The study of German provides the broadening of linguistic and cultural awareness that accompanies the learning of any foreign language. In addition, knowledge of the German language and culture offers advantages in a wide range of fields. Germany plays a central role in the European Union, and a quarter of the population of the EU speaks German as a native language. Germany is the world’s fourth largest exporter, one of the top three nations in research and development of high-tech and green products, and a leader in industrial, architectural, and automotive design. German is one of the top three languages used on the internet, and Germany is a leader in global book and film production. Our majors have entered fields as diverse as teaching, law, business and medicine and have used their mastery of the language to work in German-speaking countries. Students from other disciplines have taken courses in German for personal enrichment, for graduate school qualification, or for preparation in research or study in a German-speaking country.
From the first semester on, the German curriculum at Franklin & Marshall integrates German language learning with a broad knowledge and in-depth understanding of cultural production within German-speaking Europe. Students practice their oral communication skills in a variety of settings, including classroom discussions, informal conversations, and formal presentations. Over the course of the curriculum, students acquire advanced writing skills in German in multiple genres, including short argumentative and interpretive essays, journalistic texts, and personal writing in the form of journals and letters.
German courses at all levels are organized around themes that provide students with an overview of German literature and culture. By engaging with texts (written, visual, and audio-visual), students sharpen their interpretive skills, become literate members of a German-speaking community on campus and beyond, and acquire a critical understanding of issues that have shaped German society of the past and present
Students majoring or minoring in German may pursue one of three tracks: German Language and Culture, German Literature and Culture, or German Studies. GER301, GER302, and GER450 are required courses for all majors.
Students in the German Language and Culture track generally begin their study of German at Franklin & Marshall. The focus of this track is the development of upper-intermediate to advanced German language proficiency, along with knowledge of German culture and a critical understanding of the German-speaking world. A major in German Language and Culture consists of nine courses from the point of placement, including at least two 400-level courses and GER 450. A minor in German Language and Culture consists of six course credits in German from the point of placement.
The German Studies track combines German department courses with courses in English on topics related to German culture. These may be approved Franklin & Marshall courses or courses taken in an off-campus program. Students in this track develop intermediate German language proficiency and a critical understanding of the German-speaking world from multiple disciplinary perspectives. A major in German Studies consists of nine courses from the point of placement and must include GER 301, 302, and 450. A minor in German Studies consists of six course credits from the point of placement, including up to two approved German Studies courses in English. A German First Year Seminar may be counted toward the German Studies major or minor. Approved Franklin & Marshall German Studies courses include ART 335, HIS 355, MUS 231, PHI 317, and PHI 319.
Majors in the Department of German have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: Pennsylvania Colleges in Cologne; Heidelberg College program in Heidelberg, Germany; IES Berlin, Freiburg, and Vienna. See International and Off-Campus Study section of the Catalog for further information.