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Course overview

We all communicate. And we are all communicated to. This degree gives you a chance to think about, analyse and understand media and communication. You'll look at issues globally but also within a specific German context.

International media and communications

Explore technology, content and formats - what we use, what we say and how we say it. Just as importantly you'll look at the impact - how individuals, groups and societies engage with different forms of media and communication.

German

You can start the degree with A-level German or as a beginner. Whichever pathway you take you'll build your language skills to near-native competence by the end. You will also study culture, history and politics to get a full appreciation of the German-speaking world.

Your third year will be spent abroad in Germany or Austria. This exciting experience develops your communication skills and really helps you stand out to future employers.

Your departments

This joint honours degree is a collaboration between two departments. Find out more about what it’s like to study in the:

Why choose this course?

  • Spend a year abroad immersing yourself in German language and culture
  • Creative Student Network opportunities - practical skills, internships, guest speakers, networking
  • Set yourself up for job opportunities in one of the world's largest economies and a country at the heart of European politics
  • Take part in work placements and internships
  • Benefit from skills development and approaches of two different subjects

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level ABB
Required subjects

For German:

  • A level pathway - B in A level
  • Beginners' pathway - no language qualification required
IB score 32

DDM at BTEC; open to beginners and A level students of German

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.

Foundation progression options

If you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level, you may be eligible for our Foundation Year. You may progress to a range of direct entry degrees in the arts and humanities. 

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

With such a diverse range of modules across both subjects you'll encounter a wide variety of teaching methods.

You'll be part of large lectures, small seminars and individual tutorials - some will be in person and some will be online.

You'll work in groups on projects and presentations but also be responsible for doing a large amount of individual study.

The majority of the language teaching you will experience on this degree will be led by native speakers.

Teaching quality and support

We work hard at our teaching and students recognise this. In the past five years the two departments have:

  • been awarded nine Lord Dearing awards - nominated by students and peers to acknowledge outstanding teaching
  • both consistently achieved over 90% recognition that staff are good at explaining things in the National Student Survey

If you have worries abut your work we won't wait for them to become problems. You'll have a personal tutor from one department and a Joint Honours advisor from the other. They will support your academic progress and help find solutions to any issues.

"As a personal tutor, I work with you on your academic progress, but I also have a pastoral role with regards to your well-being. I see how you get on across all your modules, which enables discussions about you as an individual."

Dr Gabriele Neher, Senior Tutor, Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Placements

How you will be assessed

A combination of essays and exams are the norm for most modules. Weekly reading summaries, presentations, portfolios and online quizzes may also be used by individual lecturers depending on the module.

Following your year abroad your improved language skills and cultural understanding will be assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

The minimum weekly scheduled contact time you will have is:

  • Year one - 12 hours
  • Year two - 10 hours
  • Year three - 8 hours

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 help you study and develop. This can be in-person or online.

As well as your timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive independent study. This will include course reading and seminar preparation. A typical 20 credit module involves three to four hours of lectures and seminars per week.

Your lecturers will be members of our academic staff in Modern Languages and Cultural, Media and Visual Studies many of whom are internationally recognised in their fields.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. Typically,

  • a lecture will have around 50 to 100 students
  • a weekly seminar will have 15 to 20 students

Study abroad

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

  • a programme of studies in a higher education institution
  • working as an assistant in a school
  • a work placement

For full details of destinations, finance and impact of Brexit see our dedicated Year Abroad page.

Placements

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

We have long established links with Nottingham’s dynamic arts community and offers excellent opportunities for students to gain valuable professional experience.

Creative Student Network (CSN)

The CSN helps develop the skills and experience to develop careers in the creative industries.

  • Workshops with leading industry partners
  • Internships with major US and UK film, television and marketing companies, including Disney and the Art Directors Guild, Los Angeles and Red Bee Creative, London

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

Why study two subjects?

The benefits of doing a joint honours degree.

Modules

We know everyone comes from a variety of backgrounds and experiences so our first year:

  • ensures you have the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive
  • is designed to help you connect to and build relationships with your fellow students

You'll study a combination of:

  • core modules that develop essential knowledge and skills for later years
  • optional modules that allow you to study areas that particularly interest you

Your German modules will vary depending on your existing knowledge of the language.

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core module

All students take this module.

Questioning Culture

This module will support you in your first year as you make the transition into degree level work. You will gain a variety of skills in independent and collaborative learning with the aid of guided and self-directed learning tasks and individual and group research projects. All of which will prepare the ground for subsequent research training and your final year dissertation. This module is worth 20 credits.

German modules

Post-A level pathway

Core modules
German 1

Designed for students with an A level in German, this module will build on the skills you already have and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level German.

We'll be using structured course materials and textbooks but believe it's important to use as many 'real life' examples as possible, so we'll be looking at magazines, websites and television programmes as well.

In class you'll work on all the key language skills: reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, translation exercises and writing texts such as essays and summaries.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress with understanding written and spoken German in a variety of contexts. You'll also be able to write essays on a contemporary social issue and conduct a discussion of an academic topic in German.

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

You'll take two modules from this group.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Beginners' pathway

German 1: Beginners

This is where it all begins. Designed for absolute beginners (those with GCSE German are also welcome), this module is going to get you started on your exciting journey towards German fluency.

From the very first session, you'll be immersed in the German language. We use a structured course following a textbook but believe it's important to use as much 'real life' material as possible, so we'll be looking at real German articles and websites right from the beginning.

In class you'll work on all the key language skills: reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, and writing short texts such as emails and essays.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress with understanding written German in a variety of everyday contexts, and you'll also be able to engage in social conversation.

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.

International Media and Communications Studies modules

You'll take one module from each group.

Group A

Media and Society
In this module you will critically examine the social forces that have shaped different media, focussing on the press, broadcasting, the internet, and film & television. You will explore key debates surrounding the development, composition and function of these different media forms, and examine the social, political, economic and cultural conditions that shaped their evolution.
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to understanding the production, content and reception of media messages and representations, with a particular focus on the social and political role of the mass media.
This module is worth 20 credits.
Communication and Culture

We live in culture and we communicate with each other every day, online and offline. What is communication? How is it shaped by culture? In this module, you will learn theories on communication, media and culture. These theories include Marxism, structuralism, poststructuralism, feminism, queer theory, postcolonialism, critical race studies and digital media studies. They will enable you to look at society and culture with fresh eyes and use media and communication more self-consciously. You will be aware of how social structures and power relations shape media and communication practices, and what we can do as individuals and social groups to challenge these structures and relations. Eventually, you will use these theories to critically analyse a wide range of media and cultural texts and practices such as film, television, journalism, advertising, popular culture and social media. This module is worth 20 credits.

Group B

Cultures of Everyday Life

While we may take the idea of our daily lives for granted, they are filled with 'realities' and phenomena that exceed our abilities to account for them: associating it with routine, familiar and repeated experiences, our everyday lives are, simultaneously, punctuated by the exceptional, the random and the disruptive. This module explores the cultural theory of everyday life, and covers the work of key theorists Michel de Certeau and Henri Lefebvre. You will be introduced to methods for representing everyday life in arts and media. You will also look at a wide range of attempts to register daily existence, including the modernist novel, photography, film, time capsules, poetry, video diaries and comics. This module is worth 20 credits.

Communication and Technology

This module takes a detailed look at debates around the impact of new information and communications technologies such as the internet, digital TV, and mobile and wireless communications on processes of communication. The module emphasises the social, economic and political implications of information communication technology adoption, such as the ongoing 'digital divide' between the information-rich and -poor. It also investigates issues surrounding human-machine interaction, exploring the reshaping of communication forms and practices together with notions of posthumanism and cyberbodies.

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 05 February 2021.

The second year is again a balance between core and optional modules.

Your language skills will be developed to prepare for your Year Abroad and you will get training in research skills ready for your final year dissertation.

You must pass year two in order to progress to year three. Your second-year marks count one third towards your final degree classification.

German modules

Post-A level pathway

Core module
German 2

This module will build on the German language and cultural skills you developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level German. We're going to take you to the next level and by the end of this module you'll be ready to spend time living in a German-speaking country.

We'll focus on getting you confident in your German reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities. In addition, we will develop translation skills into and out of the target language. In class we'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts, including journalistic articles, videos, clips from TV programmes and news items.

Optional modules

 

The Life and Demise of the GDR

This module investigates GDR society over four decades of communist rule and considers social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. We will examine the principles of communist ideology that the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimise as the only viable alternative to fascism. We will also look at how people negotiated their lives within officially imposed ideological structures. Finally we will look at how a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR triggered the disintegration of communist power structures.

Media in Germany

This module explores the history of print and broadcasting in Germany from 1933 to the 1990s, and investigates 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. You 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.

Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud

In this module we will examine a selection of 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 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.

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.

Contemporary Translation Studies

Explore possible career avenues and gain practical experience in this interesting module which will show you how to apply your language learning to translation.

You'll gain a good understanding of the key concepts of translation theory, including equivalence, text type and skopos alongside linguistic theories such as register and relevance.

With these theories under your belt, you'll be guided through their application to your own translations. We'll work on the translation of a variety of texts to help you strengthen and embed your new skills.

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.

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)
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.

Beginners' pathway

Core modules
German 2 - Beginners

Now that you've gained good German language skills by completing Beginners' German, we're going to take you to the next level. By the end of this course, you'll be ready to spend time living in a German-speaking country.

Working at a steady pace, we'll focus on getting you confident in your German reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities, encouraging you to push yourselves to gain the best German skills possible.

In class we'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts, including journalistic articles, poems and short stories, videos, clips from TV programmes and news items.

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
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.

The Life and Demise of the GDR

This module investigates GDR society over four decades of communist rule and considers social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. We will examine the principles of communist ideology that the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimise as the only viable alternative to fascism. We will also look at how people negotiated their lives within officially imposed ideological structures. Finally we will look at how a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR triggered the disintegration of communist power structures.

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.

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.

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)
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.
Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud

In this module we will examine a selection of 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 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 investigates 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. You 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.

International Media and Communications Studies modules

Core module

Researching Media and Culture

For this year-long core research module you'll spend two hours a week in lectures and workshops to become familiar with different approaches to investigating research topics which interest you. This will include learning about and trying out first-hand a range of research methods and techniques commonly applied in ethnographic, historical and textual study, and determining their suitability for different projects. You’ll learn about the kinds of research that a range of industry professionals from diverse sectors within the media, creative, entertainment and heritage industries pursue, and have opportunities to reflect on how you could incorporate that learning into your own research. You'll also investigate the interdisciplinary nature of culture, film, media, the arts and critical digital studies and demonstrate this knowledge by choosing your own research project and methods. This module is worth is 20 credits.

Optional modules

You'll take two modules from this group.

Political Communication, Public Relations and Propaganda

This module explores the evolution of political communication from the turn of the 20th century and considers its links to the emergence of modern public relations. Starting with the influential work of Edward Bernys, widely considered as the father of modern public relations, we will consider how PR has developed and how its tactics and practices have increasingly been co-opted by modern politicians. The module examines the promotional strategies employed by political parties in campaign cycles and during non-election periods, strategies sometimes described as news management and 'spin'. This module will also look at the history of modern propaganda campaigns from their early origins during the First and Second World Wars, through to more contemporary examples.

Understanding Cultural Industries

In this module you'll learn how show business is broken down into 'show' and 'business' in film, television and promotional industries and examine how creative decision-making, technology and legislation influence those industries. You'll also learn about how advertising and market research influence the design and production of media in certain regions and how film and television industries have developed in different contexts and periods. This module is worth 20 credits.

Transnational Media

In this module you'll learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. The module addresses in particular global media interactions emerging from tensions between forces of cultural homogenisation and heterogenisation. You'll also develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media. This module is worth 20 credits.

Media Identities: Who We Are and How We Feel

This module develops critical modes of attention to the mediation of identity. On our screens and in our headphones, we shape and reshape our selves. Media do not reflect identities but play an active role in bringing them into being. This module takes up the question of 'identity politics', enhancing students' knowledge and understanding of key identity categories that have been advanced and problematized by media scholars, such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, national, regional and local belonging, age, ability and disability, and more. The module also interrogates the mediated forms these identities take, considering the politics of looking and visual culture, the politics of hearing and auditory culture, and the politics of affect, emotions and embodiment. The module encourages historical as well as contemporary perspectives.

Digital Communication and Media

Digital communication and media are significantly transforming the ways our societies operate. In this module you will critically explore key issues behind this transformation, and investigate theoretical and practical foundations of digital communication and media and their relationship to contemporary culture. You will study the cultural, political, economic, technical and regulatory contexts from which digital communication and media have emerged and in which they continue to operate. To link conceptual frameworks to real-life experiences and situations, the module also provides opportunities for you to explore the interactive forms and practices that result from the use of digital communication and media through a range of both individual and group activities. This module is worth 20 credits.

Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context

During this year-long module you'll think about industries, audiences and surrounding debates from a social and cultural viewpoint. You'll learn about the way that social and cultural meaning is produced by film and television programmes and explore the social practices that surround the consumption of media, such as movie going and television viewing.

Memory, Media and Visual Culture

Media, TV, film and visual culture play a central role in forming our knowledge of the past. There is no memory without its representation in language or images. Using a range of case studies, you will explore how different forms of remembrance add weight to what they represent. Who remembers what, when, where, why and to what purpose? Why do screen and other media retell certain stories over and over again, and how is such remembrance linked to the erasure of other pasts? What is the relationship between national and transnational memories, when set against memories of enslavement and its visualisations? These, and other questions, will guide our approach to an interdisciplinary field of media, film and visual studies. The module will also encourage you to reflect critically on regimes of visibility and narration, and on the distinct ways that memories of certain events are communicated via different genres, institutions, and artefacts. This module is worth 20 credits.

Art and Architecture in Nottingham

A vital introduction to the first-hand study of art and architecture.

Through a series of weekly site visits you’ll explore:

  • space - residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, ceremonial
  • function - art galleries, streets, churches, factories, monuments, municipal buildings, museums, private estates, public parks
  • identity - civic, familial, institutional, political, religious

We’ll examine how these change as a city develops and ask important questions about heritage and conservation.

The on-site study will be supported by archival material from Manuscripts and Special Collections. This might include architectural drawings, guide books, maps, newspapers, pamphlets, and photographs.

Los Angeles Art and Architecture 1945-1980
This module introduces a number of artistic and architectural practices that emerged in Southern California after 1945. Exploring their cultural and historical context, we will consider the role of Los Angeles in the development of post-1945 American art and architecture, including mid-century modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Light & Space Art. Central to this module is the question of whether all art made in Los Angeles can be classified as “Los Angeles Art” – that is, the extent to which the art and architecture of the region necessarily reflected the geographical location, climate, and expansive urban layout of Los Angeles. To this end, we will consider the critical reception of art of this period, investigating, amongst other critical constructs, the notions of centre and periphery, regionalism and the cultural construction of the American west that shaped much writing on California during the period.
Black Art in a White Context: Display, Critique and The Other

You will explore the works and practices of Black artists that have been displayed or produced in Europe and America from the nineteenth century to the present day. This includes how methods of display, tactics of critique and attitudes towards the 'Other' have defined and influenced how Black art is viewed and produced in the Western world.

You will begin by considering nineteenth-century attitudes towards African objects, before exploring the influences of ethnography and African material culture on artists working in the early- to mid-twentieth century, such as the Surrealists. You will then consider artworks produced in the Harlem Renaissance by painters like Aaron Douglas and photographers like James Van Der Zee.

You will then think about how artists like Jeff Donaldson and Faith Ringgold sought to recover African history, culture, and forms of memory in the context of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and how their work responded to the political and social pressures of this period.

Examining the practices of more recent artists like Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, and Kara Walker, you will then explore how artists have critically re-presented history’s narratives in ‘the present’ before focusing on the curatorial works of Fred Wilson.

Finally, you will consider the rise of contemporary African art within European and American art markets, and the related economic and political shifts that have occurred since the colonial era. 

The Sixties: Culture and Counterculture

Described variously as an era of dissent, revolution and experiment, the 1960s offers a unique vantage point from which to explore a range of issues and topics pertinent to media and cultural studies. The art of the period brings into view a volatile world where distinctions between different media were becoming blurred (as in performance art, for instance) and where inherited ideas, hierarchies and values were contested, if not exploded. Notions such as the Establishment, the underground, celebrity, obscenity, mass culture, alongside those of personal identity (gender, race, class, sexuality) were all subject to radical questioning in an era where events, such as those of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, challenged the received order of things. This module critically evaluates the idea of the 1960s, starting with its status as a fabled decade that is said to cast its shadow today. Historiographical and geographical questions structure the module.  When and, crucially, where were ‘the Sixties’? Was it primarily an Anglo-American phenomenon? Was it the 1950s until 1963? Did it end in the early 1970s, as some believe, with the Oz Trials?  These and other questions will help us to demythologise the period and begin investigating it anew.

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on

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

  • a programme of studies in a higher education institution
  • working as an assistant in a school
  • a work placement

For full details of destinations, finance and impact of Brexit see our dedicated Year Abroad page.

The final year consolidates your German language knowledge and skills obtained during your year abroad, and deepens your understanding of German literature, cinema and politics.

You'll complete a dissertation agreed with your supervisor.

You must pass year four which counts two thirds towards your final degree classification.

Core dissertation module

You can do a dissertation specialising in either subject or combine both into a single piece of research.

Dissertation in International Media and Communications Studies

This module gives students the opportunity to work independently on a chosen subject area of their choice, with an appropriate supervisor.

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 (for example, 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 your 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 modules

Core language module

All students take the same module.

German 3

Following your time spent working or studying in Germany or Austria this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency.

We'll continue to improve your four key language skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking through class discussions and the use of relevant texts such as complex newspaper articles, detailed radio and TV programmes and increasingly sophisticated fiction.

You'll also study translation and work towards professional standards giving you a solid grounding for a career or further studies in translation.

Optional modules

You'll take two modules from this group.

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.

Vergangenheitsbewältigung und Nationale Identität: Geschichte und Gedächtnis 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.

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.

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.

Translating Culture: Cultural Issues in Translating between English and German

This 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.

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.

International Media and Communications modules

Optional modules

Self, Sign and Society

This module equips students you with the theoretical tools needed to explore how social identity is both asserted and challenged through the deployment of signs broadly conceived. 'Sign' is understood here primarily with reference to Saussurean linguistics, and the impact of the structuralist and then poststructuralist movements on disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, semiotics, postcolonial theory, cultural studies and visual culture.

  • How does our accent function as a sign of our class origins or cultural sympathies?
  • Does skin colour always function as a social sign?
  • How do the clothes we wear align us with particular lifestyles and ideological positions and how is this transgressed?
  • How has the phenomenon of self-branding colonised our everyday lives?
  • What does our Facebook profile say about how we would like to be read by the wider world? Does the logic of the sign itself exceed what we intend to do with it?
  • How do the signs that construct a social 'self' circulate in the context of new media?
  • Are there psychological costs associated with living in this society of the sign?

This module will address these and other related questions by introducing students to the approaches of thinkers such as Freud and Lacan, Saussure and Greimas, Barthes and Baudrillard, Levi-Strauss and Geertz, Derrida and Bhabha, and Mirzoeff and Mitchell among others.

Mediating Disaster

This module critically evaluates the roles that media play in scenarios of disaster. From war and famine to train crashes and natural disasters, the media play a central role in our understanding of, and imaginative engagement with, disaster. From the disaster movie to documentary photography and news coverage, a variety of media forms regularly link us to the real and imaginary landscapes of disaster, war, conflict and emergency, particularly with the technological expansion of the means of image-making in the 21st century. The module investigates the aesthetics and ethics of representation where disaster is concerned, introducing students to research in fields concerned with the mediatisation of disaster, conflict and emergency.

Global Cinema

This module investigates critical concepts and theoretical work on cinema in global context, and will introduce you to the critical and theoretical models surrounding global production, film texts, distribution and reception. Addressing ways films have been made and seen worldwide, this module locates aspects of global cinema within historical contexts of production and consumption. The module also seeks to untangle such overlapping categories as global cinema, transnational cinema and world cinema. Looking at a range of historical and contemporary cases, you will interrogate a body of films that both serve and challenge the interests of dominant institutions in their producing cultures. This module is worth 20 credits.

Working in the Cultural Industries

The cultural and creative industries are at the forefront of government strategies across the world for developing post-industrial economies, seen as exciting places to work, and regularly feature at the top of graduate employment destinations. But what are these industries, and what is it like to work in them? How do graduates gain entry to these competitive, highly skilled jobs? What is ‘creativity’ and why is it so important to modern economies? And what does the future hold for cultural and creative sectors?

This module combines traditional academic scholarship on the structure, organisation and working patterns in the creative and media industries with practical exercises designed to help identify and evaluate your skills and interests, to help you to find a rewarding and exciting career when you leave university. You will explore issues in the history and theory of contemporary work including key concepts such as creativity, the knowledge economy, precarious labour, and important issues such as internship culture, exploitation and inequality. As well as this, you will also conduct independent research on areas of creative and media work of your choosing. This module is worth 20 credits.

Film and Television Genres

You'll be introduced to the key concepts and theoretical work on specific film genres. Each year, the module investigates a particular genre or cycle such as action cinema, television drama, low-budget film productions and TV movies, and more. Combined with what you have learnt on previous modules, you will look at genre in the context of production and consumption, spending around five hours a week in workshops and seminars.

Screen Encounters: Audiences and Engagement

Through four hours a week studying in workshops and seminars, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of film and television audiences and why they watch media, taking into account the social, political and historical factors that shape audience experiences. The module also reconceptualises media users by exploring interactive media experiences such as videogames and smartphone apps. Finally, you'll conduct an audience research project, gaining skills in running questionnaires and focus groups. This module is worth 20 credits.

Auditory Cultures: Sound, Listening and Everyday Life in the Modern World

This module introduces students to the cultural and social role of sound and listening in everyday life. Scholars have argued that, since the Enlightenment, modern societies have privileged sight over the other senses in their desire to know and control the world. But what of hearing? Until recently, the role of sound in everyday life was a neglected field of study. Yet Jonathan Sterne argues that the emergence of new sound media technologies in the nineteenth century - from the stethoscope to the phonograph - amounted to an 'ensoniment' in modern culture in which listening took centre stage.

Beginning with an examination of the relationship between visual and auditory culture in everyday life, this module introduces a variety of cultural contexts in which sound played an important role, including:

  • how people interact with the sounds of their cities
  • how new sound technologies allowed people to intervene in everyday experience
  • why some sounds (such as music) have been valued over others (such as noise)
  • the role of sound in making and breaking communities
  • the role of sounds in conflict and warfare
  • the importance of sound in film and television from the silent era onwards.

We use a variety of sound sources, such as music and archival sound recordings, in order to understand the significance of sound in everyday life from the late eighteenth century to the present.

Gender, Sexuality and Media

In this module you will examine how issues of gender and sexuality relate to media and popular culture. You will take an advanced inquiry into the intersectional fields of feminism, queer theory, and media and cultural studies. This module also asks some crucial questions: How are gender and sexuality represented in media and popular culture? How do media and cultural industries structure gender and sexual inequalities? How are identities and practices of media audiences and users gendered and sexualised? How can gender and sexual norms be challenged in creative and radical ways? This module is worth 20 credits.

Public Cultures: Protest, Participation and Power

In this module you will explore the relationship between public space, politics and technology, through the lens of multiple overlapping and interdisciplinary fields, including cultural studies, cultural geography, digital studies, urban sociology and cultural politics. You will engage in debates about the changing nature and uses of public space, with an emphasis on urban environments and digital space. A range of protest movements will also provide case-study material and offer a central focus for your theoretical and practical explorations of the role of new technologies in controlling space, resisting control and enabling new forms of civic participation. This module is worth 20 credits.

Teaching Film and Media Studies for Undergraduate Ambassadors

This module is part of 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. You will split your time between the university-based seminar and your allocated school, where you will be placed in an appropriate department as a teaching assistant. You will design and deliver a teaching project aimed at improving pupil understanding of selected aspects of media studies. You will be supported by the module convenor, the education specialist on campus, and the school's contact teacher. The module typically includes fortnightly seminars and seven half-days spent in school. Placements are in secondary schools and Sixth Form or FE colleges.

Photographing America

This module examines the development of photography in America from roughly 1945 onwards. The module breaks the period down into themes and considers:

1. the transformation of ‘documentary’ photograph;

2. the emergence and importance of colour photography;

3. experimental, conceptual and post-conceptual photography;

4. issues of serialism and seriality;

5. landscape photography;

6. the photobook

7. analogue/digital

The module will draw on the work of a diverse range of photographers, including Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ed Ruscha, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Robert Heinecken, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, William Eggleston and Doug Rickard.

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
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 2022/23 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

Essential course materials are supplied.

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts.

A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy.

We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take.

The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (for example Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). You can often buy second-hand copies of textbooks through them as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Year Abroad

Fees

As a Year Abroad student, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

  • Home students: £1,385
  • International students: 50% of the relevant international fee
Costs

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • vaccinations
  • self-funded language courses
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation
Funding

You may be eligible for:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to work or teach during your year abroad. This will be dependent on your course and country-specific regulations. Often students receive a small salary or stipend for these work placements. Working or teaching is not permitted in all countries. More information on your year abroad.

Volunteering and placements

For volunteering and placements, for example work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip; some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

Scholarships and bursaries

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

Home students*

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

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

You will have developed a critical understanding of the creative and cultural industries. This will allow you to explore a variety of careers in those sectors.

Combined with your advanced language skills you'll be well placed to work internationally.

Your skills will be those in demand by most professional organisations:

  • ability to conduct and report on in-depth research
  • think critically and communicate effectively
  • operate independently and as part of a team
  • construct reasoned arguments and be able to defend them
  • have strict attention to detail an be a confident communicator

These skills will make your career:

  • resilient - as the nature of work changes you can adapt
  • flexible - you can choose across different sectors as you develop and grow and opportunities arise

Find out more about skills gained and career destinations:

Key fact

Only 14% of employers state that specific degree subjects are a selection criterion. (Institute of Student Employers recruitment survey 2019)

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.

 

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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" The department has really helped me throughout my years at university by giving me useful and constructive feedback on various different projects as well as helping to guide me through my dissertation process, which can be quite daunting at times! "
Daisy Slater, International Media and Communications Studies and Spanish BA

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Important information

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.