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German and Politics (BA)

  • LR22

4 years (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Expertise in politics and government combined with fluency in German opens the door to a wide variety of career paths. Students on this programme can choose from the full range of Politics modules, while expert language training is accompanied by optional modules on German society and culture. A particular feature of this four-year degree is the Year Abroad: your third year is spent in a German-speaking country in order to practise and improve your language skills. There is also the opportunity to study German-English translation.

In your first year you concentrate on core modules plus your language. In your second and final year you choose from among a wide range of option modules as well as continuing your language study, with your Year Abroad in between.

Politics as an area of study is concerned with developing knowledge and understandings of governments, governance and societies. Politics is central to our everyday lives. It is about who gets what, when, where, how and why. It is about people and power and involves drama and events of great significance for everyone's lives. Just think of the electoral struggle between Left and Right, the power play of the Cold War, and the great enterprise of European integration. Studying for a politics degree means investigating why politics works as it does. You explore how parliaments and governments function and evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy and accountability.

To speak German is to be in touch with a vibrant cultural and political world. Germany's economic and political role in Europe makes a deep knowledge of German language and Germanic cultures a great asset in life and your career. Students receive a comprehensive introduction to the language, literatures, cultures and intellectual history of the German-speaking countries. The Year Abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your German, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain further study or work experience. Most of our graduates regard having lived in Germany or Austria as one of the most significant experiences of their university studies at Cardiff, with a positive impact on their personal development and career.


German and Politics

Key Facts

UCAS Code LR22
Duration 4 years
How to apply
Typical places available

The School of Modern Languages admits around 170 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

The School of Politics and International Relations admits around 100 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Typical applications received

School of Modern Languages = 630 Applications

School of Politics and international Relations = 545 Applications

Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB including a foreign language (excluding General Studies)
Admissions Tutor

Ms Elke Oerter

Tel Number

029 2087 6247

Email address
School website

Year 1

For the Politics side of the degree there are two compulsory core modules:

There are two pathways on the German side: one for students with an A-level or equivalent in German; the other for students beginning German afresh. You choose the language module relevant to you, plus one other module:

Beginners’ German Language

This is an intensive language course designed to help students to achieve excellent intermediate oral, aural and writing skills. By working with a wide range of materials, ranging from text book graded readers, film clips, newspaper articles and other online resources, students acquire a sound understanding of contemporary German language. Systematic teaching of German grammar helps students to express themselves effectively in speaking and writing. All beginners’ language classes are taught by native speakers of German with many years of experience in teaching German. 


German Language (Post A-level)

This course builds upon the linguistic skills acquired at A-level, reinforcing your competence in grammar and deepening your stylistic proficiency. The course has written, oral, and aural components, and teaching is largely undertaken by German native speakers. You will also be introduced to our substantial electronic language-learning resources.

Two further modules can be chosen from among Politics modules (see below) or modules from other subjects, such as History, Economics, English or a beginner's language.

Year 2

In Year 2 you choose three Politics and three German modules. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that modules may vary from year to year.

Year 3 – Year Abroad

You spend the third year in Germany or Austria studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a German organisation. Your Year Abroad coordinator will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress.

The School has established academic links with universities in Berlin, Frankfurt, Kassel, Saarbrücken, Mainz, Heidelberg, Rostock, Bochum and Passau. All students going on a Socrates exchange receive an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend in Germany.

As a teaching assistant on a scheme run by the British Council, you could go to a major city or to a small rural town. This option allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. There is also the option of a placement in a German organisation or company. Work placements in the past have included placements at a European Information Centre in Germany, a translation agency, charities, and a music journal.

Final Year

In your Final Year you choose three Politics and three German modules, including the option of a dissertation.

Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

Language teaching is aimed at developing near native level fluency and accuracy in all areas of language learning (listening, reading, speaking and writing). Classes are small, take advantage of the latest language learning methods and technologies, and are mainly taught by native speakers. The year abroad consolidates language skills and develops further valuable intercultural communication skills via interaction with native speakers in the context of work or study. You will also be able to hone your language skills through practical option courses such as Business German.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.


The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby develop your capacity to undertake research and communicate its findings, qualities increasingly prized by employers.

Pastoral Care

You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

Typical A-level Offer

ABB including a foreign language (excluding General Studies)

Typical WBQ Offer

 Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma with a grade A in the Core and grades BB at A-level, including a Modern Foreign Language.

Typical Int Bacc Offer 32 points overall (including 5 in a language at higher level)
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

For employers the Politics part of the degree means that you have an excellent understanding of politics and government at national and international level that will be of use whether you work in government or in the private or voluntary sectors. Business firms are interested in recruiting Politics graduates due to the fact that firms have frequent dealings with government. The degree also demonstrates that you possess highly developed intellectual and communications skills.

Knowledge of German will be a very useful skill if you are aiming to work in international or European business or international politics. A recent survey by the UK’s leading employers’ organisation, the CBI, rates German as the language most valued by UK managers.

The degree as a whole prepares you for careers in a wide range of fields. These include journalism, broadcasting, local government, management, publishing, law, accountancy, education, the voluntary sector, policy research and consultancy, and the civil service. German is one of the two key languages of the EU and very useful if you want to work for EU institutions including the Directorate General for Translation. Among the employers of recent graduates are political parties, local government, private companies and non-governmental organisations. There is also the option of going on to postgraduate study.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Alex Ford (UG)  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0824 



School Website:

More information

School of Modern Languages

Politics and International Relations