Germanic Languages and Literatures

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University offers a diverse and challenging program of study that entails both the attainment of a proficiency in the language and a critical engagement with the history, culture, politics, and society in German-speaking countries from the Middle Ages to the present. Such study is by its nature interdisciplinary, and thus, coursework in German can complement and enhance other field of study in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

The department offers both a major and a minor in German studies for undergraduates. For graduate students, the department offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in German and a one-of-a-kind doctoral program in German and Comparative Literature. The top-ranked graduate program stresses interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of strong research, pedagogical, and leadership skills.

At Washington University, students take courses from internationally recognized faculty members who are leaders in their fields and who have been recognized for their expertise in undergraduate teaching. Faculty areas of interest include literature, history, film, prose narrative, gender studies, philosophy, the history of German cultural institutions, the history of literary genres, literature before 1700, contemporary literature, and German-Jewish literature.

Students of German can choose among several study abroad programs, and they can take advantage of an array of co-curricular activities including film series, the German honorary society Delta Phi Alpha, lectures by guest speakers, and readings by visiting authors. Many German students also elect to assist with the annual German Day for high school students from Missouri and Illinois, helping to transmit their interest in German to the next generation of students. The department’s collection of contemporary German literature, housed in Olin Library, is the largest in North America and also attracts many visiting scholars to our campus.