Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

MA German and English Literature

UCAS code: RQ23

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA German and English Literature

For centuries, both English and German-speaking cultures have had a profound international influence on literature. This programme aims to develop your critical, analytic, linguistic and creative skills by engaging with a broad range of texts in both English and German, and a variety of approaches to reading.

In Europe, more people speak German as their native language than any other, and the language ranks in the world top 20. On this joint programme, you’ll learn the German language while studying literature, as well as film and theatre, all within the context of historical and political developments from medieval to contemporary times.

Likewise, our English Literature curriculum explores the cultural contexts of writing in English from the late middle-ages to the present.

By enhancing your unique literary and critical faculties, the programme prepares you to contribute to a society in which an understanding of texts of all kinds is crucially important. It also includes a year abroad in a German-speaking country.

We are the oldest department of English Literature in the UK, one of the longest established in the world, and proud to be based in the heart of the first UNESCO World City of Literature.

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.

In English Literature, you will take two ‘Literary Studies’ courses which will introduce you to the essential skills needed for the critical close reading of the core literary genres of poetry, drama and prose. You will read works of literature written in English from around the world, and encounter a range of ideas about the nature and purpose of literary study.

You will also choose from a wide range of option courses offered by the University of Edinburgh.

Year 2

In the German 2 language course you will develop your oral language skills further, and practise writing in German, translation and grammar. You will also continue to study literature and culture, choosing at least two courses from a suite of options. These are likely to include:

  • Researching Disability in German Literature & Society
  • Sexualities on the German Screen (title to be confirmed)
  • Culture, Modernity and the City in the Weimar Republic
  • Reading Antisemitism in Modern German Literature
  • The Contemporary Short Story in German
  • Migration in German-Language Discourse

In your second year English Literature courses, you will be introduced to the study of English literature in its cultural and historical contexts, focusing on a selection of major periods. These courses will explore the relationship between literary texts and the construction of national, international and imperial cultures.

As in Year 1, you will also choose from a wide range of option courses offered by the University of Edinburgh.

Year 3

You’ll spend Year 3 abroad, in a German-speaking country (usually Germany or Austria), turning classroom learning into living engagement with German-language culture.

The University currently has exchange places with institutions in Berlin, Augsburg, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Tübingen, Freiburg, Leipzig, Mainz and Vienna.

Alternatively, you might opt to do a work or teaching placement. Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefitted their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of the German language and culture.

During your year abroad, we'll aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

You'll complete prescribed work in both English Literature and German, for example taking an e-learning language course which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your final year German courses.

Year 4

You will develop advanced language skills in spoken and written German and choose from a range of specialist courses in both German and English literature. You will also complete your dissertation or long essay.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2019/20)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area in a world-leading festival city bursting with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries, collections, and literary venues. Highlights include the Scottish Poetry Library, Writers’ Museum, Scottish Storytelling Centre, and outstanding German and English language holdings in the National Library of Scotland.

Staff in both subject areas contribute actively to the local cultural scene, and you will be able to attend film screenings, performances and talks organised by members of staff for the wider public. We also have strong links with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which annually welcomes around 1,000 authors to our literary city.

The University itself has excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, including many in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. We have a fantastic Writer-in-Residence and our online magazine for European languages, Babble, is the place to publish your creative writing in German.

There’s lots going on in our subject areas, from our annual German Play to multiple student societies for literature and drama enthusiasts, the German Society, reading and writers’ groups, poetry slams, creative writing magazines, and guest seminars. English Literature's Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme - LitPALS - is one of the University's largest.

Study abroad

You’ll spend Year 3 abroad (a minimum of 30 weeks), in a German-speaking country - usually Germany or Austria. This is your chance to immerse yourself in German-language culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

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

You will often work in independent learning groups with the guidance of experienced staff, and will have the opportunity to discuss the latest research of world-leading scholars. You will also be required to undertake substantial reading each week in preparation for classes.

Language teaching involves developing professional speaking and writing skills, as well as an introduction to professional translation techniques.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of close reading exercises, exams, coursework and class participation.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme details (2019/20)

More people speak German as their native language than any other in Europe. An official language of seven European countries and provinces, German also plays an important role in communications in many other countries, particularly in central and eastern Europe, and is the third most popular foreign language taught worldwide.

German speakers are highly sought after by British employers, particularly those with links to the German economy, the fourth largest in the world. In 2019, German overtook French as the language most sought-after by employers*.

In Year 1, you will do a project in which you interview a German native speaker working in Edinburgh or Glasgow, giving you the opportunity to practise professional communication, find out about the value of languages in the workplace and gain some insights into possible career options.

Having developed high-level humanities skills through the study of both German and English Literature, including the ability to think critically and analytically, our graduates have gone on to careers in politics and policy work, journalism, translation, marketing, publishing, and the cultural and heritage sectors.

There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level, with Year 4 in particular developing the research skills you’ll need if you choose this path.

*As reported by The Independent in April 2019 citing jobs website Indeed. Indeed also said vacancies specifying German language skills have increased by more than a tenth over the past three years, and that there’s been a slight increase in overall demand for linguists.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AAAB. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 37 points with 666 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: English at B. National 5s: a language other than English at B.
  • A Levels: English Literature or combined English at B. GCSEs: a language other than English at B or 6.
  • IB: HL: English at 5. SL: a language other than English at 5.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four componens.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

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It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA German and English Literature

Additional costs

For your compulsory residence abroad in Year 3, we give you a wide range of options. Your costs will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Universities outside the EU may charge you a fee for courses but we will reimburse you for this provided the course has been approved. You will be informed about the cost implications as you plan your year abroad, during Year 2.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding