Advice for Students Graduation and after Postgraduate studies Contact Information

German Philology belongs to the Department of Modern Languages.

P.O. Box 24 (Unioninkatu 40 B)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki


 As a student of Germanic philology, you will

  • familiarise yourself with the different manifestations of the language and the diversity of German-speakers;
  • foster your interest in the German language and learn to use it creatively;
  • learn to react in German in different communicational situations – and to read between the lines;
  • have the opportunity to visit the fascinating multicultural metropolises during your exchange studies;
  • learn to apply linguistic theories and methods to German;
  • explore the worlds of German-speaking art, literature, music and culture;
  • obtain an overview of the past and present of Germany, Austria and Switzerland;
  • learn to examine the historical and cultural contacts between Finland and the German-speaking countries from a new perspective.

You can become acquainted with research already during your studies, as optional studies also include lectures and research practicum courses on teachers’ own fields of research.

Several different approaches can be taken to completing one’s studies. These include participating in language practice sessions, attending lectures as well as the proseminar and seminar, completing written assignments as well as reading the set literature and taking examinations. In the future, the importance of online courses is likely to increase, even though contact teaching remains irreplaceable from the perspective of language learning. The language of instruction is usually German, and most of the teaching staff speak German as their native language.

There is also a minor subject Dutch Language and Literature in which basic studies (25 ECTS) are offered.

Content and structure of studies

The curriculum also includes knowledge of German-speaking countries as well as the history and cultural history of Germany.

In the two-cycle degree system, studies in Germanic philology have been divided into three parts. In the first-cycle (i.e., the Bachelor of Arts (BA)) degree, the scope of basic studies is 25 credits, whilst that of intermediate studies is 45 credits. In the second-cycle (i.e., Master of Arts (MA)) degree, the scope of advanced studies is 84–120 credits, depending on the student’s specialist option. The completion of the Bachelor’s degree usually takes three years, which is followed by two years of Master’s degree studies.

Students finish their advanced studies by writing a Master’s thesis of 40 credits that focuses on one of the above-mentioned fields of Germanic philology.

The optional courses in intermediate and advanced studies enable specialisation in either linguistics or literature and culture. Students may also transfer to subject teacher education from both specialist options.

The target duration of studies is five years. About one third of major subject students complete pedagogical studies for subject teachers and the related practice teaching.

Student exchange

The discipline of Germanic philology has an exchange agreement through the Erasmus+ programme with universities such as Humboldt, Freiburg, Greifswald, Regensburg, and Würzburg. Students are encouraged to complete their student exchange by taking advantage of the discipline’s Erasmus agreements.

Postgraduate studies

Useful information on how to apply as a postgraduate (after completing a Master’s degree), on postgraduate courses, etc., can be found on the postgraduate pages of the Faculty of Arts.