Modern German Studies

Key Facts

Code R200
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBC with B in German unless to be studied as a beginner

  • Course Length

    4 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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This interdisciplinary 4-year BA degree scheme includes German language modules as well as modules on German linguistics, modern literature and film, history, politics and cultural studies. It is intended to appeal to students who wish to acquire a high level of competence in the German language but also a well-rounded understanding of the German-speaking countries. If you are interested in modern German and the German-speaking world this may well be the degree for you.

Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of German (NSS 2016)

Department of Modern Languages: 96% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

96% of undergraduates from the Department of Modern Languages who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment


German, with over 90 million speakers, is the language of the greatest economic power in Europe. Language skills are important for the UK’s economic, political and strategic interests and languages graduates are in demand by employers. Whilst you will acquire the same skills as other Arts graduates, you will have one major advantage compared to other students: you will have lived independently in at least one foreign country, and have learnt the important social skill of intercultural communication. Employers value the independence, the social confidence and the high level of linguistic skill acquired during this time. 

The Department of Modern Languages offers a range of attractive degree schemes which will equip you not only with a high level of linguistic competence but also provide you with a sound knowledge of the culture within which the language you are studying is used. During your time as a student you will be able to choose from a range of modules which appeal to a variety of interests. The Department is relatively small and this means that staff and students form a close-knit and friendly community. Many of the modules relate to staff research interests and you will benefit from being taught by staff who are experts in their fields and who are active members of national and international research communities. 

The Department at Aberystwyth takes seriously its two major commitments – teaching and research. Knowledge is advancing at a faster rate than most textbooks are, and the Department feels that it is essential that students learn from experts at the forefront of academic research. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. Having submitted 77% of eligible staff it also found that 95% of the universities research was on an internationally recognised standard.

In this scheme you will also take some modules from the History Department. History has been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the University in 1872, making it the oldest History department in Wales and one of the foremost in Britain. Like the Department of European Languages, it is a friendly and welcoming community, and the lively History Society organizes a programme of guest lectures, visits to places of interest and social events throughout the year.

Our Staff

All of the lecturers in the Dept of Modern Languages are qualified to PhD level and are research active. We also employ language tutors, some of whom have a PhD, and all of whom are experienced teachers. We occasionally employ native-speakers from our partner universities abroad (lectors) who come to us highly recommended on the basis of their academic achievement at the home university, and many of whom have trained as teachers. The fourth group is part-time staff who are employed on the basis of their expertise in a particular specialist area.  

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Options Advanced students must take GE19930 and Beginner students must take GE10740:

Semester 1

German Language (beginners) GE10700
German Language Advanced GE19900

Semester 2

German Language (beginners) GE10740
German Language Advanced GE19930

Year 1 Options Advanced students must take GE10910 and EL10820 and Beginner students must take EL10820. All students must also choose an additional 60 credits of the following (or other Level 1 content modules):

Semester 1

Introduction To European Film EL10500

Language, Culture, And Identity In Europe EL10800

Semester 2

Introduction To European Film EL10520

Language, Culture, And Identity In Europe EL10820

Ways Of Reading German Literature GE10910

Hanes A Diwylliant Ewropeaidd IE10420

Year 2 Core (30 Credits) You must take:

Semester 1

German Language GE20100

Semester 2

German Language GE20130

Year 2 Options You must choose at least 70 credits of the following GE, EL or IC modules:

Semester 1

Extended Essay Module EL20500

An Introduction To Variation In German GE20420

The Language Of Economics GE21010

Semester 2

Extended Essay Module EL20510

Short Prose In German GE27110

German-speaking Refugees In Literature And Culture GE27220

Both Semesters

Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages IC31920

Year 3 Core (120 Credits) Year Abroad: You must either submit a 10,000 word dissertation upon your return, or, in approved cases, sumbit marks gained from examinations sat abroad.

Semester 1

Year Abroad Assessment GES0000
Year Abroad Assessment GES0100

Semester 2

Year Abroad Assessment GES0060
Year Abroad Assessment GES0160

Year 4 Core (70 Credits) You must take:

Semester 1

Dissertation (single Hons Modern German Studies) GE30000
German Language GE30100

Semester 2

Dissertation (single Hons Modern German Studies) GE30040
German Language GE30130

Year 4 Options You must choose at least 30 credits of the following GE, EL or IC modules:

Semester 1

Language And Society In German-speaking Countries GE30420

Semester 2

The Language Of German Politics GE31010

Autobiography And Life Writing In German GE37020

Both Semesters

Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages IC31920


Career Prospects

Your BA in Modern German Studies opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training as you can draw on transferable skills you will have learnt in both Departments. Modern linguists are statistically amongst the most employable graduates. Many of our students go on to teach the languages they themselves have learned and a high proportion of our graduates go into administrative and managerial posts. A degree from the Modern Languages Department is a qualification which opens the door to many professions in Britain, such as the civil service, tourism, social work, librarianship, publishing and broadcasting, and our degrees also take our students across the world.

Your year abroad will set you apart from the majority of graduates, demonstrating your ability to live in a foreign environment, and immerse yourself in a different culture. Alongside this, the university will offer you a range of initiatives to help improve your employability skills. Paid work and work experience opportunities are available in the University and the town, and the Careers Advisory Service are able to assist you in planning your future, putting together a CV, and looking for work during and after your studies. Furthermore, the University’s Personal Development Portfolio, in which you record and reflect on your academic studies, the development of your skills and your plans for the future is a useful way of tracking your progress through your studies, and can help you to decide what career might be suitable for you. 

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Modern German Studies will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. 

These include:

  • the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
  • effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
  • the ability to work independently
  • time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
  • self-motivation and self-reliance
  • team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement
  • research and analytical skills

GO Wales

GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

German is available both for beginners and advanced students. Beginners follow an intensive course in the first year including guided and independent work in the Language Resource Centre. In the second year beginners and advanced students are taught together.

In German the core modules in each year are devoted to language work. You acquire and consolidate the three skills: writing, speaking and listening. In the first year, especially, in lectures and small groups, we seek to consolidate your knowledge of German grammar and to impart the necessary terminology to enable you to talk about the German language. Various methods are used to raise your language awareness and to improve your linguistic skills, e.g. translating into and out of German, free composition and grammar exercises. You will also get plenty of oral practice and the opportunity to hone your listening skills. The small groups give you the chance not only to speak German, but to practise your presentation skills and to learn more about the cultural context in which the language is used.

Between both Departments we offer a wide range of modules on aspects of German culture, history, literature, politics and linguistics. Some integrate the study of texts and films in order to throw light on a particular issue, e.g. the question of German identity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In linguistics, students have the opportunity to study variation in German, and to investigate the interrelations between language and society in the German-speaking countries. In other modules students learn about aspects of the German economy and political system whilst acquiring the specialist registers of these domains.

Within the Erasmus framework we currently enjoy special links with the universities of Augsburg, Heidelberg, Düsseldorf and Salzburg. Your year abroad, which forms your third year of study, may well be the most exciting, enjoyable and rewarding feature of a degree in Modern Languages. Having to spend a year living independently in a foreign country gives you an edge when it comes to impressing employers, as well as providing you with a memorable experience.

The Department believes in giving students a relatively free choice about the year abroad, although we do of course give you plenty of advice. Many students study at university. Or, if you prefer, you can work as an English assistant in a school. Being an assistant has the important benefits of a regular salary every month and daily contact with a large number of people, which means many opportunities for communicating in the foreign language.

You could also choose to be in other employment, and a good proportion of our students use their own initiative to find themselves employment for a year. There are also various EU-funded schemes which offer work placements abroad, e.g. Comenius or Leonardo. Full details will be made available to you in your second year. You can also choose a combination of these possibilities, for example studying for one semester and working for one; assistantships are also available for some countries for half-years.

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBC with B in German unless to be studied as a beginner

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:
DMM with specified subjects

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
28 points overall with 5 points in German at Higher Level unless to be studied as a beginner

European Baccalaureate:
68% with 70% in German unless to be studied as a beginner

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