German Language and Literature

In our rapidly changing world, communication is key to understanding other peoples and cultures. Courses in the German program examine everything from the age of Goethe and the fairy tale to business German and the Berlin Wall. While studying the language and culture of the German-speaking world, students gain important background into political and cultural developments in that world—from the early modern period to the present. German is part of the arts and humanities program in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. 

Related Majors, Minors, and Concentrations

Many students in the German program have a double major or minor in international affairs, with concentrations in European studies, specifically Western Europe. Related majors within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences are history, art history, political science, philosophy and other disciplines within the humanities.

What can I expect to learn in the German Language and Literature program at GW?

Students will acquire the oral and cultural proficiency to live and study in a German-speaking country, the confidence to conduct themselves professionally in work and business contexts and the experience of reading the works of famous authors in the original German, from Johann Wolfgang Goethe to Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass. Courses are offered in both English and German. They include survey courses as well as seminars on special topics.

What is the German Language and Literature community like at GW?

It is comprised of faculty and students engaged in the program as well as a German Club, which meets regularly for German conversation, film evenings and excursions to events. At GW, the German community is not confined to the campus but includes D.C. area partner organizations, such as the German Embassy, the Goethe-Institut and the German Historical Society.

What can I do in the German Language and Literature field?

Students can use their German language skills and knowledge of German history and culture in a variety of fields and occupations. In recent years,  students in the German program have won prestigious Fulbright fellowships to teach and study in Germany before going on to graduate school. GW’s German students have been accepted to top graduate programs in German studies, law, history and international business. Some have embarked on the yearlong scholarship Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals; others have chosen to stay in Washington, D.C., and work for the State Department, the Goethe-Institut and the World Bank. With a Bachelor of Arts in German, students can teach in primary and secondary schools and work as interpreters or translators.