There are many reasons to take courses in the Department of German at Duke. In Europe, more people speak German as their native language than English, French or Spanish, and Germany plays a major political role in the European Union. As the home of a great number of international corporations, Germany is also Europe’s largest economy, and one of the world’s biggest exporters. In addition, the German-speaking countries have a tremendously rich cultural heritage: German and Austrian composers, philosophers, and authors have changed the way we think and live. German is an excellent language to learn in preparation for professional careers in international business or law, engineering, government and international affairs, economics and finance, and education, as well as for academic careers in such fields as history, religion, philosophy, art history, political science, literature, and music.
German Courses at Duke: Language and Culture
We offer German language courses for everyone, from beginners to experienced speakers. At all levels, we work closely with students to help them develop fluency in speaking, understanding, writing, and reading. Small class sizes allow for one-to-one tutoring and we emphasize active student participation, integration of language learning and cultural materials, as well as intensive use of computer programs and online resources.
Parallel to our language program, we offer a wide range of stimulating seminars designed to deepen your understanding of German society and culture. Topics include Fairy Tales from Grimms to Disney, The Legend of King Arthur, German Film, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud,Poetics of Murder, and Existentialist Cinema.
Indeed, our course offerings fulfill many of the modes of inquiry required by the Duke University curriculum: in addition to the foreign language requirement, many German Department courses engage the modes of cross-cultural inquiry, science, technology, and society, ethical inquiry, as well as the research and writing modes designed to foster critical and expressive skills.
Global Education: Duke in Berlin
Our popular Duke in Berlin program allows you to experience the drive and energy of Europe’s new cultural capital: many of our students rank our program as the most rewarding and formative in their student lives. You can go to Berlin for a single semester, an entire year, or during the summer. In collaboration with the Pratt School at Duke, we have also established a special spring/summer engineering track. Classes in Berlin are taught by Duke faculty members and carefully selected German professors and we can guarantee that seminars follow the content requirements, pedagogical methodologies, and grading standards of the Department of German. Indeed, Duke in Berlin courses count as normal Duke courses: students often make significant advance towards a minor or major in Berlin.
Learn German -- Study and Work in Germany: Fellowships and Internships
With its internationally connected universities and corporations, Germany offers numerous fellowships and internships for students. For example, Germany’s federal exchange service, the DAAD, sponsors more than 55,000 exchanges in higher education every year, and we are committed to assisting our students when applying to a range of programs. Recent majors and minors have also secured internships at companies and institutions such as the American Embassy (Berlin), the energy trading company AVU (North Rhine-Westphalia/Düsseldorf), the marketing research company H, T, P, Concept (Berlin) or become teaching fellows at the Schondorf boarding school (Bavaria).
German Outside the Classroom
German department life at Duke extends beyond the classroom. The student-run Duke German Club holds regular meetings and organizes film series. Students may apply to live in the German hall in the Language Dorm on West Campus. Guest speaker presentations provide additional exposure to German culture. A recent example of extracurricular activities includes a semester long series of events to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Thanks to a generous grant from the German Embassy in Washington DC, the department brought German politicians to campus as well as organized a gala event.