Why study German?

Germany is the political and economic powerhouse behind the European Union and, with the recent refugee crisis, aspires to exemplify European Enlightenment ideals of tolerance and understanding. The country's literature and culture are appreciated widely and complement those of Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein that are the other countries where German is an official language. Our goal at Carleton German is to allow students to experience the richness and potential of the German-speaking world.

After three terms of German at Carleton, students have the linguistic proficiency and cultural competence to read literature and newspapers and to live and study in a German-speaking country. They are encouraged to take part in our bi-annual program in Berlin or to pursue overseas study with other approved programs. See the Photo Album page for pictures from past programs and other activities.

To understand the German language and its people, we dive into German-language culture, including literary, philosophical, musical and artistic expressions right from the first course in the sequence. Students will gain the skills to engage with important writers, thinkers, creators, and discoverers in the original German.

The courses 101, 102, 103, and 204 (205 taught overseas in Berlin) are a sequential series of courses designed to prepare students in the basic language and cultural skills to provide the foundation for pursuing advanced work in language, and literature, and culture. German 210-219 offer students the opportunity to dive deeper into specific issues, ranging from current news topics, to genre studies, and themes such as migration, horror, or film. Admission to these courses without taking German 204 is determined either by appropriate AP or other placement test scores, or by successful completion of the previous course in the sequence. Courses beyond 103 have a number of goals: to refine and expand students' linguistic ability, to give students access to great works of literature and culture, to broaden their cultural understanding, to improve their ability to engage in critical analysis, and to help them better understand themselves and the human condition. In class discussions, attention is focused on universal themes and concerns within the broad context of German culture. Courses numbered 150-159 are survey courses in translation with no prerequisites. Other courses in translation are also offered, which open interdisciplinary ways of study.

German-language activities outside the classroom include a German lunch table in the dining halls, film nights, Kaffeeklatsch, a German study table in the library, "Cook and Study" events, and many more. Recently students have explored the German restaurant scene in the Twin Cities and New Ulm, met alumni from the German section at a German “Career Night,” and presented at a national undergraduate research conference. The German Club "FKK" offers more exciting opportunities such as LipSyncBattles, an Oktoberfest, and intramural soccer. Students also may elect to live in the International House, where a peer native-speaker is in residence.

Check out the 10 reasons to learn German from the Goethe Institute.

In addition, watch a video of a recent event, highlighting Career Opportunities in 21st Century Germany or read the article from Carleton Now.

Special Seminars for First-Year Students (in translation):

Past offerings have included: Monsters, Robots, and Other Non-Humans; Science, Authority and Conscience in Modern German Literature; The German Fairy Tale; Searching for the Self; and View of Reality.

Literature and Culture Courses in German:

Iron Curtain Kids - Coming of Age in East Germany; “Good Bye, Lenin!” German Post-War Culture, History, and Politics through Film; Refugees Welcome? Debating Migration and Multiculturalism in Post-War Germany; The Invention of Childhood: Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century Germany; Mystery, Murder, Madness: Crime Stories in German Literature; Tense Affinities: A History of German Jewish Culture; In the Shadow of Goethe and Schiller: German Women Writers around 1800; Theater in Berlin; Studies in Twentieth-Century Prose and Poetry; The Age of Goethe; Realism and the Rise of Modernism; Romantic Visions of the World.

Literature and Culture Courses in Translation:

The Sound of Germany: German Cultural History From Mozart to Rammstein; Indo-European Folktales; Studies in German Cinema; European film; From Gutenberg to Gates: History and Practice of the Book; Contemporary Women Writers in the German-Speaking Countries; Damsels, Dwarfs and Dragons: Medieval German Literature; Cultures in Conflict. Courses in World Literature offered in translation Fall Term: German 100: Views of Reality; LCST 100: Alien; EUST: Culture or Brutality: The German Questions.



Sign up for our newsletter.