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Variationen: advanced German

This module follows on from an OU Level 2 German module. It continues to develop your knowledge and understanding of the society and culture of contemporary Germany and German-speaking countries, and to extend the practical skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The study resources include online authentic audio and video, comprising interviews, documentaries and reportages, and illustrated printed materials. You will also develop your academic writing, critical and analytical skills, and intercultural competence. The module has six themes that give both broad and focused coverage of different aspects of historical and contemporary Germany and German-speaking countries.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
3 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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A brilliant course to finish my German degree with. No doubt about it, it is a hard course, however with...
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I found this a great course. Well worth the effort (which was considerable!). The materials are superbly well put together,...
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What you will study

Most of the materials for this module are delivered online via the module website, and you will spend a considerable amount of time carrying out interactive online activities.

Each of the six themes studied covers different aspects of German speaking cultures today. You will be working with authentic print-based materials as well as audio and video features on the module website. The materials include a set film, Nirgendwo in Afrika (Caroline Link, 2001). A range of online activities gives you the opportunity to access further authentic materials and develop your ICT and communication skills.

The themes in detail are:

  • Landschaft und politische Strukturen: German-speaking regions, including looking in detail at the city of Wilhelmshaven in the north east of Germany; the notion of ’Heimat‘; issues that arise from differences in local, regional and national governance.
  • Geschichte: key periods of German and Austrian history such as the revolutionary movements in 1848 and 1968, and the 1953 uprising in East Germany; the beginnings of the two post-war German states in 1949, Austria in 1955, and re-unified Germany in 1990; life during the Nazi period in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, immediately after World War II; and the period of Red Army Faction terrorist activity in West Germany.
  • Sprache im Kontext: the evolution of modern German since the eighth century; the roles of dialects; issues relating to language such as identity, humour; language and communication in relation to minority and migrant communities.
  • Migration: emigration from Germany during the nineteenth century and during Nazi rule in the twentieth century; history of immigration in post-war Germany; issues relating to asylum, dual citizenship; living in a multi-cultured society, including an audio feature on the city of Aachen in the west of Germany bordering on Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • Literatur und Film: German-speaking literature since 1945; analysis of a short story by Ingo Schulze; history of German-speaking film during the twentieth century; analysis of Caroline Link’s film Nowhere in Africa.
  • Innovationen: aspects of the history of research and scientific discoveries in German-speaking countries in the nineteenth and twentieth century; famous scientists and scholars; German speaking inventions and inventors.

The module uses a wide range of mixed media that has been selected to increase your knowledge of the themes and develop your confidence in the four language skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking). You will also progressively develop your analytical skills leading up to a small scale project at the end of the module. The structure of the material allows you to evaluate your progress regularly and provide strategies to improve your language and general learning skills. The materials are interactive and encourage your participation.

This module is designed to enable you to achieve a level of language proficiency equivalent to level C1 of the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Professional recognition

The Chartered Institute of Marketing now recognises this module under their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll have a tutor to help you with the study material who will mark and comment on your written and spoken tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). You can also ask your tutor for advice and guidance.

This module usually includes a mix of face-to-face and online tutorials. Some tutorials are offered online only, and others are offered face-to-face and online. Please note that student numbers on the module, and where tutors are based, will affect the locations of where face-to-face tutorials are held. We cannot guarantee that these will be hosted in specific locations, or locations that have been used previously. While you’re not obliged to attend tutorials, you are strongly encouraged to take part as they will provide you with the opportunity to speak and listen to German and meet other students and tutors, whether online or face-to-face. Note that you can attend as many tutorials as you like, offered by any of the tutors.

The online tutorials will give you practice in using the conferencing tool used for the end-of-module speaking test.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). Please note that the written part of the end-of-module assessment (EMA) must also be submitted online and the EMA also includes a speaking test which is carried out online.

Future availability

Variationen: advanced German starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2021, the last time it will be available for study.

It will be replaced with a new module, German studies 3: language and culture of the German-speaking world (L333), beginning in October 2022.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school

    Entry requirements

    This is an OU Level 3 module for students who have successfully completed an OU Level 2 German module or who have an equivalent knowledge of German.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    If you have time before the module begins, we suggest that you continue to use your German in any way you can. You could do this by: redoing some of the activities in your OU Level 2 module; watching and listening to the audio and video materials from your OU Level 2 German module; reading a German newspaper; listening to German speaking radio or television broadcasts; accessing authentic resources such as online editions of newspapers and magazines, internet radio and television; or borrowing German books and films from the local library. Anything you can do to keep practising your German will help you to prepare yourself for the start of the module.


    Start End Fee Register
    02 Oct 2021 Jun 2022 Not yet available

    Registration opens on 18/03/21

    October 2021 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2021. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 05/03/2021.

    What's included

    You'll have access to printed books and a module website, which is the focal point of your study, and includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • course-specific module materials
    • audio and video content
    • assessment details and submission section
    • online tutorial access
    • and access to forums where you can communicate with your tutor and fellow students.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Collins German Dictionary (9th edn) Collins £40.00 - ISBN 9780008241339
    • Whittle, R. et al. Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide (3rd edn) Routledge £38.99 - ISBN 9780415567268

    Note: These books are recommended for the module, but students could use the previous editions of the books, or other suitable dictionaries or German grammar.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying L313 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.