German and Politics BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Jt Hons German and Politics
UCAS code
4 years full-time/year 3 out
A level offer
Open to beginners and A level students of German
Required subjects
B in German at A level, if applicable. No language qualification is required for the beginners' pathway. 
IB score
32; 5 at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B programme) in German for the post-IB pathway.
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
15 (across RL12 and RL22)


This course combines politics with degree-level study in German language. Alongside language modules, you will take core foundational modules dealing with key political issues and optional modules in areas that interest you.
Read full overview

This course, combining politics with degree-level study in German language and culture, is open to beginners in German as well as post-A level students. Beginners’ German students follow an intensive language course designed to take them to degree level within four years, while post-A level students take language classes at an advanced level. Absolute beginners, GCSE, AS (all beginners’ pathway), or A level students (advanced pathway) in German are warmly invited to apply. All students graduate with the same degree, our BA in German and Politics.

You will normally divide your time equally between German and politics, taking core modules in both subjects along with options from a wide range of modules which will allow you to tailor your degree to your own interest. This course offers modules in German language, literature, linguistics, history, politics, culture and film. In politics, you will take a range of options from three core areas: political theory, comparative politics and international relations. At the end of the course, you will have acquired a solid knowledge base in politics as well as an understanding of German history and culture. You’ll also have valuable linguistic, analytical and presentation skills, and your international experience will help you to stand out as a graduate.

Year one 

The German core language course develops the four skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing. Beginners will work intensively on a structured language programme to enable rapid progress. In addition to core German language, you will take a core German Studies module introducing you to the study of German linguistics, literature, history and film. Post-A level German students will take further optional modules focusing on areas of German studies of their choice.

In politics, you will take modules in contemporary political theory, comparative politics and international relations. You will learn to apply and gain a thorough understanding of the history of political ideas.

Year two

Your German language skills will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. In German, you will take modules in literature, history, politics and society. There is additionally a wide choice of modules in German culture, media and linguistics.

In politics, you will take a range of options from three designated 'core' areas: political theory, comparative politics and international relations.

Year three 

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.

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.

Year four 

Former beginners and post-A level students take the same German language classes, and graduate at the same level in German. You will develop your command of German to a high level and use it in increasingly sophisticated contexts. You will also study optional modules drawn from the areas of German literature, history, politics, society, media and linguistics. You may also choose to write a dissertation.

In politics, you may elect to research and write a dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff, and/or take options in political theory, comparative politics and international relations.

More information 

See also the School of Politics & International Relations.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB. No language qualification is required for the beginners' pathway. A level German or equivalent is required for the post-A level pathway.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

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

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

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

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

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


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


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, and at 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 students insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.



German 1

Building on the four skill areas of A-level work (writing, reading, listening and speaking), this module aims to develop students’ command of German towards the level required in year 2. It consolidates students’ understanding of grammatical structures, and improves their spoken and written German. We will work with authentic texts and media including journalistic articles, poems and short stories, videos, clips from TV programmes in German and news items. You will have three contact hours each week including oral classes, and will be assessed in a variety of different exercises including an oral exam, a listening comprehension test, essay writing, translation into English, grammar exercises and a presentation in German.



German 1 - Beginners

This module is designed to take students from absolute beginners to a level commensurate with the A2 level in the European reference framework for language qualifications. At the end of the module, students should be able to comprehend and respond to texts on a range of topics and engage in everyday social conversation. You’ll have 6 contact hours per week on this intensive beginners’ module, working on reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, and writing short texts such as emails and essays in the second semester. 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.



Reading German Literature 1

In this module we study two shorter narratives and a number of poems in depth, providing you with an overview of key literary developments between the 18th century and the present. Authors studied currently include Goethe, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arthur Schnitzler, and Ingeborg Bachmann. Classes combine detailed textual analysis with discussion of literary, cultural and historical contexts. This is therefore both an introduction to literary history and methodology and to German and Austrian cultural history.

Introduction to German Film Studies

This module will provide an introduction to the history of German film-making, focusing on some of the most significant films from the silent period (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari), the late Weimar Republic (M), Nazi Germany (Triumph des Willens) and the post-unification period (Good Bye Lenin!). We will study the development of film styles over the past century and discuss the films’ narratives in relation to developments in German society. The module will also introduce critical tools for the analysis of visual media and discuss a variety of critical approaches in Film Studies.

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.


Linguistics: The Sounds of German

This module investigates the sounds of German and how they can be described accurately (“phonetics and phonology”). Students learn to transcribe German using the notation of the International Phonetic Association. We look in particular at aspects of German pronunciation that are hard to master because they are different to English. We will also look at how foreign words, including English words, are integrated into the German sound system, and at regional variation in spoken German. Developing accurate listening and transcription skills will form a major part of the module, as will improving your own pronunciation.

  • Political Theory from Ancient to Modern

This module introduces students to the ideas of some of the canonical thinkers in the history of political thought, such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, and Hobbes. The module considers the impact of these thinkers on modern political thought and practice, with reference to key political ideas and historical developments (such as liberty and equality, and the Enlightenment). The module will be text based.  

  • Introduction to Comparative Politics

This module seeks to compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern democratic states. Topics to be covered will include: 

  • politics
  • government and the state
  • the comparative approach
  • constitutions and the legal framework
  • democratic and authoritarian rule
  • political culture
  • the political executive
  • legislatures
  • political parties and party systems
  • electoral systems and voting behaviour
  • the crisis of democracy
Problems in Global Politics

For this module, joint honours students will explore a range of issues in contemporary international relations. It focuses on the problems of security and insecurity since the end of the Cold War. You’ll learn to develop critical and reflective thinking using a variety of approaches and methods related to the study of global politics. You’ll have 3 hours of lectures, seminars and workshops per week studying this module.

Typical year two modules



German 2

This module will consolidate students’ proficiency in the four skill areas of German 1 (writing, reading, listening and speaking) and develop these further. Working on texts from newspapers and other sources, we will discuss translation issues, 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 work or study during your year abroad. You’ll have three contact hours on this module.



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 and news items and focus on both academic and non-academic registers. You will have four contact hours each week, and will be assessed in a variety of different exercises. The module will help you work towards your year abroad, and will use texts that develop your knowledge of Germany and Austria.



Approaches to Politics and International Relations 

The module introduces students to alternative theoretical approaches to the study of political phenomena. We consider the different forms of analysing, explaining, and understanding politics associated with approaches such as behaviouralism, rational choice theory, institutionalism, Marxism, feminism, interpretive theory and post-modernism. The module shows that the different approaches are based upon contrasting ‘ontological’ suppositions about the nature of politics, and they invoke alternative ‘epistemological’ assumptions about how we acquire valid knowledge of politics and international relations. 

Democracy and its Critics

You’ll examine the concept and organisation of democracy using primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates. You’ll consider the principles and arguments of democracy and its critics as well as the future for democracy in the context of accelerating globalisation. A variety of approaches and methods will be used to help you develop your skills for the study of political theory. You’ll have three hours a week of lectures and seminars studying this module.

  • International Political Economy

The study of International Political Economy is essentially interdisciplinary, based on the premise that the political and economic domains are inextricably intertwined in the international system. You will learn the main approaches to International Political Economy, related to a conceptual as well as empirical engagement with the history of, and recent changes in, areas such as international trade, global finance, transnational production and development related to the North-South problematic. For this module you will have one two-hour lecture and one one-hour seminar each week.

  • Civilisation and Barbarism

This module explores some of the major themes in the study of international relations. Power and order feature prominently, but so too do war and disaster, imperialism and race, totalitarianism and emancipation, law and human rights.

The course is distinctive in two respects. First, the study of these themes each week takes its bearings from a significant text, and that text in its entirety. Second, the emphasis is on the interplay between the form and style of these texts and the ideas they contain. This inquiry is interesting and important in itself, and should also help you appreciate texts encountered elsewhere during your studies.


Rundfunk und Fernsehen in Deutschland

In this module we will study the role of radio and television in Germany. We will investigate the cultural and economic functions of those media in German society and analyse the relationship between public and commercial broadcasters. We will study a range of programming formats such as news, infotainment, soaps and quiz shows and discuss a variety of critical approaches to understanding modern media. Intercultural issues will be explored through comparisons with British television.

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.


The Fairy Tale in German Culture

This module will explore key moments in the history of the fairy tale in German culture, from their 19th century appropriation to underpin notions of a national folk culture to critical reworkings of fairy tales. We will use a number of different approaches in analysing the tales and investigating their cultural significance, including Marxism, feminism and psychoanalysis. Primary material will include folk tales, literary fairy tales and fairy tale films such as the Brothers Grimm Kinder- und Hausmärchen collection, East German fairy tale films, Weimar proletarian tales, and Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette animations. 


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.


Meaning and Context in Modern German

In this module we will first examine the principles informing the study of meaning (semantics), and the contexts that give rise to meaning (pragmatics) in the German language, e.g. rules of politeness. An overview of lexical and grammatical meaning will enable us to look at the relationship between words and consider ambiguity. The second half of the module will examine how the context of linguistic utterances is responsible for the construction of meaning. We will consider contexts responsible for speakers’ use of modal particles (ja, doch, aber, bloß). We then examine how speakers convey certain meanings without stating them explicitly (implicature). Finally, we will look at how contextual factors affecting language usage play a role in how speakers of German express politeness and impoliteness.

From Bourgeois Wife to New Woman: Sex and Gender in Modern Germany

This module focuses on three periods in the history of the German-speaking lands:

1. the emergence of modern bourgeois gender roles in the nineteenth century & the women’s movement around 1848;

2. the fin-de-siècle, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality in Viennese society;

3. 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, the module considers the interrelation between social and economic developments, gender roles and notions of masculinity and femininity.

Year three - 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.

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.

Typical year four modules


German 3

This advanced German language module will further enhance students’ 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. Students are encouraged to reflect on their year abroad. We will also work on translation skills in this module. Classes will use a variety of authentic German texts to develop students’ translation skills towards professional standards for translation into English.



Politics and Drugs

This module studies the implications of the growing abuse of narcotics for the political system from both a national and international perspective. It will examine the production, consumption and trade in drugs as an international problem. 

The development of and issues associated with contemporary British drug policy will be explored and the theoretical questions raised by drug control policy will be examined.  

Airpower and Modern Warfare

The invention of the aircraft fundamentally changed the ways in which wars are fought and won. Over the course of only a century airpower developed into an indispensable instrument of warfare. Today, war without airpower is an unlikely prospect and major military operations, as a rule, are launched with overwhelming air attacks.

In recent years, however, the utility of 'strategic' airpower has increasingly come under question. Whilst technological innovation continues to strengthen airpower's capabilities, the relevance of these capabilities in contemporary conflicts cannot be taken for granted.

This module critically assesses the role of air power in modern conflict within the broader framework of strategic and security studies. It will assess the evolution of air power theory since the First World War and examine the limits of its practical application with reference to specific air campaigns.

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.

Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was one of the most fascinating and culturally productive periods of German history, but it was equally riven by crises and violent conflicts. Weimar culture reflected and responded to these developments, experimenting with new media and exploring topical issues. A wide range of materials such as literary texts, poetry, reportage, films, photographs, aesthetic and political programmes will be studied to analyse the period. Topics will include the impact of the Great War, changing gender roles, the rise of unemployment and political violence, mass culture and everyday life.

‘Heimat’ in the German Cinema

Heimat, a political and psychological concept of rural rootedness, is at the core of German identity, and the Heimat genre has been ever-present in the German cinema since the days of the silent cinema. This module will explore the cultural and historical contexts of the concept of Heimat through the study of Heimat films from different historical moments. We will explore the artistically ambitious and politically controversial 1920s/30s mountain films; the immensely popular Heimat films of the 1950s; the aesthetically challenging and critical anti-Heimat films of the 1960s/70s; Edgar Reitz’s landmark historical saga of the 1980s; and post-1990s reinventions of the genre. We shall ask why film-makers in Germany and Austria keep returning to this genre. In addition we shall consider the question of the alien within the Heimat, the gendering of Heimat and the representation of nature and modernity in these films. You will have a two hour seminar, a one hour syndicate workshop, a two hour screening.


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: e.g. 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.

Translation and Linguistic Exchange

This optional module offers in-depth discussion of grammatical, lexical and idiomatic aspects of German and English as well as issues of translation, register and cultural difference. Regular practical work on translation from and into German in small groups of native speakers of both target languages will not only instigate an intellectual discussion of linguistic and translation issues but will also offer an opportunity to explore each language from at least two cultural perspectives. Nottingham students will work with exchange students from Germany and/or Austria in this module.


Year 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.

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.



You will develop a broad understanding of political theories and ideas, and the ability to think independently and to develop a reasoned argument. You will have acquired a high level of expertise in spoken and written German, and your international experience will demonstrate to employers that you are independent, adaptable and able to cope in challenging situations.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.3% of undergraduates in the School of Politics and International Relations who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £23,763 with the highest being £40,000.*

In 2016, 94.2% of undergraduates in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,336 with the highest being £31,000.* 

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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

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


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

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

Home students*

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

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

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

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


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

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

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


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