What is a German studies degree?

A degree in German studies is an exploration into the most widely spoken language in the European Union, after English. With about 95 million native speakers, German is the language of record for Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, and the co-official language for Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Germany boasts Europe’s largest economy (No. 4 worldwide) and ranks as the world’s second-largest exporter.

A bachelor’s degree in German studies not only encompasses the linguistics, reading, writing and translation of the language, it exposes learners to the rich heritage, literature, economy, cultures and people of the vast, German-speaking world. German is centrally important for gaining a firsthand, fundamental knowledge of the aesthetic, philosophical and scientific foundations of modern thought. The interdisciplinary focus and strong ties to many other academic fields encourage students to pursue and connect different areas of research, making German studies a perfect complement to STEM majors and to the humanities.

Why pursue German studies at Furman?

Our language courses focus systematically on the development of all four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and our courses encourage you to explore other world-views and learn to think critically about culture.

German studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures emphasizes context and meaning at all levels and in all spheres of the language acquisition process. It equips you with the tools to set you apart as a cross-cultural, confident and powerful communicator. Regardless of the career you pursue, we will help you develop skills to address the sophisticated challenges of our increasingly interconnected world.

Through our teaching and mentoring, we not only immerse you in conversation, literature and culture, but also impart practical skills such as writing a curriculum vitae, and applying for internships in Germany and Austria. The German major exposes you to compelling experiences at home and abroad and promises to differentiate you from other candidates when applying to job opportunities after graduation.

Through German studies, develop transferable skills that are applicable to whatever career path you may take. Learn to read with a purpose and develop perception of nuance in language. Build competencies in not only advocating a point of view, but formulating and defending it – key to problem-solving, conflict resolution and negotiation. Learning a second language like German obliges you to become intentional about vocabulary and grammatical structure, which hones your capacity to get your point across effectively. Learn to think on your feet, and cultivate an ability to work collaboratively among the tight, collegial German community you’ll lean on throughout your four years at Furman. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.

How will you learn?

You’ll acquire excellence in listening, speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary through enriching classroom and out-of-class experiences. Study away opportunities amplify the ways in which you’ll explore German civilizations, history and customs, engaging you in everything from arts to current issues.

Our spring Berlin program offers a core curriculum in German language, culture and politics while catering to double majors in fields such as political science, history and business. In addition to classes at the prestigious Freie Universität Berlin, the program features faculty-led excursions throughout Germany and Europe. Participants experience full immersion through their stays with host families. Many students remain in Germany during the summer to complete an internship that aligns with their other academic interests. Others return to campus and pursue research interests with their professors.

If a shorter study away option is more your style, participate in the “The Rhine: Life on the Line,” a three-week May Experience (MayX) program that explores the border area of France, Germany and Switzerland and focuses on cultural coexistence and tolerance.

Whether connecting with peers in our newly remodeled Modern Language Center, attending one of our conversation hours (“Kaffeestunde”), celebrating Oktoberfest at our Language House, or enjoying “Stammtisch” at your professor’s home, you’ll get to know with other German speakers around campus, make fast friends and embark on life-changing adventures abroad.

German studies courses: What will you study?

Sample courses include:

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  • 89%
    German studies majors who study away
  • 91%
    German majors who also complete a second major over the last seven years. In more recent years, 100% choose a second major.
  • 34%
    German studies majors who complete an internship
What our students say
“I'm not lying when I say studying German was the best decision I made at Furman. After taking German 110 (Elementary German), I became a German major, traveled to Berlin for a semester abroad, my first time in Europe, and completed a fantastic internship with an international business law firm in Atlanta. Because of the truly top-notch advising and mentoring within the German section, I applied for and received a prestigious fellowship to teach English to high school students in the Austrian Alps the next year. I could not be more thrilled with my experience, and I highly recommend incoming freshmen consider taking courses within German studies.”
– Tom Feingold ’21, B.A., German studies, and B.A., politics and international affairs

Our faculty

Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s German faculty represent decades of study and real-world expertise. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.

Anne Culberson

Lecturer German & French, German language Coordinator

Emily Krauter

Assistant Professor

Ilka Rasch

Associate Professor of German
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