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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Ohio State provides instruction in German language, literature and culture. Students majoring or minoring in German participate in a balanced program of literary, cultural and linguistic study together with practice in speaking, writing, reading and listening. For students not able to build language study into their programs, courses are offered in literature, culture and film with readings and lectures in English. In addition, the department offers instruction in Scandinavian studies, Swedish and Yiddish.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in German within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures or call the advising office in Hagerty Hall for an appointment.

All undergraduate students majoring in German must complete the following:

  • elementary, intermediate and advanced German (or equivalent)
  • German 2350: Introduction to German Studies
  • 21 credit hours selected from a list of approved courses in German language, linguistics, culture and history

Undergraduates with special interests, such as translation, business or current events, will find those interests reflected in the department’s course offerings. 

German minor

Undergraduate students minoring in German must complete elementary and intermediate German (or equivalent) and nine credit hours of approved electives in German language, linguistics, culture and history.

The Ohio State University Bonn Program 

This program, administered jointly by Ohio State and the University of Bonn, offers undergraduate students the chance to study at a German university. Students earn college credit while studying a broad range of topics. In addition to their classes, students may embark on individual pursuits ranging from internship opportunities to extracurricular events such as acting with a theatre troupe or singing in a chorus. Students are further integrated into German college life by living with German students in the university dormitories.

The Ohio State Summer Program in Dresden 

The department maintains an eight-week summer program in cooperation with the Technical University in Dresden. Students can receive 9–10 hours of Ohio State credit on the program, which allows them to complete intermediate German and at least three credit hours of general education requirements in Germany. Opportunities for using the language and experiencing German culture make the program particularly attractive for students with international interests. Intermediate courses are also offered for those students working toward a German major or minor. 

The Ohio State University Summer Session Berlin Program

Students participate in the three-credit course Berlin, Then and Now: People, Places and Experience while exploring and experiencing the cosmopolitan and increasingly diverse city of Berlin. They learn about some of the most influential or memorable persons who live or have lived in the city, from its establishment as a capital of the Prussian Kingdom in the 18th century to its present role as capital of a reunified, democratic Germany and a center of European and global politics and culture.

Students can apply to the Honors Program when they apply to Ohio State. The most popular Honors courses in the German department include: The Faust Theme, Representations and Memory of the Holocaust in Film, and Religion in Modern German Literature and Philosophy.

The Max Kade House—“the German House”—provides on-campus housing for 10 students and offers students an excellent opportunity to improve language skills and experience German culture. The house serves as an “immersion environment” where German is spoken exclusively. Events at the Kade House include the Kaffeestunde (coffee and conversation hour), meetings of the German Club, German film screenings and guest lectures.

The German Club welcomes members at all levels of German or any undergraduates with an interest in German culture, food and people. Learn more on the German Club Facebook page.

Germany's economy is the fourth largest in the world. German companies and institutions are leaders in science, technology and the arts. And Germany is a political leader in Europe. For these reasons and more, being able to speak German can open doors to jobs in a number of fields.

The flexibility of Ohio State’s German major makes it easy to combine a second major with German, such as history, engineering, international studies, journalism, political science, business or another foreign language.

Many graduates use their liberal arts preparation as a stepping stone to advanced study or professional preparation in fields such as foreign service, medicine, law, international business and education.