Why study German at Leeds?

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German Students in the German Foyer

German at Leeds is different: our curriculum is driven by our research into contemporary Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In addition to modules on culture and history, we focus on applied language and on employability.

The quality of the teaching staff I encountered during my time studying German at Leeds was what made the course so fantastic. Their range of different research areas (literature, film, politics, translation etc.) meant that I was able to tailor the course to my own interests and absorb the lecturers' passion for German studies, and with their help I am now able to develop my own research as a postgraduate student at Leeds.

Laura Blessitt, BA German, 2010-14

In the most recent National Student Survey (2017), German at Leeds received 95% for overall satisfaction. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (2008), we were placed joint second in the country after Oxford. You will be learning with leading researchers, and helping them develop their ideas before they are even published.You can study German at Leeds either as a single honours student, focusing on German but broadening your curriculum with Discovery Modules, or as a joint honours student, combining German with another subject. Find out more about joint honours courses here


Germany is the land of Goethe and Schiller, Karl Marx, Nietzsche, and Thomas Mann. However it – along with Austria and Switzerland – has also produced great women writers such as the East German Christa Wolf, superb Turkish-German artists such as the playwright Emine Sevgi Özdamar and the filmmaker Fatih Akın, radical feminist thinkers such as Alice Schwarzer, and very many Jewish authors, activists, and intellectuals. Studying the culture of the German-speaking world is not only an intellectual challenge (and pleasure!) in its own right, it also develops analytical and presentational skills that future employers value.

In Approaching German Culture (Level 1), we introduce you to some of this startling variety of German-language culture. At levels two and three, you can choose from options which, in recent years, have included Shock of the New; From Caligari to Hitler: Introduction to German Cinema; Gender, Culture and Representation in German History 1871-2000; Screening Terrorism; and W. G. Sebald and the Politics of Literature.


Many people are drawn to the study of the German-speaking world not just because of its culture, but also because if its history – both the horrors of the Nazi period and the heady idealism of East German communism or West Germany’s miraculous recovery after the Second World War to become one of Europe and the world’s key economic and political powers. Studying the fascinating history of the German-speaking world will help you to develop widely applicable skills in sifting and weighing evidence, making fine judgments, and presenting an argument.

In Introduction to Modern Germany (Level 1), we introduce you to the complexities of German history from around the time of the ‘first’ German unification in 1870/1 to the ‘second’ unification of 1990. In levels two and three you can choose from a range of options, many of which explore the German story right up to the present day. In recent years, these have included Politics, Society and Culture in the 'Berlin Republic'; Perpetrators and/or Victims? Remembering the Second World War in Germany; and The German Student Movement.

Applied Language

At all levels of the German programme, students pursue core language modules involving small group teaching to practice written and spoken skills.

In addition to this, German students have the opportunity to develop professional language skills in translation at all three levels of undergraduate study.

In Skills in German Translation (Level 1), we introduce you to concepts that are essential for an understanding of translation, and alongside practical translation training you develop key skills such as reading, researching and editing. You can build on this in Applied German Language (Level 2) and Advanced German Translation (Level 3), in which you gain a more advanced understanding of the way the German language works and of its potential challenges for the translator. These modules give you the chance to become experienced in the translation of particular text types such as journalistic, scientific or literary writing. Including a mix of practice and theory at all levels, these modules prepare you for a range of future options, including translation internships on the Year Abroad, translation work after graduation, or postgraduate research or training in Translation Studies.


German Business of the Year Award winnersLearning German at Leeds, you may find yourself pitching an high-tech product to the German consul, taking part in an undergraduate research conference, debating theatre with a nationally-acclaimed director, teaching German in a local school or exploring the German-language archives in our library.

We offer modules specifically designed to equip you for the world of work, for example German for Professional Purposes (Level 3).

We also regularly advertise paid internships for level two and level three students. In recent years, German students have engaged the public with an exhibition on the German experience of coming-to-terms with the Nazi past; helped to organise a major international conference; worked with a local young people’s theatre group; and helped to translate the diaries of German prisoners-of-war held in nearby Skipton during the First World War.

A key part of our focus on employability is the final year research project. Employers will see that you are able to research a topic in depth, develop your own original ideas, and write a substantial report on what you have discovered.

The Year Abroad

Employability is central to the year abroad too. Many of our students choose to study at one of our Erasmus partner universities. Others choose to work as language assistants in German schools. A large number choose to take up a work placement with one of the German companies that we have cooperated with over the course of several decades.

Companies that we have worked with include: Imprima, Iwis, Scholz & Friends, TopTranslation, Siemens, Continental, Kocarek, eKomi, areva, Agilent, Clarins, Mmc sport, Learnship Networks, Brainlight GmbH, Mercer, Snowboard Dachstein, BMW, Volkswagen, Hochwertige Pharmatechnik GmbH & Co. KG, GKN Service International GmbH, AGCO, Beauty Trend Holding GmbH, Daimler, Villmann-Gruppe, Best Gaming Technology, media academy GmbH, Berlin Allianz.

Click here for more information on the options available to you on your year abroad

Open days 2018

Explore campus, talk to staff and students and find out about your subjects at our open day. Join us for the day and find out what it means #ToBeLeeds

Friday 15 June

Saturday 16 June

Book your place

Our open day dates for 2018 are:

Friday 15 June

Saturday 16 June

Saturday 8 September

Saturday 6 October

Pages in this document

  1. Why study German at Leeds?
  2. Research-based learning and teaching
  3. Your first year of studying German
  4. A selection of modules on offer 2017-18
  5. Final-Year Project titles and abstracts 2016-2017