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German (BA)

  • R200

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

German is the native language of nearly one hundred million people. To speak German is to be in touch with a vibrant cultural and political world. In addition, Germany's economic and political role in Europe makes a deep knowledge of German language and Germanic culture a great asset in life. A recent survey by the UK’s leading employers’ organisation CBI rates German as the language most valued by UK managers. 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.

At Cardiff, we consider the linguistic skill that you acquire as a key competence for studying German and Austrian culture, in particular literature, history, and film. Your understanding of German will also be deepened and enhanced during your time abroad, when you will be fully immersed in the culture of a German-speaking country.

Our German department combines traditional coverage and breadth with new interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches. Our students receive a comprehensive introduction to the language, literatures, cultures and intellectual history of the German-speaking countries and to the increasingly multicultural, transnational, and global contexts that define these cultures today.

We maintain a commitment to the idea of a core curriculum and emphasise the interrelatedness of linguistic competency and cultural literacy. In addition to the focus on national literatures and cultures, the department successfully pursues interdisciplinary projects with gender studies, European studies, comparative literature, critical theory, gender studies and translation studies.

At undergraduate level, we offer challenging language, culture, literature, and intellectual history courses. German contributes significantly to a first-rate humanities education in Cardiff and to the intellectual core of our large, research-orientated university. Our teaching of languages and cultures aims to prepare students for global citizenship and for that reason we offer many year-abroad opportunities.

Advanced students of German now also have the option to focus on German-English translation in their BA German degree by choosing option modules from the newly  created  BA Translation in year two and four.  In order to do so, students need to have chosen the two prerequisite introductory modules “Introduction to Translation Theory” and “Introduction to Translation Methods” plus a second language at beginners or advanced level as third subjects in year one.


Key Facts

UCAS Code R200
Duration 4 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School admits 170 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications received 630
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB (B in a language)
Admissions Tutors Ms Elke Oerter
Tel Number 029 2087 6247
Email address
School website

Year One

Whether you come to Cardiff to study for Single or Joint Honours German you will combine German with other subjects in your first year. This allows you to try out new subjects or to study up to three languages for a year and to change your degree programme after one year, should you wish to do so and obtain the required  grades.

As well as students with A-level German, we also welcome students who have no previous knowledge of German. Such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language. We run two pathways for German students: one for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in German; the other for students beginning German afresh. First year modules comprise of:

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.         

In the second year we help excellent beginners’ students to apply to the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) for scholarships. These allow successful applicants to attend an intensive summer course at a German university before they embark on their university studies or work experience abroad.


German Language (Post A-level)

This course builds upon your 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, which are integrated into the course.

Year 2

Year 3 – Year Abroad

You spend the third year of your German degree in Germany or Austria.   You have a range of options, which include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a German organisation.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned to the Year Abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may even get a visit from one of your German tutors who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.

You will also have the opportunity to share your experience by entering the Year Abroad Photo Competition, which rewards one student on each of the language degree programmes (joint or single) in French, German, Italian and Spanish with a £50 prize.


The School has established academic links with universities in Berlin, Frankfurt, Kassel, Saarbrücken, Mainz, Heidelberg, Rostock and Passau.

All students going on a Socrates exchange enjoy an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend in Germany. Since other students have gone from Cardiff to all of the above mentioned destinations before you, their experiences provide a helpful guide about what to expect. Returning students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have helped us to set up an extensive ‘year abroad module’ on Learning Central which provides you with user-friendly advice throughout your year abroad. We also maintain close links with German Erasmus students from our partner universities who can provide invaluable and very specific information studying and living in a particular university town.


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 provides excellent experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. The British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. Your school should also guide you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live on arrival.

You also have the possibility of taking a placement, for example, in a German organisation or company. These arrangements can be made through any personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. You will of course need to make sure that the position you are going for affords you plenty of opportunity to speak German. Work placements in the past included placements at a European Information Centre in Germany, a translation agency, charities and a music journal. Such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

Experience another culture

No matter what the arrangement, 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 in German regard having lived in German or Austria as the most significant experience during their university studies at Cardiff, with a positive impact on their personal development and career.

Past students have described it as "the best experience of my life".

It is the best possible preparation for your final year and it gives language graduates the maturity and self-confidence that makes them so popular with future employers.

Student views

Rowena Morgan, year abroad spent in Hamburg

This is an excerpt from a video diary filmed by Rowena Morgan throughout her year abroad. View Rowena's complete video diary.


Year 4

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. Seminars are kept small and usually average between 12-15 students. This is designed to give you ample opportunity to participate and to provide close contact between you and members of the academic staff.

Different seminar formats are used. 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

elevant 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.

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.

Dissertation: 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 capacities to apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political questions; acquire detailed knowledge about a particular area of politics; use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

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 B in a modern foreign language. (General Studies is not accepted.)
Typical WBQ Offer Grade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level, including B in a language (German or other language incl. Welsh). General Studies is not accepted.
Typical Int Bacc Offer Considered on individual merit

Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here

Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

Modern language degrees provide students with a range of communication and intercultural skills. Students are in high demand both for their cultural awareness and linguistic skills. Graduates in modern languages go on to further study and teaching but are also sought after in telecommunications, in international organisations and institutions, such as the charity sector and European bodies and agencies, and in public administration.

The diversity of careers in Modern Languages is testament to the range of linguistic, social and intellectual skills which are integral to modern language training and which are highly valued on the job market. Two very distinct language-related career areas are open for consideration – specialist language careers which revolve around the language concerned and secondly, careers which use language, whilst keeping their main focus on another skill/area of expertise.

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