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Germanic Studies

Specializations include: 

  • German
  • Norwegian
  • Yiddish

The program for the B.A. degree in Germanic Studies is intended to provide students with a wide-ranging and highly personalized introduction to the language, literature, and culture of German-speaking countries and to various methods of approaching and examining these areas. It is designed to be complemented by other areas of study (e.g., anthropology, art history, comparative literature, economics, film studies, history, philosophy, political science, sociology).

UChicago’s Department of Germanic Studies is made up of a small group of core faculty members working at the cutting edge of literary and cultural studies. They bring together expertise in literary history; intellectual history; literary and cultural theory; the German philosophical tradition; opera, theater, and performance studies; cinema studies; psychoanalysis; and visual studies. The department has also recently developed considerable strengths in Scandinavian studies and Yiddish language and literature.

The faculty and students are supported in their work—in large part through team teaching—by an extraordinary constellation of resource faculty, scholars working with German materials across the disciplines: philosophy, history, theater studies, musicology, art history, history of science, sociology, religious studies, and political theory. There may, for example, be no better place in the world to study German Idealism or German-Jewish intellectual history than the University of Chicago.

As early in their course of study as possible, interested students are encouraged to take advantage of one of the five German-related study abroad options that are available in the College. A program in Vienna in the autumn includes three courses of European Civilization, as well as German language instruction on several levels. An intensive language program in Freiburg is available to students who have completed the first year of German. Students in this program complete the second year of language study. The College also co-sponsors, with the Berlin Consortium for German Studies, a yearlong program at the Freie Universität Berlin. Students register for regular classes at the Freie Universität or at other Berlin universities. To be eligible, students must have completed the second year of German language courses or an equivalent and should have completed all general education requirements. Third-year majors can apply for a Romberg Summer Research Grant to do preparatory work for the B.A. paper. Students who wish to do a summer study abroad program can apply for a Foreign Language Acquisition Grant (FLAG) that is administered by the College and provides support for a minimum of eight weeks of study at a recognized summer program abroad.

Students in other fields of study may complete a minor in Germanic Studies.