German

Join us if you have an enquiring mind, a love of languages and a passion for exploring other societies. Studying German alongside its speakers’ history, literature, and culture opens horizons and challenges preconceptions.

Year abroad

Gain international experience with a year studying or working in Germany or Austria.

Research-led teaching

Current staff specialisms include: modern German and Austrian history; post-war and contemporary literature; historical sociolinguistics; and 18th- to 20th-century studies.

Vibrant community

Join a close community with an active student society (BUGS – Bristol University German Society) and a range of extracurricular social and cultural events.

If you would like to study German on its own or in combination with other languages, see Modern Languages.

German at Bristol

Germany is the largest national economy in Europe and the fourth largest globally. It remains central to the world’s political and economic order, guaranteeing a high demand for the rare commodity of advanced fluency in the German language and familiarity with the diverse culture, history, politics and lifestyles of the German-speaking world.

Bristol offers a dynamic environment in which to pursue the study of modern languages and cultures and the Department of German has an impressive reputation for teaching and research.

You will follow a curriculum which introduces you to many aspects of German studies. As well as taking a structured language course, you will study literature, history, philosophy, politics, linguistics and culture. You will be able to choose from a wide range of options and pursue your own interests.

At Bristol you can either study German as a joint honours degree with another subject, or choose the Modern Languages course to study German on its own, or in combination with other languages.

The sheer breadth of module choice not only enabled me to pick units that I have a keen interest in, but also those which provide a more tangible benefit in terms of my career. My year abroad really put into perspective how much I'd learned.

ALEX, BA FRENCH AND GERMAN

Career prospects

As well as mastering the language, you will develop your skills of investigation and analysis which will be useful in a range of graduate employment opportunities.

Many German language graduates want the opportunity to use their language after graduation. A high proportion find employment in jobs where languages are advantageous.

After spending time in Germany as part of their year abroad, many of our graduates return to Germany to live and work. In today's global economy, expertise in a foreign language is an asset in many job areas, including publishing, the civil service and Foreign Office, marketing, finance, teaching, consultancy, travel and tourism.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

German can be studied on its own or with one or more other languages or subjects. Beginners follow an intensive language course in the first year. We aim to bring our graduates up to native or near-native level, providing training and practice in all essential language skills.

Following a first-year curriculum designed to develop or improve your German language skills and provide you with a grounding in German history and culture, you can choose from a range of options in your second and fourth years, including units exploring German linguistics and the histories of other German-speaking countries such as Austria and Switzerland. 

All German degrees last four years and include a period of residence in a German-speaking country on a work or study placement during your third year. Visit Global Opportunities to find out where you can go abroad.

Sample units may include:

  • Inventing Austria
  • Exiles and Migrants in German Literature
  • Language Variation and Change in German
  • Transnational Nation: Germany 1840-1990
  • After the Wall: Remembering the GDR.

Pursue your passions

There is a great deal of flexibility in how you study German, which is included as a part of many different courses.

You can study German alongside other disciplines such as history, politics, or philosophy, by applying for one of our joint honours degrees.

If you want to specialise solely in German, or to study it alongside up to 2 other modern languages, you can apply to the BA Modern Languages course.

German

If you are interested in studying German as a single honours degree, or in combination with one or two other modern languages, please see the BA Modern Languages course entry. 

Germany remains central to the European economy, guaranteeing high demand for the increasingly rare commodity of advanced fluency in the German language and familiarity with the diverse nature of the culture, history, politics and lifestyle of the German-speaking world.

Why study German at Bristol?

Bristol offers a dynamic environment in which to pursue the study of modern languages and cultures and the Department of German has an impressive reputation for teaching and research.

You will follow a curriculum which introduces you to many aspects of German studies. As well as taking a structured language course, you will study literature, history, philosophy, politics, linguistics and culture. You will be able to choose from a wide range of options and pursue your own interests.

All German degrees last four years and include a period of residence in a German-speaking country on a work or study placement during your third year.

Bristol's Department of German has a close community with an active student society and a range of extracurricular social and cultural events, including visits from a range of speakers and performers. Our students have access to a state-of-the-art multimedia centre.

Bristol is an exciting place to study arts and humanities, with a thriving cultural life, several art cinemas, concert halls and theatres, and a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere.

What kind of student would this course suit?

German courses at Bristol will suit you if you have an enquiring mind, a love of language and a passion for exploring other countries and societies. Studying a modern language in the context of its speakers’ history, literature, experience and outlooks opens horizons and challenges preconceptions.

As well as mastering the language, you will develop your skills of investigation and analysis which will be useful in a range of graduate employment opportunities.

The year abroad is an exciting opportunity to experience the challenges and the satisfaction of living in a different language and culture.

How is this course taught and assessed?

German can be studied on its own (post-A-level) or with one or more other languages or subjects. Beginners follow an intensive language course in the first year.

Most of the course is delivered in small groups. Classroom teaching is supported by online learning resources.

Language is assessed by a regular programme of exercises and written and oral exams. Other elements of the course may be assessed by essays, projects or exams or, occasionally, student presentations.

Many courses allow you to agree your own essay or presentation titles with your teacher, so your studies allow you to pursue your own interests.

What are my career prospects?

Many German language graduates want the opportunity to use their language after graduation. A high proportion find employment in jobs where languages are advantageous.

A significant number of our graduates return to Germany to live and work. In this era of the global economy, expertise in a foreign language is an asset in many job areas, including publishing, the civil service and Foreign Office, marketing, finance, teaching, consultancy, travel and tourism.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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