Majoring in German Studies


As a German studies major, you immerse yourself in all aspects of German history, culture, philosophy, politics and language. Because the department is small, you work closely with your professors and tailor the major to fit your interests. The study of a foreign culture is interdisciplinary; we encourage you to take related courses in other fields. We also encourage you to study in Germany or Austria for a semester or an entire academic year. Our program gives you a solid foundation for a number of careers. Recently, German studies majors have had tremendous success securing Fulbright scholarships. In the past two years, seven have been chosen for the program, which allows you to study, teach and launch a project of your choosing in Germany.

Research opportunities

German studies majors can undertake research projects either through one of our certificate programs in international studies, community action, environmental studies, or arts and technology, or through a two-semester honors thesis. Students have written on a broad spectrum of topics ranging from soccer and national identity in Germany to multilingualism and the successful multilingual polity of Switzerland.

International opportunities and study abroad

We participate in an exchange that allows you to study for a year or a semester in Baden-Württemberg. The exchange also helps you find an internship. Summer study abroad is another option, with funds available through the department's John S. King Scholarship. You have many opportunities on campus to practice your language skills with native speakers (including daily lunch conversation at the Knowlton international residence hall) and learn about life in Germany. The department also sponsors academic lectures, film screenings, readings and cultural events, including an annual Oktoberfest.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in German Studies?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • Communications Officer, European Service Network
  • Assistant to Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
  • Lead Technical Specialist, Google Inc.
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, Generations Inc.
  • Director of International Programs, Gardner-Webb University
  • Teacher of ESL, European Service Network
  • Assistant Director for Chinese Language Initiatives, The Asia Society
  • Health Specialist, World Bank
  • Owner/ Managing Partner, B Ward International Books LLC
  • Account Executive for Emerging Markets, Cline Davis & Mann
  • Financial Analyst, CB Richard Ellis New England
  • Language Consultant, Cartus
  • Country Manager for Switzerland, Bluecom Denmark A/S
  • Senior Research Coordinator, Greenwich Associates
  • Associate Director of Admissions, Simmons College
  • Editor, Open Jaw Network Ltd.
  • Executive Director, National Border Patrol Council
  • German Teacher, Lawrence Township Schools
  • Program Director, National Science Foundation


Geoffrey Atherton, Associate Professor of German Studies, Chair of the German Department Geoffrey Atherton, Associate Professor of German Studies, Chair of the German Department

Geoffrey Atherton, Associate Professor of German Studies, Chair of the German Department
Literature and culture of 18th century Germany • Modernism • City of Berlin and memory

Suzuko Knott, Assistant Professor of German Suzuko Knott, Assistant Professor of German

Suzuko Knott, Assistant Professor of German
Contemporary German language and literature • Film and media studies • Gender and women's studies

Karolin Machtans, Assistant Professor of German Studies Karolin Machtans, Assistant Professor of German Studies

Karolin Machtans, Assistant Professor of German Studies  (On sabbatical Spring 2015)
20th and 21st century German literature and film, with a special focus on post-1945 German history and culture, minorities and transnationalism • Representations of the Holocaust • Gender studies • Memory studies • Translation studies • Interdisciplinary approaches to environmentalism and urban space

Student profile

Lushan Zhang Lushan Zhang

German studies

Q: Why Connecticut College?
A: I chose Conn because it just felt so right. I liked the size of the school and the location. My professors are willing to give personal attention to individual students. Conn also has a great environment for international students.

Q: What drew you to German studies?
A: First of all, I enjoy learning languages. I speak Chinese, English and a bit of Japanese. German is just a beautiful language to learn. Secondly, I like the department. I like the professors and the activities. I took German history and EU politics in my second year, and my studies came together. It was like a puzzle. Each piece linked to the other.

Q: What role has CELS, the College's career development and internship program, played for you?
A: The best part of CELS is that they lead me to ask questions about my interests and my future. Then they provide resources I can use to look for an answer, instead of giving out answers. They point out a way – not a way to a settled future, but rather a way to think about my career and plans.

Selected courses

  • Freud and Nietzsche: Introduction to Literary Analysis
  • Germany in Transit: Transnational Writers and Filmmakers
  • After the Wall: German Literature and Film
  • Imagining "Amerika"
  • Intermediate German
  • Trees, Rivers, and People: Environmental Consciousness in Germany
  • Radicals, Terrorists, Pacifists in Germany after 1945
  • War, Holocaust and Memory
  • Berlin


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