BA (Hons)

German Studies

Explore German history, culture and politics

R210UCAS code 3yrsfull time 1yrabroad

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

Germany has changed beyond recognition in the last few decades: its borders, economy, political identity and demography have all altered dramatically. This course will enable you to understand these transformations and their impacts through history, politics, economics, and cultural and social studies focusing on contemporary Germany.

You do not need prior knowledge of German to follow this course; it is possible to follow our excellent beginners programme in your first years of study, and achieve the same level of fluency at graduation. In recent figures, 50 percent of our beginner intake got a distinction in their final year language assessments.

What will I experience?

On this course you will join a vibrant department where students have the chance not only to enhance their language skills, but also the culture of the countries in which your chosen languages are spoken. 

  • Language learning is fully integrated into the course, allowing you to develop high levels of fluency in German.
  • You will also have the chance to take specialist options, focussing, for instance, on the division of Germany after the Second World War or the influence of Germany in a European and global context. 
  • During your Year Abroad, you will be able to immerse yourself in the German way of life and develop your linguistic, cultural and professional skills.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Perhaps the most obvious job is teaching languages, but in fact this represents only a small proportion of the career pathways that will be open to you. Language graduates are amongst the most successful in finding jobs after graduation.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • travel and tourism
  • teaching foreign languages
  • translation and interpreting
  • European and international organisations
  • media and journalism
  • charities and NGOs
  • investment banking
  • international research
  • marketing
Natalie Wardrop, BA (Hons) German Studies student 2013

The German Studies course has been enjoyable in a number of ways – from the friendly and encouraging tutors to the variety of units on offer.

Natalie Wardrop, BA (Hons) German Studies student 2013

Apply for September 2016

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years full time with language year abroad
240-300 points from 3 A levels or equivalent. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5. Other qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 8299
School of Languages and Area Studies
Programme specification


Modern Languages and Area Studies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Combining language learning with the study of culture and politics, promoting a deeper understanding of a country/countries of study
  • Fantastic opportunities for spending a year abroad
  • Interactive and practical nature of studying that will prepare you for a wide range of careers

Browse all courses in Modern Languages and Area Studies

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

This year is your introduction to and the beginning of your in-depth study of the German-speaking world. You will focus on contemporary Germany from a historical and social perspective with an exploration of the effects of the country’s re-unification.

Core units in this year include:

  • German General Language Grade 1 and 2 OR German General Language Grade 3 and Language Project
  • Introduction to German Studies
  • The Making of Modern Europe 1500–1990
  • Studying at University
  • Developing Research Skills

Year two

Continue to study units in German language with the choice to start a beginner’s course in a third language if you wish. Preparation for your year abroad and preliminary work on your dissertation is also incorporated into this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • German General Language Grade 3 and 4 OR German General Language Grade 4 and Language For Professional Communication 1
  • Politics in Post-War Germany 1945-1990

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • German Unity and its Consequences
  • Text and Translation
  • Business and Markets in Global Environment
  • Nation, Language and Identity
  • Culture and Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe
  • Managing Across Cultures

Final year*

Complete your dissertation in your final year and specialise in the topics that intrigue you the most.

Core units in this year include:

  • German General Language Grade 6
  • Language for Professional Communication 2
  • Coming to Terms with the Nazi Past: 1945-Today

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Nazi Germany
  • Translation Theory and Practice

*On this programme you will spend your third year in a German-speaking country

Teaching and Assessment

We provide a varied, creative and stimulating learning environment. Teaching is via lectures and seminars which are supported by the University’s interactive learning facilities. Classes may also take the form of hands-on skills development sessions where you learn how to access electronic resources in our MELISSI multimedia digital classrooms (they are much more than language laboratories!) or via small oral practice classes with Language Assistants.

How are you assessed?

Our assessment methods are varied, with relatively few formal examinations. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • written essays and reports
  • case studies
  • book reviews
  • group and individual projects
  • oral presentations

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Year Abroad

On this programme you will spend your third year in a country where your target languages are spoken. You may take advantage of our well-established links with universities in Germany and Austria, should you wish to spend this period studying; alternatively, with University approval, you may be able to arrange a work placement abroad.

Learning Resources Centre

You will have access to our recently refurbished Learning Resource Centre, which provides access to texts, study rooms, software, computers and a wireless laptop area that can augment your learning outside the classroom, enhance your research and support your assignment work. 

Language Laboratories

We have four state-of-the-art Sony Virtuoso Language Laboratories, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and Internet sources in a rich, multimedia language-learning environment. Our staff are at the forefront in exploiting the potential afforded by this technology to create their own packages of materials.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For placements abroad that are taken in countries outside the Eu/EAA, you will be required to meet travel costs. These costs will be in the region of £1000.

You will also be required to meet any extra tuition costs for units of study taken outside of your agreed study abroad programme. These costs will be in the region of £200.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

Language is used in a range of professional contexts – not just language teaching. Your transferable skills and intercultural awareness can be used in many careers across the private, public and voluntary sectors. This course is great preparation for work at home or abroad and you will have a very wide range of career paths open to you.

Like all modern language graduates you will be highly employable. You can expect to find work in areas as diverse as management, banking, marketing and sales, commerce, export, tourism and the media, among others.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • bilingual consultant
  • multilingual project coordinator
  • translator
  • market analyst
  • contracts representative

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunites
Employment boosting opportunites

Would you like to live in Germany or a German-speaking country for a year? Time spent abroad will enhance your intercultural awareness, which is a quality increasingly appreciated by employers in a globalised economy.

Work as a teaching assistant in a school in Germany or Austria, in cities such as Bremen, Marburg, Duisburg or Salzburg, among others. 

This course also allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you’re involved in alongside your study.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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