Studying German or pursuing a major in Germanic Languages and Literatures is a unique opportunity to acquire fluency in the German language while also developing deep knowledge of the culture of German-speaking countries with their rich literary, artistic, philosophical, and historical traditions. In our basic language classes you will develop your initial linguistic skills through content-based, communicative, and project-based learning with a focus on multiliteracies.
In our advanced content classes you can further your knowledge in a variety of fields including current events, politics, contemporary culture and film, pre- and post-1945 history, and literary genres. You can choose from exciting offerings such as the Afro-German Experience, Contemporary Culture through Sports, The DDR, the German Fairy Tale and its Legacy, Youth Movements Across the Centuries, the History of the German Language, Green Germany, and many more, all taught fully in German. Students who complete four advanced German classes (classes with numbers in the 150s, 160s, or 170s) can earn the certificate of advanced language proficiency.
In addition to advanced classes taught in German, the department offers a variety of classes in English that further allow you to dive into German literature, philosophy, history, and politics and can be taken at any time during your college experience.
Majors choose to concentrate in one of the following areas: (1) literature, (2) media and media theory, (3) history and politics, (4) critical thought, and (5) aesthetics and the arts. They select courses from the department and other cross-listed courses to study rich and complex texts in poetry, fiction, and philosophy, as well as in economic and social theory.
German-speaking authors have influenced many of today’s humanistic and social thoughts and theories as well as natural sciences and students in our courses have the chance to study the original texts. As a major you can read texts by Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Friedrich Hölderlin, Wolfgang Goethe, Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, alongside contemporary authors such as Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Elfriede Jelinek, Uwe Timm, and Yoko Tawada. Students receive practical training in close textual analysis, the logics of literary language, the ethics of reading, and the discourses of knowledge and their critiques since the enlightenment; students are encouraged to bring in their own academic interests to the German major and explore areas connected to their backgrounds such as film, visual art, electronic media, music, politics, and history.
All students are invited to participate in our summer and semester-long study abroad offerings, or complete internships in a German-speaking country. Some of our students have spent a semester of even a year in places such as Berlin, Freiburg, and Stuttgart. Students have completed internships in a variety of fields such as medical research in Munich, chemistry research in Jena, and literary research in Cologne. We are excited to work with you and help you find an internship that fits your interests, language skills, and schedule to complement your study of German at Yale.
The department also offers a variety of extracurricular events for all students interested in using the language in informal contexts outside of the classroom. Readings by well-known authors or people of interest in the German-speaking world are organized a few times each year. Check our calendar of events for updates!
Please write or stop by if you’d like to talk about becoming a major, if you have questions about the certificate of advanced language proficiency, or if you’d like to talk about anything else related to German classes at Yale
Office Hours: T/Th 11.30am-12.30pm and by appointment