Placement in a specific level is determined by language proficiency. All students, except for complete beginners, take a language assessment prior to the start of the program. The language assessment is not part of the application process.
Explore our course catalog to see the courses offered in past years.
Level 1: Elementary German
This level is designed for students who have had no previous experience with German. By the end of the summer, students will be able to employ all four modalities to communicate in German about simple topics, such as information about one’s self and others, activities and events, occupations and pastimes, and the world around us. They will learn to interact in routine and familiar situations of everyday life and narrate events in present and past tenses. During the summer, students will learn to recognize and correctly employ the foundational structures of German grammar and will establish a basic vocabulary relating to the aforementioned topics. Special emphasis will also be placed upon developing students’ reading comprehension skills through exposure to a wide variety of textual genres from different disciplines. Finally, by making comparisons to current contemporary life and society of the German-speaking world, they will begin to develop intercultural literacy and an enhanced global awareness. Upon completion, students can generally expect to achieve a solid A2 or ‘threshold’ B1 level.
Level 1.5: Early Intermediate German
This level is designed for students who have had a limited amount of previous experience with German and who are seeking a thorough review of the language’s basics, as well as an introduction to new linguistic themes. Students will be able to solidify previously learned structures and expand their repertoire so that they feel comfortable carrying on conversations on a variety of everyday topics. Moreover, they will develop their abilities to summarize short texts, give opinions, provide detailed information and explain everyday problems in German. Multiple literacies, most prominently: intercultural and cross-cultural literacy, receive continued special attention. Upon completion, they may expect to achieve a level of B1 depending upon previous experience with the language.
Level 2: Intermediate German
This level is intended for students who have mastered basic grammar structures, can communicate about familiar matters related to every day life and are able to produce simple paragraph-length written texts related to personal topics. The goal of this level is to foster independent language use and language awareness among students. They will be expected to read and comprehend the main ideas of a wide range of authentic text genres, to produce writing on a range of cultural and literary topics, and to effectively speak with a degree of fluency and spontaneity. Upon completion, they should be able and comfortable to express opinions, explain viewpoints and arguments, describe complex experiences and events, and speak about abstract or hypothetical topics, and they will engage in critical intercultural comparisons and reflection. It is expected that students of Level 2 reach the B1+/ threshold B2 level by the end of the summer.
Level 3: Advanced German I
This level aims to develop students’ ability to use multiple registers and formal (public) discourse skills in all four modalities of language use. These skills are characterized by coherence, effective argument strategies, social and cross-cultural competence and advanced language awareness. Students will be asked to engage with a wide range of demanding, longer texts from various contexts and recognize implicit meaning. They are expected to be able to express ideas, opinions and arguments with increasing ease and fluency. At this level, students will learn to write clear, well-structured, detailed essays on complex literary and cultural topics that also show them to be culturally sophisticated thinkers. Upon completion, students should be at a solid B2 level and able to effectively use German for social, academic and professional purposes.
Level 4: Advanced German II
Level 4 aims to develop proficient language intended for professional and academic purposes, leading to B2+/ C1-level proficiency in all four modalities. Students should be able to express themselves in German fluently and spontaneously, using idiomatic phrases and colloquialisms. They will continue to develop a broad lexical repertoire and hone stylistic discourse skills that allow them to produce clear, well-structured and sophisticated speech and writing on complex political, social and cultural topics relating to contemporary German speaking societies and their place in the world. Students will also learn to employ organizational patterns, linguistic connectors and cohesive devices in their writing and speaking.