Germanic Studies

The Department of Germanic Studies is part of the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).

About the major

A major in Germanic Studies involves the study of both German language and culture including literature, film, history and society. All students, whether they come to the department as beginners in the language, with an HSC in German, or as background speakers, can complete a major in Germanic Studies.

You can begin German language studies at different entry levels from beginners to the advanced level. The exit level is aligned with the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (A1 – C2), which guarantees the international comparability and transferability of your language skills. German cultural studies include seminars on German literature, film, history and society from the 17th century to the present. Through these seminars, you can gain an in-depth understanding of German speaking countries and their culture. You can also participate in our exchange program with universities in Berlin, Vienna, Cologne, Freiburg, Constance and Bamberg as part of your major.

A German major combines well with any major in Arts and Social Sciences as well as with Law, Business and the Sciences. If you are not majoring in German, you can take German units as electives. If you have already completed your BA, you can still study German by taking the Diploma in Language Studies.

Graduates with German language skills and a good understanding of German culture and society can take advantage of opportunities both in Australia and overseas or may continue to Honours and Postgraduate Studies.

Pathways through the major

A major in Germanic Studies requires at least 36 senior credit points including at least 6 credit points of culture units at 3000 level.

Units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for Germanic Studies. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

If you have completed 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. You must also include "Reading Comprehension and Text study" (GRMN2631) as part of your non-language units of study.

If you have completed Junior German 3 and 4 the department advises that of the 36 senior credit points required for your major, 18 must be from culture units of study.

If you have completed Junior German 5 and 6 the department advises that of the 36 senior credit points required for your major, 24 must be from culture units of study.

All Germanic language levels are tied to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Equivalent CEFR levels are given below.

Pathway 1: If you have little or no experience of the language
First Year S1

GRMN1111 Junior German

CEFR A1

Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2

GRMN1122 Junior German 2

CEFR A2

Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1

GRMN2611 Senior German 1

CEFR B1/1

GRMN2631 Reading Comprehension and Text Study Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRMN2612 Senior German 2

CEFR B1/2

Senior unit

Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1

GRMN2613 Senior German 3

CEFR B2/1

Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRMN2614 Senior German 4

CEFR B2/1

Any senior-advanced (3000 level) unit of study listed under Culture in the unit of study table Senior unit Senior unit
Pathway 2: If you completed the HSC Beginners course (with a mark above 70) or German Continuers (with a mark below 80), or equivalent
First Year S1

GRMN1211 Junior German 3

CEFR B1/1

Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2

GRMN1222 Junior German 4

CEFR B1/2

Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1

GRMN2613 Senior German 3

CEFR B2/1

Any senior unit of study listed under Culture in the unit of study table Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRMN2614 Senior German 4

CEFR B2/1

Senior unit

Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1

GRMN2615 Senior German 5

CEFR B2/2

Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRMN2616 Senior German 6

CEFR C1/1

Any senior-advanced (3000 level) unit of study listed under Culture in the unit of study table Senior unit Senior unit
Pathway 3: If you completed the HSC German Extension course or the HSC German Continuers course (with a mark above 80), or equivalent
First Year S1

GRMN1311 Junior German 5

CEFR B2/2

Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2

GRMN1322 Junior German 6

CEFR C1/1

Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1

GRMN2616 Senior German 7

CEFR C1/2

Any senior unit of study listed under Culture in the unit of study table Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRMN2617 Senior German 8

CEFR C2

Senior unit

Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1 Any senior unit of study listed under Culture in the unit of study table Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2 Any senior unit of study listed under Culture in the unit of study table Any senior-advanced (3000 level) unit of study listed under Culture in the unit of study table Senior unit Senior unit

You are advised to enrol according to the above progressions; however some variation of enrolment may be required at the commencement of the next semester should the Department, at its discretion, consider it appropriate. In all cases the Department reserves the right to determine the level of senior German language to be taken by a student.

If you are going on exchange and wish to count an exchange unit towards a major in Germanic Studies, you must discuss your choice of units of study at the host university with the Exchange Coordinator in the department and seek approval for your chosen units of study.

Language units of study

All language units of study are designed to develop your ability to communicate and negotiate in a wider cultural and linguistic context and enhance your awareness of cross-cultural issues. They aim to develop your competency in communication, your analytical skills, your critical and independent thinking and the ability to work in a team.

The language program distinguishes three broad levels of entry into its units. In all cases, you will be directed by the Department as to the appropriate language unit in which you should enrol. The Department’s language units are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Students at each level will also reach a proficiency equivalent to one of the German certificates such as Goethe-Zertifikat A2, Goethe-Zertifikat B1, Goethe-Zertifikat B2 or Goethe-Zertifikat C1 / TestDaF (TDN5).

Beginners Level
Language acquisition from beginners level to third-year in the four skills of reading, writing, aural comprehension and speaking, as well as the comprehensive grammar of the German language (A1-B2 within Common European Reference Framework for Languages).

Post-HSC
Language acquisition from post-HSC level to third-year in the four skills of reading, writing, aural comprehension and speaking, as well as the comprehensive grammar of the German language (B1-C2 Common European Reference Framework for Languages).

The four competence categories are benchmarked at the end of each semester against both the German national language testing system and the Common European Reference Framework for Languages.

German literary and cultural studies

Our cultural program offers literary, historical and media studies from an introductory overview to more specialised cultural, literary and media analyses. In these cultural units you learn the major methodological approaches and are encouraged to conduct independent research with the aim of expanding the intellectual scope of the major. All cultural units are at senior level and would normally require prior completion of 12 credit points of German language at junior level. Students lacking the formal prerequisite 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 towards majors in other interdisciplinary areas of study.

All students with a major in German will take at least two units of German literature, culture and society. Disciplinary methodologies taught include:

  • Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Historical Studies
Honours

All students may qualify for the honours year, regardless of the language level at which they commenced. Admission to honours requires 48 senior credit points of Germanic Studies of which 12 must be gained from units of study at 3000 level, and which must include completion of the major, with a credit average or above.

The Department offers four 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.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

Contact/further information

Department website: sydney.edu.au/arts/german
Chair of Department: Dr Andrea Bandhauer, email:
Honours - Associate Professor Yixu Lu, email: