German (BA)

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

A recent survey by the UK's leading employers' organisation, the CBI, rated German as the language most valued by UK managers. Germany is considered to be the lynchpin of the European Union, making knowledge of the language as important in Brussels as in Berlin.

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.

We offer German for both advanced students and beginners. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an introduction to German History and Culture seeks to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies. From the second year onwards, students choose from a variety of options, which as a supplement to German-specific topics, normally include modules on European film, comparative literature and cultural history, as well as translation theory and practice.  In the final year, students have the opportunity to write a dissertation, which stimulates initiative, and can serve as a useful preparation for postgraduate study.

 We aspire to offer a genuinely broad programme: challenging courses that cover not only intellectual history and language expertise, but also the practical skills of Business German and Translation Studies.

Key facts

UCAS CodeR200
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 B in a language. (General Studies is not accepted.)
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level, including B in a language (German or other language incl. Welsh). General Studies is not accepted.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

Languages and related subjects

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Ms Elke Oerter , Course Administrator

    Whether you come to Cardiff to study for Single or Joint Honours German you will combine German with other subjects in your first year. This allows you to try out new subjects or to study up to three languages for a year and to change your degree programme after one year, should you wish to do so and obtain the required  grades.

    Year one

    As well as students with A-level German, we also welcome students who have no previous knowledge of German. Such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language. We run two pathways for German students: one for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in German; the other for students beginning German afresh.

    As such, our ‘Key optional modules’ below indicate the modules you would be required to study depending on your subject specific A-levels as outlined in the paragraph above. ’Further optional modules’ are optional modules not tied to your entry pathway.

    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

    Note that the list of modules below is indicative only and modules may vary from year to year

    Year three: Sandwich year

    You spend the third year of your German degree in Germany or Austria. You have a range of options, which include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a German organisation.

    While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned to the Year Abroad coordinator who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress.

    Year four

    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 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.

    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.


    • Teaching
    • Banking and Finance
    • Interpreter


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School admits 230 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received



    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related subjects

    What are the aims of this Programme?

    German (BA Single Honours) gives students the opportunity to study a major world language, focusing on different components, i.e. on linguistics, literature, film, history and politics. The programme caters for Advanced students (with A-Level in German and Beginners’ students. The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics aims to create ‘global citizens’ of its students and, with in depth study of German, graduates will be an asset for an increasingly global workforce. Students will focus solely on German (in the first year with a so-called third subject). Students will spend their third year in Germany, practising and developing their acquired language skills. Students are able, in the final year, to produce original historical work of their own in the form of a dissertation.

    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.

    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 atlectures, 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

    How is this Programme Structured?

    BA German is a four year degree programme. It is structured so that you acquire in successive years the knowledge and skills required to become an independent researcher, equipped for high-level professional employment.

    Year One

    Core Modules in Year One:

    *       German Language for Advanced and Beginners

    *       Introduction to German History and Culture for Beginners’ Students

    *       Introduction to German History and Culture for Advanced Students

    Year Two

    Core Modules in Year Two:

    *       German Language

    Typical Optional Modules in Year Two:

    *       Storm and Stress (Beginners)

    *       National Socialism and its legacy

    *       Bertolt Brecht (Taught in German)

    Year Three

    Core Module in Year Three:

    *       Intercalary year abroad

    Year Four

    Core Module in Year Four:

    *       German Language

    Typical Optional Modules in Year Four:

    *       Advanced Translation Practice (German)

    *       The German Idea of History

    *       May 68 (School-wide module)

    *       From East to West (School-wide module)

    *       The GDR in Literature and Visual Culture

    *       German for Professional for Professional Purposes

    *       Dissertation

    *The modules available can change from year to year depending upon staff and teaching schedules, and are not guaranteed.

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    Dictionary and set texts (details provided in the relevant course kits).

    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.

    How will I be taught?

    Most modules are taught through a combination of lectures, private study, seminars and individual feedback. Lectures, usually one per week, provide guidance concerning the issues and problems to be followed up in your own reading and writing. For each seminar you will do six to eight hours of preparation, and in the session itself you will use the knowledge thus acquired to present and test your arguments. In the process, you will also receive feedback on them from lecturers and fellow students. In your essays you will combine a range of sources – sometimes contradictory – into a coherent argument of your own, backed by evidence. Again, you will receive individual feedback from lecturers, in writing and orally.

    German is taught in small interactive classes designed to enable students to acquire grammatical precision and advanced written and oral communication skills.

    Core courses in Years One and Two usually comprise weekly lectures, supplemented by fortnightly seminars in small groups. In Year Two and especially Year Three, the emphasis shifts further towards seminar work, with individual supervision for extended essays and dissertations. In total, you would be expected to work 35-40 hours per week. 

    How will I be assessed?


    German is assessed by a mixture of continuous assessment and examination to enable students to receive regular guidance and feedback ant to monitor their own progress against the learning outcomes. Option modules are assessed by essays and examination to enable students to demonstrate their capacity for critical engagement with evidence and the discipline-specific knowledge required to produce a coherent , reasoned argument.

    Throughout your studies you will write longer essays, source criticisms, critical reviews of scholarly articles, and a dissertation, and you will give oral presentations in certain courses. The marking criteria for this work measure the extent to which you have achieved the learning outcomes for the Programme.

    Progression is built into assessment, in that students do smaller guided tasks in Year one, as well as formative essays in Years Two and Four.


    You will receive feedback through formative written work, seminar discussion, written feedback on essays, and essay tutorials.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.