Module information for incoming Erasmus and Exchange students interested in modules in German Studies.

Language Modules for non-native speakers of German

German language modules are offered by Languages for All.

Language Modules for those originating from German-speaking countries

Advanced German Translation for Native Speakers 09 12799/800 (20 credits, Semester 1 & 2)

This module offers German native speakers the opportunity to improve their translation skills. It combines practice and training in translation both into and from German with revision of English grammar.

Learning outcomes - by the end of the module the student should be able to: demonstrate an enhanced ability to translate from German to English; show an increased awareness of general issues of translation methodology; Demonstrate an enhanced ability to write fluently and cogently in English.

Assessment - Continuous assessment

Further information: John Klapper (

Non-language modules in German Studies

First-Year Modules

Texts in Context: 20th and 19th Century 09 08857/60 (20 credits Semester 1 & 2)

The module covers a selection of texts from the twentieth and nineteenth century

Assessment - One essay of 2000 words (40%) plus one 3hr examination (60%).

Further information: Dr Elystan Griffiths (

Modern Germany: History & its Images 09 14945/46  (20 credits Semester 1 & 2)

In Semester 1, this module offers an overview of German social and political history from the end of the Second World War up to the present and of the reflection of that history in various media (particularly film). The second semester focuses on the period from 1815 to 1945.

Assessment - One essay of 2000 words (40%) plus one 2hr examination (60%).

NB: This module is not suitable for those originating from German-speaking countries.

Further information:  Dr Elystan Griffiths (

German Linguistics Past and Present (20 credits, Semester 1 and 2)

The module consists of two components, each taught in one semester: ‘German Linguistics Past’ and ‘German Linguistics Present’:

German Linguistics Past: This component will trace the development of the German language from its earliest Indo-European Germanic origins up to the end of the Old High German period (circa 1100 AD)

German Linguistics Present: This component introduces key concepts of modern linguistics, including corpus linguistics, and the main areas of sociolinguistics, applied to the contemporary German language.

Assessment - Two assessed essays of 2000 words – one based on each semester’s work. Essays are equally weighted (50% each).

Further information:  Robert Evans (

Second-Year Modules


Introduction to German Cinema (10 credits Semester 1)

This module will offer an overview of German cinema history. Topics covered will normally include the early flowering of German Cinema in the Weimar Republic, German cinema under National Socialism, the cinematic production of the divided Germany and contemporary German film. At each stage, films will be related to their cultural and political context as appropriate.

The course will be structured around a series of key films, but key movements in German cinema will also be discussed as appropriate. A key focus of the course will be the analysis of cinematic techniques, and students will be expected to develop their knowledge of relevant technical vocabulary.

Assessment - 2000 word essay in English plus a 300-word analysis of a film scene.


Some of these films contain scenes of nudity and violence. If you think you may be offended by such material, you may not want to opt for this course!

Further information:  Dr.Elystan Griffiths (

Bühne und gesellschaftlicher Alltag (20 credits)

The aim of this course is to deepen students’ understanding of social contexts and cultural life in post-1945 Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Students should be able to reflect upon and deepen the cultural awareness acquired in this course during their year abroad. During the first semester, students will have a weekly one-hour class covering the history of German theatre after 1945. In the second semester, there are fewer group meetings and students will work mainly independently on a group project dealing with a chosen aspect of contemporary German, Austrian or Swiss society or culture.


For Semester 1: (1) one essay in German of 1000 words (50%)

For Semester 2: (2) one week after the first group meeting with the tutor students have to hand in a draft of the project in German (200 words per student) (10%) (3) one presentation in German of 10-15 minutes, to be accompanied by a handout in German outlining key points (300 words per group member), plus a list of key vocabulary in German and bibliography (40%)

NB: This module is not suitable for those originating from German-speaking countries.

Further information: Claudia Merz (

Wirtschaftsdeutsch 09 23921 (20 credits, both semesters)

The course provides an introduction into economic aspects of contemporary Germany and German culture. It should enable students to function appropriately in standard settings which they are likely to encounter on company visits or during internships. Students should be able to research topics in print and e-media, describe aspects of their topics both orally and in writing, listen to radio or TV broadcast and write notes, summaries, letters, e-mail, and interpret standard situations.

Students are required to attend a weekly one-hour class and work independently in their own time (3hrs a week), often by using aural sources on the German WebCT site or in the language labs.

Assessment: Continuous 4 assessments, weighted equally: 1 essay  in German (300-400 words), 1 class test (30 mins), 2 oral tests (20 mins each) (1 in German, 1 interpreting test) practising the oral skills acquired

NB: This module is not suitable for those originating from German-speaking countries.

Further information: Claudia Merz (

Old High German Language and Literature 09 12999 (10 credits, Semester 1)

 This course provides an introduction to the language and literature of the Old High German period (circa 750-1100AD). The course will cover a variety of linguistic issues (e.g. Umlaut in Old High German, the dialects of Old High German), as well as looking at some of the most famous literary works of the period (e.g. the Hildebrandslied and the Ludwigslied).

The module will be taught in weekly seminars (two hours per week) and you will have the choice of being assessed either by means of a 2500 word essay on one of the topics (either linguistic or literary) covered in the course or by a translation and linguistic commentary exercise on a passage of Old High German (the skills necessary for this exercise will be taught early in the course).

The only textbook you will need to buy for this course is W. Braune and E. Ebbinghaus, Althochdeutsches Lesebuch (17th edition, Tübingen, 1994): Sections XXV, XXV111, XXXV1 (current cost around £15).

Further information: Robert Evans (


Knights, Maidens and Priests 09 23922 (Semester 1, 10 credits)

The module will study some short works from the medieval and early modern periods of German literature: Hartmann von Aue’s Der arme Heinrich, Der Stricker’s Der Pfaffe Amis, and poems or short pieces by Mechthild von Magdeburg, Oswald von Wolkenstein, and Martin Luther. These will be analysed as literary texts, but also as sources of information about and criticism of medieval culture and society. Particular emphasis will be placed on themes relating to the three social groupings named in the title; and hence the problematic but fruitful relationship between religious and secular perspectives and stereotypes will be an especially important recurring theme.

Assessment: one essay of 2500 words.

More information: Dr Nigel Harris (

German Political Parties and Party Government 09 13037 (10 credits, Semester 2)

Although the German constitution explicitly states that the political parties are only one of many participants in the political 'Meinungsbildnugsprozess', the practice looks quite different. Indeed, political parties have become the predominant force in German politics. They are the backbone of the German political system. This module attempts to analyse the German version of party government and the eminent role that parties play in public life in order to understand German politics and democracy. It aims to give a comprehensive introduction to the major issues concerning the working of the 'Parteienstaat' and 'Parteiendemokratie'. It will look at the development of the party system since 1945, examine the role and functions of parties, study the major political parties and analyse the current debate about the future of party government.

Assessment: essay of 2,500 words.

Further Information: Dietmar Wozniak  (

When Gender Hits You In The Face 09 26766 (10 credits, Semester 2)

Using a range of primary texts, this course will study a selection of female writers and female protagonists in German and Austrian literature in the late 19th century.  Although it self-evidently cannot attempt to cover the totality of ideas about women, it will seek to enable students to develop an understanding of and sensitivity towards the topic. It thus aims to develop students’ appreciation of concepts relevant to the representation of women at the turn of the century. The course will also develop students’ critical understanding of the question of gender and gender theory and thus examine concepts about the space of woman (in the family, in the state, in creation) and body image. The course attempts to raise students’ awareness towards gendered concepts which in various guises still inform women’s (as well as men’s) self-image and actions today.

Assessment: one essay of 2500 words.

Further information: Ruth Whittle ( )

Enlightenment Germany: Progress and its Paradoxes 09 26800 (Semester 2, 2014-15, 10 credits)

The module will examine aspects of German culture and history in the long eighteenth century. Students will study how the Enlightenment impacted upon German thought, culture and history in the eighteenth century, tranforming many aspects of life. We will examine the forces that resisted the currents of Enlightenment, as well as the ways in which the Enlightenment produced some unintended consequences, including the greatest upheaval of the eighteenth century, the French Revolution. Other topics to be studied will include the rise of Prussia, the concept of enlightened absolutism and the impact of Napoleon on Germany.

Some of these issues will be illustrated through short historical, literary and philosophical texts, as well as two longer literary texts: Part I of Goethe's Faust and Kleist's Das Erdbeben in Chili.

Assessment: one essay of 2500 words.

Further information: Dr Elystan Griffiths ( )

Post-War German Literature (09 13026) (10-credit module, Semester 2)

This text-based course explores developments in (West) German literature from 1945 to the early 1960s. It examines the following key issues and concepts: “Nullpunkt”; inner emigration; “Sprachkritik”, “Restauration” and “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”. It also considers the socio-political background of the period. All students read four or five texts and study one in depth.

Assessment: one essay of 2500 words.

Further information: John Klapper (

Final-Year Modules

Medieval German Epic and Romance 09 18452/53 (20 credits, Semester 1 & 2)

This course explores in detail four of the most important and fascinating works of the High Middle Ages. Aspects of Middle High German language will be considered, but the primary focus of the course will be on a variety of literary aspects of the set texts. These will include social and religious themes, characterization and the construction of identity, symbolism, narrative technique and questions of genre.

Assessment: 3-hour written exam in May (60%) plus an assessed seminar paper of 4000 words in English (40%).

Further information: Nigel Harris (

Comparative Germanic Philology 09 12817/18 (20 credits Semester 1 & 2 )

This module will explore the comparative linguistics of the earliest Germanic languages, with particular reference to the Proto-Germanic parent language and Gothic

Assessment: 3 hour written exam in May (60%) plus an assessed seminar paper of 4000 words (40%)

Further information: Robert Evans (

German-Language Cinema since 1960 (09 22325) (20-credit module, Semesters 1 and 2)

The module is an opportunity to study in detail the development of German cinema since the 1960s. In Semester 1, we focus on the period between 1960 and 1990. We will look at the growth of the New German Cinema as a movement in cinema protesting against the rather staid, conformist cinema of the first postwar generation and against the state of German society. We will also look at examples from the state-run cinema of communist East Germany. The films we will work on address important themes from the time, such as authoritarianism, the legacy of the Third Reich, the division of Germany, left-wing terrorism and the feminist movement. We will also consider how these films respond to the artistic legacy of pre-1945 German film as well as to the influences of international cinema (particularly Hollywood) on German film in this era.

The second semester will focus on German-language cinema since 1990, with a view to assessing its shifting relationship to national questions. It will consider how Germany’s past is represented in historical films, but in the changing socio-political, artistic and industrial context since 1990. This semester’s films will exemplify the shift away from an overtly political, national cinema, and examine the emergence of a new set of themes that cut across national boundaries, such as globalisation, sexuality, immigration and multiculturalism, and social issues. Films will include examples from the vibrant Turkish-German film scene, the ‘Berliner Schule’ and the Vienna-based Coop 99.

Some of the set films contain scenes of nudity and violence. If you think you may be offended by such material, this course may not be appropriate for you.


Assessment: 2-hour written exam in May/June (50%) plus an assessed essay of 3000 words (50%)

Further information: Dr Elystan Griffiths (