German and Politics (BA)

Expertise in politics and government combined with fluency in German opens the door to a wide variety of career paths.

Expertise in politics and government combined with fluency in German opens the door to a wide variety of career paths. Students on this programme can choose from the full range of Politics modules, while expert language training is accompanied by optional modules on German society and culture. A particular feature of this four-year degree is the Year Abroad which takes place in your third year. You will spend your third year in a German-speaking country in order to practise and improve your language skills.

In your first year you will concentrate on core modules plus your chosen language, German. In your second and final years you will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of optional modules.

Politics as an area of study develops your knowledge and understanding of governments, governance and societies. Politics is central to our everyday lives. It explores people and power and involves drama and events of great significance both today and historically. Think of the electoral struggle between Left and Right, the power play of the Cold War, and the great enterprise of European integration. Studying for a politics degree means investigating how politics works and delves into how parliaments and governments function while also allowing you to evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy and accountability.

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

Germany is the lynchpin of the European Union, making knowledge of the language as important in Brussels as in Berlin. Not surprisingly therefore, the UK's leading employers' organisation, the CBI, rated German as the language most valued by UK managers.

The linguistic skills you acquire while studying German 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 German-speaking country at first hand.

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 offerABB including a foreign language (excluding General Studies).
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWelsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma with a grade A in the Core and grades BB at A-level, including a Modern Foreign Language.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points overall (including 5 in a language at higher level)
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

Politics and International Relations, Languages and Related Studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Ms Elke Oerter , Course Administrator

    Year one

    The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The degree is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor it to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

    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

    In year two you choose three Politics and three German modules. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that modules may vary from year to year.

    Year three: Sandwich year

    Your third year will be spent abroad in a German speaking country. You can either study at one of our partner universities or work for a German speaking organisation. Your Year Abroad coordinator will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress throughout your time away.

    The University has established academic links with universities in Berlin, Frankfurt, Kassel, Saarbrücken, Mainz, Heidelberg, Rostock, Bochum and Passau. All students on a Socrates exchange receive an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend in Germany.

    Year four

    In your final year you choose three Politics and three German modules, including the option of a dissertation.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    German Language (BA Languages)ML739020 credits

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
    Politics DissertationPL938620 credits
    Elections in the UKPL938720 credits
    Modern Welsh PoliticsPL938820 credits
    The GDR in Literature & Visual CultureML739120 credits
    German for professional purposesML738720 credits
    European Mind in the 20th CenturyPL939020 credits
    Cyfiawnder Byd-eangPL937720 credits
    Cenedlaetholdeb, Crefydd a Chyfiawnder: Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruPL937820 credits
    Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
    International Relations DissertationPL938520 credits
    Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (German)ML738920 credits
    Dissertation (German-JH)ML738820 credits
    US Government and PoliticsPL937420 credits
    International Politics of the Middle EastPL937520 credits
    The Limits of Ethics in International RelationsPL937620 credits
    Joint Honours German Dissertation (in ENGLISH/WELSH)ML738620 credits
    Global International Organisation in World PoliticsPL939120 credits
    Geschichte oder Geschichten? - die Gegenwartsliteratur im historichen KontextML737020 credits
    Dissertation (Translation)ML238920 credits
    European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
    Devolution in Practice: Welsh Law and Politics Work PlacementPL931020 credits
    The History of Thought in International RelationsPL931120 credits
    Political Economy and the Devolved UKPL931220 credits
    Parliamentary Studies ModulePL938020 credits
    Female Voices in Political TheoryPL931320 credits
    Justice and the Politics of International LawPL939720 credits
    Free Speech in a Multicultural SocietyPL931420 credits
    The Politics of Violence and the Violence of PoliticsPL931520 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.


    Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

    Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.



    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.

    Cardiff 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 Law and Politics - Politics
    In 2013/14, 96% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    Politics at Cardiff is a respected recruitment pool for a variety of employers within this sector with the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, the Department for Education, Oxford City Council, the UK Border Agency and a range of political parties all recruiting from the last graduating year.

    Outside of the political sector, the degree is of interest to employers in both the public and private sectors, with graduates taking up management training opportunities within EY, Enterprise Rent A Car, Zurich Insurance and King Worldwide.


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

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

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    School of European Languages, Translation and Politics = 1300 Applications


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Politics and International Relations, Languages and Related Studies

    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. 


    Politics at Cardiff is an exciting, extensive and challenging academic programme which covers a broad range of areas in the study of Politics, including International Relations, Political theory, European Union, domestic political systems and public policy.

    Our students can study not just Single Honours Politics, but also International Relations & Politics and Joint Honours Politics with a wide range of other subjects, including Law, Economics, Sociology, History, Languages and other Arts subjects. Further our Cardiff-Bordeaux programme, which is an innovative four-year scheme, allows students to obtain both a Cardiff Politics Bachelor's degree and a Bordeaux Politics diplomafrom the prestigious Sciences Po in Bordeaux (one of nine Instituts d'Etudes Politiques in France).

    In the Politics programme we aim at

    ·         Providing a flexible structure that facilitates a broad and balanced education in the key areas of politics

    ·         Producing  graduates with the intellectual and employability skills appropriate both for further study and for a range of working environments

    ·         Providing opportunities for students to fulfil their academic potential, acquire research and transferable skills, maximise their career potential and achieve personal growth

    ·         Providing students with a sound basis of knowledge, understanding and skills in the main areas of politics.

    A degree in politics from Cardiff is highly respected by employers, both within the political environment and outside. Our graduates are able to demonstrate a wide portfolio of acquired skills, such as oral and written communication skills, research skills and analysis, teamwork, self-management and problem solving skills which are in demand across both public and private sectors.

    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


    ·         Attend all Lectures and seminars

    ·         Engage with all forms of in-course assessment to allow self-reflection on progress towards the learning outcomes

    ·         Engage in independent study in addition to taught study. Increasing independence of learning is expected as the programme progresses

    ·         To complete the required reading and self-directed study.

    ·         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.


    This degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills. Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources;

    ·           Develop a reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement;

    ·           Reflect on their own learning and make use of constructive feedback;

    ·           Manage their own learning self-critically.

    ·           Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing;

    ·           Use communications and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information;

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

    ·           Collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals. 

    How will I be taught?

    The Politics programme uses several different methods of teaching and learning. During your degree, you will attend lectures and participate in seminars. The lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi. The Seminars are kept small and usually average between 12-15 students. It provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist students to integrate the information and ideas received from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. The seminars are also designed to give students an ample opportunity to participate and to provide close contact between them and members of the academic staff.

    Furthermore, the programme is delivered through students’ independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, as well as feedback on essays and presentations by academic staff.

    We also host guest lectures, as an extracurricular activity, which features visiting guest speakers, usually eminent practitioners and academics involved in various aspects of international relations and politics.

    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. 


    These programmes are assessed mainly by essays and examinations. Other forms of assessment include seminar presentations, class tests, book and article reviews, and dissertation.


    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.


    • Each module uses the Central Learning website, a Virtual Learning Environment at Cardiff University. Through the Central Learning site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, discussion groups, etc.
    • Academic Tutors have office hours for students to meet and discuss any learning queries as well as the opportunity in seminars.
    • The School has a wide programme of visiting speakers and guest lectures and students are encouraged to attend.
    • There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Central Learning site called Planning Personal Development.
    • Furthermore, centrally the university has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

    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.


    Politics programmes aim  to develop in students a critical understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including International relations, domestic politics of key European states, European Union politics and political theory, along with a command of associated transferable skills.

    Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Identify and explain the central concepts of political science, and demonstrate familiarity with the vocabulary of political discourse;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of normative and empirical Political Theory;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national and European Union levels and international politics embracing global and regional studies;

    ·           Demonstrate particular expertise in Political Theory and/or European Politics and/or international relations in the case of Joint Honours students, and in the case of Single Honours students: for Political Theory this means a critical understanding of key ideas selected from the history of political thought and contemporary political theory; for European politics this means a critical understanding of the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national, European and/or regional level, along with an awareness of the social, economic and cultural contexts of political behaviour and theoretically-informed views of the factors that account for political change; for international relations this means a critical understanding of the nature of the international system and of global power structures, with main foci in terms of agencies such as States, International Organisations and other Transnational actors, along with an awareness of international political theories;

    ·           Appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;

    ·           Apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and behaviour;

    ·           Examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events;

    ·           Make use of contemporary research, such as articles in refereed journals.

    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 opportunity to pursue a degree programme which develops the skills that are relevant to the academic world and the world of work alike

    ·      the emphasis on practical research skills that will benefit you throughout your career

    ·      the emphasis placed on independent learning in a supportive environment

    ·      Further information on schemes, modules, teaching methods and assessment can be found on the Politics website.

    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.