Whether a poem, novel, newspaper article, instructions, or a political speech – every text has an intention, a particular style, and a cultural, political, and biographical background. Philology's task is to systematically investigate texts – with respect to both contextual and formal aspects.Literary studies regards text as a form of communication and art. It grapples with text genre, style, eras, and authors.Literary and linguistic studies focus primarily on the elements of language: the sounds, word and sentence structures, and the meaning of linguistic units. It also investigates how language is acquired, used, and adapted for certain purposes.

When systematically working with texts realizations and methods from other disciplines can be called upon. For example, philosophy supplements the philological research of logic, ethics, scientific and argumentation theories, rounded out by cultural perspectives, which then highlight, which zeitgeist a text is reflecting.Because philology's scientific approach concerns all languages equally, two philologies and philosophy are combined into one interdisciplinary course of study at RWTH.

focuses on the systematic reflection of texts and language. Independent of the language they are investigating, philologists all take the same questions into account: What history of ideas is behind certain texts? What stylistic devices do they use in order to make an effect? What noises and shapes are recognizable? How can one recognize sentence structure and describe precisely? For this reasons English and American Studies and German Studies at RWTH Aachen offer a joint course of study, in which you investigate four different languages and their literatures.

Students develop their individual skill profile by choosing two of three components offered:

  • English and American Studies
  • German and General Literary Studies
  • Philosophy

The core curriculum gives students an intensive look at two languages and their literature, for example in one language and philosophy. Starting in the fourth semester students advance their language studies – it is not possible to study advanced philosophy. Advanced lectures and seminars offer the possibility to critically reflect on the knowledge learned and to independently apply it.A special feature of the curriculum is its connection to learning units from other disciplines. Through this connection the University offers its students the diverse perspectives characteristic to studies at RWTH Aachen.

Programme Structure

Semester Course Content
1st to 3rd semester

Components A

Core Curriculum

Components B

Core Curriculum

Interdisciplinary Section

Two Perspectives from the interdisciplinary subjects

Supplementary Section


Foreign Language


Proof of language skills
4th to 6th semester

Components A

Specialization Section

Bachelor's Thesis

Interdisciplinary Studies

RWTH's typical combination of theory and practice is evident in the course of study's orientation towards application. Starting in the first semester both Components A and B are supplemented with interdisciplinary studies. This makes it possible for students to more confidently and methodologically work in certain areas of language use and language research later on. Two so-called perspectives are selected from the following neighboring disiciplines:

  • Computer Science
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Social Sciences
  • Education
  • History
  • Theology

Language Skills

At the end of their third semester students must provide documentation of language skills at a C1 level for the English and American Studies components. An at least six-week long stay abroad gives students important language experiences immersed in local everyday life as well as intercultural skills.

A pre-planned mobility window during the fourth semester helps students to avoid delays in their study progress. It is also possible to get credit for a suitable stay abroad before their studies begins, for example volunteer work, internship, attendance at a foreign university, or employment.

Supplementary Section and Internship

Soft skills such as presentation and languages skills – including in other languages – supplement the studies with career-relevant skills.

Entry Requirement

  • Abitur or equivalent HZB
  • Proficiency in German

Career Prospects

From journalism to language technology this course of study qualifies students for all fields, in which the comprehension and composition of texts is required.Literary scholars are well versed in analyzing complext relationships, illustrated them in various media, and discussing them appropriately based on the target group. These skills are sought in information processing, documentation, and research at many companies.Thanks to their interdisciplinary studies graduates of RWTH are well trained in flexible, project-oriented changes between content. They work in publishing houses and journalism as facilitators and designers as well as in the cultural sector, information sciences, tourism, industry, and the management of international authorities and associations.


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