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Guide to studying German

Not only will you learn the language but you'll gain great insight into the culture and society of Germany and other German-speaking countries.

Tourist looking at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in Germany


  1. What's German?

  2. Why study German?

  3. What jobs can you get as a German graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's German?

Studying a German degree gives you the opportunity to acquire both high-level language skills and a thorough understanding of German culture and society within a global context.

Courses place emphasis on practical language work and communication skills, with opportunities to study aspects of the culture, thought, society and institutions of the country in question.

Why study German?

Universities offer modules in German film, literature, history, politics and more. This in-depth learning gives the language context and relevance as well as helping you to develop your ability to reason and think critically.

Germany is often deemed the European Union's economic powerhouse and with the country being the fourth-largest economy in the world, that's hard to argue. As Germany continues to dominate European politics and increasingly taking centre stage on global affairs, it's a fascinating and sensible time to learn about it. 

You'll be learning a different language and another culture, so it stands to reason you'll spend a period of time studying abroad. Most German courses last four years with one of those years spent in Germany or another German-speaking country.

Graduates develop skills in organisational understanding and cultural sensitivity. Many go on to further study or become teachers, either of foreign languages in this country or of English abroad.

There are also interesting career opportunities for those with good language skills across many industry sectors.

Trier Stadt an der Mosel in Germany

What jobs can you get as a German graduate?

The language and communication skills gained on this course enable you to find work in a variety of areas such as journalism, advertising, teaching, librarianship, accountancy and IT.

As well as language and subject-related skills, a degree in German develops rich interpersonal, intercultural, cognitive and transferable skills that can be utilised across a variety of careers.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

For German degree courses, an A Level (or equivalent) in German is normally required. Unless you'll be studying it from beginners' level, in which case you'll need either an AS Level or GCSE in a foreign language.

Other useful subjects to have on your application include History, English Language or Literature, and Politics.

Grades and other requirements vary with each university and course. Make sure to check for the institution you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • German Studies and Computing
  • German Studies and English Literature
  • German Studies and Film
  • German Studies and Geography
  • German Studies and History
  • German Studies and Linguistics
  • German Studies and Mathematics
  • German Studies and Philosophy
  • German Studies and Politics
  • German Studies and Psychology
  • German Studies and Spanish Studies
  • German Studies and Theatre
  • German Studies with Arabic
  • German Studies with Chinese
  • Law with German

How will you be assessed?

When studying for a German degree, you're likely to be assessed by a mixture of coursework and exams.

Typical coursework assignments include laboratory reports, essays, literature reviews, short tests, critical reports, poster sessions and oral presentations.

Formal examinations include short answer questions, essays and data analysis. Multiple-choice formats are also employed where appropriate. Students usually produce final year project reports and dissertations.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • Languages and Cultures: MA
  • European Languages and Cultures: MPhil/PhD

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