Why Study German?
- German is the first language of about 120 million people in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. It is also spoken by minorities in France, Italy, Luxemburg, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Russia.
- German is the language of one of the major economic players in the European Union. Germany's strong economic position has also led to the use of German as the preferred language of commerce in a number of Eastern European countries.
- Hannah Arendt, Ingeborg Bachmann, Ludwig v. Beethoven, Albert Einstein, Rainer W. Fassbinder, Sigmund Freud, J.W. von Goethe, Günther Grass, Otto Hahn, Immanuel Kant, Franz Kafka, Käthe Kollwitz, Else Lasker-Schüler, Martin Luther, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, ETA Hoffmann, Gotthold E. Lessing, and Christa Wolf are just some of the major figures who spoke or speak German.
- German will open the doors to many of the major cultural centers of Europe: Berlin, Vienna, Geneva, Zurich, Frankfurt, Bern and Munich.
- A major in German will provide you with the necessary skills to pursue any number of career options which stress critical thinking and cultural communication.
- Our Humanities Clusters are often connected to Film Studies, History, Religion and Classics, and Women's Studies.
- German makes a great Double Major. Combinations have included: Linguistics, English, Mathematics, Art History, Film, Music, History, Political Science, Optics, Psychology, and Comparative Literature.
- Successful Majors have gone on to work in international business, to medical school, to graduate programs e.g. in German Studies, Film, History, and Law School.
Majors and Minors in German
The Benefits of the German major and minor:
- Study thinkers and ideas that have shaped the modern world.
- Achieve multicultural fluency
- Choose from an exciting variety of language, literature, and culture classes.
- Study abroad for a year, a semester, or a summer. Complete a minor during a summer in Berlin. Transfer back up to 16 credits from any study abroad program.
- Read, write, and discuss in German in formal and informal settings: coursework, special discussion sections, film screenings, Plauderstunden, outings, and more.
- Read exciting literature, watch intriguing films, and think and talk about them.
- Broaden your multicultural fluency as you sharpen your critical skills.
- German Course Descriptions
Requirements for the Minor
- 5 courses, eg. German 151-152 (advanced language), 200 (Composition and Conversation), 202 (Introduction to German Cultural Studies), 203 (Introduction to German literature)
Requirements for the Major
- 5 core courses (same as for the Minor)
- 4 elective courses. Some possibilities: "Marx," "German Cinema," "Poe and Hoffmann," "Sexuality and Gender in the 18th and 19th Centuries," “Marx and Marxism,” “Cinema and Revolution,” “Strangers in a Strange Land: German Jews,” “The Urban Imagination,” “Monsters, Ghosts and Aliens,” “Wizards, Magic and Fantasy”
- 2 departmental courses: CLT 1 (Intro to Comparative Literature) and CLT 2 (Major Seminar) (Because the material in the Major Seminar applies to advanced work in the major, students are encouraged to enroll in the Major Seminar (CLT 389) in their junior year if at all possible.)
- Improve linguistic and cultural fluency.
- Study the founding figures of modern philosophy, psychology, economics, and political theory.
- Grasp the broader historical and cultural context of figures and works, as well as their subsequent influence. Culture clusters are comparative and interdisciplinary.
- Learn about the major movements and events of the 18th-20th centuries in a culture cluster.
- Examine complex and vital issues of class, gender, sexuality, race, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and homophobia.
- Intro Cluster to German Language and Culture
- Inter Cluster to German Language and Culture
- Adv Cluster in German Language and Culture
Students can participate in the following clusters without knowledge of German. Language students do their work in German.
- Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
- Horror in Literature and Film
- Divided Germany
- Fantasy, Horror and Magic
- Germany Before Nazism
- International Cinemas
- Introduction to European Studies
- Jews in Germany
More information about the German Clusters is available via the University's Cluster Search Engine, which can be found here
Study Abroad Opportunities and Internships
Study abroad gives you invaluable insight into another culture. With German, you can study in a variety of cultural settings in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and more. The German program encourages all Majors and Minors to participate in Study Abroad as part of their academic career. We offer academic and financial support. By studying abroad, you can concentrate on German for special purposes such as Business German, Scientific German, or Translation Techniques.
There are also a number of internship programs. You tailor internships to your own interests. Placements range from positions in banks and the business world to scientific and industrial research to prestigious positions at the German and European parliaments.
The University of Rochester offers a study abroad program in Cologne. A yearly competition rewards two motivated students with this excellent opportunity to study at the University of Cologne free of tuition. Contact any member of the German Program to find out how and when to apply.
Burton Scholarship Funds are available to support summer study abroad. In the past few years, a majority of applicants receive awards.
The Summer in Berlin Study Program offers you six credits of language and culture in one of the most exciting cities in Europe. Check out its web-site for up-to-date details.
The College Board Subject Test Advanced Placement Scores or International Baccalaureate rankings assist departmental advisors in finding the right course level for you. Information on how you learned the language or languages you know will also help us advise you on the most appropriate courses for you in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. The first step is to take the online placement exam in German. You will receive a score that will be used along with the survey information you provide and with any AP or IB scores you have submitted that will help determine your placement in a specific language course. Please note that any semester placement you may receive with your online numerical test scores are not University of Rochester placement rubrics.
Students will receive a “Course planning, placement, and recommendations” sheet with their language placement information from Academic Advising during Orientation and via email.
(Ph.D., Stanford University), Department Chair and Karl F. and Bertha A. Fuchs Professor of German Studies
(Ph.D., University of Minnesota), Associate Professor of German
(Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), Associate Professor of German
(Ph.D., University of Minnesota), Visiting Assistant Professor of German
(M.A./M.Ed., Free University and Humboldt University Berlin), Lecturer in German