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Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Silliman 204
807 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 388-6211
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Master’s/MBA Candidate, Frankfurt (Germany) School of Finance & Management, International Business

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Associate Attorney, Washington, D.C.

Test Engineer, Raytheon

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Learning German with Professor Erika NelsonLearning German with Professor Erika Nelson (right)

German Studies


What does "German" mean to you? Whether German connotes tricky grammar or beer gardens, expressionist art or exiled poets, trendy cities or quaint towns, Enlightenment or Nazism, Porsche or Volkswagen, Immanuel Kant or Heidi Klum, Unification or Spreewald pickles — Union features a spectrum of offerings in German language, literature and culture to suit your interests.

Erica Fugger '12

"I was an interdisciplinary major in History and German. Developing my German language skills while studying in Berlin and Freiburg sparked my interest in oral history and prepared me for a master's program in this field at Columbia University."

Erica Fugger '12

Today, the German language is more relevant than ever. More than 100 million people speak German as their native language, and Germany has the largest number of native speakers in the European Union.

As a world leader in technology, sustainable living and growth, Germany is at the forefront of industrial and economic development in aviation and aerospace, biotech, environmental tech, genetic engineering, IT, medicine and nanotechnology. In the humanities and social sciences, Germany also continues to be a leader in scholarship and development by its world-famous universities.

The department of German Studies offers first and second-year courses that support students in developing grammar and vocabulary skills through speaking, reading, listening and writing, with increasing emphasis on vocabulary building, idiomatic expressions, conversation and composition based on cultural and literary texts.

Our upper-level courses deal with social, political and cultural challenges in German-speaking countries through history, treating literature, visual arts, film, music and historical products of these periods. They cover a wide array of topics, including German Fairy Tales, German Sports Culture, Poetry and Protest, Shoah in Film, 20th Century Political Cabaret and Multiculturalism in Germany. All courses emphasize skills of critical thinking and expression, whether oral or verbal, as well as fostering a broader cultural awareness.

In conjunction with our active German Club, the German program offers a wide variety of events and activities, including film screenings, hikes, dinners, board game nights, soccer matches and field trips to German theater events, restaurants and beer gardens. We celebrate Oktoberfest and Fasching with style.

In addition, we have staged German cabaret nights and poetry slams in recent years, and continually add a variety of culturally enriching, entertaining offerings.

Taking part in Union's German program opens up the opportunity to participate in our Spring Term Abroad program. Students spend time studying and experiencing German language and culture in the quaint university town of Freiburg, Germany, as well as the exciting metropolis of Berlin. Students with sufficient language experience who participate are also supported in efforts to arrange a summer internship in Germany in the sciences, engineering, politics, culture or history.