Oxford has one of the oldest, largest and most active departments of German in the country, with an excellent record in teaching and research, an intake of about 90 undergraduates a year, and a strong and flourishing graduate presence.

With 16 full-time members of staff and a wide range of expertise between them, the department is able to offer an unusually challenging and diverse course at both undergraduate and graduate level.

German is spoken as a first language by approximately 100 million people, and is widely used as a second language, especially in Eastern Europe. Germany is the UK’s most important trading partner and remains the powerhouse of the European Union; contacts with Germany are of ever-increasing importance for the governments, businesses and citizens of the new Europe.

The culture of the German-speaking countries is exceptionally rich and vibrant. 18% of the books published worldwide each year are in German. German-speaking writers, thinkers and artists have long been and continue to be at the forefront of intellectual life.

A knowledge of the German language and German culture is both personally enriching and a valuable, and highly marketable, asset in a wide range of careers. To find out more, click on one of the options to the left.

Undergraduate Studies

The German department is the largest in the country, admitting about 90 students a year from approximately 225 applicants. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise underlined the high standing of the sub-faculty of German by ranking it first among the 27 departments of German in the UK. Students are taught in small groups or pairs throughout their course. These factors combine to create a learning environment which brings out the best in the participants and develops their faculties to the full. Graduates of the German course at Oxford are highly employable and go on to a variety of challenging careers in later life.

Learning support is given in depth. Library needs are fully covered at University, Faculty and College level. The IT facilities in the University and the Colleges are excellent, and the Language Centre has a wide variety of authentic language material.

The course combines a thorough grounding in the four key language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing with an extensive choice of options ranging from medieval studies and linguistics to contemporary German literature and society.

German is studied at Oxford either on its own, or in combination with other subjects, whether another modern European language, or Classics, English, History, a Middle Eastern language or Philosophy. If you want to study it on its own, or with another modern language, you apply for the course in Modern Languages; if in combination with one of the other subjects listed, you apply for a joint course (e.g. in English and Modern Languages). You can find further information in the FAQs page and the University prospectus, which also tells you how to apply.

German multi-level entry course

The Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages welcomes applications for German at all levels. Find out more here.

LIDL ‘Year Abroad’ Prizes

The Faculty is delighted to announce four new Year Abroad Prizes, kindly sponsored by Lidl, available to students reading German. For more information please read the news announcement here or current students can find more details on WebLearn.

Graduate Studies

Oxford has the largest body of graduate students in German in the country. It is one of the leading centres for research in German in the country and indeed the world. The Taylor Institution Library is the largest Modern Languages library in the country and the Bodleian Library’s holdings in all fields of intellectual, cultural and literary history make it one of the world’s top research libraries.

The University and the Colleges provide excellent IT support. In addition, the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages has a computing room for the use of graduate students.

The department offers one- and two-year taught courses, as well as research degrees. A number of studentships and scholarships are available.

DAAD in Oxford

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is one of the most important funding organisations in the world for the international exchange of students and researchers. Oxford is fortunate to have close links with the DAAD at many levels, which enable a whole range of bilateral projects and exchanges.

The DAAD-LektorInnen underpin the language teaching of the German sub-faculty, facilitate internships in Germany, organise poets in residence schemes and offer advice on careers in Germany. Find out more about scholarships for UK students for masters courses in German (Jahresstipendium), scholarships for language summer courses, and scholarships for German students for graduate degree programmes in Oxford.

The DAAD also co-funds posts in German, notably the Chair in Medieval German Literature and Linguistics and a post in German literature at Lincoln College and the Pat Thompson DAAD Fellow in Modern History at Worcester College. They also fund short-term academic visitors from Germany.

Oxford German Network

The Oxford German Network ( was founded in 2012 as the first university-led cultural network of its kind, designed to connect academic institutions, cultural organisations, businesses, and policy-makers with an interest in cross-cultural exchange.

A key event is the annual Oxford German Olympiad, advertised in late September, which offers a wide range of tasks on a new theme each year. Past themes have included ‘Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland’, ‘Deutscher Humor – nichts zum Lachen?’, ‘Von Pop bis Poesie’ and ‘1914’. A second round advertised in April offers additional special prizes. 

The essay prize competition ‘A German Classic’ is intended for students in Lower Sixth. It is advertised in spring to encourage in-depth study of an iconic text over the summer, with a wide range of resources opening up different perspectives on the work. Participants are not expected to have prior experience of studying German literature.

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