German Studies

German language and literature are the main subjects of German studies. They are examined from a linguistic, literary and cultural studies perspective.

The field of study at a glance

German studies deals not only with the evidence of contemporary language and literature (since 1500, “modern times”) but also with earlier forms (e.g. Old or Middle High German). The aim of studying German is to gain in-depth knowledge of the development of the German language and the most important trends in German literature.

German studies is closely related to Scandinavian studies (also called Nordic studies, Nordic/North Germanic/Scandinavian philology or Northern European studies), which deals with the Scandinavian languages (Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish), literatures and societies. German studies, however, must be distinguished from “Slavic studies”.

Course offered

The subject of German studies is only offered at universities. This field of study also includes subjects from the areas of “Dutch Studies” and “Scandinavian Studies”.

Contents of the course

The German studies course is divided into three sub-areas:

• German linguistics (linguistics) is dedicated to the systematic study of the German language, emphasizing linguistic elements.

• Modern German literary studies deals with German literature from the 16th century to the present. It analyzes literary genres, distinguishes between periods and epochs and provides intensive knowledge of different access routes and approaches to interpretation.

• German Medieval Studies deals with linguistic and literary studies of German literature from its beginnings around 800 to the early modern period. “Middle High German” is also taught.

In addition to the core German subject, you usually have to study a supplementary or minor academic subject from the cultural or social sciences.

In the master's program, depending on the university and focus, modules in areas such as literary and genre history, synchronous and diachronic linguistics, language and literature education or German as a second or foreign language allow for specialization. Additional skills are taught in modules such as text production, intercultural German studies, media aesthetics, media/communication or technical communication.

Career opportunities after graduation

Outside of teaching, German scholars find employment opportunities in publishing or as editors in the press, radio and television or in public relations, advertising as well as in libraries and documentation. They can also work in adult education, at universities and other research institutions or as dramaturgs at theaters as well as television and radio stations. Due to their skills in communicating and presenting, they often find jobs in human resources, as project managers or management consultants.