Duke University German

The German Language Program

The German Language Program is an integrated, content-based sequence of courses designed to enable students to communicate effectively in German in a wide range of contexts, and to gain a deepening knowledge and understanding of the German-speaking cultures, their arts and letters, stories and histories. German language courses are committed to developing students' ability to create and interpret texts from multiple perspectives, and to reflect critically on the nature of language and culture. Students will enjoy a highly interactive, learner-centered approach that uses a wide array of authentic German media, including poetry, art, music, literature, news, magazines, film, video, and internet.


The German Language Program is committed to the following (broad) goals:

1. The development of students' ability to use the German language effectively in the interpretation, negotiation, and communication of meaning within German-speaking cultures in a range of personal and professional contexts.

2. The development of foreign cultural literacy and cross-cultural awareness. This includes an increasing knowledge and understanding of German history, culture and society, an awareness of the rich diversity within German-speaking communities, and a profound engagement with cultural difference.

3. The development of aesthetic and interpretive capacities through critical and creative engagement with cultural products, artifacts, and representations.

Pedagogical Practices:

Meeting these goals require 1) proficiency-oriented, interactive classroom practices which foster students' ability to perform specific tasks within specific contexts, 2) topic-oriented syllabi and use of authentic materials from a variety of sources and media, and 3) learner-centered, collaborative projects that foster critical thinking and independent learning.

At all levels of the program, from beginning to advanced, students are at all times focused on both language and content. Vocabulary and grammar are introduced and practiced in various communicative and interpretive contexts, and literature and culture are introduced from the very beginning of language instruction. Assignments in each course will include a wide range of activities, from intensive analysis of texts to extensive pleasure reading, from form-focussed practice to individual or collaborative projects, and from multi-media modules to real-life interviews and cultural events on campus and in the community.

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For questions about the German language program, please contact the director: 

Dr. Corinna Kahnke
Assistant Professor of the Practice Language Program Director
Old Chemistry 116D



Foreign Language Requirement

Foreign Language (FL)The foreign language requirement may be met in different ways, depending upon the level at which students begin the study of the language in question, but every graduate of Trinity College is expected to attain proficiency at least equivalent to that of the first intermediate course in that language.

If you begin your language study at Duke at the intermediate level or above, you can fulfill the language requirement by completing a 100-level course coded FL.

  • if you place into the first semester of the intermediate level, you will take three courses in the same language;
  • if you place into the second semester of the intermediate level, you will take two courses in the same language;
  • if you place into the 100-level, you will take one course.
  • If you begin your language study at Duke at the elementary level, you can fulfill the foreign language requirement in that language by completing three (3) courses coded FL.

See Academic Requirements

See Languages at Duke

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