, you will look at the form of morphology controlled by syntax before moving on to other aspects. You will also consider the differences between native German morphological processes and those borrowed from other languages. Major developments in the German morphological system will be traced from the Middle ages to the present day amongst other topics in relation to the Morphology of German. For this module you will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar each week in addition to four hours of private study.
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.
Dutch Language III
This module aims to consolidate the language skills you acquired from time spent abroad in a Dutch-speaking country in Year 3. You will further improve your proficiency in written and spoken Dutch with support from a native speaker. The use of texts and discussions will be key feature on this module. For this module you will have two 1-hour tutorials each week. It is compulsory for students studying Dutch as part of their degree course.
Serbian/Croatian for Linguists (a)
This module is a fast-track course of study for students in their final year who wish to acquire a new language. The module is based on the textbook Teach Yourself Serbian and will introduce you to everyday use of the language. Through three hours of practical classes each week, you’ll study different points of grammar (syntax and morphology) as well as vocabulary for everyday situations.
Theories of Literature
This module invites you to study and discuss principal theories of the text and language. You will learn to look at literature as a special form of communication which involves the author, the reader and the text. You will also find out about major Russian, Soviet and Czech thinkers of the 20th century and their ideas of what literature is. You will learn to discuss their ideas critically and apply their theories to the interpretation of classic Russian literary texts. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Myths and Memories
This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.