Studying German at UChicago

Whether you want to study Hegel, have a passion for environmental policy, or want to work in Europe’s strongest economy, there are many reasons to learn German.

The Germanic Studies Department at the University of Chicago is committed to a communicative approach to language learning, which will prepare you to use German both in academic and professional contexts. Working closely with the University of Chicago Language Center, we help our students learn to verbalize their thoughts, support and defend their opinions on abstract and concrete topics, and create with German in a meaningful way. We offer content-rich language courses at every level, from absolute beginner to advanced, and motivated language learners can even enroll in our year-long Intensive German course (learn more about the Intensive German course in the video below!).

Learning German gives you access to a rich literary and historical tradition, and can connect you to 120 million native speakers around the globe. The language skills you develop in our courses will enable you to read and interpret authentic German texts, watch and comprehend German films, and engage meaningfully with native German speakers. If you are interested in exploring a future in business or finance, a background in German can help open the door to countless business opportunities across the EU and Eastern Europe (did you know Germany is the US’s largest European trading partner?).

Take advantage of the opportunity to learn German during your time at UChicago, and enroll in a German course today!

Elementary German for Beginners I, II, III – GRMN 10100-10200-10300

The goal of this sequence is to develop proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking for use in everyday communication. Topics of discussion include daily routine, hobbies and activities, family, university life, food, living environment, and more. Throughout the year, students engage with German texts and films, and begin learning to understand, interpret and discuss these works. Students also develop an online portfolio to explore and present a topic of their choice using German-language sources.

Elementary German for Advanced Beginners – GRMN 10201

This course is designed for students who have a minimal knowledge of German. The course fills in the gaps without going back to the beginning, and allows you to enroll in GRMN 103 upon completion. Enrollment in this course is dependent upon a student’s language placement exam, or permission from the director of the language program (contact Maeve Hooper at hooperm@uchicago.edu)

Intensive Introductory German (Summer Quarter) – GRMN 10003 and 10006

Introductory German is a 6-week summer course designed for students wishing to develop intermediate proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking for use in everyday communication. Students will work with authentic materials as well as gain familiarity with the different cultures of the German-speaking countries. The course meets Monday through Friday for three hours per day, with additional 90-minute practice sessions twice per week in the afternoon. The GRMN 10003-10006 sequence is the equivalent of the 10100-10200-10300 sequence offered during the regular academic year at the University of Chicago. For more information and to register, please visit the Summer Language Institute website.

GRMN 20100 – 20200 – 20300

Our second-year sequence provides a review and expansion of German grammar, while teaching students to navigate more complex German-language materials. Each quarter has a different focus: from fairy tales (201), to the environment (202), to twentieth-century literature (203), thus allowing students to engage with a variety of significant themes, media, and contemporary issues. Through short essays and in-class discussions, students learn how to summarize texts, craft arguments, and express opinions in German.

GRMN 12001 – 12002 – 12003

This intensive, three-quarter sequence combines two years of language instruction in one, and brings students from absolute beginners to advanced levels in all four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In addition to providing a firm foundation in German grammar, this sequence has a strong cultural focus. By taking a “journey” through 6 German/Austrian cities, students learn about regional differences, defining moments in German history, and current debates. After taking this sequence, students can enroll in courses at the third-year level. This sequence is ideal for students wishing to make swift progress in German, and gain skills corresponding to two full years of study.

NOTE: Each course is 200 units and corresponds in workload to taking two courses.

GRMN 21103, 21203, 21303, 21503, 21603, 21703

Our third year courses serve as preparation for the seminar-style classes offered beyond the language program. Courses at this level may be taken in any order, and focus on such areas such as film, philosophy, the media, drama and poetry. Students work with a variety of texts and media, and learn to present and participate in instructor- and student-led discussions of relevant issues and topics. Students hone their ability to write short essays, and develop the skills to write longer research papers on topics of interest. Continued work in grammar, structure, and vocabulary moves students toward more idiomatic use of German.

GRMN 33333

Reading German for Research Purposes prepares students to read and do research using scholarly texts in German. Students will gain a fundamental knowledge of German grammar and the most common vocabulary terms used in scholarly writing, while developing reading comprehension skills and working intensively with academic texts in their areas of research specialty. Graduate students who take this course perform well will be able to comprehend difficult scholarly texts and begin using them in their own research. The course also includes practice of the skills necessary to pass the Graduate Reading Comprehension Exam in German. No previous experience with German is required. NOTE: This course may fulfill the graduate language requirement in some departments.

Check the time schedules for quarterly offerings. Also offered through the Summer Language Institute.

Get involved with the German-speaking community on campus! Our department regularly holds events such as lectures, film evenings and coffee hours. To get notifications about these events, write to the director of the language program, Maeve Hooper: hooperm@uchicago.edu.  UChicago also has a fantastic and very active undergraduate German club! Check out their Facebook page (search “UChicago German Club”) for information on their weekly Stammtisch and other great events.

For more information:

  • For questions regarding placement tests email the director of the language program: Maeve Hooper (hooperm@uchicago.edu)
  • For minoring/majoring in German email the director of Undergraduate studies: Margareta Ingrid Christian (michristiane@uchicago.edu)
  • Additional questions: german-department@uchicago.edu or german.uchicago.edu