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German (TSM)

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Why study German?

German is spoken by some 100 million Europeans. Contemporary Germany is the geographical and cultural link between east and west and the largest economy in an increasingly integrated Europe. Studying German at an in-depth level is, therefore, an excellent preparation for the world of work and is likely to make you highly employable.

Modern Germany is a society in transition, more and more ethnically diverse, and engaged in lively debate about its own past and about its political, social and economic responsibilities in Europe and the world. Germany's history has been rich, dynamic and troubled, and this history shapes the contemporary society and culture in countless ways. Reflection on and critical engagement with these experiences have been central to German writing and thought since the earliest times, and remain very much so today. All these factors make studying German exciting and challenging.

Is this the right course for you?

When studying German within the two-subject moderatorship course you have the opportunity to acquire advanced competence and fluency in German language and to develop reading skills and methods of research, description and analysis in such areas as literature, history, culture and society of the German-speaking countries and the linguistics of German. You will be encouraged to develop specialist interests by choosing from a wide range of optional subjects. All this in a small, friendly, award-winning department with a wide extra-curricular programme including a theatre group, debating, and film evenings.

Course content

The Freshman years

There are approximately 10 hours of classes per week in the Junior Freshman (first) year. The course covers three key areas:

  • Language programme: this builds on the written, oral and aural skills you acquired at school and develops both fluency and accuracy in expression. Your language learning is supported by a specially developed e-learning programme on the departmental website: try it at www.tcd.ie/Germanic_Studies/jfgermanlanguagewebsite/index.htm
  • Area studies provides an introduction to society, political and cultural issues and current affairs in modern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
  • Literature and textual studies introduces you to key aspects of modern German literature and to reading and analysing literary and non-literary texts in German.

In addition to your on-going language classes, the Senior Freshman (second) year introduces you to German cultural history (exploring topics such as the development of the nation, the role of religion and religious difference, militarism and pacifism, and Nietzsche and Freud as key thinkers of modernity) and German literary history. You can also begin to develop your own special fields of interest within the programme, choosing from a range of seminars with a literary, linguistics, cultural or historical focus.

The Sophister years

In the Junior Sophister (third) year, alongside your language classes, you will take a module in the modern history of German literature and choose from a number of seminars in specialist areas of literature, linguistics, cultural and historical studies.

If you elect to study German in your Senior Sophister (fourth) year the scope for developing these specialist interests is extended through advanced options that link undergraduate study to the research expertise of staff. In the Senior Sophister year, you will also research and write a dissertation on a topic of your own choice. This can be drawn from literature, intercultural communication or some other aspect of the course that you have particularly enjoyed and is an exciting opportunity to develop your interests in depth.

Assessment

At all levels, you will be assessed by a combination of project and essay work and end-of-year written, oral and aural examinations. Senior Sophister students also write a dissertation.

Study abroad

As a TSM German student, you must spend at least two months in a German speaking country, but in practice you are likely to spend longer, typically an academic year. Options include studying at a German university within an Erasmus or similar exchange programme in your second year or between third and fourth year (our links include Cologne, Gottingen, Konstanz, and Vienna, but you can also make individual arrangements), or taking a year out to work in a company or as a language assistant in a school.

Career opportunities

People with languages degrees are found up to senior level in all kinds of rewarding careers. Employers value not only the language skills of German graduates, but also their 'transferable skills': the mix of accuracy and creativity, confidence and sensitivity which marks the advanced linguist, and the maturity, flexibility and broadened understanding that comes from engaging with another culture and from the experience gained abroad. Recent graduates are working for employers such as Google, Deutsche Bank and Enterprise Ireland as well as in telecoms, IT, education, public service, the media, and universities in Ireland, Europe and North America. Germany is a major export destination for Irish goods as well as being the second most important source of Foreign Direct Investment for Ireland. Therefore, competence in German can give you a competitive advantage in the job market.

Did you know?

Trinity College’s Department of Germanic Studies has won four prestigious awards in recent years, including The European Award for Languages in 2010.

We offer Peer tutoring and a networking website 'GradLink' where you can link up with our graduates from all over the world and learn from their experiences.

If you are considering studying German, but want to be sure, you are welcome to sample some lectures in the department during teaching terms. You may also discuss your options with a member of the teaching staff. Contact us by e-mail or phone (see below).

Further information

www.tcd.ie/Germanic_Studies

E-mail: germanic@tcd.ie

Tel: + 353 1 896 1373

Specific Entry Requirements

Leaving CertificateHC1 German
Advanced GCE (A-Level)Grade C German
Other EU examination systemsSee www.tcd.ie/Admissions/undergraduate/requirements/matriculation/other/

Graduate Profile

Susan O'Malley, TSM German and Economics; Associate Manager, Global Advertiser Operations with Google Ireland

I chose German at Trinity College since I had always been fascinated by German cultural studies and history and wanted to take a broad range of courses which would stretch my thinking; the excellence of the staff was also an important factor in my decision. The critical thinking, research and communication skills which the TSM degree helped me to develop have since proven invaluable in my career. I attended the University of Potsdam during my year abroad and because of my strong interest in media, technology and advertising, I completed an internship with KPMG prior to graduating. After graduating, I joined Google and worked in the company's online advertising solutions. From this, my role moved to focus on industry analysis and business planning for the Dublin operations. I currently work in a strategy, policy and communications role. I've also spent some time working at the company's global headquarters in California."

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