German Studies

Division of Humanities

The major in German Studies is designed to meet the needs of four types of students: those who intend to continue the study of German in graduate school and want to enter the teaching profession; those who want to be proficient in a second language for work in the sciences, international studies, business, or industry; those who major in another field (such as dramatic arts, art history, philosophy, history, and religion) and use language study to support their research in that field; and those for whom German serves as part of a broad liberal education, in much the same way a major in English serves this purpose for many students.

The program offers an integrated curriculum of German culture that emphasizes the modern period. Its courses focus on the impacts of German culture within the borders of German-speaking countries but also the ways that culture has affected places outside those borders, from Strasbourg to the United States to Germany’s former colonies. German life and culture as portrayed in films, music, art, literature, drama, and in historical, critical, and political texts focus language acquisition and create the basis for courses on major themes and questions about German culture. All courses promote a broad understanding of critical analysis, an appreciation of cultural diversity and global interconnectedness, and literary values. Collaboration with students and faculty in other programs is an important value of our interdisciplinary program.

A feature of the program is study abroad in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. Most German Studies majors study for the full spring term in Regensburg, while others travel with program faculty in January over the CentreTerm to locations like Germany, Austria, Poland, France, Belgium, and Namibia.  A true beginner can become sufficiently proficient in the language to major in German and to take up residence these countries. A number of recent German Studies majors are currently employed or studying in several of these countries.

German serves as a solid basis for a broad liberal education and proficiency in the language can provide research opportunities in many scientific fields and further careers in government, international studies, music, drama, the fine arts, or business.


Ian Wilson, Katrin Bahr (chair)

Student Representative 

Abbe Riffle

Recommended First-Year/Sophomore Preparation

Students considering a major in German Studies are encouraged to plan their academic program to include as wide a distribution of courses as possible regardless of their professional or vocational objectives. Prospective majors should consider taking courses in literature, history, philosophy, and the fine arts.

German Studies Courses

Course Descriptions