Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA German and Philosophy

UCAS code: RV25

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA German and Philosophy

German thought has had a profound impact on philosophy, culture and science. From Arendt to Hegel, Leibnitz to Wittgenstein, many of the most influential European thinkers have come from the German-speaking world.

German

This programme involves intensive language training, including a year abroad.

Our courses will give you the chance to gain professional skills in all aspects of German, including writing, speaking, presenting and translating.

You will also explore German-language literature, film and theatre. You will study these in the context of historical and political developments, from the eighteenth century to contemporary times.

Philosophy

We have a strong, historic connection with Philosophy at Edinburgh. We count Adam Ferguson and Sir William Hamilton among our former students.

By studying Philosophy, you will learn about the use of:

  • argument
  • critical enquiry
  • reasoning
  • clarity of expression

You will cover the basics of Western philosophy, and explore the different approaches that philosophers have taken. You will also have the opportunity to specialise in the areas that interest you most.

Why Edinburgh

We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working.

The four-year degree also gives you more choice and flexibility in what you study. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a range of disciplines, then specialise as you move through your honours years.

Year 1

German

If you have not 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 take German 1B. This course covers language as well as literature and culture from 1770 to the present day.

As part of German 1B, you will interview a German native speaker working in Edinburgh or Glasgow. This will give you the opportunity to:

  • practise professional communication
  • discover the value of languages in the workplace
  • gain insights into possible career options

Philosophy

Year 1 courses introduce you to key topics in the nature of argument, as well as the history of:

  • philosophy
  • morality
  • ethics

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with an option course chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You can choose to take Philosophy of Science 1, which looks at the basic assumptions of science.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences

  • business, economics and informatics

  • politics, social policy and social anthropology

  • art and architectural history

  • history, classics and archaeology

  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology

  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

German

In Year 2 you will develop your oral language skills further. You will also practise translation, grammar, and writing different types of texts in German.

You will continue to study German-language literature and culture, choosing at least two courses from a range of options. These are likely to include:

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

Philosophy

You will take two philosophy courses:

  • Mind, Matter and Language
  • Knowledge and Reality

Option courses

As in Year 1, when choosing options courses, you can opt to study Philosophy of Science.

Other courses include a great selection in European languages and cultures, allowing you to study literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Current options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • Cultural Responses to War
  • Migration, Exile, Diaspora
  • Crime and Detection in Literature
  • Gender and Culture
  • The Coming-of-Age Narrative
  • Introduction to European Cinema
  • Dynamics of Language and Power
  • Languages Beyond University

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 in a German-speaking country, usually Germany or Austria. This will help you to turn classroom learning into living engagement with German-language culture.

You will either study or do a work placement, such as working as a teaching assistant in a school.

We currently have exchange places with universities in:

  • Berlin
  • Augsburg
  • Hamburg
  • Heidelberg
  • Tübingen
  • Freiburg
  • Leipzig
  • Mainz
  • Vienna

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of German-language culture.

During your year abroad, we will 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 will complete prescribed work in both Philosophy and German. For example, for German you will take an e-learning language course which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 language courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will develop advanced language skills in spoken and written German.

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist, honours-level courses in both German and Philosophy. For German, these include courses in German-language:

  • literature
  • film
  • theatre
  • society

You will complete your dissertation or long essay in German.

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

The University of Edinburgh contains exceptional resources for study and research in German, including the expansive Karin McPherson collection of GDR writing.

The Main University Library holds over 121,500 titles in German, including around 95,000 books (printed and e-books) and 5,425 journals.

The Library's Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK, bringing together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books, and six kilometres of archives and manuscripts. It also houses the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects.

Philosophy has been taught at the University since its foundation in 1583. Our collections and library holdings in the subject are extensive.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, including the German Society, and promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage.

Founded in 1871, Edinburgh PhilSoc is the University's oldest continuously running student society and is the largest and most active philosophy society in the UK.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including German – in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

Recent extra-curricular activities in German have included a student-produced film version of the fairytale 'Aschenputtel', a German bake-off, a writer-in-residence programme, and a Christmas carol competition.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. The National Library of Scotland has outstanding German holdings.

We contribute actively to the local cultural scene. You will be able to attend film screenings, performances and talks organised by members of staff for the wider public. Edinburgh's European cinema scene, for example, is particularly strong.

We have excellent links with the German Consulate, as well as with the Goethe-Institut.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. This will involve 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. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

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

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • e-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.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of:

  • exams
  • coursework
  • class participation

Skills and experience

Combining a language with philosophy to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resilient problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as intercultural competence.

Beyond the linguistic and critical skills you will develop on this joint honours programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of other cultures and societies throughout history, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

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. It is the third most popular foreign language taught worldwide.

German speakers are highly sought after by UK 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*.

Our graduates can be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative. Wherever you are based in the world, your skills will make you stand out.

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to career pathways in:

  • business, finance and commerce

  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations

  • education, outreach, advocacy and training

  • journalism, broadcasting and media

  • leisure, tourism and travel

  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law

  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts

  • research, development and venture acceleration

  • translating and interpreting

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level. At the University of Edinburgh, for example, we typically offer:

  • Masters by Research degrees in German and Philosophy

  • Taught MScs in Philosophy, including online programmes

  • Interdisciplinary MSc programmes in Comparative Literature, Intermediality and Translation Studies

Careers advice

We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

*The Independent, April 2019, citing jobs website Indeed.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 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: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: a language other than English at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: a language other than English at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: a language other than English at 5 and 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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

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, PTE Academic, 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 Philosophy

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

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