Institute of English Languages and Literatures

Frequently Asked Questions - B.A. IAS

Missing a question? Be sure to check the main FAQ list of the English Department for answers regarding more general issues, e.g. recognition of prior credits (Scheinanerkennung).

Which classes should I take in my first semester?

In your first semester you'll start with the Basic Module Literary Studies, the Basic Module Cultural Studies and Academic Writing I in the Basic Module Academic Writing. The Literary and Cultural Studies Modules both consist of a lecture, a seminar and a tutorial (which is linked to the seminar). 

What do I need to do for the Basic Module Cultural Studies?

You will attend the lecture Introduction to Cultural Studies combined with a seminar and tutorial. Please note that the combined seminar/tutorial is specifically aimed at IAS students - a difference compared to the English/American Studies program. You will need to register for both the lecture and the seminar.

What is the Orientation Examination?

The Orientation Examination (Orientierungsprüfung) is not a separate exam, but you automatically pass it once you have passed the following modules:

The Orientation Examination is normally completed at the end of your second semester. You need to complete it by the end of the third semester.

What are the requirements for the Advanced Modules in the Core Curriculum?

The Advanced Module Themes in Literary and Cultural Studies...

In the Advanced Module Research in Literary and Cultural Studies...


When should I start with the Issues Lecture Series and how do I sign up for the oral exam?

Each semester, the American Studies Department offers a lecture on "Issues in American Literary and Cultural History" that provides an overview of the history of American literature and culture from the 15th century to today. The series runs chronologically and has a four-semester cycle:

  1. The Colonial Americas
  2. From the Revolution to the Civil War
  3. From the Civil War to the Second World War
  4. From the Second World War to the Present.

During your course of studies, you must attend three of the four semesters of the lecture and then take an oral exam with one of the professors of the American Studies Department. The exam is 45 minutes long and covers all three of the semesters that you attended, but you will be able to choose topics that you find particularly interesting. This document provides further detail on the examination process. You will register for the oral exam (Prüfungsanmeldung) on Alma during the third of the three lectures.

Since the exam is fairly demanding and counts 20 % toward the final grade of your B.A. degree we recommend that you only take the exam in the last year of your studies. This means that you should start with the lecture series module in your second or third semester at the lastest (depending on whether you will go abroad for a year—start in your second semester if you know already that you will be in the United States in your third year).

What kind of classes can I take for the Elective Curriculum?

You enjoy a high degree of autonomy in selecting topics for the three modules of the Elective Curriculum. Depending on your interests, you can take classes in fields as diverse as history, media studies, political science, sociology, art history, economics, or law. These classes are outside of the core curriculum (they should not be part of the Cultural Studies or Literary Studies Modules), but should either relate to the study of America or deal with theories and concepts that are relevant to American Studies.

The American Studies Department offers elective courses - you can sign up for these directly on Alma. We also keep a list of courses at the History and Economics Departments for which you can sign up on Alma. For other courses outside of the department, an Alma sign-up is normally not possible. You will therefore need to contact those responsible for the courses you're interested in directly. Once accepted, you'll do the expected Prüfungsleistung and you'll ask for a Papierschein (recognition of credit). The student advisors in IAS will be able to recognize these credits for the Examination Office.

If you're not sure whether a course qualifies for the Elective, please contact a student advisor. 

What are Professional Skills?

Professional Skills (Schlüsselqualifikationen) are career-oriented skills. You must acquire a total of 21 ECTS points in Professional Skills. The Transdisciplinary Course Program offers a wide variety of courses in journalism, digital humanities, international business and management, rhetoric and communication, academic writing, and many more.

In addition, you can get credits for software/programming classes, or language classes at the university's Language Center.

We also strongly encourage you to use up to 10 ECTS points for an internship (see the FAQ entry on internships - for students who started in 2022 or after, the internship is required).

What is the Integrated Year Abroad (IAS "mit integriertem Auslandsjahr")?

You can find more information on the Integrated Year Abroad on this special section of our website. Basically, you can turn the 3-year Bachelor program into a 4-year program (Regelstudienzeit) and spend a whole year studying/doing internships in the United States (or elsewhere). 

If you're registered for IAS without the integrated year abroad, you can change to IAS with the integrated year abroad before the end of your 4th semester. In order to do so, please email an IAS student advisor your transcript and the semester you're currently in with the request to change your study program to IAS with integrated year abroad.

Where can I find and how can I get credit for an internship?

Doing an internship will provide you with invaluable insights into one or several professional fields and give you the opportunity to acquire professional skills and experience. You will also greatly benefit from doing an internship in an English-speaking country. The German American Institutes in Tübingen and other German cities regularly offer positions for interns. To look for internships you can also check the Praxisportal run by the Career Service or consult a student advisor. Our yearly Career Day will also provide you with ideas and the possibility to talk with American Studies alumni.

You can either do an internship as part of the Integrated Year Abroad or for the Professional Skills. In the Professional Skills  you will be awarded 10 ECTS points for a full-time internship lasting six or more weeks - for students who started in 2022 or after, the internship is required. The internship needs to be relevant to American Studies, so please consult with a student advisor if you are not sure whether an internship is suitable. You also have to hand in a 1,500 word internship report with one of the student advisors no later than 12 weeks after the end of the internship, together with a letter from your employer detailing the working hours and period of your internship.