Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Subject area: German

Why choose German at the University of Edinburgh?

  • Edinburgh has one of the widest ranges of languages and joint honours programmes of any UK university. That creates a uniquely exciting and stimulating environment for language study. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject, modern languages at Edinburgh was rated 4th in the UK and 17th in the world.

  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 70 per cent of our European languages and cultures research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent, in a joint submission with Celtic and Scottish Studies.

  • We have close links with the German Consulate in Edinburgh and the Goethe-Institut in Glasgow. You are encouraged to participate in Edinburgh's extensive German cultural life. Opportunities include performing German theatre, joining the German Society and participating in German film evenings.

Study abroad

There is a great atmosphere in the German Section and the teaching staff are very friendly and approachable. Language skills are a great asset on your CV when applying for jobs.

Laura Little German graduate
Laura Little German graduate

The study of German at Edinburgh covers not only the language, but also a broad range of literary and cultural topics. These include film, theatre, translation, politics and gender, Germany and Islam, East German studies, Brecht, the Third Reich and the Holocaust, German romanticism, Goethe and Schiller, and medieval studies. The oral language practicals cover a wide range of stimulating up-to-date cultural and political topics.

You will be taught by world-leading specialists in all these areas. You will benefit from access to extensive and constantly updated study resources, including audio-visual and web-based resources and rich library holdings.

Year 1

If you haven't studied German before you will take German 1A, an intensive language course. If your entry qualification for German is a Scottish Higher, A level, or equivalent, you will be admitted to German 1B, which covers language as well as literature and culture from 1770 to the present day.

Year 2

You will take German 2, which has a German culture component that focuses on themes such as epic theatre, comedy and social criticism, textual scholarship, poetry after Auschwitz, and Psychoanalysis and Film. In the German language course you will develop your oral language skills further, and practise creative writing, translation and grammar.

Year 3

You will spend Year 3 working or studying abroad, spending time in a German-speaking country.

Year 4

You will take German language classes in essay and précis writing, spoken German and German to English translation of literary and journalistic texts. You will also choose from a wide range of specialist courses on German literature, film, theatre, and society.

Are there additional costs?

The normal residence requirement for European languages is 30 weeks in the relevant country or countries. Some students of German may apply for posts as English language assistants in schools, for which a salary is paid.

Costs vary according to destinations: capital cities are more expensive than provincial towns. For EU countries, a number of Erasmus places are available, which include a small grant from European Union funds.

Students studying more than one language have to complete a minimum period of eight weeks in each country and a total of eight months abroad. Some limited government funding may be available from the University to assist with the cost of study abroad during the summer vacation.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures in the University's Central Area. We are based in a state-of-the-art building, at 50 George Square, which houses computer microlabs, a language resource centre, and social facilities as well as tutors' offices, lecture theatres, and a film projection room.

Study abroad

Year 3 will be your year abroad. You will spend time studying, teaching or working in a German-speaking country. The University currently has Erasmus exchange programmes with universities in Berlin, Augsburg, Heidelberg, Essen, Tübingen, Freiburg, Leipzig, Mainz and Vienna.

If you are studying more than one language you will divide your time abroad between two countries.

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and computer-assisted learning.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of exams and coursework.

German is the language with the highest number of native speakers in the European Union and is an official language in seven European countries and provinces. German plays an important role as a foreign language in many other countries, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe.

German speakers are highly sought after by British employers. Seven out of 10 businesses in the UK value foreign language skills in their employees and 49 per cent of them rate German as useful for their business, placing it ahead of Spanish and Mandarin.

As part of your project work, in Year 1 of studying German you will be allocated a German native speaker as an interview partner. You will have the opportunity to find out about the value of foreign languages in the workplace and gain some insights into possible career options. As a follow up, a Careers Service workshop helps you to analyse and develop your acquired graduate skills.