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German Language and Literature (BA)

What is the degree programme about?

»German was always one of my favourite subjects! I practically devour books and I like writing the odd article for our school newspaper.« Anyone who can identify with this already meets some of the most important criteria for a degree in German language and literature. However, you should not shy away from abstract thinking and should also be interested in methodological questions. In German language and literature, writing academic texts is just as important as working with them. You will present your thorough analyses and interpretations of texts in essays, independent presentations and group discussions.

In modern German literature you will study German-language works from the time of Martin Luther up to the present day, investigating poetry and prose, as well as non-fiction texts such as travel writing, reports and diaries. You will use historical and systematic perspectives to gain an understanding of texts, whereby cultural contexts are equally as important as issues of classification, aspects of media distribution and the relationships between German literature and the literature of other countries.

In the history of medieval German literature (medieval studies) you will learn how to approach texts from the Middle Ages (around 800 to 1500). The reality of this period differs considerably from the ideas presented by fantasy literature and medieval festivals, and the aim here is to reflect on literature in its historical context as part of an academic discussion. Epic poems such as the Nibelungenlied are discussed in relation to topics such as the historical development of gender roles, the form in which narrative text is presented, or the practice of passing on information. You will gain knowledge of Middle High German in the degree programme.

Linguistics is concerned with the structure and use of language. In this context, language is treated as something material, fixed in speech or writing, that can be analysed with regard to its components, units and functions. Language is also a means of communication used by human beings and in this respect linguistics looks at topics such as the differences between oral and written communication, language varieties, dialects, and colloquial language, as well as language change throughout history.

What can I do with this degree?

As German language and literature students usually go on to a diverse range of careers, during the degree programme great importance is placed on developing transferable skills and communications skills.

After receiving your Bachelor's degree you may go on to study a Master's degree programme. Alternatively you may pursue a career in areas such as:

  • publishing and libraries
  • journalism and media
  • the cultural sector
  • advisory services and education
What qualities and skills do I need?
  • an interest in reading and reflecting academically on what you have read
  • a passion for literature and language
  • an interest in historical changes in language, literature and culture
  • an interest in comparing, interpreting and discussing texts
  • a flair for abstract thinking and the ability to think in a structured way
  • the ability to read and write academic texts
  • excellent proficiency in written and spoken German and strong comprehension skills
  • an interest in presenting and discussing your own ideas about texts and linguistic phenomena
  • the ability to work independently
Good reasons for choosing to study at FAU
  • The range of modules and methodological approaches allow you to study the areas which correspond to your own interests and strengths and gain a thorough education in the core elements of the subject, giving you the tools you need to succeed.
  • Literature is brought to life in regular poetry workshops where key authors from the current literary scene give participants an insight into their work and answer students' and lecturers' questions.
  • From medieval handwriting to a finished publication: you will have the opportunity to take part in current projects where new editions are being created.
  • Each semester two interdisciplinary centres with a focus on linguistics organise presentations by linguists from Germany and abroad, giving you a chance to learn about current research outside of your regular courses.
  • Lecturers and researchers in literary studies work closely with the Kunstpalais art gallery in Erlangen which organises presentations, conferences and exhibitions. You can gain experience in how art is displayed and presented to the public here.
  • You can write articles for the online magazine 'Schau ins Blau', such as interviews with authors, or reports about readings, plays or festivals in the region.
  • Lecturers ensure that you receive plenty of advice and support.
Potential challenges
  • You must complete modules in all three of the core areas (see above) to ensure you have suitably broad knowledge of key disciplines. However, you may choose to specialise through the elective modules you take.
  • You must be able to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in Latin by the fifth semester.
  • The German Language and Literature degree programme requires you to be prepared to carefully read and study a large number of sometimes difficult texts independently.
  • The modular structure can make co-ordinating the degree programme structure somewhat complicated. This makes choosing your own specialisations all the more important.
Degree programme start date and application deadlines

The FAU website provides an overview of the current application deadlines as well as information on the selection process and how to apply.

Start date of degree programme: Winter Term

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Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

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Degree type: Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Type of study: Two subject Bachelor's degree programme
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 6 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Winter Term
Language: German
Admission: No Admissions Restrictions
Size: (100-199 Students)
Early entrance programme: yes
Part-time study: yes
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology