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Content and structure of the Bachelor's degree programme

At the Bachelor level, the degree programme which comprises Scandinavian Studies is called ‘Scandinavian and Finnish Studies’. This does not mean that you study both subjects, but you choose one of the two courses and do either Scandinavian Studies OR Finnish Studies. However, some general courses are held for students from both subjects. This close collaboration between both fields allows for introductory seminars with a focus on theoretical and methodological basics in linguistics, literary studies and cultural studies. Learning one of the languages Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish is of course an essential part of the degree programme and does not require any prior knowledge. In addition, the language Old West Norse (the language of saga literature and the Vikings) is taught in the Scandinavian studies programme.

Many students wonder which is the ‘best language’ to choose before beginning their studies. There is no general answer to this question, as each language has its individual advantages for the degree programme.  Students with Icelandic as their main language find it much easier to learn Old West Norse due to the many similarities in grammar and vocabulary. Students who choose Danish, for example, often have an advantage if older texts are read in the literary studies courses. In addition, its grammar is considered to be easily understood and thus balances out the pronunciation that is not familiar to most people at first.

As knowledge about Scandinavia and specific communication skills are particularly important in Scandinavian and Finnish Studies, students will be exposed to all languages (regardless of their main language) during the course of their studies.  It is also possible to study another Scandinavian language as an ancillary module; the language choice at the beginning of the degree programme does not have to be the final one.

Tip: Prospective students can find further information on the different modules and study content as well as short videos and posts about the offered languages on our social media channels (Instagram: : @Skanfenor Facebook: Scandinavian Studies/ Fennistik Uni Köln).

The ‘Scandinavian and Finnish Studies’ degree programme as a double major Bachelor’s requires a second, equivalent subject. You can choose from the extensive offer of degree programmes at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities — one of the largest in Germany. There might be some special requirements for specific subject combinations. Students of Scandinavian and Finnish Studies are likely to choose subjects such as History, German Language and Literature, Media Cultural Studies or English Studies.


Unique characteristics of this degree programme at the University of Cologne are:

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration with Finnish Studies
  • Collaboration with the department of Scandinavian Studies of the University of Bonn.  This contributes to the extensive course offer you can choose from.
  • The editorial office of the students’ magazine norrøna has been located in Cologne since 2016.
  • Icelandic – as one of the few institutes in Germany, we offer Icelandic courses in addition to the three other Scandinavian languages.
  • ISLANDICA – a large collection of Icelandic literature from different eras at the nearby University and City Library Cologne (UB).