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German Studies

The best way to learn a language is to talk frequently with others. At Augustana, you’ll reach your goal of communicating fluently by learning and practicing alongside and face-to-face with others in small classes. In other German studies courses, you’ll focus on literature, film, politics or business.

Your professor will lead discussions on cultural and current issues in German-speaking countries, and will talk with you one-on-one about you and your ideas and future plans.

The flexible German major/minor is designed to partner well with other majors, and many students double-major. Augustana also offers a major for teaching German, for teaching in the secondary schools. (See also the minor in linguistics.)

The study of German stands out on any application, no matter which career or graduate degree you seek. German is second only to English as “the most commonly used scientific language,” according to the Goethe Institute.

What you'll learn

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence

Understand real and imaginary similarities and differences. Use more than one perspective to view issues.

Communication competence

Communication competence

Read and listen carefully. Express ideas (writing or speaking) suited to the audience.

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Ethical citizenship

Ethical citizenship

Examine and embrace your strengths, passions and values. Develop ethical convictions and act on them.


• German language and culture classes are small, which allows students to work closely with faculty and take advantage of faculty connections.

• To boost language proficiency and cultural understanding, German majors and minors are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Many use their $2,000 Augie Choice funding towards travel. Augustana also offers Passport Grants and Freistat Center grants for language and cultural study abroad, and advisors help students find the funding sources they need.

• Augustana has offered study abroad in Germany for more than 40 years. Examples include a semester or year at the University of Regensburg or the University of Passau — both picturesque cities in Bavaria; or a summer German language program at Catholic University in Eichstätt, also in Bavaria. Recent courses have taken students to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, including a physics, engineering and music learning community, and a 3.5-week January term (J-term) theatre course in Vienna.

• Augustana has an active campus culture, and welcomes more and more international students to campus each year. Among Augustana's many student groups is German Club, for getting together to converse in German and watch German-language films.

Recent grads

Jessica Hammond  ’20 Newberry is an operational training specialist for WPS Health Solutions in Madison, Wis.

Christine Rogers  ’20 teaches K-5 general music at Millikin Elementary in Geneseo, Ill.

Bethany Koch  ’19 is a human resources specialist at Foresight Financial Group, Inc., in Rockford, Ill.

Rashaun DeBord  ’17 is a business analyst at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Savi Jayawardana  '17 is a senior consultant, sales and marketing with Blue Sky Escapes in Singapore.

Tony TouVelle  '15 is a flight instructor for Revv Aviation.

Julia Meyer
More Than I Imagined Julia Meyer
“Dr. Ellis recommended that I go on a study abroad trip to Germany. It was a remarkable experience that not only resulted in the addition of a German minor but altered my life.”
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Rashaun DeBord
More Than I Imagined Rashaun DeBord
“One of my biggest achievements was interning at the German American Heritage Center where I created my first museum exhibit.”
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Jessica Hammond
More Than I Imagined Jessica Hammond
“Dr. Seidlitz in the German department always encouraged me to say yes to every opportunity. That encouragement helped me to study abroad twice, work a variety of jobs on campus, try new hobbies and fit in an internship, all in four years.”
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Annelisa Burns

Hasselmo winner to explore where religion, environmentalism intersect

A triple major in religion, English and German studies, Annelisa Burns '22 of Naperville, Ill., is the winner of the 2021 Hasselmo Award for Academic Pursuit.

Declaring an art education major

March is for choosing a major

Declaring a major is exciting. Why just sign a form?

Rashaun DeBord

Museum internship 'most rewarding thing'

Visitors to the German American Heritage Center in Davenport can see the curatorial work of Augustana senior Rashaun DeBord.