Did You Know?
More books are published annually in German than in any language except English and Chinese.
Students around the globe choose German as the most popular foreign language after English.
Herta Müller, the most recent 2009 Nobelist in literature, belongs to Romania's German-speaking minority.
Why Study German at Brandeis?
Brandeis has strong historical links to the German world. Many of its earliest professors in a variety of disciplines fled Europe and World War II to find a home at Brandeis. Many were German or Austrian. Consequently, the study of German literature and culture has always been an area of particular strength.
German remains one of Europe's most important cultural languages. German is spoken in four countries with separate cultural, political, and economic traditions: the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is also the mother tongue of significant minorities in neighboring countries, as well as one of Luxembourg's official administrative languages. After English, German has become the leading political and economic language on the European continent and remains the most useful second language in the former communist bloc countries.
The significance of German for the humanities is incontestable. German speakers of many nations—from Beethoven and Einstein to Kafka, Canetti, and Wittgenstein—occupy a distinguished place on any list of the cosmopolitan artists, writers and thinkers who have defined Western modernity. Almost every academic discipline has a strong tradition of German scholarship and in many cases one that largely defines the field. In fact, the modern university itself, with its combination of teaching and research, is a German invention, stemming from the practical imagination of Wilhelm von Humboldt.
Career and Education Opportunities
German majors have gone on to graduate school in German literature to prepare for careers in teaching and research, and have pursued professional degrees in law, medicine, and business. They have entered government work, or found employment with publishing companies or business firms with international connections. Many of our students have gone on Fulbright or DAAD programs to German-speaking countries after graduating. Others have joined the Congress-Bundestag Exchange Program, or Internationales Parlaments-Praktikum in the Bundestag in Berlin.