German and Music (BA)

This Joint Honours degree programme enables students to combine the study of the popular European language of German with Music.

The time spent on each subject is effectively equal, enabling students to benefit from developing their foreign language skills whilst studying the creative and challenging subject of Music. By combining these two courses, students will gain transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the world of employment. In addition, students will spend the third year of the programme in Germany.

German is the native language of nearly one hundred million people. To speak German is to be part of a crucially important political, economic and cultural world.

The linguistic skills you acquire will give you direct access to German history, literature, drama, music and film. Your understanding of the language will be further refined during your year abroad, when you will experience life in a German-speaking country at first hand.

All joint honours applicants with Music are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument or voice at the time of application. Consideration will be given to applicants who are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.

Key facts

Duration4 Year(s)
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerBBB. Three A-level subjects, including a B in Music and generally including a B in a modern foreign language for beginners or B in German for the advanced pathway. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level. All joint honours applicants with Music are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument or voice at the time of application. Consideration will be given to applicants who are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core and grades BB at GCE A-level, to include Music and a Language subject. All joint honours applicants with Music are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument or voice at the time of application. Consideration will be given to applicants who are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points with 6 points from Music at higher level.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

Languages and Related Subjects, Music

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Ms Elke Oerter , Course Administrator

    In your first year, you may combine modules in German and Music with a selection of modules offered by a range of other Humanities programmes across the University.

    In years two and three, you will choose from modules offered in German and Music. 

    Students on this Joint Honours programme typically take 60 credits per year in Music and 60 credits per year in German. Year 3 will be spent abroad in Germany.

    Year one

    You may take 40 credits in German, 40 credits in Music and 40 credits in another Humanities subject which may be from within either School or an associate School.

    Students studying this course will be able to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) Core and Optional modules from another participating Academic School. An overview of the module collections available can be found here.

    Year two

    You will take 60 credits in German and 60 credits in Music.

    Year three: Sandwich year

    Year four

     You will take 60 credits in German and 60 credits in Music.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    German Language (BA Languages)ML739020 credits

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Practical Musicianship III (Ensemble)MU313710 credits
    Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315410 credits
    FugueMU333020 credits
    Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315820 credits
    Practical Musicianship IV (Performance)MU334420 credits
    Project in Music AnalysisMU334330 credits
    Studio Techniques II : Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU316320 credits
    Studio Techniques II: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU326720 credits
    Composition IvMU334520 credits
    20th Century Contrapuntal PracticeMU316410 credits
    Project in EthnomusicologyMU334630 credits
    The Birth of ModernismMU314910 credits
    The Birth of ModernismMU316520 credits
    Notation and Editing of Early MusicMU327320 credits
    The GDR in Literature & Visual CultureML739120 credits
    German for professional purposesML738720 credits
    May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
    Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
    Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
    Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327410 credits
    Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327520 credits
    DissertationMU334030 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (German)ML738920 credits
    Dissertation (German-JH)ML738820 credits
    Joint Honours German Dissertation (in ENGLISH/WELSH)ML738620 credits
    Topics in Musicology 3AMU316610 credits
    Topics in Musicology 3AMU316720 credits
    Topics in Musicology 3BMU327610 credits
    Topics in Musicology 3BMU327720 credits
    Geschichte oder Geschichten? - die Gegenwartsliteratur im historichen KontextML737020 credits
    Dissertation (Translation)ML238920 credits
    European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
    European Cinema DissertationML230320 credits
    The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

    We use a range of teaching and learning styles, including lectures, small-group seminars and workshops, individual tutorials, language classes, field trips, study abroad, ensemble instrumental tuition, rehearsals, and independent study.

    Instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School of Music on your principal study instrument. This includes accompaniment at your final recital. Students receive 22 half hour lessons over the course of the year.

    Methods of assessment vary from module to module and may include essay assignments, presentations, extended projects, performances, and written exams.

    School of Modern Languages
    Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

    Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

    Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing students’ capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enables students to produce their best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling students to develop their strengths and address any weaker areas.

    Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study; to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

    Pastoral Care: You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

    School of Modern Languages
    In 2013/14, 95% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    The destinations from the School are often international in nature, with many graduates enjoying their overseas student experience to such an extent that they opt to take time out to travel further, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of securing employment. 

    Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies. Their employment options are varied and many opt to utilise the language skills that they have developed over their degree, in roles such as Translators, Language Assistants, Export Assistants and Proofreaders, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.

    School of Music
    In 2013/14, 98% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation. 

    The skills developed within a music degree help our students to progress to a wide range of careers, both within and beyond the music profession.

    Employability skills are embedded in modules at the School of Music so that you will learn both music-specific and academic skills that are transferable to other domains, especially the workplace. 

    Our annual series of talks on Careers in Music offer a great chance to meet professionals active in a range of fields such as performance, music education, music journalism, arts and artist management, production and licensing, and composing for media.

    The School of Music's second-year modules The Business of Music I/II are designed to help you better understand the music profession. They also offer the opportunity to undertake - either in one block or as a series of regular workplace visits - a short placement in a music- or arts-related area.


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School of Music admits around 70 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics admits around 230 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    The School of Music = 450

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics = 1300


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and Related Subjects, Music

    What are the aims of this Programme?


    German at Cardiff can be taken at beginners or advanced level. First and foremost, studying for a degree in German involves dedicating yourself to learning the language. At Cardiff, we place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills, which are vital communication skills. As regards the language, there are two routes in the first and second years, one for students who are beginners of German, and the other for students who are advanced. Both routes will include option modules in the fields of film, literature, history of art, politics and history. German language is a core module throughout your course.

    It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas students are able to gain a better understanding of German culture and of how Germany and other German speaking countries has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today. If you study German, your career prospects will be enhanced, as the number of jobs for which knowledge of German is needed is on the increase. Opportunities exist not only in teaching, museum work and the fine arts, but also in banking, insurance, marketing, publishing, the media, the civil service, all branches of tourism and the higher echelons of the administrative fields. There has been a recent upsurge in career opportunities for graduates in German in the commercial and institutional links within the European Union.

    German students will develop high-level language skills with the aim being to achieve near-native competency along with in-depth knowledge of aspects of the culture, history, politics and/or society of Germany and other German speaking countries. 


    The BA degree in Music offers candidates an advanced programme of study with the potential to embrace practical, theoretical, creative and historical aspects of music, while also providing the opportunity for students to take up to 80 credits – 40 at level 1 (NQF level 4) and 20 each at levels 2 and 3 (NQF5–6) – in another subject. While the programme stipulates no compulsory modules (other than a major academic project – dissertation, music analysis or ethnomusicology – in the final year), it nonetheless enables students to gain experience of a wide range of musical disciplines – performance, free and stylistic composition, historical and critical musicology, ethnomusicology and  acoustics – while affording them access to continuous subdisciplinary pathways throughout the degree and some measure of specialization in the final year. While the programme has produced high achievers in practical areas such as performance and composition, it is equally suited to those whose interest is in music within the broader humanities context or as a ‘liberal art’. The requirement for a dissertation-style project in the final year accordingly places emphasis on the ability to articulate musical insights through the medium of prose. As such the programme has proved especially successful for those seeking a career in teaching, arts administration or areas in which music sits alongside other disciplines, though it can lead on just as effectively to other types of graduate employment, or provide the foundation for postgraduate study in music or other humanities subjects.

    What is expected of me?


    It might seem that that you have very few hours of teaching, but as a student, you are expected to demonstrate that you are progressing academically by attending lectures, language classes, seminars and tutorials. It is extremely important that you attend all of your classes for the following reasons:

    It is in the lectures that you find out what the key topics in your subject are, which can help you structure your additional reading.

    Your seminars are the place for you to discuss issues raised in the course and from your reading, and to enhance and develop your understanding.

    Both your lectures and seminars will help you prepare your essays and revise for your exams.

    Your presence can also help others to learn (as well as you), whilst student absence disrupts the learning process for the whole group.

    Attendance at lectures, seminars, and tutorials is COMPULSORY. Therefore if you are unable to attend, you must notify your tutor or the Departmental secretary in advance by telephone, by email or in writing in order to explain your absence. Further information on illness, reporting extenuating circumstances, and leave of absences can be found in subject Handbooks and the Academic Regulations Handbook.

    The Department expects that Students will:

    ·         attend all classes, punctually, and to explain any absence (in advance where possible)

    ·         prepare adequately for and contribute to seminars and tutorials

    ·         avoid plagiarism (plagiarism being work which uses the words or ideas of others without acknowledging them as such)

    ·         take responsibility for their own learning, with appropriate guidance  monitor their own progress and take account of the feedback given

    ·         show respect for their fellow students, tutors and the learning environment

    ·         manage their time effectively so that they are adequately prepared for all classes and assignments

    ·         complete their assessments on time and in compliance with the instructions given

    ·          take responsibility for advising themselves of the regulations governing assessments

    ·         ensure that they are registered for the requisite number of modules and that the academic registry are aware of which modules they are taking

    ·         read all handbooks carefully and take appropriate action

    ·         regularly access their University e-mail account

    ·         ask members of staff before using their names as referee


    Full attendance is required for all lectures, classes, lessons, tutorials and rehearsals relating to the modules on which students are enrolled, except in cases of illness or other special circumstance (see the section ‘Illness and Certification of Absence’ in the Undergraduate Student Handbook, §§3, 7.1–7.6). The condonement of absence is not a routine element of the School’s specific provision for disabled students; rather, the School seeks to integrate disabled students as fully as possible into academic life by making existing classes as accessible as possible and, in the rare cases where these attempts prove inadequate, to provide an alternative, active learning experience of equivalent quality. A student who experiences a change in their personal circumstances (e.g. maternity/paternity) should consult their personal tutor with a view to following the university guidelines on Interruption of Study.

    A significant investment of time (at least 18 hours a week) is required of all students in independent study and/or private practice, especially in preparation for the final-year project(s). Students are expected to manifest (and can, on certain elective modules, be awarded credit for) a commitment to the musical and intellectual life of the School of Music demonstrated through participation in performance activities and attendance at performances and public lectures.

    Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    This is a four year, full time programme require, consisting of 120 credits a year.

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    Any equipment required will be supplied by the School.

    What skills will I practise and develop?


    On completion of the programme students in German should be able to:

    ·         communicate ideas effectively and fluently;

    ·         use communication and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation od information;

    ·         work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time management;

    ·         gather, organise and deploy information from a variety of sources;

    ·         develop a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement;

    ·         develop the learning ability needed to undertake further training of a professional or equivalent nature;

    ·         reflect on your learning progress and make use of constructive feedback;

    ·         manage your learning self-critically

    The acquisition of skills and of intellectual understanding generally is progressive. As you progress through your degree we will raise our expectations of the depth and breadth of your studies. In broad terms:

    Year One introduces you to a variety and range of approaches.

    Year Two provides you with specific training in the critical analysis of concepts, theories and methods.

    Year Three is a year abroad.

    Final Year provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills through a systematic engagement with, and interrogation of primary sources in your modules and in the production of a Dissertation based on original research.

    You are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for your own learning and for the presentation of your findings. We cannot learn for you, but it is our responsibility to help you learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, and to help you become independent learners.


    In addition to the discipline-specific skills outlined above in the learning outcomes above, the programme fosters a range of generic and employability skills. These include advanced literacy, computer literacy, critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice), oral and written communication skills, coping with uncertainty/complexity, and creativity and innovative thinking. Practical musical activities, where undertaken, embed such skills as leadership, teamwork (including formative input in a group situation) and self-management.

    How will I be taught?

    The BA involves a range of learning and teaching styles, including (but not limited to) lectures (especially learning outcomes 3. and 4.), small-group seminars and workshops (3., and 4.), individual tutorials or solo instrumental tuition (1., 5.), ensemble instrumental tuition and practical rehearsals (1.), and independent study (especially 5.; also 1.–4.). Supplementary resources are available through various channels, including Learning Central (the university’s Virtual Learning Environment) and from commercially available software resources for which the School holds licences. 

    Requests for reasonable adjustment in the provision of teaching and/or learning materials can be made to the School Disability contact, who will liaise with the Disability and Dyslexia Centre as required.

    How will I be assessed?


    There will also be opportunities to prepare formative tasks. These are tasks that are not counted in determining your final mark, but give you an opportunity to have feedback on your progress. These tasks can be oral presentations in seminars, essay plans, short written pieces or computer tasks.


    Students will receive written feedback on written assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and their contributions to seminars. The opportunity to understand and use feedback constructively will also be provided through regular meetings with Personal Tutors at key moments every year


    Assessment on the BA programme takes a wide range of forms. These are partly dependent on the modules chosen, but may include any one or anumber of the following:

    • Performance (learning outcomes 1. and, possibly, 5.)

    • Continuous assessment followed by final presentation/performance/practical test (1.)

    • Essays/exercises (1.– 4.).

    • Written examinations (1.–4.).

    • Dissertations/portfolios (5.)

    • Oral presentations (1., 2., 4.)

    • Self-evaluation (1.)

    • Reports on fieldwork, practical work or other empirical study (1., 2., 4., 5.)

    Guidance on specific provision and reasonable adjustments in assessment for disabled students or those affected by the consequences of ongoing illness or injury are set out in the Undergraduate student Handbook, §§2, 9.7, and in the independent document ‘Assessing “Teachability” in the School of Music’.

    Adjustments to the conduct of an assessment are usually possible unless the mode of assessment is integral to the learning outcomes of the module concerned (e.g. performance as a mode of assessment on a performance module).


    Formative feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.

    How will I be supported?


    Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor with whom to discuss and reflect upon academic progress and discuss any problems or circumstances that adversely affect your studies. Please see the relevant Notice Boards for information on your Personal Tutor. If your Personal Tutor is unavailable, and you wish urgently to discuss matters with a member of staff, you may seek advice from the Senior Tutor or another member of staff. Every member of staff has weekly office hours in which you may seek further support.


    The principal means of individual student support in the School of Music is through the personal tutor, who is allocated at the start of the programme and generally provides consultations three times a year. The School’s dedicated PDP resources (see the Resource Pack distributed at enrolment) offer an opportunity for more structured reflection on personal and academic development in the personal tutorial context. For the final-year projects a supervisor is provided to monitor progress and provide individual consultations by arrangement. Careers advice is available from the School’s designated career consultant in the university Careers Service and from the speakers in School of Music’s own Careers in Music talks.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?


    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    • demonstrate critical understanding;
    • demonstrate a high level of language competency in German, both orally and in writing;
    • demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of human society across a wide geographical and chronological range;
    • identify patterns of change and to locate detailed examination of particular themes, episodes and events within them;
    • develop a reasoned, coherent, argument about specific problems, deploying appropriate evidence, and demonstrating awareness of the limits of their knowledge;
    • achieve the above objectives both independently and as part of a team.


    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate a significant degree of specialist knowledge, creativity, skill and understanding in one or more of the following: performance, composition, ethnomusicology, music analysis, historical/critical musicology.

    2. Possess an awareness of the component subdisciplines of music and demonstrate a working competence in more than one in addition to their chosen specialism(s).

    3. Show an awareness of a range of musical styles and techniques, through pastiche composition, analysis and/or critical commentary of music.

    4. Manifest an awareness of the social, historical and cultural contexts in which music is made.

    5. Manage and see through to completion (during the final year of the programme) a major independent academic project, possibly in addition to one or more subsidiary specialisms (e.g. in performance or composition).

    Other information


    Students will develop a range of discipline-specific skills that employers also value. Students learn to assess critically a body of knowledge, to develop hypotheses, test them against qualitative and quantitative evidence, and present conclusions both in writing and orally.


    The programme provides numerous opportunities for contact with active music professionals outside the school through composition workshops, performance masterclasses, the university concert series, the John Bird lecture series and other presentations by visiting academics, careers talks and careers mentoring.

    Admissions tutors

    Ms Elke Oerter , Course Administrator

      Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.