Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

German Literature


Combined bachelor, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) - Where relevant, please also note the core and secondary subjects German Studies (with teacher training option) and Germanistic Linguistics as a combined bachelor.

Standard time for completing course

6 semesters

Start of study

Winter semester only, with numerus clausus

Combinations and Course structure

German Literature is offered as:

Core subject: 120 credit points (CP*), an additional secondary subject must be selected
Not available with German Studies as a secondary subject
Secondary subject: 60 CP, with a core subject
Not available with German Studies as a core subject

Please observe the ‘Bachelor’s and Master’s courses at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’ FAQ. This also offers information about potential combinations. The range of subjects can be found in the current ’Course catalogue’.

*One credit point (CP) equals a workload of 25 - 30 hours for preparation, follow-up and attendance at classes.

Language skills

For the core and secondary subject: We recommend a knowledge of at least two foreign languages, and adequate German skills are required.

Studies abroad

Study visits abroad are strongly recommended, and ‘learning agreements’ may be concluded for this purpose.

Why study the subject at HU?

HU is an integral part of Berlin’s unique academic landscape, is centrally located in the historic heart of the city, has a clear structure and, with 150 courses, offers a wide range of subjects covering all fundamental scientific disciplines. With more than 200 years of history, in keeping with the tradition of Humboldt, at HU, there is an organisational connection between research and teaching and students’ all-round education. HU cultivates active partnerships with the other universities and significant research and cultural institutes in the city, and maintains numerous international partnerships.

In an era of media competition, the tasks of Literary Studies are as numerous and extensive as they are exciting and diverse.
Studying German Literature at HU means contributing to many years of scientific development in opening up the cultural complexity of philological subjects: we combine the traditionally separate subjects of Old German Literature and Modern German Literature into a joint teaching and research area and give them a cultural studies orientation.

The core teaching and research subject is the history of German literature, with theory, methodology and the history of literary studies. Closely intertwined with mandatory History of Literature are the profile-defining teaching fields, which build on interdisciplinary research perspectives and subject interdependence, and offer an opportunity to specialise on the course alongside the study of the core philological material.

The connection between academia and the literary public is taken into account by the MOSSE lectures organised by the Department of German Literature, a lecture series on the ‘Public nature of culture, literature, art, science and media’, in which internationally-renowned speakers combine various subjects.

What particular skills/prerequisites do you need?

Curiosity and an open mind regarding the unknown, a keen interest in the subject matter of literature in all its forms and context, a corresponding love of reading and the willingness to work independently and pursue exemplary learning.

Course objectives

  • Providing fundamental knowledge, methods and work techniques for literary studies from a cultural studies perspective
  • Teaching core philological skills in combination with specialist literary studies knowledge of the Middle Ages to the present, and the particular ability to analyse linguistic texts
  • Acquiring interdisciplinary knowledge consolidating subject-specific analysis, research and methodological skills
  • Ability to undertake multi-skilled methodical analysis on the basis of literary and cultural theory of texts in a broader sense, taking into consideration the systems of symbols in the history of the media
  • A basis for the German Literature master’s programme and for professional work in an information society particularly reliant on the collection, preparation and provision of knowledge

Course content

The best way to find information about course content is using the study regulations (, no. 74/2014, 1. amendment no. 59/2018) and the annotated university calendar ( You can also consult the Course Advisory Service.

Core subject German Literature with 120 CP

Mandatory modules (71 CP)
Module 01: Old German Literature basic module, 7 CP
Module 02: Modern German Literature basic module, 7 CP
Module 03: Text and Media Analysis I, 8 CP
Module 04: History of German Literature I - from the beginnings to 1650, 6 CP
Module 05: History of German Literature II - 1600 - 1850, 8 CP
Module 06: History of German Literature III from 1800 to the Present, 6 CP
Module 07: Text and Media Analysis II, 11 CP
Module 08: Literary Studies as Cultural Studies I, 7 CP
Module 09: Bachelor’s thesis, 10 CP

Mandatory elective modules (29 CP)
Module 10: Literature and Context or
Module 11: Literary Studies as Cultural Studies II, each 10 CP

Module 12: Reading course I (premodern Literature) or
Module 13: Reading course II (modern Literature), each 10 CP

Module 14: Practical Orientation or
Module 15: Internship, each 10 CP

General elective modules (20 CP)

In addition to specialised study, Students acquire subject-specific, non-specialist and interdisciplinary key qualifications of 20 CP. The general elective modules can be chosen from the module catalogues of other subjects or central institutions (see:

Secondary subject German Literature with 60 CP

Modules 1 to 6 and module 8 of mandatory modules from the core subject (in total 50 CP) and
Module 16: In-depth Study, 10 CP

General course offerings for students coming from other courses of studies

Module 30: Introduction to the fields of work of Old German Literature & Modern German Literature, 5 CP
Module 31: History of German Literature I and II, 5 CP
Module 32: History of German Literature I and III, 5 CP
Module 33: History of German Literature II and III, 5 CP


The Department of German Literature offers the German Literature master’s programme and is involved in the European Literatures master. These and other HU master’s courses can be found in the Course catalogue.

Important addresses

Department of German Literature: Dorotheenstr. 24,, Tel. +49 30/2093-9665
Course Advisory Service and Classification and recognition of studies and qualifications: Dr. Baum, Tel. +49 30/2093-9722, room 3.525,
Applications: How to apply, Information for prospective international students

Links to job market: careers information centre, Hochschulteam calendar of events

Version: March 2024
Back to Course catalogue

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