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German Studies

Why study German?

Augustana College offers a major and minor in German Studies, as well as a major for teaching German.

Many students combine their German Studies major or minor with another of Augustana's nearly 90 majors and academic fields of study.

Courses teach a wide range of cultural topics, including German language, literature, film, politics, and business German.

Courses in the Department of German and Scandinavian are taught by three full-time faculty, all of whom are fluent speakers of German.

German language and culture classes are small, which allows students to work closely with faculty and discuss topics at length. Because of these close interactions, graduates of the program communicate fluently in German, both in speech and in writing, and have a strong grasp of German culture, including literaure, history, politics, and the arts.


All Augustana language department offices, most classrooms, and support facilities are found in Denkmann Memorial Hall, home to Augustana's modern foreign language departments.

The Tredway Library carries the weekly periodical Der Spiegel, and students can watch 24-hour ProSieben German TV across campus to improve their comprehension and add to their knowledge of world news.

Opportunities in Germany and on campus

For more than 40 years, Augustana College has offered study programs in Germany. German Studies majors are required to participate in a foreign study or internship experience in Germany, and all German students are encouraged to study overseas. Options include a four-week summer program at the Catholic University of Eichstätt, or a semester or year at the Universities of Eichstätt, Passau, or Regensburg, all medium-sized cities in picturesque Bavaria. A fall term program in "Lutherstadt" Wittenberg is also offered on a rotating basis.

The German program regularly hosts Kaffeestunde (German conversation table) and screenings through the college’s international film series. The college is also home to a chapter of Delta Phi Alpha, the German honorary society.

What students say

Daniel Lukens ’07, business (international business concentration) and economics:
"With the small class sizes, brilliant staff and engaging student body, I have been able to gain an appreciation of all aspects of German culture and become fluent in the language. Activities such as the German department’s presentation of George Büchner’s Woyzeck have given us opportunities to practice our German in front of live audiences, allowing us to be confident and successful participants in oversees programs.

"With the support of the caring and knowledgeable German Department, I was able to study abroad in Passau, Germany, for two terms and succeeded in acquiring an internship in Germany for a summer."

Bryan Schmid ’09, German and geography:
"The Augustana German Department is a fantastic little group of people. The size of the department lets you have unique experiences — the foreign exchange options, for example. Living in Europe for any extended period of time really opens your mind to the rest of the world. The experiences gained in Europe wouldn’t be possible without the professors."

Kristin Wolski ’07, German and music performance:
"When studying a foreign language, it is important to receive continuous correction in order to improve at a quick rate. Fortunately, German students at Augustana have the opportunity to receive such highly individualized instruction…. The German professors make themselves available outside of the classroom, so that the problems we encounter throughout the week can be addressed and solved. It was this unique opportunity that encouraged me to enroll in more German classes.

"Dr. Seidlitz holds office hours in the campus coffeehouse — a friendly, relaxed atmosphere that is easily accessible to all members of the student body. Our coffeehouse, Brew By The Slough, is also the location for weekly Stammtisch meetings. This is a designated time to freely converse in German with students and members of the community of different experiences of German language and culture. Through the instruction I received by Dr. Vivian and Dr. Seidlitz, I decided to study abroad for part of my last year at Augustana. Thanks to the preparation I received while at Augustana, I felt confident in my skills to experience the culture first hand.”