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The University of Southampton
Languages, Cultures and Linguistics Part of Humanities

German Studies

The German department staff standing outside the University building

Languages have been an important part of the University of Southampton since its beginnings in the nineteenth century.  We are currently ranked eleventh for German in the Complete University Guide.

Our reputation attracts the very best academic talent. This means our students learn from staff who are highly experienced and engaged in the most innovative research in their field.


There are two main reasons for studying German. One is the fascination of the culture that has always been separate and distinct within Europe. The other attraction is the importance of Germany within Europe and the wider world, and the opportunities open to language graduates. The German language is the key to both these different but complementary aspects of the nation.

All German Studies students at Southampton have the opportunity to spend a year abroad in a German-speaking country. You will be able to choose between studying, working, or being a language assistant in a school. Our current partner universities are Vienna, Potsdam (near Berlin), Cologne, Hamburg, Marburg, Tübingen, Bayreuth and Frankfurt.

The German section has around 80 students and seven members of staff. Relations between students and staff in a section of this size are extremely close and friendly.

To find out more about German at Southampton, have a look at our student focussed website SoGerman which includes student reports on trips to Germany and Austria ('From Our Own Correspondents'), language-learning resources and cultural information about German-speaking countries.

Course combinations

At Southampton, German is taught not just as one subject, but many, all adding up to an enjoyable challenge and as asset in any future career. You can combine German with a wide range of other subjects including French, Spanish, Portuguese, philosophy, history, business management, mathematics, politics or English literature.

One popular option is to study German and Linguistics. Here, students take a range of different linguistics modules alongside their study of German. These include German-specific modules such as Language and Society in the German-Speaking World and Language and the City. There are also more general linguistics modules covering topics such as sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, discourse analysis, and language acquisition. A linguistics component can be taken alongside German alone, or German and a second language.

Find about more about course combinations either through our Flexible study page or by looking at our programme pages in the Find a course section of the Humanities website.

Language learning

Students who come to Southampton want to develop into top-class linguists in German and any other language they study, and we have created the right conditions for this to happen. Irrespective of the point you are at when you arrive here, we will ensure that you develop rapidly from there, as we will provide you with the tools for making maximum progress. We aim to help you to become competent and creative users of your languages and to gain a strong sense of success and achievement from your learning.

You will be working in a friendly, congenial atmosphere of mutual respect, and you will find that your German tutors are not only excellent and knowledgeable users of language but also know how to make people want to learn: at university, even the most motivated of students continue to need further encouragement and support in this long-haul endeavour. German is not SO hard to learn, but it is nice to have someone there to accompany you on your way!

Our German language classes are carefully structured and highly interactive and you can expect to spend a lot of time working in groups or in pairs on highly focused tasks. After every class you will be asked to prepare material for the following class; this could mean, amongst other things, reading and analysing texts, listening to audio clips or watching video extracts, getting to grips with some areas of grammar and doing grammatical exercises or preparing a piece of writing to hand in. At the same time we will encourage you to read and listen widely to German-language material linked to your own personal interests. In this way, our specialists in the German language will help you to become knowledgeable, confident and creative users of German too.

A number of German Language students at the University of Southampton, sitting down.

Postgraduate study opportunities

We offer a range of postgraduate programmes from one-year masters to four-year PhDs. This includes taught masters programmes focusing on socio-political, historical and cultural aspects of globalization and on translation and professional communication skills Modern Languages and Linguistics | Modern Languages and Linguistics | University of Southampton. These programmes are run in collaboration with the other areas within the Humanities.



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