German Department

In the Department of German and Russian

The German program emphasizes the acquisition of superior skills in the German language as the basis for the study of the literatures and cultures of the German-speaking world. Unless otherwise noted, all courses are taught in German as students continue to hone their skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Upper-level courses provide training in close reading and analysis of literary and cultural texts in order to further students’ understanding of a culture different from their own. Students at all levels explore literature and film alongside culture and politics as well as history and contemporary affairs.

Majors in German studies are encouraged to study their entire junior year in a German-speaking country; majors and minors are encouraged to spend at least one semester abroad. Study-abroad options include approved programs in Berlin, Munich, Freiburg, Tübingen, and Salzburg. The German faculty welcomes inquiries from students regarding the different programs and the one-semester and full-year options.

The major in German studies and the German minor provide excellent preparation for students who wish to pursue German-related grant opportunities, employment in international companies and organizations, or careers in government or academics.


ChairAssociate Professor Alicia E. Ellis 
Associate Professors Alicia E. Ellis and Arne Koch
; Language Assistant Karlotta Loening

Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in German Studies

The major in German studies requires 10 semester courses: six courses taught in German numbered above 127 including a 200-, a 300-, and a 400-level course and four additional courses chosen from the German curriculum, taken abroad, or chosen from courses with a substantial German component in departments such as Art, Government, History, Music, and Philosophy. Once declared, all majors must take at least one course in the German program each semester they are on campus until graduation.

Requirements for the German Minor

The minor in German requires six courses in the German program beginning with German 126, including a 200- and a 300-level course. Students who enter the program at the intermediate or advanced level should consult with their advisor in German regarding course selection.

The following statements also apply:

  • The point scale for retention of the major and the minor is based on all required and approved courses numbered above German 127 for the major and German 126 for the minor.
  • No major requirement may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
  • Transfer of credits for courses from other institutions, including study abroad, will be evaluated by the advisor in German on an individual basis.
  • Teacher certification: Students desiring certification for teaching German should consult the faculty in German and in the Education Program.

Other Applicable Courses +

Courses Approved for the Major in German Studies


  • 252 Language in Culture and Society


  • 278 19th-Century European Art

Cinema Studies

  • 142 Introduction to Cinema Studies

East Asian Studies

  • 221 Second Language Pedagogy


  • 200 Foundations of Literary Studies
  • 271 Critical Theory


  • 245 Memory and Politics
  • 259 Introduction to European Politics
  • 266 German Politics
  • 344 Post-Communist Transformations
  • 457 Seminar: Germany and Europe


  • 111 Europe from the Classical World to the Religious Wars
  • 112 Revolutions of Modern Europe
  • 120 Spotlight on History: The Holocaust and Genocide in Europe
  • 141 Genocide and Globalization: 20th-Century World History
  • 224 Germany and Europe, 1871-1945
  • 322 Europe and the Second World War
  • 421 Research Seminar: Debating the Nazi Past


  • 241 Music History I: Middle Ages to the Early Baroque Period
  • 242 Music History II: High Baroque to the Dawn of Romanticism
  • 341 Music History III: Music of the 19th and 20th Centuries


  • 240 Ethics on the Continent: From Kant to Levinas
  • 337 Philosophy of Humor
  • 389 Philosophers in Focus: Ludwig Wittgenstein

Religious Studies

  • 182 Jews, Judaism, and the Modern World
  • 298 Jews of Germany, Past and Present


  • 215 Classical Sociological Theory