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German studies 1 (intermediate)

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This module takes you to an intermediate level of linguistic competence in German, which is equivalent to B1 level of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). You will develop your confidence in listening, reading, writing, speaking and interacting in German, as well as your knowledge and understanding of German-speaking societies and cultures. In addition, the module is designed to expand your academic, digital and employability skills in German contexts. You will have the option to study most activities in a book or as interactive online activities on the module website. Some activities are only available online. The website uses authentic online resources in support of independent and collaborative learning.

What you will study

This module is based around six themes: Geography; Leisure, Culture and the media; Work and education; Celebrations and traditions; History; and Society. Through each theme, you will gradually develop your German knowledge and skills by:

  • familiarising yourself with core vocabulary and grammar
  • learning about and reflecting on language, culture and intercultural communication skills
  • studying with audio recordings and videos featuring speakers of German and their lives and environments 
  • engaging in a wide variety of speaking and interactive activities
  • practising direct translation to support your language learning 
  • working independently and in collaboration with others
  • reviewing and monitoring your progress using checklists, and reflective questions.

The study materials are carefully structured and graded, and provide ample opportunities to practise the language in realistic contexts.

Professional recognition

This module will develop your proficiency in German to a level equivalent to B1 level of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR).

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning.

You require a working knowledge of German to study this module, equivalent to A2 level of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for languages. It is ideal if you have successfully completed Rundblick: beginners’ German (L103) or who have reached a similar linguistic standard. You do not need a formal qualification in the language, but may have acquired your knowledge in adult education classes, time spent in German-speaking countries, regular contact with German-speaking people or other sources. You should be able to understand basic written and spoken materials and to hold a basic conversation in German in everyday situations such as talking about yourself, your family and where you are from, booking a hotel, or asking for directions.

To help decide if you have sufficient German to take this module with confidence, use our self-assessment quiz. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

Before the module begins, we suggest that you continue to use your German in any way you can. You could do this by reading a German newspaper, using online resources, or watching some films in German. Anything you can do to keep practising your German will be helpful. Preparatory materials which help to revise the content of the previous module are available to students once they have registered with the University.

In addition, if you have studied the previous level 1 module, you can also revisit some of the activities and watch and listen to the audio materials from your materials. If you haven't studied this module, you can practise with these free online materials from OpenLearn by selecting German, Level 1.

What's included

Three printed books, each covering two blocks of study. You'll also have access to a dedicated module website, which includes:

  • a module guide
  • a week-by-week study planner
  • interactive reading, writing, listening and speaking activities
  • audio and video content
  • downloadable versions of the printed books
  • assessment details and submission section
  • access to forums where you can interact with your tutors and fellow students
  • access to online tutorials.

You will need

We recommend that you purchase a good bilingual dictionary. We will provide you with details of the latest editions of those that we consider will be most suitable, prior to you starting this module.

You’ll be asked to watch a German-language film that you’ll need to source yourself. Suggestions for films and more information will be provided when you begin the module.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

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

This module includes online tutorials. While you’re not obliged to attend tutorials, you are strongly encouraged to do so as they will provide you with the opportunity to speak and listen to German and meet other students and tutors online. Note that you can attend as many tutorials as you like, offered by any of the tutors. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students.

The online tutorials will also give you experience of 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.

The iCMAs test your reading and listening skills. The TMAs test your writing and speaking skills. The final TMA is an interactive speaking assignment which will be conducted online by your tutor.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying L113 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

German studies 1 (intermediate) (L113) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
4 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination

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