Bachelor of Arts in German Studies

From Goethe and Rilke to Beethoven and Brahms, from Kant and Einstein to Bauhaus and the Berlin Wall, Germany’s contributions over the past 250 years have helped shaped modern Western culture. The study of the German language opens the door to the rich literature, history and culture not only of this country but of Austria and Switzerland as well.

As a scholar in our degree program, you’ll study the German language in its cultural context, with a strong emphasis on literature, film, new media and cultural history. In addition to becoming culturally competent, you’ll acquire a command of the language orally and in writing, enabling you to engage critically with texts and films as well as with the situations of daily life.

As a graduate of our program, you will be superbly equipped to pursue advanced studies in German literature as preparation for a career in teaching or research. Or you might pursue an international career in law, business, government or publishing.

Why Brandeis?

Housed in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature (GRALL), our program is inherently interdisciplinary. We encourage you to explore German language and culture through a variety of lenses, including history, political science, Jewish studies, linguistics, philosophy and cinema. Because our faculty and classes are small, you’ll be sure to develop close relationships and receive the mentoring Brandeis is known for.

Brandeis has a powerful and longstanding connection to the German-speaking world. Many of our earliest professors were German or Austrian and fled Europe and World War II to find a home at Brandeis. More recently, in 1998, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl delivered the commencement address, received an honorary law degree and dedicated the Center for German and European Studies!

Our program is also aligned with the Brandeis commitment to social justice. Studying German and contemporary Germany is an ideal way to explore themes of power and privilege, discrimination and persecution.

Academics and Research


If you wish to graduate with honors, you may elect to complete a full-year senior thesis course. Honors will be awarded on the basis of cumulative excellence in the courses you’ve taken in the major and the grade on your thesis.

Faculty and Student Excellence

Distinguished Faculty

In addition to being dedicated and enthusiastic teachers, our faculty is highly productive:

  • Steve Dowden recently co-edited “Tragedy and the Tragic” and “German Literature, Art, and Thought” and was a Fulbright senior research fellow in Innsbruck, Austria.

  • Sabine von Mering recently co-edited “Right-Wing Radicalism Today: Perspectives from Europe and the US.”

  • Kathrin Seidl recently authored “Erich Arendt y su encuentro con el trópico.”

Outside the Classroom

Study Abroad

We encourage you to spend a summer, semester or year studying in Germany. Many of our students have chosen to study at the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Freiburg. It’s an experience that will strengthen your command of German while broadening your cultural horizons.

You can find information in the Brandeis study abroad office as well as from the German Academic Exchange Service.

Other Resources

Brandeis is home to the Center for German and European Studies, which supports interdisciplinary teaching and research on contemporary Germany and Europe at Brandeis and reaches out to educate the broader community on the social, political and cultural issues facing Germany and Europe today.

At Brandeis, you will also be minutes away from the Goethe-Institut Boston, which hosts events about the culture and politics of Germany and Europe.


Twice a month, you can practice your conversation skills at our Kaffeestunde!

Graduate Study, Careers and Alumni

Graduate Study

Some of our alumni go on to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in German Studies, becoming professors, teachers and study abroad advisers.

Diverse Career Opportunities

German Studies graduates work in fields as varied as law, social work, speech therapy, graphic design, consulting, finance and small business management.