German Studies Alumni

Interested in learning more about German Studies graduates? View our alumni profiles.

Learning Goals and Outcomes

Learning Goals

The German section of the Department of German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature offers instruction in German language and literature and aims at providing access to many aspects of the cultures of Germany, Austria, and parts of Switzerland. German has always been one of the prime languages of international scholarship, and the unification of Germany in 1990 has drawn renewed attention to the European and worldwide importance of that country. German Studies majors have gone on to graduate school in German literature to prepare for a career of teaching and research or to professional schools in law, medicine, or business, entered government work, or found employment with publishing companies or business firms with international connections.

German Studies draws upon history, music, political science, philosophy, the arts, and literary studies to examine German culture past and present.  Emphasis is placed on knowledge and awareness of

  • the history of modern German literature and culture, 1750 to the present
  • cultural developments in modern German-speaking central Europe, such as in the arts, cinema, literature
  • central issues such as the Nazi era and the Holocaust, the role of gender and minority discourses, and their reflection in German literature, arts, and cinema

Students completing the degree are expected to acquire the ability and skills to

  • read German at a level at which critical literacy and cultural analyses can be performed
  • write and speak German sufficiently to participate in discussions, write critical essays and research papers, and give oral presentations
  • develop cultural competence
  • speak and comprehend German sufficiently for all situations in daily life

Learning Outcomes

Students in German Studies will be familiar with a wide range of methodologies and frameworks for the analysis of German culture, and able to follow current findings and debates within the field.  As it engages students with extensive existing research in multiple disciplines, our curriculum is particularly committed to advance students' understanding in a variety of areas.


Students completing the minor/major in German studies will be able to:

  • analyze German texts and contexts
  • understand German and learn to apply their understanding in a variety of disciplines
  • articulate an understanding of the role of German culture in history
  • learn and apply critical perspectives onto texts of various historical periods

Core skills:

Students completing the minor/major in German studies will be able to:

  • read and interpret texts and/or data from a variety of disciplines, historical periods, and cultures
  • conceptualize, develop, and engage complex research both orally and in writing
  • create scholarly research that questions existing assumptions

Social Justice:

Since the Holocaust Germany has served as a model of social justice. The discrimination and subsequent murder of six million Jews in Germany and the exclusion and persecution of many other minorities has left an indelible mark on German culture to this day. Directly and indirectly our courses shed light on the meaning of the struggle for social justice in various periods of German history. Minority discourses continue to be front and center in German literature and politics today. Within our courses in German Studies, students are prepared to analyze systems of power and privilege, to examine the causes, manifestations, and consequences of institutional discrimination of every kind, and to understand and respect a range of cultural perspectives.

Experiential Learning:

To some extent all language study is experiential. Courses in German language are student-centered and interactive. We strongly encourage our students to study abroad for a summer, a semester, or even a year in a German-speaking country to immerse themselves fully.

Upon Graduation:

The German Studies curriculum prepares students for a wide range of careers. Graduates of our program are applying their skills and knowledge to academic and professional pursuits in medicine, law, education, government, social service, public policy, religion, counseling, international relations, journalism, publishing, business, and the arts.