With Germany among leading nations in the automobile, engineering, chemical, and renewable energy industries, learning German creates professional and personal pathways for students to explore in the US–where companies like Daimler, Siemens, and Bayer are leaders–and in the German-speaking world. German being the most widely spoken language in Europe (100 million native speakers and about 55 million second-language speakers), there is ample opportunity for students to apply and extend their studies, interests, and careers with German. From biotech in Munich or “Silicon Saxony” in Dresden, or finance in Zurich and Frankfurt, to cultural diversity in Berlin as a major center for design and fashion, German opens new doors in your world.

German Studies at MIT engages students in the study of language at the intersection of contemporary culture, film, literature and the history of German-speaking countries. Students acquire communication and cultural competencies that allow them to engage actively in the German-speaking world. Personal attention in small group classes create engaging and rewarding experiences for each student. German Studies subjects prepare students for the opportunity to study, work, and conduct research in German-speaking and other global environments, whether through MISTI programs (see MISTI-Germany, MIT-Germany, and MIT-Switzerland), or in a variety of future career options.

German Studies may be applied to the German major, minor, or Concentration. Learn more about requirements at the Academic Programs page. Advisors for these programs are below. Students uncertain what level of German language to take should refer to placement information. Information on transfer credit is available here.

German Concentration: Dagmar Jaeger
German Minor/Major: Per Urlaub
Global Languages German Studies group: Dagmar Jaeger | Emily Goodling | Mark Römisch

Fall 2024

21G.401/451 German I
21G.402/452 German II
21G.403 German III
21G.404 German IV
21G.412 Advanced German: Literature and Culture
21G.059 Paradigms of European Thought and Culture
17.561 European Politics

21G.059 Paradigms of European Thought: Where is Europe?

Europe is a bewildering puzzle of languages and cultures. Currently, close to 450 million people cohabitate in the 27 member nations of the European Union. We will initially explore the uniquely prosperous and peaceful era in Western Europe from the end of World War Two to the Fall of the Berlin Wall and discuss how reconciliation and cooperation between Germany and its former adversaries became the bedrock of European integration that ultimately led to the formation of the European Union, eastward expansion of liberal democracy, and a single currency. We will then ask why and how this seemingly successful model of supra-national cooperation is constantly destabilized by nationalist-populist ideologies that not only triggered Brexit and military aggression in Eastern Europe, but also obstructed effective unified continental responses to the sovereign debt crisis, the border crisis, the pandemic, and the climate emergency. Through the analysis and discussion of social, political, linguistic, and cultural discourses, students will gain a critical appreciation of the accomplishments, failures, and prospects of the continent. Taught in English.

IAP 2025

21G.401 German I
21G.408 German Conversation Practice: Online Immersion