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BA (Hons) German and Philosophy (with a year abroad)

Learn to read the original words of world-famous philosophers​

Year of entry: 2020

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£17,890 per year (2020/21)

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​Combine the study of German with investigations into major philosophical questions

You'll be taught the language component of the course in German, and will become confident using German as a means of communication, as well as for critical thinking. You'll gain an understanding of German culture and society which will underpin your abilities as a high-level communicator in the language.

By combining the study of the German language with philosophy, you'll gain an unparalleled insight into the work of thinkers such as Kant and Hegel. You'll study the philosophical relationships between our language, our world and our minds and develop your skills in writing, reasoning and analysis. 

The course has flexibility in terms of how much German and philosophy content you study over the four years. Your skills and understanding of how a language works, how we communicate and how we reason will give you a solid foundation for many careers.

Research excellence

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, 96% of the Department of Philosophy's research activity was rated as 'internationally recognised'.

Go global

Spend your third year studying or working in a German-speaking country.​

Course content

Your language modules will explore the culture of German-speaking societies and you'll be taught almost exclusively in the target language. These modules will help you to develop the cultural and linguistic knowledge you'll need to become a high-level communicator in German. 

Your philosophy modules will involve critically examining the assumptions made and the conclusions drawn by natural and social scientists, writers, historians and thinkers of all kinds. 

Throughout your degree, you'll be encouraged to combine your studies of language and philosophy through your study of the philosophy of language.

You'll also study a number of modules in linguistics, helping you to understand the fundamentals of language.  

Study German from scratch

You can choose to study German ab initio, meaning you don't need to have any knowledge of the language before you arrive. You'll study with other ab initio students during your first year, and will focus on improving your language skills, before joining the post A Level students during your second year. You'll study fewer linguistics modules, to allow more time for language learning

Year 1

​You will study six core modules split across your two departments:

You will also choose one of the following linguistics modules: 

If you are taking German ab initio, you will follow an intensive, fast-track programme with more German. You will not study any linguistics. 

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

You will take one core module in each subject.

You'll also choose a number of option modules from each subject. 

Choose one of the following:

You will study one further module from the Department of Language and Linguistic Science. You can either study one of the language options listed above or choose one of the following linguistics modules: 

You can choose to replace this module with a language option from our Languages for All programme, or an elective module from another department. 

Choose a Key Ideas module. These modules are subject to change; current students can study:

Year 3

Year abroad

You'll go to a German-speaking country. We assist you in setting up overseas university study, a British Council teaching assistant placement or a work placement, and offer guidance on all aspects of the year. See our current year abroad pages for more information.

You'll complete two essays while on your year abroad. These are assessed on a pass/fail basis and do not contribute to your final degree grade. 

Year 4

You'll study two core modules:

You'll choose one of the following options: 

You'll study a further 20 credits from the Department of Language and Linguistic Science. You can choose to study another one of the options listed above or choose one of the following linguistics modules: 

You can choose to replace this module with a language option from our Languages for All programme, or an elective module from another department.

You'll choose one Philosophy module from a list that could include the following:

You'll choose another Philosophy module from a list that could include the following:

You'll also choose a 10 credit advanced module which will follow on from your one of your Philosophy option modules, allowing you to look at the topic in more depth. 

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Interact and communicate effectively in German in a variety of contexts, showing awareness of and sensitivity to details of language and intercultural norms and practices, and solving problems of communication as they arise.
  • Draw on and develop knowledge and understanding of the cultures associated with German and English in engagements with a variety of sources.
  • Produce insightful and illuminating explanations of key problems and puzzles in philosophy, linguistics and German and apply their understanding in approaching new problems.
  • Develop and articulate solutions to problems and puzzles in philosophy and linguistics applying insights in an interdisciplinary way, where appropriate.
  • Lay out what can be said for and against potential solutions to problems, and make a measured judgement about what is the best solution in each case, supporting that judgement with a sustained line of logical argument.
  • Use a scientifically grounded understanding of the nature, use and acquisition of language to investigate complex and unfamiliar linguistic phenomena, discern relevant patterns and articulate these in illuminating ways.
  • Synthesise and critically approach complex and unfamiliar German language and linguistic phenomena, taking into consideration arguments from a variety of standpoints.
​From the very first term, we work in the target language, which makes a world of difference outside of the classroom. Although this might seem intimidating, help is always given when needed and the immersion that it grants does wonders for linguistic development. With regards to Philosophy, it is taught in such a way that encourages individual expression and thought.​
Idris, BA French and Philosophy

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,890

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

Teaching in your German and Philosophy modules takes place in lectures, seminars and discussion groups. We emphasise small-group teaching - seminars in both German and Philosophy typically have between 12 and 16 students.

During your German modules you'll interact in the German language throughout. German modules use authentic magazines, films and television to communicate the culture.

In Philosophy, you need to be an active participant in your own learning, asking questions and evaluating your own responses and those of others. You will take part in discussions with your peers and academic staff and develop your knowledge and skills through a number of different activities.  

Overall workload

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures3-5 hours per week
Seminars6-8 hours per week
Workshops1 hour per week

These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in both the Department of Language and Linguistic Science and the Department of Philosophy on Campus West.

Your contact hours will be mostly divided between the Spring Lane Building and Vanbrugh College, with some teaching taking place in other locations on Campus West. 

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, including essays, projects, written, oral and listening exams. Assessments include formative work which will help you practice or develop skills, but will not count towards your final degree mark. 

Instructors provide you with feedback in a variety of forms eg written feedback on work that you have handed in, in-class discussion of common problems on an assignment, model answers, one-on-one discussion of research projects, or online responses to questions posted on the module discussion board.

Your year abroad is assessed and you must satisfactorily complete certain criteria in order to graduate with a degree that has 'with a year abroad' in the title.

  • You must submit two essays in the target language submitted to York during the year
  • You must fulfil your year abroad obligations (for example attending courses and completing all the local assessments if you're at university, or carrying out your teaching duties if you're on a teaching assistantship).

However, your marks on the year abroad assessments do not contribute towards your overall degree mark.

We can make reasonable adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. However, if you have dyslexia please note that it is not possible to make adjustments in the marking of work written in a closed language exam (German). This is because accurate spelling is one of the assessment objectives for language exams. Closed exams make up only a proportion of the assessment types used for languages, there are other assessment types such as coursework and oral presentations which are also used. As a student with dyslexia you could apply for extra time in closed exams, if this would be of assistance. See the University's disability support pages for further details.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams42%55%0%34%
Practical exams14%0%0%8%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Spanish seminar
Seminar on syntax

Careers and skills

Effective communication, critical thinking and project management skills are central to most careers. The study of language and philosophy at York equips you with these skills and others, which translate readily into any work context.

Career opportunities

  • ​marketing and communications
  • publishing
  • broadcasting and journalism
  • local government and public service
  • business, finance and accountancy
  • teaching
  • translation and interpreting
  • IT and software development

Transferable skills

  • effective communication skills
  • intercultural awareness
  • critical thinking
  • project management
  • independent learning
  • data analysis
  • problem solving
  • team working

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

AAB/ABB including German

If you don't have an A Level in German, you can take our ab initio route

Access to Higher Education Diploma ​Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher​
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
European Baccalaureate ​80% overall average​
International Baccalaureate ​35/34 points​

​Our language programmes are designed to develop fluency. For this reason we do not normally offer places to native or near-native speakers of who wish to study their own language.​

Language interviews

Some students who do not have an A level in one of the languages they wish to study may nonetheless already have A-level-standard knowledge of the language (eg, a student who took GCSE and then spent time in a country where the target language is spoken, before university). At the time of application, we will conduct an interview and task, to determine which route would be most appropriate for students who do not have an A level in a language they wish to study.

​Ab initio German

​You can take the German part of this course ab initio (from scratch, or with a qualification below A level).

GCSE or AS level German may be appropriate qualifications for entry onto the ab initio German course. You may be eligible for this course if you're not taking GCSE or AS level German, but you can demonstrate an aptitude for languages through other experience (eg, successful study of a different foreign language).

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 51 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 162 each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

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