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BSc German

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
  • Fully integrated year abroad with extensive preparation and support offered
  • Check out our German Blog to find out more about German at Aston  

4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code: R220

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.

Sample module options: The following module descriptions are indications only -  the University reserves the right to change the modules on offer, the module content and the assessment methods.

Year 1

Core modules:

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: 10

Language of delivery: German and English
 

Module content: This module provides a general introduction to film studies as an academic discipline for students of French, German and Spanish covering analytical aspects such as mise-en-scène, use of sound and montage as well as the history of film and European cinema. Bi-weekly lectures in English introduce students to film as a medium for both artistic expression and social critique. Bi-weekly seminars allow students to maintain a strong focus on working in their chosen foreign language.

Method of learning and teaching: Bi-weekly lectures and seminars, complemented by self-study portfolio tasks in the target language. Students are provided with glossaries to familiarise them with film studies terminology in both English and the target language. At the end of the module students produce a 1500 word analysis of a chosen film in the foreign language. These projects are supervised in German and guidance for independent research is given.   

Assessment method: Portfolio of 3 film analysis tasks (30%), essay (70%).

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%).

Year 2
Core modules:
Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module introduces the major historical and current aspects of Germany’s capital throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students are familiarised with the methods and approaches of cultural studies and gain further insights into themes discussed in other modules (German History and Society; Post war Germany; German Politics and Society). The seminars cover Berlin as a political and cultural centre during Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic, the National Socialist period, and post-war divided Germany, using both written sources and film, music and the visual arts.

Method of learning and teaching: 
2 contact hours per week.

Contact hour 1: seminar
Contact hour 2: flexible coursework supervision and feedback

Assessment method: Oral presentation (20%), essay (80%).

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: 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: 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%).
Year 3 - Year Abroad
Final Year
Core modules:
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: Building on the level one and two modules on German film and film studies as a discipline, this module develops students’ experience of analysing film in a socio-historical context and their 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. The guiding theme of the module is the portrayal of East Germany and of German unification in contemporary film. Students will analyse the various discourses of representing the GDR on screen, they will be familiarised with the controversial phenomenon of “Ostalgie” and they will evaluate the contribution these films are making towards a national culture of remembrance. 

Method of learning and teaching: Weekly lectures and 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 also evaluate examples of film criticism from German newspapers and will produce their own film reviews.

Assessment method

10 min oral presentation on a film or a theoretical concept (10%)
500 word film review (in class) (10%)                                                            
3000 word essay in German (see submission calendar for the date of submission) (80%)                                                                                                                      

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%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: This module follows on the themes introduced in ‘German Popular Culture’. Topic areas include the culture of the German Democratic Republic, film, the relationship of art and morality, tensions between art and politics, and the history of literature and poetry in the Federal Republic. Students will gain a deep understanding of the role of culture as a mediator between society and politics.

Methods of learning and teaching: Weely seminars.

Assessment method: Essay (100%).
Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German

Module content: The module addresses the main areas of German-Jewish history, including the emergence of a distinct Jewish-German culture since the late Middle Ages, the Jewish struggle for civil rights in the German-speaking countries during the nineteenth century and developments in the twentieth century. By focusing on biographies of Jewish women and men who helped to shape German and Austrian societies the module will also analyse the way the German-Jewish community saw and sees itself.

Methods 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: 3000-word essay (75%), oral presentation (25%).
Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: German and English

Methods of learning and teaching: Weekly seminars will involve discussion of genre-related translation problems, with defence of translation choices, for a different text type each week. Preparation for each class will involve background reading, text analysis and a draft translation. Use of IT tools will be expected. Students will also be required to give a presentation on the genre to be studied the following week.


Exercises carried out independently, coupled with in-class feedback and discussion, will prepare students for the demands of the real-life professional environment. Working from the foreign language into the mother tongue will allow students to concentrate on applied translation skills whilst encouraging a more pro-active investigation into how German language and culture are exploited by text producers to achieve specific communicative intentions for the reader. An additional outcome of interlingual and intercultural comparative analysis will be an enhanced command of various styles of written English and awareness of aspects of the home culture.

Texts for weekly practice will be from a range including the following: journalistic, legal, advertising, tourism, semi-specialised reports on scientific and/or technical subjects.

Assessment method: Assessment will be by means of a take-away paper. The paper consists of two German texts, each approximately 400-500 words long, for translation into English within a specified period in Week 25/26.In addition, students will have to submit a short commentary (500 words max.) to explain their overall approach, and strategies used to resolve problems raised by the texts. A list of links to 2 comparable and 2 parallel texts must also be included.

2nd  (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014


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 Administrator, Michelin
  • 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 courses 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 Single Honours programme specification.

Dr Stefan Manz - Head of German

Stefan Manz

'At Aston University, 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.'

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 International 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.

Campus accomodation guaranteed for first year and final year students returning from the Year Abroad.

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777
Emaillss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk


Student Profile

Student Profile

Marcus Begley

BSc German

On my Year Abroad, I worked as a British Council Language Assistant in two ‘Realschule’ in Bavaria, Germany. I really enjoyed experiencing a different culture and the whole Year Abroad has significantly improved my language skills as well as my general understanding of Germany. It has been such a great experience.

 

Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Anna Wallace, Graduate 2007

BSc International Politics and German

Since graduation I have been working in public affairs, which means I seek to influence government policy and legislation. I am currently the Public Affairs Manager for the HR professional body, the CIPD. The communication skills I developed in my language classes have been invaluable e.g. giving presentations/ working with different audiences.

 

Download the course brochure

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Accommodation

Accommodation

Outstanding graduate career prospects

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