German Area Studies


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With a focus on cultivating future leaders who possess an awareness and appreciation of cultural differences and the ability to negotiate those differences in productive ways, the German Area Studies Program trains learners to reflect on the world and themselves through the lens of another language and culture.

Students who study German develop functional language abilities, critical language awareness, interpretation and translation, historical and political consciousness, social sensibiity and aesthetic perception.

The program offers both a disciplinary and interdisciplinary minor. Students who are interested in studying German primarily may choose to design an individual major in German Area Studies.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in German Area Studies or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

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Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 6 courses

The interdisciplinary minor in German Area Studies is made up of six courses: three required courses and three electives. The required courses would originate from the German curriculum. Students choosing an interdisciplinary minor in German area studies must take at least two semesters of German language beyond GERM 102; GERM 102 and 202, or its equivalent. Moreover, students are required to take GERM 301, Introduction to German Area Studies I. Beyond these courses, students are expected to take three electives. Two of the three electives must address one of the topic areas (cultural legacies, historical heritages, and intellectual traditions); the third should examine one of the other two topic areas. The electives should be chosen from the cross-listed courses. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.

disciplinary, 6 courses

The disciplinary minor in German Area Studies is comprised of six courses originating from the German curriculum. Students wishing to complete a disciplinary minor in German area studies must take two semesters of German language beyond GERM 102 or its equivalent, GERM 301, and three further courses in German literature and culture. One of these culture courses may be a GERE course (German culture taught in English), while the other culture course must be upper-level German course. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to immerse students in German language, literature and culture.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making German studies a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

GERM 101 Beginning German I


By infusing historical knowledge, cultural artifacts and social structures, this course enables students to develop intercultural understanding and communicative competence. Learn more about German history by enrolling in HIST 269 Modern Germany 1764-1996.

GERM 301 Intro to German Area Studies I


In addition to stimulating your ability to express your thoughts in spoken and written German, this course explores core issues such as canonical texts and figures, film, music, politics and pop-culture. Discover more about how European politics and culture and enroll in POL 245 Politics of New Europe.

GERE 104 German Cinema


This course will introduce students to all the major periods of German cinema and the historical contexts that gave rise to them: from expressionist film in the Weimar Era to the propaganda film of Hitler’s Third Reich, from postwar cinema to transnational and queer cinema of the 21st century.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.