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Germany today is the political, economic, artistic and intellectual powerhouse of the European Union. Knowledge of the mother tongue of 100 million people has never been more important for governments, businesses and private citizens. 

At St Andrews, you have scope to follow your own particular interests by choosing from a broad range of course options that reflect and explore the rich cultural heritage of the German-speaking lands, including: medieval studies, linguistics, film, intellectual history, and literature and society from the eighteenth century to the present day.



German MA (Hons)

Joint degree options

You can take German MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree, Modern Language degree, or "with" degree.



Comparative Literature MLitt
Cultural Identity Studies MLitt
German and Comparative Literature MLitt/MA
German Studies MLitt


Please contact a supervisor in your research area to enquire about PhD opportunities.

Student life

The Department of German is a flourishing and active community with an intake of around 80 to 100 undergraduates a year and a growing postgraduate presence.

The student-run German Society (Gersoc) hosts regular student events including a popular weekly Stammtisch (a friendly get-together), German film screenings and an annual Oktoberfest. The society also performs a play in German every year, and previous plays have been on tour and performed in the National Drama Week. 

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017



  • November 2017 - date to be confirmed.

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Latest in Modern Languages at St Andrews

Award-winning writer, broadcaster and critic Sarah Dunant in conversation with Claudia Rossignoli.


Poetry reading by Dr Oli Hazzard, creative writer and 20th-century literature specialist at the University of St Andrews.


Dr Minna Moore Ede (National Gallery, London) explores an exciting range of new directions for interdisciplinary artistic creations, translations, adaptations and responses.


German research areas

Research in the Department of German ranges across linguistics, film, cultural studies and literature, and in periods ranging from the Middle Ages to the present.

Research staff:

  • Professor Sean Allan: East German cinema; European Enlightenment; Heinrich von Kleist.
  • Dr Christopher Beedham: linguistics of modern German; irregular verbs; the passive; lexical exceptions; Structuralism.
  • Professor Bettina Bildhauer: mediaeval German literature and culture; German film.
  • Dr Andrew Cusack: literary anthropology; 19th-century German literature and culture; German Gothic; nomadism and wandering; cultural transfer; popular literature and pre-cinematic media.
  • Dr Colette Lawson: post-1945 German literature and film, politics, history and memory; the memorialisation of the Second World War; discourses of German victimhood.
  • Dr Michael White: 19th-century German literature; Theodor Fontane; space in literature; the impact of Realism and its place in the European canon; literary strategies in the Nouveau Roman and German Realism.

German research centres and institutes

There are three research institutes at St Andrews related to German:

St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS)
SAIMS brings together over 30 full-time academic staff of international standing and a number of research associates interested in interdisciplinary mediaeval topics, including mediaeval languages and literatures.

Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature (ICCL)
The ICCL explores current conceptions and practices of both contemporary and comparative literature, and works towards definitions of these fit for the 21st century.

Cultural Identity Studies Institute (CISI)
The CISI studies the collective identities of the countries of continental Europe as well as other culture zones. The institute aims to provide a focus and a forum for high-level research into cultural identity in all its aspects.

Modern Languages research portal


Careers for graduates in German

Graduates who have studied abroad gain valuable experience as teachers at primary or secondary level, as translators or interpreters, and as capable German linguists overall.

In a job market that is becoming increasingly global, competency in global languages is valued by employers across all sectors, including industry and business. They recognise that a modern languages degree shows wide cultural experience as well as other personal transferable skills needed in employment.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Recent German graduates have gone to work for:

  • the British Council
  • HSBC’s executive training programme
  • Citibank
  • Christian Salvesen
  • Harper Collins
  • Glasgow City Council.

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available to prospective undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students.


There are a range of undergraduate funding opportunities offered by the University of St Andrews.

Undergraduate scholarships


Find out about options for postgraduate funding at St Andrews.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Funding opportunities are available for PhD students studying at St Andrews. Find out more.

Funding for PhD students


The School of Modern Languages has a long-standing reputation for innovative research in an exceptionally broad variety of interests including world literature, linguistics, cinema, history, gender and identity studies.

REF 2014

In the 2014 REF, the School of Modern Languages was ranked first in Scotland on the quality of publications, with over 70% of research work rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.

University league tables

The Department of German was ranked third in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2017 for student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects.

The School of Modern languages was ranked top in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2017.


Department of German
School of Modern Languages
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3657

German website German research portal