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Course overview

Möchtest du die Sprache und die Kultur Deutschlands erleben? If so, you’ll love the opportunity to immerse yourself in everything German on this joint honours course.

You’ll study English language and literature, alongside the German language and culture. This includes modules in literature, linguistics, history and politics, as well as practical language work (na klar!). Even if you’re a beginner at German, an intensive beginners’ course will develop your language skills to degree level.

The year abroad allows you to really live and become fluent in your language, studying at a German speaking university, or working in a school or on a work placement.

For the English side,  you’ll take modules covering drama and performance, English language and applied linguistics, literature (from 1500 to the present), and medieval languages and literatures.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a broad understanding of both German and English literature and language.

Why choose this course?

  • Don’t just study German, live it, during the year abroad
  • Unleash your creativity in a UNESCO City of Literature, with opportunities both on campus and in the city
  • Benefit from the skills development and assessment methods of studying two subjects
  • Explore career options with our bespoke work placements and volunteering schemes

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer ABB. Open to both beginners and A level students of German
Required subjects

English (preferably at grade A) and German, if applicable. No language qualification is required for the German beginners' pathway.

IB score IB score of 32, including 5 in English at Higher Level, and 5 at Higher Level or 6 in Standard Level (B programme) in Spanish, if applicable.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Practical classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

German

Following your year abroad your language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • In-class test
  • Oral exam
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam
  • Group project

Contact time and study hours

An average week will have between 14 and 20 hours of classes. 

Weekly tutorial support and the accredited Nottingham Advantage Award provide further optional learning activities, on top of these class contact hours. Your lecturers will also be available outside your scheduled contact time to discuss issues and develop your understanding.

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as preparation for seminars, assessments and language practice. As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).  

Your lecturers will usually be permanent academic staff from English and Modern Languages. Almost all our language teachers are native speakers. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A lecture may have up to 300 students attending with seminar groups of up to 20. These are taught in English. Language classes are delivered in the relevant language.

Study abroad

Your third year is spent in Germany or Austria either:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Placements

Both English and Modern Languages have well developed work experience and volunteering opportunities. They help you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers and become 'workplace-ready'.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Impact of the Coronavirus on work placements, field trips and volunteering

We work with a range of organisations to provide work placements, field trips and volunteer opportunities. As you'll appreciate they are all disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

We expect opportunities to run as usual from the academic year 2021/22 but this cannot be guaranteed. We will do our best to arrange suitable activities as previous students always tell us how much they appreciate these opportunities.

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.

Modules

Post-A level German

Improve your German language skills and take options in culture, politics and linguistics.

Beginners' German

Work on a structured language programme to enable rapid progress.

English

Choose three core modules from four areas. They will give you a thorough grounding in the relevant areas and influence your studies in years two and three.

Core modules

Post-A level German

German 1

Building on the four skill areas of A level work (writing, reading, listening and speaking), this module aims to develop your command of German towards the level required in year two. It consolidates your understanding of grammatical structures, and improves spoken and written German.

We will work with authentic texts and media (including journalistic articles, short stories, videos, and clips from TV programmes in German, news items).

Introduction to German Studies

This is the core module for first-year students of German. We look at the history of German and introduce you to the linguistic study of the language. We also explore a range of themes and styles in German literature linked to key areas of German and Austrian culture (such as gender relations, migration and race).

Further topics address the study of German film, and German history with a focus on recent history since German reunification in 1990. The module gives you an insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.

Beginners' German

German 1: Beginners

This module is designed for absolute beginners.  At the end of the module, you should be able to comprehend and respond to texts on a range of topics and engage in everyday social conversation. You’ll work on reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, and writing short texts such as emails and essays.

We follow a structured course and use a textbook, but you’ll also be working with authentic texts from the very first week of German classes, which will help you develop a more extensive vocabulary and show you just how fast you’re progressing.

Introduction to German Studies

This is the core module for first-year students of German. We look at the history of German and introduce you to the linguistic study of the language. We also explore a range of themes and styles in German literature linked to key areas of German and Austrian culture (such as gender relations, migration and race).

Further topics address the study of German film, and German history with a focus on recent history since German reunification in 1990. The module gives you an insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.

Optional modules

Hitler and the Third Reich

Although the Third Reich is very well researched, it still raises many questions: How could Adolf Hitler gain so much power? How could a whole nation ‘fall’ for the Nazi ideology? Why the Jews? In this module we will discuss and research Nazi politics as well as its society and culture. We will consider propaganda, the press, youth and women’s organisations, as well as the role of films, art and literature. Theoretical writings on fascist ideology will provide us with relevant background knowledge and we will work with original German materials such as documents, newspapers, photos, posters, films and speeches.

Language Meaning, Variation and Change

This module introduces you to the functional aspects of language. We focus primarily on the relationships between language and society and cover areas such as historical and stylistic change; social and regional diversity; as well as concepts drawn from semantics and linguistic pragmatics.

Reading German Literature II

This module introduces you to three key pieces of theatre in German, all of which challenge prevailing social, political and aesthetic norms.

We will read the following:

  • Georg Büchner, Woyzeck (1837)
  • Frank Wedekind, Frühlings Erwachen (1891);
  • Bertolt Brecht, Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (1939).

Lectures will provide historical background and outline approaches to interpreting the plays, and essay tutorials will develop your essay writing technique. In seminar classes we will discuss critical approaches to the plays.

Deutschland Heute

This module studies the development of Germany (including the former German Democratic Republic) since the Second World War. We will focus particularly on the political, economic and social changes after reunification; political institutions in contemporary Germany; current debates in German society, education and media; and aspects of German culture.

Sex, Gender and Society in Modern Germany

This module focuses on three periods in the history of the German-speaking lands: first, the emergence of modern bourgeois gender roles in the nineteenth century & the women’s movement around 1848; second, the fin-de-siècle, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality in Viennese society; finally the Weimar Republic, exploring the myth and reality of the so-called ‘New Woman’. Drawing on a range of political, theoretical and literary texts and visual material, we consider the interrelation between social and economic developments, gender roles and concepts of masculinity and femininity.

Reading German History: Nation and Society

This module offers an introduction to the study of German history based on issues surrounding nationhood at key points from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. We will examine the emergence and development of the great political ideologies of liberalism, conservatism and socialism that shaped German state and society throughout this period.

Through the study of relevant primary sources, the module focuses on the revolutionary changes and constitutional settlements experienced in modern German history at three key stages of national political development: the 1848 Revolution, National Unification in 1871 and the Revolution of 1918/19 that gave birth to the Weimar Republic in 1919.

English modules

Drama, Theatre, Performance

This module explores the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, moving from the theatre of ancient Greece, English medieval drama, the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the Restoration stage, to nineteenth-century naturalism. In addition to texts produced by writers from Sophocles to Ibsen, you will also consider a variety of extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences.

You will study selected plays in workshops, seminars and lectures, during which we will explore adaptation and interpretation of the texts through different media resources.
You will also have the opportunity to engage in practical theatre-making, exploring extracts from the selected play-texts in short, student-directed scenes in response to key questions about performance.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with an understanding of drama as a performance medium, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in real, shared space.
  • To introduce you to a range of historical performance conventions, including Ancient Greek tragedy and nineteenth century naturalism.
  • To enable you to recognise and analyse the varied elements which constitute performance.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of various play-texts.
Studying Literature

This module introduces you to some of the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. The module addresses topics including close reading, constructing an argument, and handling critical material, as well as introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception. These elements are linked to readings of specific literary texts, focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).

Across the year you will learn about different interpretive approaches and concepts, and will examine literary-historical movements and transitions.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to selected literary texts, to deepen your imaginative engagement and analytic response.
  • To provide you with a basis of knowledge, working methods and appropriate terminology for subsequent work at university level.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature from the period 1500 to the present, and the relationship between period and genre.
Studying Language

This module teaches you about the nature of language, as well as how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes, preparing you for studies across all sections of the school.

During the weekly workshops you will learn about levels of language analysis and description, from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for future modules. In the lectures you will see how the staff here in the School of English put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. The seminars will then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with methods of language analysis and description for each linguistic level (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse)
  • To prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree
  • To introduce you to the areas of research and study within the school, with particular focus on psycholinguistics, literary linguistics, and sociolinguistics
Beginnings of English

This module will introduce you to a range of medieval English literature, and to the language(s) in which that literature was written. It will give you a solid introduction to the study of medieval English in all its variety, including the study of related Old Norse texts.

Over the course of the year you will discover a wealth of literature that is moving, exciting and thought-provoking with texts and language that inspired great writers from Shakespeare to Neil Gaiman, including Hopkins, W.H. Auden, Heaney, Tolkien and J. K. Rowling.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to the earliest English and related Old Norse texts
  • To give you an understanding of the cultural and artistic milieux that produced these texts
  • To reflect on the relevance of these texts to our world and the impact they have had on contemporary literature
  • To enable you to understand the development of the English language
  • To familiarise you with the themes and genre of medieval English literature
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

German

Depending on your existing language skills you'll take a core German language module to prepare you for your Year Abroad.

You'll also be able to choose from a range of optional modules covering  literature, culture, history, politics and society.

English

Depending on your module choices in your first year, you will choose three modules in your second year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

Core modules

Post-A level German

German 2

This module will consolidate your 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 and CV writing.

The module will use texts that cover a broad range of general, journalistic and academic topics, as well as those that will help to prepare you for living, working and studying during your year abroad.

Beginners' German

German 2 - Beginners

This module will build on the skills acquired in the first year intensive beginners’ language module. Your skills in writing, reading, listening and speaking will be consolidated and developed further. We will work with authentic texts and media (including journalistic articles, poems and short stories, videos, clips from TV programmes, news items) and focus on both academic and non-academic registers. The module will help you work towards your year abroad, and will use texts that develop your knowledge of Germany and Austria.

Leben und Arbeiten in Deutschland: Introduction to Contemporary Germany

This module is aimed at students on our intensive beginners’ pathway. The module will use a range of authentic and adapted German sources to combine language learning with an introduction to some aspects of contemporary German society, focusing on elements which are particularly relevant for the year abroad. We will practise working with the types of texts that are particularly useful for students preparing for the year abroad, as well as text genres which you will encounter during your time in Germany and Austria (e.g. application letters, CVs, how to approach an interview). Classes will also help you to develop your understanding of key aspects of contemporary German society.

Optional modules

Introduction to Literary Translation
The module provides an introduction to literary translation from German into English. We will analyse key issues of cultural difference and historical distance by comparing different translations of the same original text. As part of the assessment for the module you will compose your own translation of a literary text of your choice and summarise your translation strategy. Class discussions and the translation work you undertake for this module will help you to improve your understanding of the linguistic and cultural differences between English and German, develop enhanced translation skills, and gain insights into literary texts.
Life and Demise of the GDR

This module investigates social developments in GDR society over four decades of communist rule and social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. You will be introduced to the ideological principles which that the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimize in the GDR as the only viable alternative to fascism for a modern society. You will then look at how this ideology was enforced through state authority in every domain of society.

Based on contemporary texts (eg GDR propaganda, GDR writers and other intellectuals) you will further examine how people negotiated their lives within these officially imposed ideological structures, exploring a range of individual responses from conformism to non-conformism and opposition.

Finally you will look at a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR, which triggered the disintegration of communist power structures, and the subsequent changes in East German society. 

Reason and its Rivals: From Kant to Freud

In this module we will examine a selection of theoretical approaches to modernity, beginning with Kant’s assertion of individual reason as the founding stone of enlightened social organisation. We will move on to examine how Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud all interrogated Kant’s position in their work. Our discussions will touch on issues such as the nature of the individual subject, the role of culture, as well as competing ideas of the status of reality as based in social conditions or the product of the will, drives, or ideology.

Media in Germany

This module explores 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 between media and ideology. They will also have the opportunity to undertake research into primary sources from our extensive newspaper archive.

National Socialist Germany

This module focuses on the social, economic and political-ideological structures which shaped domestic and foreign policy between 1933 and 1945. We will begin by examining the process through which Weimar democracy was overthrown and the structures of dictatorship imposed. We will then turn to the social, economic and ideological factors which shaped the transformation of Germany into a Volks-gemeinschaft before examining the development of Nazi foreign policy and the genesis of the Holocaust. Throughout the module we will consider political, social, economic and ideological factors in shaping Nazi policy at home and abroad.

German National Socialism (1933-1945): Hitler and the Third Reich

This module explores the period of National Socialism in Germany (1933-1945). After an outline of the historical context of this period we will critically view the ideology and politics of the time with particular focus on society and culture.

We will evaluate original sources (in translation) such as posters, speeches, newspapers and films. Theoretical writings on select topics such as propaganda, leader cult, media, childhood, womanhood and 'the other' will assist our critical analysis.

Reading German History: Nation and Society

This module offers an introduction to the study of German history based on issues surrounding nationhood at key points from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. We will examine the emergence and development of the great political ideologies of liberalism, conservatism and socialism that shaped German state and society throughout this period.

Through the study of relevant primary sources, the module focuses on the revolutionary changes and constitutional settlements experienced in modern German history at three key stages of national political development: the 1848 Revolution, National Unification in 1871 and the Revolution of 1918/19 that gave birth to the Weimar Republic in 1919.

English Literature in Modern Languages contexts

This is a comparative literature module that considers key authors and works of English literature in European and American contexts, and with a particular emphasis on the language studied for which it will count as 10 credits non-subsid. module.

The module integrates the study of canonical British/Irish literature with an international resonance – such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello or The Tempest, British Romantic poetry, or selected novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte – into the analysis of its international reception across the Americas and Europe.

At the same time it also explores international literary responses to these canonical English works from the eighteenth century to the present, including postcolonial authors ‘writing back’, along with transnational writing in English by authors such as James Joyce, Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov.

Discussing English literature from international perspectives and using current comparative methodology, it covers North American literature and literature in the European languages (French, German, Russian and others) that is available in English translation.

Contemporary Translation Studies

The module introduces the key concepts of translation theory, such as equivalence, text type, skopos, alongside relevant linguistic theories such as register and relevance, with a focus on enabling students to apply these concepts to translation practice.

The Language of German Media - Linguistic and Journalistic Perspectives

This module investigates the specific language used by the German media from linguistic and journalistic perspectives. You will learn about the distinctive pragmatic and semantic features of the language used on radio, on television and in the print media. This linguistic analysis then enables us to explore how journalists attract their target audience.

We will look at various text types and media genres including news and advertisements, as well as analyse the differences between media-specific language and the language used in society at large. In this context you will not only learn how journalists write for different media and genres but also about the ethics of journalistic writing and how ethical concerns affect the language of the media.

European Silent Cinema

This module will examine the development of cinema during the silent era, from its invention in the 1890s through to the early 1930s, in France, Germany and the Russian Empire/Soviet Union. Because silent cinema was easy to translate and export from one country to another, it was highly transnational, and the module will enable you to see how filmmakers in different countries entered into dialogue with one another. You will be able to compare and contrast the themes and preoccupations of films produced in these countries, and consider how these reflected distinct political and cultural agendas.

The first part of the module will introduce students to the history of early film, primarily as it developed in France, looking at short actualité films produced by the Lumière brothers and others. It will consider the practices of display of ‘silent’ film (looking especially at how it was accompanied by music, speech and sound effects), and look at its appeal to popular audiences as well as its broader critical reception. We will then go on to consider a range of films made during the silent era, which represent two main tendencies:

  • a tendency towards realism and the examination of everyday life
  • a tendency towards fantasy and the creation of spectacular new realitie

You will be introduced to the fundamentals of film language and will be encouraged to engage in close analysis of short extracts from the films.

Films will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Georges Méliès, Voyage to the Moon (1902)
  • Louis Feuillade, Fantômas serial (1913)
  • Paul Wegener, The Golem (1920)

English modules

Literature, 1500 to the present

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830

This module introduces you to a range of literature written between 1700-1830. This was a dramatic and turbulent period in literary history where anything was possible and many roles were reversed. Writers produced texts about contemporary issues such as class, poverty, sexuality, slavery, and the city, but also had their eyes firmly on the past. They took every available opportunity to promote their own agendas and to savage and ridicule those of their political and literary opponents. You’ll examine a wide-range of literature considering the political, social and cultural contexts of the period. 

Literature and Popular Culture

This module will give you an understanding of the relationship between literature and popular culture, as you explore works from across a range of genres and mediums such as prose fiction, poetry, comics, graphic novels, music, television and film. In addition to exploring topics such as aesthetics and adaptation, material will be situated within cultural, political and historical contexts allowing for the distinction between the literary and the popular. 

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page
This module focuses on material written between 1580 and 1630 to provide you with an introduction to methods of reading early modern texts. Shakespeare’s poetry will be among the core texts; other canonical writers will include Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and John Donne. You’ll explore the practice of historicised readings of early modern texts and you’ll consider the related challenges and limitations. You’ll have one hour of lectures and two hours of seminars each week.
Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.
Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910

You will explore a wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples from fiction, critical writing, poetry and drama. It will examine changes in literary forms and genres over this period, as well as looking at the contested transition between Victorianism and Modernism. The module is organised around a number of interrelated themes, to include empire and race, class and crime, identity and social mobility, gender and sexuality, and literature and consumerism.

Modern and Contemporary Literature

This module will familiarise you with relevant aesthetic, generic, and literary-historical strategies for tracing formal and thematic transformations in 20th and 21st century literature. Moving between genres, the module will unfold chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war years, and into the 'contemporary scene' up to the present day.

English Language and Applied Linguistics

Language in Society
This module provides a broad introduction to sociolinguistic theory. You will investigate: the role that language has to play in constructing and reflecting cultural identities theories of language variation across and within communities the role of the English language in the world the specific role of Standard English within British contexts You will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of sociolinguistics, combining theoretical linguistics and practical methodological investigation. You’ll have a two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar each week.
The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning
This module will introduce you to theories and practice of second language learning, enabling you to develop an in-depth understanding of the process in various settings. Topics that are covered include: zone of proximal development, classroom interaction, collaborative learning, learning styles, and classroom methodology. You will spend around three hours in a workshop each week.
Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.
Language Development

You’ll explore how English is learnt from making sounds as an infant through to adulthood. Topics relating to early speech development include: the biological foundations of language development, the stages of language acquisition and the influence of environment on development. Further topics which take into account later stages of development include humour and joke telling abilities, story-telling and conversational skills and bilingualism.

Literary Linguistics

This pod explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through practical analysis and interactive tasks, you will consider a variety of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose and drama from a wide range of historical periods.  

You will: 

  • critically apply and evaluate key approaches to language and literature 
  • investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation
  • consider the scope and validity of stylistics, in relation to literature and literary studies 

Medieval languages and literatures

Chaucer and his Contemporaries
In this module you’ll be introduced to the exceptionally rich period of writing in English at the end of the fourteenth and turn of the fifteenth century. It will focus on the so-called ‘Ricardian’ poets, Chaucer (selected Canterbury Tales, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Good Women), Langland (excerpts from Piers Plowman), Gower (excerpts from Confessio Amantis) and the Gawain-poet (Patience). You’ll also discuss Thomas Hoccleve’s early poems, and the prose works of the female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. You’ll have an hour-long lecture and two one-hour seminars weekly for this module.
Old English: Reflection and Lament
This module explores the tradition that the poetry and prose of Old English often focuses on warfare and heroic action. You will study and analyse poems from the Exeter Book 'elegies' and also passages from Beowulf to explore this rich and rewarding genre. You'll have a two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar each week for this module.
Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North

In this module you will study and analyse the key texts of old Norse myth and legend from which popular stories come, along with pictorial versions in wood and stone from throughout the Viking world. You’ll explore the development of Norse myth and legend from the Viking Age, through medieval Christian Iceland, and into more recent times.

Names and Identities

What can given names, surnames and nicknames tell us about people in the past? What determines the choice of a name for a child? Where does our hereditary surname system come from? How have place, class and gender impacted upon naming through time? This module will help you answer all these questions and more. Interactive lectures and seminars, and a project based on primary material tailored to each participant, will introduce you to the many and varied, fascinating and extraordinary types of personal name and their origins.

Drama and Performance

Stanislavski to Stelarc: Performance Practice and Theory
This module helps you develop your understanding of the theory and practice of theatre and performance from the beginnings of the twentieth century through to the present day. Building on the work encountered in Introduction to Drama, you will move forward from naturalism to consider the work of influential theorists and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht, Meyerhold, Barba, Schechner, Boal, Artaud, Berkoff, Grotowski, Jarry and the futurists, whose work has had a major impact on theatre and performance in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries . You’ll have a mix of lectures and workshops totalling three hours per week for this module.
Twentieth Century Plays

This module aims to provide you with an overview of key plays and performances from the 1890s to the present, placing those texts in their original political, social, and cultural contexts and considering their subsequent reception and afterlife. You’ll focus on the textual and performance effects created in those key texts, by writers such as Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee, and will be encouraged to situate those texts alongside the work of relevant theorists and practitioners.

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage
This module offers an in-depth exploration of the historical and theatrical contexts of early modern drama. This module invites students to explore the stagecraft of innovative and provocative works by Shakespeare and key contemporaries, such as Middleton, Johnson, and Ford (amongst others). Students will explore how practical performance elements such as staging, props, costume and music shape meaning. You’ll have one hour-long lecture and one two-hour long seminar each week, with occasional screenings.
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Your third year is spent in Germany or Austria doing one of the following:

  • studying at one of our exchange universities
  • teaching on the British Council assistantship programme
  • undertaking a work placement with a company

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

German

Everyone takes the same language classes, graduating at the same level.

You will also study optional modules from the areas of:

  • literature
  • history
  • politics
  • society
  • media
  • linguistics

English

You will choose optional modules across at least two areas.

German core module

German 3

This advanced German language module will further enhance your practical command and effective understanding in writing, reading, listening and speaking. Working with the support of native speakers, we will use seminar time to engage in class discussions as well as work on texts and practise writing skills in a variety of registers.

You are encouraged to reflect on your year abroad. We will also work on translation skills in this module. Classes will use a variety of authentic German texts to develop your translation skills towards professional standards for translation into English.

German optional modules

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

Mythology in German Literature

Literature uses ancient mythology as a rich source to describe powerful emotions, cunning politics or psychological drama. This module will explore how selected German writers engage with the myth of Medea, the powerful wife of Jason who – according to the Classical myth - kills the sons she loves to hurt Jason.

We will look at how the myth is used, changed and reinvented in texts written between 1926 and 1998. We will consider theoretical writings on mythology and also look at the the Medea myth in paintings, film, theatre and music.

German Studies: Dissertation

This module involves in-depth study of a topic in German Studies, and will normally relate to a second year German module. Teaching will consist of regular individual consultations with a designated tutor. Possible topics could include linguistics (e.g. the use of Anglicisms in German), German cinema, German history, theatre, literature, gender studies, Heimat. The dissertation may be 10 or 20 credits, depending on what is most appropriate for the student’s individual programme of study. A 10 credit dissertation is 4,000 words in length, and a 20 credit dissertation is 7,000 words. Dissertations may be written in English or in German.

German Colonialism: History, Literature, Memory

Although Germany only had overseas colonies between 1884 and 1918, German, Austrian and Swiss involvement in European colonial history permeates literature and culture to the present day.

This module uses short novels, stories and poems written between 1800 and the present to look at a range of themes in German postcolonial studies: for example, the exotic fascination with Africa; slavery and Afro-German history; anti-colonialism and nostalgia for Germany’s lost empire; political anti-imperialism and anti-racism; the German writing of African immigrants; and the rise since the 1990s of a critical postcolonial memory of Germany’s often forgotten colonial history.

Vergangenheitsbewaltigung und Nationale Identitat: Geschichte und Gedachtnis nach dem Holocaust

This module will examine historical, political and philosophical approaches to the concept of national identity between divided and post-unification Germany concentrating on the changing relationships between the articulation of conventional patriotism and self-critical reflection on National Socialism.

Translating Culture: Cultural Issues in Translating between English and German

The module examines the problems inherent in translating source-culturally significant materials. Cultural transfer is considered in both directions (English-German and German-English).

The module focuses on two areas of cultural transfer: in literature and in TV- and film scripts. The module is assessed in English.

Twentieth Century German Theatre: From Avant-garde to Virtual World

This module looks at how German-language theatre has responded to the challenge of new forms of media. We will draw on theoretical writings on the theatre and will reflect on such issues as agency and identity, the nature of historical material, the status of the audience and the challenge of new technologies. We will read five formally innovative plays from 1927 to 2000,— one called ‘Offending the Audience’, another in which 10,000 feet of film footage were used in the premiere, one a harrowing portrayal of the events of Holocaust, and one a reality TV-style live soap opera, put on over seven weeks in its premiere.

English optional modules

Literature, 1500 to the present

The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century

The years from 1660 to 1830 are enormously important, especially in terms of the representation of the self in literature: Milton promoted the idea of the poet inspired by God; Pope and Swift mocked the possibility of anyone truly knowing their self; Wordsworth used poetry to explore his own life; and Byron and Austen provided ironic commentaries on the self-obsessions of their peers. This period also saw the rise of the novel (a form that relies upon telling the story of lives), a flourishing trade in biography, and the emergence of new genre, autobiography. This module will look at some of the most significant works of the period with particular reference to the relationship between writers and their worlds. Topics might include: the emergence, importance and limitations of life-writing; self- fashioning; the construction – and deconstruction - of the ‘Romantic’ author’; transmission and revision; translation and imitation; ideas of the self and gender; intertextuality, adaptation, and rewriting; creating and destroying the past; and writing revolution. Texts studied will range across poems, novels and prose.

Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics

This module introduces participants to key modern and contemporary poets, equipping them with a detailed understanding of how various poetic forms manifest themselves in particular historical moments. Unifying the module is an attention to poets’ responses to the political and ideological upheavals of the twentieth century.

Beginning with Yeats and Eliot, the module will include such (primarily) British and Irish poets as W.B. Yeats, W. H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Wislawa Szymborska, Tony Harrison, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Adrienne Rich, Geoffrey Hill, Jo Shapcott, Patience Agbabi and Alice Oswald. Some of the forms examined will include: the elegy, the pastoral (and anti-pastoral), the ode, the sonnet (and sonnet sequence), the ekphrastic poem, the version or retelling, the villanelle, the parable and the sestina.

In order to develop a more complete perspective on each poet’s engagement with twentieth-century formal and political problems, we will also examine these figures’ writings in other modes – critical essays, manifestos, speeches and, where permitted, primary archival materials such as letters and manuscript drafts. Grounding each week will be readings on poetry and the category of the ‘political’ from an international group of critics, including such thinkers as Theodor Adorno, Charles Bernstein, Claudia Rankine, Peter McDonald, Angela Leighton, Christopher Ricks and Marjorie Perloff. 

Single-Author Study

This stranded module provides students with a detailed introduction to the major works of a single author (e.g. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence). Students will select one author to study from a range on offer. They will then have the opportunity to consider in detail important thematic and stylistic aspects of their chosen author’s work, taking account of the chronological development of his/her writing practice (if relevant), and his/her relationship to key historical and literary contexts.

The Gothic Tradition

This module focuses on the diverse connections between literary texts, politics, and relevant historical / cultural contexts in texts from the dystopian and gothic traditions. Poetry, novels, graphic novels, and films may be covered, and there is potential to examine works in other media as well. The goal of the module is to consider the extent to which a range of texts from two exciting and interrelated traditions intervene in diverse political, philosophical, and theological debates. Students will also explore various critical and theoretical approaches to literature, film, comics, adaptation, and popular culture.

Island and Empire
While the vexed questions of British identity and its relationship to empire have been at the forefront of political debate in the last decade, they have also been integral to literary production for many centuries. This module interrogates English and British representations of colonisation and empire, within Great Britain and Ireland and with particular reference to India. Well known writers such as Edmund Spenser, Jonathan Swift, Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and Salman Rushdie, will be set against less familiar voices, to consider the ways in which dominant narratives come about and can be challenged.
Oscar Wilde and Henry James: British Aestheticism and Commodity Culture

This module will use the writings of Oscar Wilde and Henry James and some of their contemporaries to examine changes which took place in literary culture and the practices of literary composition in the late 19th century. Topics to be explored will include: the role of new technology in literary creativity; the growth of mass and 'celebrity' culture, the development of consumerism and consequent commodification of literary art; the changing relationship of art to politics; anxieties about artistic originality and its obverse, plagiarism; and attempts (via censorship) to police literary expressivity. Students will study a range of texts by Wilde and James (drama, fiction and criticism), and these will be compared with pieces by a number of their contemporaries (including Walter Pater and William Morris) with a view to assessing both the modernity and radicalism of their writings.

Modern Irish Literature and Drama

This module will consider Irish literature and drama produced in the twentieth century. Taking the Irish Literary Revival as a starting-point we will consider authors in their Irish and European context: W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Lady Gregory, James Joyce, Seán O'Casey, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, and Marina Carr. The focus throughout will be upon reading texts in relation to their social, historical, and political contexts, tracking significant literary and cultural responses to Irish experiences of colonial occupation, nationalist uprising and civil war, partition and independence, socio-economic modernisation, and the protracted period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland.

Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688

Literature and Drama across the early modern period contributed to, and was often caught up in, dramatic changes in social, political, and religious culture which changed the way that people experienced their lives and the world around them. This module gives students the opportunity to read a wide range of texts in a multitude of genres (from drama, to prose fiction, pamphlets and poetry) in their immediate contexts, both cultural and intellectual. This module will situate the poetry, prose and drama between 1580 and 1700 against the backdrops of civil war and political revolution, scientific experimentation, and colonial expansion; in doing so, it will ask how the seventeenth century forms our current understandings of the world. Students will be encouraged to read widely, to develop a specific and sophisticated understanding of historical period, and to see connections and changes in literary and dramatic culture in a period which stretches from the Spanish Armada of 1588 to the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

Songs and Sonnets: Lyric poetry from Medieval Manuscript to Shakespeare and Donne

Through the exploration of lyric poetry, this module examines cultural and literary change from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. It will consider the rise of ‘named poet’, the interaction of print and manuscript culture, the representation of love, and the use of the female voice. It will develop further students’ confidence in handling formal poetic terminology and reading poetry from this period. It will also enable students to think pragmatically about the transmission of lyric in modern editions, and about how best to represent the form.

Contemporary Fiction

The focus of the module is the novel from the late twentieth century onwards, in Britain and beyond. Discussion will concentrate on the formal operations and innovations of selected novelists, and will be underpinned by a consideration of how the contemporary socio-historical context influences these questions of form. Indicative topics include: an interrogation of the ‘post-consensus novel’; an exploration of postcolonial texts which seek to represent the transatlantic slave trade; and the cultural politics of late twentieth-century and twenty-first century Scottish literature.Contemporary Fiction is focused on writing emergent from Britain and closely-related contexts in the post-war period. The module offers strands structured around a number of political, social and cultural frameworks in Britain. These include, but are not limited to:              

  • Formal analysis and literary innovations in Britain
  • Temporalities and the representation of time
  • Issues of gender, race and class
  • Histories of colonialism and slavery
  • National traditions and politics of state
  • The country and the city
  • Postmodernism

This module is particularly attentive to the network of relationships between context, content and form, supported by related literary and cultural theory and philosophy.

One and Unequal: World Literatures in English

This module examines the late twentieth and early twenty-first century globe through its correlates in fiction. The primary materials for the module will be post-war Anglophone works drawn from a wide geographical range across the world. After introducing the history of the idea of world literature, these works will be situated within a series of theoretical ‘worlds’: world literary systems; post-colonial criticism; cosmopolitanism; world ecologies; resource culture; literary translation theory. The module will also attend to critiques of 'world literature’ as a concept.

English language and applied linguistics

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the process of English Language Teaching (ELT) and of the theoretical underpinnings of this practice. In this module students will learn the principles behind the learning and teaching of key aspects and skills of English, including:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • reading
  • writing
  • speaking
  • listening
  • intercultural communicative skills

Students will also learn how to apply these theoretical principles to the development of teaching materials. This module will therefore be of interest to students who want to pursue a teaching career, and in particular to those interested in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

Language and the Mind

Speaking, listening, reading, and writing are a complex set of behaviors that are a fundamental part of our daily lives, yet they remain difficult to fully explain. In an attempt to explain them, this module will look at:

  • how people understand written and spoken language;
  • how people produce language; and
  • how language (both a first and a second language) is acquired.
Advanced Stylistics

This is an advanced course in the linguistic analysis of literary texts and reading. Building on the revised Level 2 'Literary Linguistics' course, the module bridges the gap between literary and linguistics aspects of the BA degrees. The course emphasises in particular aspects of literary style, from a readerly, perspective as well as adding a historical dimension to the study of style. There is also an emphasis on the practical application of literary linguistic pedagogy, in accordance with the educational and applied linguistic traditions of the discipline.

Language and Feminism

This module provides students with comprehensive knowledge of feminist theory as applied to a series of language and linguistic contexts. Students will engage with a range of analytical approaches to language, including conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, and interactional sociolinguistics. Students will respond to and critically engage with contemporary real-world problems associated with gender and sexuality through the consideration of discourse-based texts. Topics will include gender and sexual identity construction in a range of interactive contexts, as well as sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and heteronormative representations in texts. Students will engage with feminist theory from the 1970s to the current day, with particular focus on contemporary approaches to gender theory.

Medieval languages and literatures

English Place-Names

The module employs the study of place-names to illustrate the various languages - British, Latin, French, Norse and English - that have been spoken in England over the last 2000 years. You will learn in particular how place-name evidence can be used as a source for the history of English: its interaction with the other languages, its regional and dialectal patterns, and its changing vocabulary. The interdisciplinary contribution that place-names offer to historians and geographers is also considered. Part of the module's assessment can be directed at a geographical area of particular interest to the student.

Old English Heroic Poetry
This module gives an opportunity to those who already have a basic knowledge of Old English language and literature to explore some of the astonishing range of texts from the earliest stages of English literature. The texts studied are heroic and Christian. Themes include Germanic myth and legend, heroic endeavour, Christian passion. A study of the epic poem Beowulf — its characters, its themes, its ‘meaning’ — is essential to the module. Texts are read in Old English (with plenty of help given).
Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England

The genre of dream-vision inspired work by all the major poets of the Middle Ages, including William Langland, the Pearl-Poet, and Geoffrey Chaucer. The course will aim to give you a detailed knowledge of a number of canonical texts in this genre, as well as ranging widely into the alliterative revival, and chronologically into the work of John Skelton in the early sixteenth century. The course will depend upon close, detailed reading of medieval literary texts, as well as focusing on the variety and urgency of issues with which dream poetry is concerned: literary, intellectual, social, religious and political.

Songs and Sonnets: Lyric poetry from Medieval Manuscript to Shakespeare and Donne

Through the exploration of lyric poetry, this module examines cultural and literary change from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. It will consider the rise of ‘named poet’, the interaction of print and manuscript culture, the representation of love, and the use of the female voice. It will develop further students’ confidence in handling formal poetic terminology and reading poetry from this period. It will also enable students to think pragmatically about the transmission of lyric in modern editions, and about how best to represent the form.

The Viking Mind

The module will explore various aspects of Norse and Viking cultural history using an interdisciplinary approach grounded in the study of texts. Topics covered will include Gender and Status, Migration and Diaspora, Religion and Belief(s), The Supernatural, Orality and Literacy, Geography and the Other.1-hour lectures will provide the evidence base for discussion of these topics in 2-hour student-led seminars. The seminars will also include some language work.Assessment will be by a 1-hour exam of comment and analysis and a 3000-word project on a topic devised by the student in consultation with a tutor.

Drama and performance

Modern Irish Literature and Drama

This module will consider Irish literature and drama produced in the twentieth century. Taking the Irish Literary Revival as a starting-point we will consider authors in their Irish and European context: W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Lady Gregory, James Joyce, Seán O'Casey, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, and Marina Carr. The focus throughout will be upon reading texts in relation to their social, historical, and political contexts, tracking significant literary and cultural responses to Irish experiences of colonial occupation, nationalist uprising and civil war, partition and independence, socio-economic modernisation, and the protracted period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland.

Performing the Nation: British Theatre since 1980

This module introduces a range of new plays and performances staged in the British Isles between 1980 and the present day, with a particular focus on the ways in which the theatre of the period has engaged with questions of nation and identity in the period which saw the fall of Thatcher and the rise of New Labour, the peace process in Northern Ireland, increasing devolution in Wales and Scotland, and the London 7/7 attacks as well as the celebrations of the 2012 London Olympics. Most recently of all the UK's EU referendum of 2016 has prompted reflection on our national, regional and local identities across and within the UK, and we finish the module by looking at how theatre makers and practitioners have begun to respond to these challenges.

Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art

The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen major changes in the way theatre is financed, produced, and presented, on stage and on screen. This module delves into the fascinating world of theatre production, beginning with late nineteenth-century actor-managers and the development of long-running, commercial productions and moving through subsidised theatre, touring and national theatre companies, reviewing and disseminating cultures, and the advent of the mega-musical. Attending to the mainstream and the fringes, the module utilises case studies including Shakespeare in production, new plays, revivals and international hits such as Les Miserables and Hamilton, to illustrate how theatre responds to changing contexts and audiences. 

Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688

Literature and Drama across the early modern period contributed to, and was often caught up in, dramatic changes in social, political, and religious culture which changed the way that people experienced their lives and the world around them. This module gives students the opportunity to read a wide range of texts in a multitude of genres (from drama, to prose fiction, pamphlets and poetry) in their immediate contexts, both cultural and intellectual. This module will situate the poetry, prose and drama between 1580 and 1700 against the backdrops of civil war and political revolution, scientific experimentation, and colonial expansion; in doing so, it will ask how the seventeenth century forms our current understandings of the world. Students will be encouraged to read widely, to develop a specific and sophisticated understanding of historical period, and to see connections and changes in literary and dramatic culture in a period which stretches from the Spanish Armada of 1588 to the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

English Dissertation

Joint Honours students have the option of writing an individual research project in their final year in the School of English.

This will give you the chance to work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor on an agreed area of study to produce a detailed and sustained piece of writing.

This can be on a topic of language, literature or performance, or there is the option of undertaking a project-based dissertation, which will suit those students interested in applied or 'hands on' aspects of English as a discipline.

The topics available build on the School’s engagement with local theatres and literacy projects.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

For voluntary placements (such as work experience or teaching in schools) you will need to pay your own travel and subsistence.

Year Abroad

The current tuition fees to be paid to the university during the Year Abroad stand at £1,385.

You will continue to receive a maintenance loan from Student Finance throughout the Year Abroad and may well receive other means of income. Depending on what you choose to do (i.e. study, work, or teach English) throughout the year, you may also receive a fixed income from your employer.

Costs incurred during the year abroad include travel and accommodation, though some funding may be available to support travel costs exceeding £300 (check Year Abroad team).

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 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

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

You will have developed a range of transferable skills including the ability to:

  • communicate effectively in both German and English
  • construct a logical argument and to think independently

You will also have a sophisticated understanding of Anglophone and Germanic literatures.

Your command of German will allow you to work comfortably in a variety of complex linguistic environments and through your year abroad you will demonstrate that you're adaptable and independent.

Find out more about career development and opportunities for German and English students.

Average starting salary and career progression

76.7% of undergraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,668*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

 

89.3% of undergraduates from the School of English secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22, 441.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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 consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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" I very much like that the University has a Language Centre which language students can work in. As part of an initiative run by the Language Centre, I now have a tandem partner so I can practise my German with a native speaker. "
Carina Farrell, BA German

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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.