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Home > Courses > Undergraduate > History of Art and Visual Culture and German
More in this section Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

History of Art and Visual Culture and German BA

For 2018 entry this course will be replaced by BA Modern Languages and History of Art and Visual Culture.

UCAS code RW26
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
4 years full time
Department Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures »

This course offers you the opportunity to combine study of German equally with History of Art and Visual Culture, and to spend your third year abroad in a German-speaking country.

If you have a passion for the visual arts, History of Art and Visual Culture will give you the skills to read, interpret and analyse images and artefacts across cultures. You will benefit from the research expertise of staff in the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, engaging in the key phases in the development of the history of art and visual culture of Europe and Latin America, equipping you with the skills You can take courses on key historical skills and take options that combine the study of art history with that of photography, film and other media, ranging from medieval times to contemporary visual culture.

  • Make use of Royal Holloway’s exceptional collection of Victorian Art housed in the Founder’s Picture Gallery
  • Choose options in Visual Culture from across the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

As a student of German, you will not only learn to speak and write fluently, you will also develop excellent communication and research skills and combine language proficiency with cross-cultural perspectives.

You will be able to tailor your study of German to suit your specific areas of interest, choosing from an exciting multidisciplinary range in German literature, thinking, history, art, film and current affairs; from Mann and Kafka to representations of childhood and youth in German culture.

You will also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying in Germany or a German-speaking country, when you will immerse yourself in the language and culture and truly broaden your horizons at partner universities such as Heidelberg, Munich and Vienna, teaching placements at German or Austrian schools, or work placements in business or industry.

  • Whether you are a beginner or advanced student when you start, by the time you graduate you will be fluent in German: confident in reading, understanding and analysing text and able to write with ease and accuracy.
  • Our research staff are engaged in research at the highest level internationally; we are in the top 10 of UK Modern Language departments for research quality and the top in London (Research Assessment Exercise 2014).

Core modules

Year 1

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

International Film 1 - Contexts and Practices

This module will introduce you to some key tenets of film theory and apply them to a selection of important pre- and post-war European and international films. It will familiarise you with the analysis of aspects of film style, genre and national and international contexts. The set films on the module will include canonical works from a century of cinema history, by filmmakers such as Joseph von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodovar, and significant examples of technique and style.

Visual Arts 1 - Artists and their Materials

This module will introduce you to a number of different media encountered in the study of visual culture. By understanding the technical characteristics of a range of art works you will be able to assess the expressive and stylistic possibilities of offered by different media. You will study a rich variety of visual cultures in Europe and Latin America from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The Birth of Film

This module will introduce you to the early phase of film history between 1895 and the early 1930s, from the invention of motion pictures to the establishment of sound cinema. You will look at a cross-section of American and European films made during this phase, when film-making was largely national but the absence of the spoken word gave film a truly cosmopolitan dimension, with directors, actors and technical personnel moving freely across national boundaries. You will learn about the development of film as art (with its links to the Avant-garde) and also examine cinema as an entertainment industry in which genre (horror and crime films) helped to drive innovation.

German: Intensive Beginners' German 1

This is your core German language module (beginners’ pathway). In five weekly seminars you will be introduced to the German language and begin to develop a knowledge of vocabulary and core grammar, as well as oral and listening comprehension skills.

German: German Language 1

This is your core German language module in which you will develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the German language. There will be three seminar hours per week alongside a fortnightly grammar lecture. You will focus on written German, oral practice and grammar, and study a range of texts and topics. The skills you will acquire include the writing of formal letters (letter of complaint, letter to the editor, etc.) and short essays, and presentation delivery in German.

German: Introduction to German Studies

This module will introduce you to key areas of interest in contemporary German Studies, including literary genres and styles, film, and important themes. It will also introduce you to basic library-based and bibliographical study skills. In weekly seminars you will learn how to analyse different kinds of texts and films, and be introduced to aspects of literary and film theory. You will study a variety of short texts and poems by major writers from the 18th century to the present day, a film by a major German filmmaker, and a recent novel on an historical theme.

German: German History and Culture

The module presents key developments in German history through the lens of literature and the visual arts, in a lively and accessible way. You will gain an insight into German culture and history from the Middle Ages to the present, and acquire skills and knowledge that will serve you throughout your degree. By the end of the module you will be familiar with some of the key historical moments in German history, and with some of the ways these have had a political and cultural impact.

Year 2

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

International Film 2 - Readings and Representations

The module is divided into two parts, the first exploring crucial issues of filmmaking, film studies and the ‘transnational’ from the perspective of largely contemporary Latin American cinema, the second focusing on a range of European films from the 1970s to the present. The introductory two weeks of the module will introduce you to these concerns; the final two weeks of the module will bring both parts together and establish some conclusions, ask fundamental questions such as what constitutes a ‘European’, ‘Latin American’ or ‘transnational’ film.

History of Art and Visual Culture: Visual Arts 2 - Genres and Movements

What characterises genres such as Landscape Art, Portraiture, History Painting, Religious Art, Satire and Caricature, or Abstraction? In this module, by studying a selection of particular movements (‘Portraying rulers in Renaissance Italy’, for example', ‘Representing the City - Impressionism and beyond’, ‘Abstractionism’, or ‘Medievalism and the Pre-Raphaelites’), you will explore key phases in the development of the visual culture of Europe and Latin America and analyse the artists’ principal stylistic and theoretical concerns, their interaction and development, and their significance within a variety of cultural contexts.

German: Intensive Beginners' German 2

This module is designed to follow on from and to build on the knowledge and skills established in Intensive Beginners’ German 1. You will establish, through intensive practice and use of a range of learning materials, more advanced comprehension skills in written and spoken German. The emphasis throughout will be on everyday language and day-to-day situations.

German: German Language 2

This is your core German language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the German language. There will be three seminar hours per week alongside a fortnightly grammar lecture. You will focus on written German, oral practice and grammar. The module will again include an element of ‘German for business purposes’, dealing with business related text genres, such as business letterers and report writing.

Year 3

The third year of this degree programme will be spent abroad, either studying or working or both. It is usually expected that students will spend at least 9 months overseas, in countries where the native langauges match the languages the student is studying. Students studying two langauges will be expected to divide their time between two relevant countries, i.e. one for each langauge. The School of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures will support students in finding a suitable study or work placement, but students are also expected to explore opportunities independently and the ultimate responsibility for securing such a placement lies with the student. Alternatively students may choose to enrol for courses at a partner university in the relevant country. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme; students on placement will be asked to complete assessed work which will be credited towards their degree, while in the case of those studying at a university, marks obtained for courses taken will be credited towards their degree. The same applies to the assessment of spoken language on return to Royal Holloway from the period of residence abroad.

Year 4

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

Transnationalism, Diaspora and Globalization in Contemporary Film

In this module you will explore cinematic representations of transnational encounters between people, cultures and institutions connected by the forces of globalization. The topics covered range from (anti-)colonialism and revolution to postcolonialism and migration. Attention is also paid to the ways in which the films deal with the themes of emancipation, hybridity, displacement, globalism and cosmopolitanism.

Dissertation

This module enables you to write a dissertation of 5,000 words on a suitable Visual Arts topic of your choice, for which appropriate supervision is available within the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The topic may be related to a subject on which you have been taught but you should avoid significant overlap with previously studied material; it may equally be related to a fourth-year optional module that you take.

German: German Language 3

This is your core German language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the German language. There will be three seminar hours per week. In your grammar class you will work on the effective use of written register and style, and the presenting of a convincing argument. Your oral German classes will include debates and presentations. You will also be introduced to advanced translation skills, focusing on a variety of functional, literary, journalistic, factual and academic texts.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules are taken

Year 2

German: Death, Desire, Decline - Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka

German: Love and Marriage in Major Novels by Theodor Fontane

German: Representations of Childhood and Youth in Modern German Culture

Year 4

German: Doubles, Devils, and Deadly Spiders - 19th-Century German Gothic Literature

German: Narrative and Identity - The German Novel from the 18th to the 21st Century

German: Dream Factories - Recent German Film

The course has a modular structure. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice. 

Our teaching combines a majority of seminars and small group work as well as role play and conversational activities, with some lectures. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources such as Powerpoint slideshows, copies of selected primary and secondary texts, audiovisual materials, class and seminar preparation aids, links to relevant external sites, quizzes and grammar and essay writing guidance, and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally and who holds regular surgery hours at least twice weekly.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you take. Coursework includes essays, language exercises, translations and reports. Oral presentations and computer-based tests are used in some course units to assess grammar and comprehension skills. You can, to some extent, choose course units which suit your own assessment preferences. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year, year abroad and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement. 

You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels ABB-BBB

The offer given will take into consideration

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.
Required/preferred subjects Required: A Level Grade B in an essay based subject.  If German is taken grade B is required as well as five GCSEs graded A*- C including English and Maths
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including grade 5 in an essay based subject. If German is taken then grade 5 is needed with 32 points overall.
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus one A Level  Grade B in an essay based subject or German if taken.
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus two A Levels Grades B,B including an essay based subject or German if taken.
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A Levels where one non subject specified A Level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers AB including B in an essay based subject or German if taken plus Higher Level requirements.
Scottish Highers AABBB plus Advanced Higher requirements.
Irish Leaving Certificate AABBB at Higher Level including B in German at Higher Level if taken.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area.. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

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English language
requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

On completion of your History of Art and Visual Culture and German degree at Royal Holloway you will be equipped to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. You will have excellent communication, analytical and research skills combined with the proven ability to communicate fluently in German - all of which will appeal to future employers. Having spent a year abroad you will also have developed the kind of sensitivity to different cultures that is highly prized in the workplace. This experience and the skills gained will make you highly employable  and ready to pursue your chosen career.

  • On graduation you will be ready to pursue a career in a wide range of areas including publishing, marketing, the media, arts administration, fashion, international management, the civil service, accountancy or teaching.  
  • Others have pursued careers in a range of language-related fields, such as: international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, the Civil Service, teaching, travel and tourism, translating and interpreting.
  • Alternatively you may choose to continue your studies by means of a postgraduate degree.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000

Other essential costs***: The cost of your year abroad will vary by country. Typical living costs to consider will be accommodation, food and household items, entertainment, travel, books and bills (including your mobile phone). You'll also need to budget for travel to and from your country of study. Additional costs compared to studying in the UK will also depend on personal choices and it is important to research the cost of living before the year commences.

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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