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Studying German has a long and impressive history at Vassar dating back to the college's first year, 1865. Today, the Department of German Studies continues that tradition by offering an integrated approach to the study of language, literature, and culture. 

The German Studies Department offers its students:

  • intellectual engagement at all levels of the curriculum. From our elementary German sequence to our senior seminars, students pursue the complex interconnections between language and culture while gaining the proficiency to interact successfully with native speakers.
  • innovative learning. The department stands at the national forefront of efforts to combine language learning with cultural studies. It has also led the way in developing technology, such as videoconferencing and our online virtual learning environment, called MOOssiggang, to enable Vassar students to interact with German university students, authors, and professionals as well as students studying German at other top-ranked colleges in the U.S.
  • an international and intercultural education. In our increasingly globalized world, Vassar students have opportunities to work with native speakers through online exchanges and through our language fellow, who comes to us every year from the University of Münster. In addition, the department participates as the only liberal arts college in the Berlin Consortium, one of the top-ranked junior year abroad programs in Germany. Our students can also attend a variety of abroad programs to study at universities in Freiburg, Heidelberg, Mainz, Munich, Tübingen, Salzburg, Vienna and many other locations.
  • interdisciplinary approaches. Our curriculum offers students the opportunity to explore Germany's extraordinarily rich cultural tradition, one that has thoroughly influenced almost every field of study currently offered at Vassar. The department's faculty members pursue an active interdisciplinary research agenda while participating energetically in a number of multidisciplinary programs and departments on campus, including Film, Jewish Studies, International Studies, Media Studies, and Women's Studies. Meanwhile, students are encouraged to complete their major requirements with up to four German-related courses from other departments, such as Anthropology, Art, Education, History, Music, Philosophy, Politcal Science, Psychology, and Sociology.
  • an individualized course of study. The department's small size encourages close relationships among students and between students and faculty. Students majoring or minoring in German choose their faculty advisor and work closely with him or her in developing a coherent course of study tailored to their intellectual interests. Seniors pursuing honors work also produce a capstone thesis project based on their research interests.

In addition to courses, our weekly German Table or Kaffeeklatsch, our annual Herbstessen, numerous guest speakers, and our student lounge offering round-the-clock German television programs provide students with an active intellectual and social environment outside the classroom.

Our majors graduate with the language, writing, intercultural, and critical thinking skills that help them find successful careers and lead an enriching life. Every year, several of our graduating seniors receive Fulbrights and other prestigious scholarships to teach English or pursue their own independent research projects in Germany. Many of our alumnae/i use their knowledge of German in careers as varied as law, banking, the arts, publishing, and museum work, and a number of them have established successful careers in Germany. Several have also entered graduate programs in business, law, and medicine, as well as academic disciplines such as education, sociology, political science, and German studies.