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Study German, why & how to study

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

CONTENTS

  1. What’s German?

  2. What German degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a German degree?

  4. What topics does a German degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study German?

  7. What do German graduates earn?

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

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to German

  11. Have any questions?

What’s German?

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

Courses place an 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.

What German degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in German may be combined with a wide range of subjects or with other languages, for example:

  • Art History and German BA
  • Chinese and German MA
  • Economics with German BA
  • German and Business Studies BA
  • German Studies and Computing BSc
  • Modern Languages (Interpreting and Translating) BSL/German MA

Options may include an integrated foundation year or study abroad.

What do you need to get onto a German degree?

Entry requirements for a German degree at a university range from 96–165 UCAS points. This could include the qualifications below.

  • A Levels: AAA–CCC
  • BTECs: D*D*D*–DMM
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–BBBB (Advanced Highers: AAB–BB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 38–26
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: an A Level (or equivalent) in German, unless studying it from beginners' level, in which case you'll need either an AS Level or GCSE in a foreign language

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • History, English language or literature, and politics
  • General studies at A Level may not be accepted

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Find out as much as you can about German culture, history and language to show your commitment to the subject – read books, blogs and German news, or watch German language videos or films
  • Going on an exchange visit, if possible
  • Being a member of a language club or cultural society
  • Work experience could involve shadowing a language teacher, assisting at a language school, or language tutoring
  • Attending free lectures in modern languages, or online courses or MOOCs
  • If eligible, attend summer schools, e.g. Sutton Trust or UNIQ

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science, if taken at A Level
  • Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities

What topics does a German degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Approaches to language
  • German film: nation and identity
  • German language skills in context
  • German language: oral skills
  • German language: written skills
  • International placement year: intercultural and academic reflection
  • Literature and society since 1945
  • Researching German culture, history and society
  • Shaping contemporary German-speaking Europe: moments and movements
  • Understanding culture: language and texts

How will you be assessed?

Assessments are usually carried out by a mixture of the following, and will vary from module to module.

  • Coursework
  • Critical reports
  • Essays
  • Exams, including short answer questions and essays
  • Literature reviews
  • Oral presentations
  • Poster sessions
  • Short tests
  • A dissertation or project report is usually a final year option

Why study German?

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.

Career-specific skills:

  • Critical understanding of German politics, culture and history
  • Experience of working with people from different cultures
  • Expertise in a second language, reading advanced texts, and translating to and from German

Transferable skills:

  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Decision making
  • Organisational understanding
  • Planning
  • Problem solving
  • Report writing
  • Time management

Professional accreditation:

  • Subjects offered in combination with German may offer suitable accreditation by related professional bodies

What do German graduates earn?

German graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £19,000–£23,000.

Your ability to adapt to new situations and people could lend itself to sales or marketing roles. At a senior level, sales and marketing managers can earn upwards of £60,000 – and there may be performance-related pay and bonuses on top.

If you want to continue using your language skills directly, you could train as a teacher. German is taught in many schools, and classroom teacher pay increases from £25,700 as a newly qualified teacher to £41,600 with experience.

What jobs can you get as a German graduate?

Many German graduates go on to study further or become teachers, either of foreign languages in the UK or of English abroad. The language and communication skills gained from this course could also enable you to find work in fields from accountancy to journalism.

  • Accountant
  • Advertising account planner
  • Editor
  • Freight forwarder
  • Intelligence officer
  • Interpreter
  • IT project manager
  • Journalist
  • Lecturer
  • Librarian
  • Retail merchandiser
  • Teacher
  • TESOL tutor
  • Translator

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Postgraduate opportunities are likely to require degree-level competence in German. Graduates with a German degree will require a PGCE if they wish to become a teacher. Examples of postgraduate courses include:

  • German and Comparative Literature MLitt
  • German MPhil/PhD
  • Language, Culture and History: German Studies MA
  • Interpreting and Translating – Russian and German MA

Similar subjects to German

If you’re interested in other cultures or languages, you could also consider these subjects:

Have any questions?

If you’ve got any questions about studying German, you can email our experts at ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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