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BSc German and English Language  

Why choose this course?

  • The Complete University Guide 2014 ranked German at Aston joint 2nd for Graduate Prospects (85%) out of 44 universities
  • 2nd  (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014
  • Contemporary and applied focus, with a high level of teaching delivered in German
  • English Language at Aston is ranked 13th (out of 105 programmes in the UK) in the Guardian University Guide 2015

  • In the 2013 National Student Survey BSc English Language scored 100% for overall satisfaction 

 


4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code: QR32

Typical Offers
A-levels: ABB - BBB from 3 A-levels, including German Grade B. General Studies accepted. 
IB: 32-33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level German.
Access: Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module.  Humanities or Social Sciences Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.  A-level grade B in German or equivalent.
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.   A-level grade B in German or equivalent.  Mix of Diploma/ Subsidiary Diploma/A-levels acceptable.

We accept a wide range of UK, EU and International qualifications: please contact us for further advice.

Specific subject requirements:
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C.

Tuition fees 2014/15: £9,000 (£1,000 during placement year) for UK/EU students. More on fees

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.

By the end of our programme you will be able to work effectively in a professional German-speaking environment. Our focus is on the practical application of a range of skills within their wider context. Your linguistic skills will reach near-native proficiency, acquired through a combination of up-to-date modules and a well structured and supervised year abroad. You will also acquire transferable skills such as teamwork and independent research. These will be essential for any of the career choices the course will open up for you. Teaching is conducted in a stimulating environment by internationally renowned experts in their field. Almost all courses are taught in German and provide in-depth insights into current affairs. Subject specialisms include German society, film studies, socio-linguistics, translation studies, popular culture, literature, history and politics, and business studies.

Our innovative English Language degree aims to provide you with a theoretical knowledge and understanding of the English language, how it works in society and its role in the world today. At the same time we emphasise the practical application of English Language studies to the real world through professionally relevant modules in areas such as Teaching and Learning English or Language in the Workplace or Language and the Law. Your First Year of studying English Language at Aston will give you a broad introduction to language and meaning, to the influence of form and context and to the role of language in society. In the Second Year you build upon the themes introduced in your First Year through the study of core and elective modules designed to equip you to describe the features of spoken and written language in technical detail, as well as collecting, managing and working with linguistic data. In the Final Year you can choose from a wide range of elective modules to suit your interests and/or career plans. You will also produce a substantial piece of individual work in the form of a dissertation on an agreed topic of your choice.

Year One

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This is the core language skills module for first-year students which provides a solid linguistic basis for the coming years of study. The module consists of three parts: a) grammar lecture, revising the major topics of German grammar; b) communication skills seminars, practising written and oral language skills with group work, whole-class work and individual study; and c) an e-learning component comprising listening skills, vocabulary and general knowledge of the German-speaking areas.

Method of learning and teaching: Seminar, group work, individual work, role-play, presentations, self-access learning

Assessment method: Exam (70%), class assignments (20%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: 20

Module content: The module provides students with knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century history and area studies as an essential intellectual basis for the modules in the Second and Final years. Landeskunde lectures give students a basic knowledge of the German speaking countries, including geography, political systems, education systems, and aspects of the economy. In the second half of the module students are introduced to major events in German history from the late nineteenth century to the end of National Socialism, and their lasting effects on modern Germany are examined.

Method of learning and teaching: 

2 contact hours per week throughout the academic year.  

Students are taught through task-oriented work; seminar work; lectures; presentations; interpretation of pre-selected source texts; guidance for independent research and focussed academic study skills elements.

Assessment method
: Exam (25%), oral presentation (25%), essay (50%), research skills portfolio (pass/fail).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: The topical content areas are determined by respective current events reported in the German news media. These serve as a platform to discuss wider issues in German politics, society, economy and culture. Examples can include elections, public debates, or major events. Students will also be made familiar with the nature and political affiliations of different newspapers and other media.

Method of learning and teaching: Two contact hours per week, to include lecture, seminar, structured discussions, group work, oral presentations, supervision of independent research. 

Assessment method: speech (25%); group discussion (25%; two letters to the editor (50%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: The course deals with the following topics: spoken and written language; standard language; the development of a German standard language; the difference between language and dialect; language policy and language planning; German minority languages and linguistic minorities in Germany; language contact: the example of English borrowings into German.

Assessment method: oral poster presentation (20%), exam (80%).

In this module, students look at how words are used in written and spoken texts to create meanings, and use dictionaries, corpus analysis and other practical techniques to understand the processes involved, and to analyse words in different ways.

Assessment method: 2.5-hour written exam (100%)

This module introduces you to the basics of one model of grammar: Systemic Functional Grammar, including key concepts and terms. It also involves practical workshop activities where you apply in practice what you have learnt in theory. 

Assessment method: 3-hour written exam (80%), Attendance and participation (20%)

This module looks at language as it is employed for a variety of purposes in both private and public contexts. It also extends methods of communication to cover non-verbal means whereby messages are conveyed, as substitutes for and supplements to the use of words. Topic areas to be covered will include paralinguistics in interaction and in texts (links between image, gesture and word), language and technology, media language and the language of interpersonal communication.

Assessment method: A written assignment of 2500 words (50%), 2500-3000-word group project (50%)

The module provides a brief introduction to the historical development of English, as a basis for the investigation of the concepts of language varieties and boundaries. This leads to an exploration of the issues and controversies surrounding the present-day role of English as a world language. An emphasis on language description reinforces the terminology and concepts taught in the companion modules of Level 1, while the teaching also focuses on the socio-historical forces which have shaped the development of English, reflecting the perspective of the programme overall.

Assessment method: 4-5-minute individual presentation (20%), 2-hour closed-book written exam (80%)

This module introduces the concepts of register and genre: the ways in which spoken and written texts are shaped by their purpose, the relationship between reader and writer or speaker and hearer, and formal aspects of the communication (pictures, writing, speech, song etc).

Assessment method: 1,500-word essay (50%), 1,500-word essay (50%)

This module introduces language description at the levels of phonetics and phonology. It provides the descriptive and analytical tools needed to discuss phonological processes and aspects of speech production, involved in variation across accents of English.

Assessment method: 1,500-word essay (60%), Class test (40%)


Year Two

In this module, students are introduced to translation from German into English. It consists of two parts: a) textual skills with a focus on differences in grammar and word building in German and English; b) translation practice from German into English focusing on culture-specifics and text conventions.

Assessment method: grammar and vocabulary exam and translation exam

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: The module concentrates on specific topic areas in German society, culture, politics, and economy since 1990 (‘Berlin Republic’). These include, for example, reunification problems, elections, and multiculturalism. The topic areas chosen in a given year are related to current affairs. Students are given the opportunity to apply the tools and knowledge-base acquired in Teaching Period 1 (Postwar Germany) to critically engage with, and keep informed about, German current affairs.

Method of learning and teaching: Weekly two-hour classes, to include lecture elements, seminars, structured discussions, group work, oral presentations.

Assessment method: Essay (75%), group-discussion (25%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module consolidates and develops the first-year work on all aspects of German language, using a variety of formats including class discussion, small-group or individual projects, and guided self-study. The module has two components: a) academic writing and communication skills in German; b) a set of independent learning tasks delivered by e-learning.

Method of learning and teaching: Seminars, group work, individual work, role-play, presentations, self-access learning (especially in the ILT component).

Students are encouraged to watch German TV or listen to German radio on a regular basis. A list of the main newspapers, radio stations and TV-channels accessed via the Internet will be provided.  

Assessment method: written examination (50%), oral presentation (25%), oral exam (25%), essay and portfolio of self-study materials (pass/fail).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module follows on from the Level One history course and provides students with solid knowledge and understanding of Germany from 1945 to the present day. The focus is on major events and themes of post-war history along with contemporary German politics, society, economy and culture. Topic areas include nationhood, division and reunification, the German political system and Germany’s place in Europe and the world.

Method of learning and teaching: Weekly two-hour lectures, to include structured discussion, buzz groups, team-work.

Assessment method: Group presentation (20%), written exam (80%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This seminar opens up perspectives on the second German-speaking country, with special reference to the similarities and dissimilarities between Austria and Germany. It thus develops the knowledge acquired in German History and Society (Level One) and Post war Germany (Level Two), and increases students’ awareness of the role of regional differences. Topics covered include Austrian political history, Austrian language and culture, and contemporary Austrian society.

Method of learning and teaching: Lecture, seminar, oral presentations, guided study of original documents and texts, supervised research, consultation for essay preparation

Assessment method: 2000-word essay in German (80%), class presentation with handout (20%).

This module introduces you to different variations of English, including: social and regional variation; Englishes around the world and differences between spoken and written modes. 

Assessment method: 3-hour exam 

This module aims to introduce you to the ways in which media texts both reflect and construct our social practice and values. It addresses a range of issues, such as what makes something newsworthy, whether there is objectivity in news reporting, whether different social groups are equally represented in mass media texts, and what part visual images and layout play in our media messages; and it introduces you to a variety of methods for describing and critically evaluating media texts in relation to these issues.

Assessment method: 2,000-word case study (80%), Attendance and participation (20%)

This is an introductory course to TESOL. By the end of the module, the students will have become aware of the basic requirements of a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. They will have had the chance to develop some of the skills necessary for the TESOL teacher. The emphasis will be on developing the skills, organisational and pedagogical, which will allow them to teach or tutor their specialism. The areas covered will be course and syllabus design, materials evaluation and preparation, strategies for teaching lexis and grammar, lesson planning, delivery and evaluation.

Assessment method: Short lesson (10-15 minutes) on approved topic (50%), 1000 word summary and critique of a journal article (50%)


Year Four (following year abroad)

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German and English

Module content: In this module, students work on aspects of written and spoken German at an advanced level. The module has four components: a) translation from German into English; b) debates; c) genre-specific writing with a focus on accuracy and style; abstracting from German into English with a focus on accurate reading and the skills of linguistic mediation; d) independent learning using a structured set of advanced grammar exercises to improve accuracy in German.

Method of learning and teaching: Seminars, group-work, individual study. 

Assessment method: translation into English (25%), group debate (15%), written report in German (10%), three-hour examination (50%) and a portfolio of grammar work (pass/fail).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module runs through the whole of the final year and draws together the skills students have acquired throughout the programme. It involves choosing a research topic from the areas of German history, politics, economics, language or culture; researching this; and writing it up in an extended essay in academic German. The written project is complemented by an oral defence of the project in German. Students attend weekly seminars on research skills and individual supervision tutorials.

Method of learning and teaching: Plenary sessions will provide information on the expectations for an LTS dissertation and viva and will present objectives, methodology, and a timetable for the module. These sessions will be supplemented by individual and group meetings between supervisors and students. It is the responsibility of the student to comply with deadlines set by the supervisor.

Assessment method: research project (5,000-6,000 words) and viva.

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module develops students’ ability to analyse film in a socio-historical context. It aims to deepen understanding and appreciation of film as an art form and as a medium to express and reflect discourses on German history as well as current social developments in Germany. Currently, the module focuses on the cinematic portrayal of German division and unification. It touches on questions of memory politics and introduces students to relevant theoretical concepts in that area.

Method of learning and teaching: Four two-hour seminars will introduce the students to the topic, will provide further input in the shape of background information and a theoretical framework and will give students the opportunity to discuss the films they have watched independently. Students will watch films on a fortnightly basis and complete written assignments (set via Blackboard) applying their knowledge of both film theory and of contemporary German society. Students will also evaluate examples of film criticism from German newspapers and will produce their own film reviews.   

Assessment method: 2-hour written, video based examination at the end of the Teaching Period (50%), 5 written tasks to be completed during teaching time, in weeks without seminars (10% each).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module builds on the level 2 Post war Germany module as well as first-hand experience acquired during the Year Abroad. Students enhance their familiarity with the popular culture of Germany and Austria from a variety of perspectives: art, literature, music, media, society, politics, and philosophy.

Methods of learning and teaching: Weekly seminars, which will involve a variety of learning activities such as group work, individual work, guided study in preparation for the assessed essay.

Assessment method: Essay (100%).

In this module, students learn the key concepts and terminology of corpus linguistics and how to use corpus tools to conduct research into language in use, and look at some areas of applied linguistics in which corpora are used, such as lexicography, pedagogy, and translation.

Assessment method: Written assignment of 2000 words (50%), Practical project report (equivalent of 1000-1500 words) (50%)

This module will focus on one specialist area of Applied Linguistics, the application of the tools and techniques of language description to spoken and written texts which have a significance in court cases. The module will look at topics such as: techniques for authorship attribution; questions of copyright and the detection of plagiarism; disputed police records of interview and confession; suspect suicide notes; and anonymous letters.

Assessment method: Mock expert report with literature review (2,000 words) (50%), Critique of expert report (1,500 words)

This course aims to enable students to research in significant depth a topic in English Language, and address, elaborate and apply key concepts used in the linguistic analysis of discourse, in professional, social, educational and/or cultural institutions and contexts. The dissertation allows students to undertake supervised research on a topic that is new to them. It is the longest and most sustained piece of research undertaken in the English Language part of their degree programme.

Assessment method: Dissertation proposal (20%), Dissertation (80%) 

Aston is 6th for Languages Graduate Level Destinations sixth months after Graduation - Guardian 2013

Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers who value their understanding of different cultures and societies, their communication skills and motivation for team work. Recent destinations for Language and Translation Studies graduates include:  

  • English Teacher, Business Language Skills
  • PR Graduate Scheme, LIDL
  • French Customer Service Co-ordinator, CRP
  • Bilingual Sales Coordinator, Narrow Aisle Ltd
  • Language Assistant, British Council
  • Translator/Analytical Support, B&Q
  • Immigration Assistant, Australian Embassy UK
  • Marketing Analyst, Deutsche Bank
  • Graduate Trainee Managers for British Airways, Aldi Stores, John Lewis and Selfridges
  • Journalist, Tatler Magazine
  • Account Manager Interpreting, Smoby (French Toy Company)
  • Senior AdministratorMichelin
  • Public Relations Officers for a number of companies
  • European Union/European Parliament Officers/Assistants
  • PGCE Secondary Teaching Qualification at universities including King’s College London, Warwick University and Exeter
  • Marketing Assistant at Beiersdorf

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. We teach our German studies course in German, which means that our students are at a real advantage when it comes to gaining maximum benefit and experience from the year abroad. 

You will be allocated a Personal Tutor when you join us and you will be encouraged to make regular contact with them throughout your studies. Personal Tutors are there to help discuss academic and, in some cases, personal issues. Personal Tutors can also often offer support by writing references for placement/graduate employment and academic research.

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

For further information, see the German Joint Honours programme specification and the English Language Joint Honours programme specification.


Dr Stefan Manz - Head of German

Stefan Manz

“At Aston, research is not an ‘ivory tower’ activity but a way of engaging with the world around us. We aim to make a real impact through our research – and that begins in the classroom. My own teaching is always informed by the latest thinking in my areas of specialism, which include migration studies, German history and society, and European Studies. A recent example is my volume on EU-enlargement. The material is perfect to be used in my seminar on German Politics and Society. Should Turkey join the European Union? Should Greece leave? Why does Croatia join and not Serbia? And what about the UK? After I chart Germany’s position on these questions, students engage in lively and sometimes controversial small-group discussion about the nature of the European Union. This is just one example of how my research feeds into and enlivens my teaching. We aim to equip our students with an in-depth and relevant understanding of the modern world. Our research helps us to achieve this aim.”

Dr Krzysztof Kredens - Director of Undergraduate Programmes in English Language

Dr Kredens

“In my five years at Aston possibly the most flattering praise I received came from a student who said ‘This module messes with my head’. ‘Messing with students’ heads’ is not necessarily what the official course description promises but in my teaching I try and challenge students’ perceptions of what language is and what it can – and cannot – do for them. The key message I try to get across is that understanding the linguistic phenomena we encounter, but rarely notice, on an every-day basis is crucial for understanding and shaping the world around us. We all acquire knowledge in essentially two ways – either through direct experience or from others. For most of our knowledge we have to rely on other people’s perceptions, which, before reaching us, are encoded into language. Language then carries knowledge; once we realise the importance of this simple notion, we can make fully informed and conscious choices as to how we can use language as a powerful tool to achieve certain aims. At Aston our focus is on language use rather than structure. We do make sure our students acquire the relevant theoretical concepts, but our ultimate aim is to show how language works in actual interactions. We focus on the practical applications of English Language studies. We are passionate about teaching and, importantly, use our own research to inform it. As a result our students often have access to the latest research findings even before they are published in academic journals or the media.”

Campus accomodation guaranteed for first year and final year students returning from year abroad

The Third Year of your course is spent abroad in a German speaking country - increasing your fluency, enhancing your cultural awareness and adding value to your degree. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston University, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree. A distinctive feature of our year abroad is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company, working as a teaching assistant in a school or studying at one of our partner universities. We are extremely proud of the high level of preparation, orientation and support that we provide before and during your year abroad. We have a full-time Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away. Find out more about the Year Abroad.

 

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777
Email: lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Roberta Smith, Graduate 2013

BSc English Language

I love my course because it opens up so many doors for my future; it isn't the same old stuff from A-level but an exciting development into linguistics and language. My favourite module is one I am studying at the moment called “language of evidence” which is an introduction to Forensic Linguistics.

 

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Accommodation

Accommodation

Outstanding graduate career prospects

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Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research