With the closer integration of Europe, the importance of German – one of the most widely spoken languages in the European Union – has never been greater. Germany is the UK’s biggest European trading partner; some 1,000 British firms have German subsidiaries; and British political and cultural history is closely intertwined with that of Germany.
Germany remains central to the European economy, guaranteeing high demand for the increasingly rare commodity of advanced fluency in the German language and familiarity with the diverse nature of the culture, history, politics and lifestyle of the German-speaking world.
The Bristol Department of German is widely regarded as one of the best German departments in the UK, with over 200 undergraduate students as well as postgraduates researching for higher degrees and a number of native speaker students from our partner universities in Germany and Austria. Our students achieve high standards in language work and in the study and analysis of authors, historical periods, cultural history, contemporary issues and linguistics.
You will follow a curriculum designed to introduce you to many aspects of German Studies. Its core is a structured language-learning programme, but it also includes the study of literature and culture, history, thought, politics and linguistics. The teaching programme benefits from a flexible system that provides you with an introduction to the key disciplines within German Studies as well as the opportunity to follow a wide range of options geared to personal interests in second and final years.
You can study German as a Single Honours programme or as part of a Joint Honours degree with another subject (including another language). All German programmes last four years and include a period of residence abroad in a German-speaking country during the third year. If you have no prior knowledge of German, you can study German from beginners’ level (ab initio): an intensive language course is offered in the first and second years. Language skills at all levels are taught mainly by native speakers in interactive classes, and other units are taught in a combination of seminars and lectures.
Undergraduate courses all benefit from the research of the staff of the German Department in a wide range of fields, including history, thought, politics, linguistics and cultural studies alongside our established strengths in literary studies, which embrace both Germany and Austria. You will be taught by internationally recognized experts in these fields.
There is more to the Department than just academic work, of course. An active student-run German Society organises a regular informal Stammtisch and various cultural and social events, periodically arranges visits to German cities and produces a German play every year, in which students play leading roles both on stage and behind the scenes. Some of our productions have won national awards.