The Department of World Languages and Literatures offers a broad selection of courses from beginning German to advanced courses on German literature, culture, and film. Students can earn a minor or a major in German, or complete a B.A. in world languages with German as their primary or secondary language. We also offer a very successful five-week summer program in Weimar, Germany, that gives students an opportunity to sharpen their speaking skills while traveling and immersing themselves in German culture.
Why Study German?
1. Germany is an economic and political powerhouse
Germany is the biggest economy within the European Union and the fourth largest worldwide. Under Chancellor Angela Merkel Germany has played a central role in maintaining political and economic stability in the European Union.
2. Germany is central to world trade and technology
A large number of economic global players are based in Germany. Among others: Siemens, Volkswagen, Adidas, and Lufthansa are globally recognized brands and corporations. The country also hosts some of the biggest international trade fairs including CeBIT, the world’s largest exhibition for information technology, as well as the IFA trade fair for consumer electronics. Berlin is turning into a major center for innovative startups and has become known as “the Silicon Valley of Europe.”
3. German culture is part of the world heritage
The German-speaking world has produced some of the greatest literary, musical, artistic, and philosophical minds in human history. It is the language of the famous written works of Goethe, Kafka, Brecht, and Mann. It was the native language of composers Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Wagner. German philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche transformed the way we think about the world.
4. A knowledge of German is a valuable skill in the workplace
For young Americans, knowledge of German has increasingly become a critical skill for advancing a career in European or international diplomacy. Germany is also home to numerous international corporations and is on the front line of new technologies. The ability to speak and write German provides a strong advantage in securing career opportunities with these corporations. A German major or minor can be combined with majors in pre-law, pre-med, journalism, finance, art history, and other majors to enhance your academic profile and give you an edge in future job searches.
5. German is the language of inventors, innovators, and peace-makers
A large percentage of the world’s most impressive achievements were first conceived of in German. Over 100 Nobel Prizes have gone to Germans scientists, writers, and statesmen for accomplishments in physics, medicine, chemistry, literature and international diplomacy.