Languages and Cultures

German Studies

Our German program combines linguistic competence with practical outcomes. Coursework on campus—or at our three study-abroad sites—hones effective writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills in German and English. Our innovative classes on topics like the ethics of Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Holocaust Studies, and Migration and Culture address the stakes of our times. Hallmarks of our German program are flexible opportunities to study abroad in Austria (Salzburg) and Germany (Berlin or Eichstätt) and one-on-one professional guidance from faculty on internships, scholarships, and honor society memberships. As a result, over 70 of our German majors and minors have been awarded Fulbright scholarships and our graduates work in a wide range of rewarding fields in the German-speaking world and in the U.S., including in the performing arts, science laboratories in Germany, education, and further graduate study.

Mission Statement

The German major prepares students to be linguistically competent and culturally knowledgeable global citizens. Through in-depth and multidisciplinary studies of literature, history, art, and popular culture, students develop insights into complex human experience from many times and places. Language proficiency opens doors to study, work, and service around the world, promoting a deeper understanding of self and others, and preparing students for careers in education, writing, business, medicine, law, and the arts world.

Learning Goals

Students in German are:

Versatile communicators who effectively engage in a multi-lingual world.
  • Students speak, listen, read, and write in the target language, understanding and communicating important ideas related to personal life, common social situations, and cultural artifacts and events.
  • Students speak, listen, read, and write in the target language with increasing sophistication, analyzing advanced texts (broadly defined) and addressing an expanded range of problems with global interest.
  • Students utilize their linguistic skills in the target language in a presentation of significant interdisciplinary research on a pressing question.
Conscientious global citizens who value and promote intercultural exchange.
  • Students examine how ideas and practices from different social and cultural contexts compare to their own experience and reflect on how this intercultural learning enhances their awareness of self and others. 
  • Students demonstrate understanding of the complexity of other cultures’ worldviews through sensitivity to the elements that inform it, such as history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, and other beliefs and practices.
  • Students effectively communicate insights about another people and culture in a presentation of significant interdisciplinary research on a pressing question.
Transformative leaders who translate introspection into action benefiting community.
  • Students reflect on the limits and strengths of their intellectual abilities and dispositions, effectiveness of their problem-solving processes, and efficiencies of their learning strategies.
  • Students articulate how study of other cultural worldviews has enriched their self-awareness of the rules, practices, and biases that shape their own cultural worldview. 
  • Students’ self-examination leads to purposeful action that contributes meaningfully to the community.

Study Abroad:

The German studies major and minor will be gradually discontinued beginning Fall 2023. Students who were enrolled at CSB and SJU prior to Fall 2023 will be able to continue in the major or minor and all appropriate opportunities will be available to them through Spring 2026. All students can continue to take courses in the German language sequence (111, 112 and 211).
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Ana Conboy
Chair, Languages and Cultures Department
CSB Richarda P16

Jennifer Schwichtenberg
Department Coordinator
CSB Richarda P38
SJU Quad 253A