German Studies

Germanic Studies embraces the language, history, society and culture of well over 100 million people. In the 20th century, Germany has had a bigger impact on word history than any other European country. Today, it is the political and economic powerhouse at the heart of the European Union.

Year abroad in Germany.

At Sheffield we believe that language and culture are two sides of the same coin. You can only really get fluent in a language if you study the culture of that language and vice versa. But we also recognise that cultures are always interconnected: for example, German culture is always connected with the other cultures of Europe and beyond.

Learn more about German at Sheffield

Undergraduate degree combinations

BA Modern Languages & Cultures

On the BA Modern Languages & Cultures you can study:

  • German language & culture only
  • German language & culture with one other language & culture
  • German language & culture with two other languages & cultures

Choose from these languages:

  • French
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Catalan
  • Dutch
  • Luxembourgish* (from second year only)
  • Czech
  • Italian
Dual Honours (with a non-language subject)

As a Dual Honours degree:

  • German language & culture with a non-language subject
  • German languages & culture, a second language & culture, and a non-language subject

Combine your study of German language & culture with one of the following:

  • Archaeology
  • Business Management
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Politics

Find out more about our range of dual honours degrees.

Free Credits

If you have some experience of modern language learning, you can take German language & culture modules either as part of your degree (unrestricted modules) or alongside your degree (not-for-credit modules).

Fast facts

Award: Bachelor of Arts

Duration: 4 years

Entry: ABB at A Level. We also accept a wide range of other qualifications. See individual degree programmes for more detailed information.

Why study German at Sheffield?

We asked some of our students why they chose to study German at Sheffield:

Course structure

Post A-level Course

You can take German in a variety of subject combinations and you can choose from a wide range of optional modules.

But at the centre of all our programmes are your language modules. They form the bedrock of your education in German. For Post A-level students they normally take three hours of language teaching per week. In addition we offer a digital learning opportunities and a lively social and extra-curricular programme with other students and German-speakers. 

Alongside your compulsory language programme you choose from a wide range of culture, history, linguistics or literature course. Our staff has expertise in many areas which is reflected in our teaching.  You are also free to pick School-wide modules, depending on your degree programme.

Beginners' German

If you are new to the German language you will follow an intense programme of five weekly hours’ of intensive teaching.

This will rapidly and intensively develop your German. In addition to language you will be taught German Studies on German culture, literature, philosophy and film.

In your Second Year you will take four hours a week of language teaching and again you will develop your German Studies (Politik und Medien, Kultur, Literatur, Ideen, Film). Depending on your programme you can take more courses of course.

After the Year Abroad our you are able to integrate fully with your fellow students on the post-A level strand.


Module information

You will study 40 credits in language and culture at either beginner or post A level.

Beginner's German

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

German Language for Beginners

An intensive language course taught in small groups. By the end of the year you will be able to read German and use the language in a variety of social contexts (CEFR A1/2).

20

Core

Understanding German History and Culture*

An overview of the most important historical events (e.g. the fall of the Berlin Wall) as well as writers and thinkers in German culture (e.g. Marx and Kafka).

* This course is Core if you are studying one or two languages and cultures and Optional if you are studying three languages and cultures

20

Core /
Optional

Post A Level German

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

German Language Post A-Level

In this intensive language course you will build on your existing German language. You will encounter more sophisticated grammar and extend your reading and speaking skills. By the the end of the year you will have gained B1/2 fluency.

20 Core

Understanding German History and Culture*

This course offers an overview of German history from the industrial revolution through WWI and WWII to the fall of the Berlin Wall and beyond. We also look at major literary texts and political and philosophical ideas (e.g. Freud, Marx, Kafka, Bachman). 

* This course is Core if you are studying one or two languages and cultures and Optional if you are studying three languages and cultures

20 Core /
Optional

You may also choose from a range of modules from across the School of Languages and Cultures.

German language intermediate (following beginner's German route)

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

German Language Intermediate

This course builds on the skills and knowledge acquired in the German Language for Beginners module. You will learn how to construct more sophisticated sentences in German, will be able to communicate in different registers and we will discuss a range of new topics relevant to German-speaking countries. At intermediate level we aim to reach a level of language proficiency that is equivalent to CEFR B1/B2.

20 Core

Deutsche Politik und Medien (for intermediate German)

We explore German politics and the German media landscape since 1945, with particular emphasis on the present. Through German- as well as English-language reading and visual material (e.g., film clips), this course provides you with a detailed understanding of the public world of post-war and contemporary Germany, while also developing your linguistic capabilities. Together with the Intermediate language course and Deutsche Kultur, this module is compulsory for German Intermediate students taking 40 credits (or more) of German in their Second Year.

10 Core

Deutsche Kultur (for intermediate German)

This course looks at modern German literary texts, newspaper and magazine articles, and pictorial material. It enables you to develop the tools needed to interpret and analyze contemporary German literary, artistic and popular culture, while also enhancing your German language skills. Together with the Intermediate language course and Deutsche Politik und Medien, this module is compulsory for German Intermediate students taking 40 credits (or more) German in their Second Year.

10 Core

Depending on your degree programme and language combination you may take at least 20 credits and a maximum of 80 credits from:

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

Analysing Evil: National Socialism as Ideology and Brand

National Socialism was not just an evil ideology – it was an evil ideology that had to be “sold” to the German people. The course seeks to answer two key questions: what are the central elements of this belief system, and how were they promoted, advertised, and enforced? We will look at such issues as the social, political, and economic contexts from which the Nazis sought to benefit; Hitler’s personality and politico-rhetorical strategies; and the “branding” of National Socialism.

20 Optional

Germanic Languages in Social Context

In this module, students obtain an overview of the status and function of the German language in relation to its speakers and to speakers of other languages. It provides students with the opportunity to analyse linguistic representations as well as language-related debates in officially monolingual (Germany, Austria) and multilingual (Switzerland, Luxembourg) countries.

20 Optional

German Culture and Ideas from the Enlightenment to the Present Day

The course traces the development of German culture from the Enlightenment onwards: from an age of Absolutist princes and obsessive artists to social critics, the Germans who desired discipline, and those who encourage expressive dissent; through to the media scandals, comics, and performance poets of today. In this survey course, you will study the most influential periods and people who have shaped modern German literature, in its broadest sense, after which you can your deepen your knowledge further in more specialist thematic modules.

20 Optional
And choose from year 2 School-wide modules 20 per module Optional

German language higher intermediate (following post A level German route)

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

German Language Higher Intermediate

The Higher Intermediate Language module is focused on preparing you to spend time in a German-speaking country, so that you have the confidence to tackle CV writing, work presentations or academic essays in German. Alongside this skills-based work is an additional class devoted to advanced grammar, in which you explore and practise more complex syntactic structures, testing these as you translate into and out of German. (CEFR Level B2.2 / C1).

20 Core

Depending on your degree programme and language you may take a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 100 credits from:

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

Analysing Evil: National Socialism as Ideology and Brand

National Socialism was not just an evil ideology – it was an evil ideology that had to be “sold” to the German people. The course seeks to answer two key questions: what are the central elements of this belief system, and how were they promoted, advertised, and enforced? We will look at such issues as the social, political, and economic contexts from which the Nazis sought to benefit; Hitler’s personality and politico-rhetorical strategies; and the “branding” of National Socialism.

20 Optional

Deutschland und Österreich heute

Taught in German, this course provides an overview of present-day Germany and Austria, examining three core areas in particular: politics; culture; and mass and social media. On the basis of selected texts and video clips as well as a variety of Internet sources, the course explores such issues as the rise of populist / right-wing extremist parties like the AfD; immigration policy; and national identity.

20 Optional

German Languages in Social Context

This module offers an overview of the status and function of the German language in relation to its speakers and to speakers of other languages. It provides students with the opportunity to analyse linguistic representations as well as language-related debates in officially monolingual (Germany, Austria) and multilingual (Switzerland, Luxembourg) countries.

20 Optional

German Culture and Ideas from the Enlightenment to the Present Day

The course traces the development of German culture from the Enlightenment onwards: from an age of Absolutist princes and obsessive artists to social critics, the Germans who desired discipline, and those who encourage expressive dissent; through to the media scandals, comics, and performance poets of today. In this survey course, you will study the most influential periods and people who have shaped modern German literature, in its broadest sense, after which you can your deepen your knowledge further in more specialist thematic modules.

20 Optional
And choose from year 2 School-wide modules 20 per module Optional

You will spend either one or two semesters in Germany, Austria or Switzerland on your Year Abroad.

Study at a university

Studying abroad at a university allows you to experience the familiarity of student life with the excitement of living in another country. University life varies enormously across the world, however wherever they go, our students develop international networks and life-long friendships. Courses at international universities expose our students to new ways of studying, learning, and interpreting the world. 

Gain work experience

Work placements provide you with the opportunity of gaining employment experience as both a professional and an internationally competent graduate. Types of work experience may vary hugely, from translation to consultancy and everything in-between. Work experience may be paid or voluntary, depending on type of work, organisation and location. 

Teach English with the British Council

The British Council is an international government institution designed to promote British culture around the world. With the British Council, students will teach English to a variety of age groups in their host country. This allows students to have in-depth engagement with locals, as well as experience the world of international work. Main counties that participate are: Austria, France, Germany and Spain. There are also a small number of placements in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Switzerland.

More about your Year Abroad options

German language advanced (All students)

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

German Language Advanced

This advanced language module has two strands:

1) a core strand which enables you to produce fluent and accurate written and spoken German (CEFR level C1 / C2) using complex structures and appropriate vocabulary in multiple registers und employing a variety of rhetorical strategies;

2) a language specialism strand in which you choose from either Advanced Translation or Presenting and Debating. In Advanced Translation you work mostly from German into English, dealing with syntactic and lexical problems on the basis of a range of journalistic and literary texts. Presenting and Debating will provide techniques and practice to equip you with the confidence not only to present your own views, but also to analyse and counter views those of others within a formal debate.  

20 Core

Depending on your degree programme and language combinations you may take a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 100 credits from:

Title

Credits

Core/Optional

German for Enterprise

This project module brings students together with local and regional businesses wishing to expand into Germany and Austria. Students will offer research, translation and text-writing services, as well as helping UK partners become aware of the expectations and practices which determine the German-speaking market.

20 Optional

Modern German Thought

We focus on famous German thinkers like Marx and Freud, and how they can help us understand the world of today. On the basis of selected philosophical texts, we explore such issues as: the benefits and dangers of consumerism; the relation between democracy and capitalism; the social importance of literature and the arts; and the role of (social) media.

20 Optional

Twentieth Century Fiction and Drama

The course provides a survey of major works of literature from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland over the duration of the long twentieth century. The texts studied will enable students to trace literary- and intellectual-historical developments over the period, but will also reinforce understanding of the political and social background.

20 Optional

The Birth of Consumerism & Creativity: Germany & Britain

In the industrial revolution, “consumerism” was seen as a British idea. But it made its way to German-speaking territories, influencing a tradition of the arts known for intellectualism. Germany’s most famous poets and philosophers sought to carve out their own creative and conceptual space away from everyday stuff — only to then be imported to Britain in order to give Victorian liberal capitalism intellectual credibility! Working on your own research project, you'll examine an international circulation of ideas and texts during the birth of our modern economic and social system (that’s still in place today), questioning what it meant to be an “artist” and — or? — “consumer”.

20 Optional
And choose from year 4 School-wide modules 20 per module Optional

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 4 November 2019


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