The department of Germanic Studies is in the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).
Program structure and content
The department offers units of study in German language, culture and society. Language acquisition constitutes a central part of the curriculum and the department endeavours to place all students who wish to study German in a language class that will improve to the maximum their competence in the skills of speaking, reading, writing and listening. The cultural studies available in the department extend across the field of literature, culture and society in the German-speaking countries.
All students, regardless of their prior experience of the language, have access to the full range of units of study offered by the department, subject only to normal rules of progression. All students, whether they come to the department as beginners in the language, or with an HSC in German, or as background-speakers, can take a major in German and from there proceed to an honours year and/or postgraduate study in the subject.
The University of Sydney has exchange agreements with several universities in German-speaking countries, including those at Konstanz, Freiburg, Bamberg, Berlin, Cologne and Vienna. Various scholarships exist to assist students with the cost of airfares and accommodation while studying abroad. (Details of scholarships and assistance schemes can be obtained from the office of the School of Languages and Cultures.)
Units of study in German language
The department distinguishes three broad levels of entry into its language units (beginners, intermediate and advanced). In all cases, students will be directed by the department as to the appropriate language unit in which they should enrol. (Advice for commencing students as to the unit they should initially enrol in can be found in the section Junior units of study.)
The department’s language courses are aligned with both the European and International reference framework. Students at each level will reach a proficiency equivalent to one of the internationally recognised German certificates such as Start Deutsch 2 (A2), Zertifikat Deutsch (B1), Zertifikat Deutsch Plus ( B1+) or TestDaF ( B2/C1).
Units of study in German literature, culture and society
All cultural units are at senior level and would normally require prior completion of 12 credit points of German at junior level. Students lacking the formal prerequisite but who nevertheless believe their knowledge of German is sufficient are invited to discuss the matter with the department, as the prerequisite may be waived. Some of these senior units of study may be counted for a major in European Studies or International Comparative Literature Studies and Film Studies, and in some cases in other interdisciplinary areas of study.
Junior units of study
In all junior units of study, the language content and the cultural content are combined. Junior students will enrol in semester 1 in a 6 credit point unit of study at their appropriate level.
- Students with very little or no experience of the language should enrol in Junior German 1 (GRMN1111).
- Students who completed the HSC German Beginners Course or German Continuers (with a mark below 80 percent or equivalent) should enrol in Junior German 3 (GRMN1211).
- Students who completed the HSC German Extension course or the HSC German Continuers course (with a mark above 80 percent or equivalent) should enrol in the unit of study Junior German 5 (GRMN1311).
Requirements for a major
The major in German comprises both German language proficiency and studies in German literature, culture and society. To obtain a major in German, students must complete senior units of study in German to the value of 36 senior credit points.
- For students coming from Junior German 5 and 6, the department advises that of the 36 senior credit points required for the major, 12 credit points must be gained in language units of study and 24 must be gained in cultural units of study.
- For students coming from Junior German 3 and 4, the department advises that of the 36 senior credit points required for the major, 18 credit points must be gained in language units of study and 18 must be gained in cultural units of study.
- For students coming from Junior German 1 and 2, the department advises that of the 36 credit points required for the major, 24 credit points must be gained in language units of study. Such students must also include "Reading Comprehension and Text study" (GRMN2631) as part of their cultural units of study.
Students may take European Studies and/or Comparative Literature units in addition to completing a German Studies major to provide breadth in their major sequence. This applies particularly to students in the senior levels of the Beginners stream.
Mid-year entry students may need to exceed the junior credit point limit of their course in order to commence a language, in which case special permission will be needed. If you are not sure, consult with the Student Advisers in the Faculty office.
Units of study from other departments may be cross-listed towards the Germanic Studies major. The list of 2013 units that are officially cross-listed to the major are listed in Table A of this handbook.
Pathway 1: For students with very little or no experience of the language
- First year: GRMN1111 and GRMN1122 (Junior German 1 and 2).
- Second year: GRMN2611 and GRMN2612 (Senior German 1 and 2) plus GRMN2631 (Reading Comprehension and Text Study).
- Third year: GRMN2613 and GRMN2614 (Senior German 3 and 4) plus 6 senior credit points in other eligible units of study.
Pathway 2: for students who completed the HSC Beginners course or German Continuers (with a mark below 80 percent or equivalent)
- First year: GRMN1211 and GRMN1222 (Junior German 3 and 4).
- Second year: GRMN2613 and GRMN2614 (Senior German 3 and 4) plus 6 senior credit points in other eligible units of study.
- Third year: (GRMN2615 Senior German 5) plus 12 senior credit points in other eligible units of study.
Pathway 3: for students who completed the HSC German Extension course or the HSC German Continuers course (with a mark above 80 percent or equivalent)
- First year: GRMN1311 and GRMN1322 (Junior German 5 and 6).
- Second year: GRMN2617 and GRMN2618 (Senior German 7 and 8) plus 6 senior credit points in other eligible units of study.
- Third year: 18 senior credit points in other eligible units of study.
Students progressing into senior levels of language study are advised to pre-enrol according to the above progressions; however some variation of enrolment may be required at commencement of the next semester of study should the department, at its discretion, deem it appropriate. In all cases the department reserves the right to determine the level of senior German language to be taken by a student.
All students may qualify for the honours year, regardless of the language level at which they commenced in the department (for a formal statement of entry requirements for German IV honours the Table of Units of Study should be consulted). Students must complete a major in German with a credit average in 48 senior credit points of German including 12 credit points at 2680 level.
The department offers 4 Honours Scholarships each year (Emilie M. Schweitzer Honours Scholarships in German Studies). Details of the scholarship can be obtained from the office of the School of Languages and Cultures.
Department website: sydney.edu.au/arts/german
Chair of Department: Associate Professor Yixu Lu, email:
Junior units of study - Dr. Andrea Bandhauer, email:
Senior units of study - Dr Birte Giessler, email:
Honours - Associate Professor Yixu Lu, email: