The Department of German Language and Literatures enables students to explore the cultures of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The program seeks to develop competence in the German language and lay the groundwork for an appreciation of German literature and other cultural expressions. Coursework in literature, both in the original and in translation, allows students to investigate representative works and significant literary genres of the major periods, while the film courses offer insight into this 20th-century medium and its language. Students especially interested in the interconnections between culture, history, and politics should consider the department’s German Studies major.
Courses 101, 102, 203, 204, and 305 seek primarily to develop language competence. All courses beyond the 100 series (except those in translation) are conducted in German.
A judicious selection from the regular 300 and 400 offerings will yield a survey of German literature, culture, and cinema, leading to a major or minor.
Advanced students and new students considering a major should include a German course in their freshman program. Opportunities for undergraduate study abroad, such as the Exchange Scholar Program, provide possibilities for acceleration to majors and prospective majors who begin their study in college. Recommended correlated courses distributed over four years include: Art, Classics, History, Music, Film Studies, and another foreign language or literature.
Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in German will be automatically awarded three hours of Oberlin College credit as German 300. All students, including those with AP credit or SAT II, must nevertheless take the departmental placement exam to determine the appropriate level for further study.