Why German?

German is the ticket to Europe. One of the three official languages of the European Union, German is spoken by more than 120 million people worldwide (around 95 million in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein). It is also one of the most widely used business languages in Eastern Europe (including Russia).

Germans are one of the most influential ethnic groups in the U.S.—30 percent of Americans have German ancestry. Among the many Americans of German descent are Dwight Eisenhower, Levi Strauss, Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Sandra Bullock, and many, many more.

German is the language of thinkers, poets, and musicians. Martin Luther and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt, Clara Schumann and Ludwig van Beethoven, Albrecht Dürer and Gertrud Kolmar all spoke German. Expressionism, Dadaism, and Bauhaus design originated in the German-speaking world, so did the Waltz . . . and Techno Music.

German opens the door to the world. Are you interested in languages and literature, political science, international politics and economics, business, philosophy, history, natural sciences, music, art, or environmental studies? Thinking about majoring in the international studies program? For each of these fields, familiarity with the German language and culture is an important asset. Over the years, a number of German majors have been valedictorians at Middlebury.

An interactive map of Germany.


German at Middlebury

The German Department provides its students with a thorough training in German language and culture, enabling them to interact freely and easily with German native speakers in all areas of linguistic competency. Students will acquire a fundamental understanding of the major cultural, social, and historical forces that have shaped German society, including significant developments in German literature, as well as the basic skills required for cultural and intercultural analysis.

The Department of German's interactive, communicative approach to language teaching provides an exciting multimedia classroom setting in which to absorb the culture of one of Europe's leading economic and political powers.

Goals for Graduates

Upon completion of a German major at Middlebury College students will be able to:

  • actively engage in conversations and discussions with native speakers of German, ranging in complexity from sophisticated everyday conversations to a basic familiarity with abstract intellectual discourse;
  • read and critically analyze authentic texts and materials from all areas of German Studies;
  • produce written documents of sufficient consistent and reasonable clarity to be readily intelligible to an educated outside reader;
  • upon the completion of the basic language sequence plus two 300- level courses (or equivalent), attend and complete successfully courses within the regular academic curriculum of Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (Mainz) or Freie Universität (Berlin) via the C. V. Starr-Middlebury School in Germany.