German

Why Study German at the UofA?


German Header image

Our German program offers solid career opportunities, and we encourage our students to not only study abroad but also work and research abroad.  We partner with Cultural Vistas to help students secure internships abroad in their major fields.  The International Engineering Program allows students to earn both a BS in engineering and a BA in German in just five years, spending their fourth year abroad studying abroad and working at a German company.  It is one of only three programs of its type in the United States.  We offer internationally recognized proficiency certification to all majors as an official Goethe Institute testing center, which allows our students to prove their abilities to future employers and graduate programs. 

In addition to traditional courses on German language and literature, we teach innovative courses aligned with faculty research that allow students to explore individual topics in greater detail such as: the German Graphic Novel, Professional German, German Cinema, Migration and National Identity, and Germany and the Holocaust: The Significance of the Holocaust in Differentiated Contexts. 

Plus, German is easier than you think!  You are currently reading a Germanic language, English. Although it has many loan words from Romance languages, English shares many sentence structures and vocabulary with German. Try matching German and English in this quick quiz:

A.  I know your uncle.

B.  Anna is learning English.

C.  My sister has blond hair. 

D.  The book is long.

E.  That is an apple. 

1. Das Buch ist lang.

2. Meine Schwester hat blondes Haar.

3. Das ist ein Apfel.

4.  Ich kenne deinen Onkel.

5.  Anna lernt Englisch.


 A=4, B=5, C=2, D=1, E=3.

 

kathleen condray

Kathleen Condray - Associate Professor of German

 

jennifer hoyer

Jennifer Hoyer - Section Head of the German Program

 

brett sterling

Brett Sterling - Assistant Professor of German

 

german tas and instructors

Meet our German instructors and TAs in our departmental directory.

How is German Important Today?

German is the most widely spoken language in Europe, and Germany has a long history as a high tech center that continues today.  The nation is a leader in multiple fields of business and STEM, such as the automotive, biotechnology, alternative energy, pharmaceuticals, and computer science sectors, and the German economy drives the European Union

German additionally gives you access to the rich, world-renowned cultural achievements of the German-speaking countries—contributions by names such as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Klimt, Goethe, Kafka, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud are among those you might recognize.  German Americans are the largest heritage group in the US. Kindergarten, Christmas trees, and Levi jeans were all introduced by German-Americans.

UNIQUE ASPECTS OF OUR GERMAN PROGRAM

 

The International Engineering Program (IEP) gives students the opportunity to earn two degrees in five years—a BS in engineering and a BA in German. It is open to students in all fields of engineering. Students spend their fourth year studying abroad for a semester at the Technische Universität Darmstadt (Technical University of Darmstadt) followed by a paid internship with a German company. Interested students should review this page on the College of Engineering website for more information and application instructions.  


goethe-institut-logo

Language Proficiency Certification

The Goethe Institut Exams are part of the European Union's Common Framework of Reference for Languages. The administration of the exams is supported by the German government in over 130 countries around the world and offers concrete proof of proficiency to future employers and graduate schools.  As one of the largest testing sites in the entire southern region, our German program is able to offer students the B1, B2, and C1 exams; the B1 exam is the exam required by the German government for citizenship.  Exams are held each year on a Saturday in the spring, usually April.

German Honors Society

National German Honors Society

The Arkansas Iota Xi chapter of the National German Honors Society, Delta Phi Alpha, was established in 1983.  We have held an annual initiation every year since, and our membership now includes over 500 members, making us one of the most active chapters in the country.  Students must have an overall B- average, a B+ average in German, be of sophomore standing or above, and have taken at least one junior level class.   

Additional Major for Other Colleges

Students who are studying in the Walton College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Education and Health Professions, the Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences, and the Jones School of Architecture have another option available known as the additional major (AMGERM). It allows students to add German as an additional major by completing the 24 hours of upper level coursework (3000-5000 level classes) without having to take the other major requirements for the traditional major.  So, for example, this makes it easy for students to double major in German and business, German and engineering, German and hospitality, etc. 

Courses in Our German Program

Each semester, the German section offers Elementary German I (GERM 1003), Elementary German II (GERM 1013), Intermediate German I (GERM 2003), and Intermediate German II (GERM 2013). We additionally offer advanced classes for students pursuing a German major or minor. The complete list of course offerings can be found in the course catalog.

(Taught by Dr. Condray; Ms. Devich) This is a course every student who is thinking about studying, working, or researching abroad should take before he/she goes. The course will cover how to navigate everyday German life, with chapters on asking directions, the post office, banks, hotels, the workplace, the university, the doctor’s office, cultural events, the weather, shopping (clothing, food), and apartment hunting. Students take quizzes on vocabulary appropriate to the chapter and roll-play situations such as ordering from a menu or opening a bank account. Additionally, periodic conversations on Blackboard allow students to engage in debates virtually. In an oral mid-term and final, students read a text to show familiarity with pronunciation, roll play situations discussed in class, and discuss themselves and their home country in short speeches. The course counts towards the major and the minor. Especially motivated students can take this course concurrently with GERM 2013 with permission and an override from Dr. Condray (condray@uark.edu).
MWF 9:40 AM - 10:30 AM (Condray) and 12:55 PM - 1:45 PM (Devich) 
(Taught by Dr. Sterling) The goal of Advanced German II is to provide students with an organized, thematic review of complex elements of German grammar, from passive voice to indirect discourse. Coursework and homework include regular review of grammar topics, lecture on grammar (in German), reading, vocabulary building; and integrating advanced grammar into writing and speaking. Assignments include homework, tests, short writing assignments, and oral proficiency practice. We will also tackle questions of usage (modal particles, adverbs, word order, distinctions in meaning). At the end of this course, you will know German grammar inside and out AND know how to talk about grammar an important skill for the student of a foreign language. This course seeks also to prepare students for Goethe Institute examinations, internationally accredited German-language certification tests. Students are required to purchase one text (the same text used in German 3003) and also to have a good paper dictionary (i.e. not online) that they can bring to class. This course counts toward both the major and the minor in German.
MWF 10:45 AM - 11:35 AM 
(Taught by Dr. Hoyer) German films are awesome. They are fantastic for learning language, and fantastic for learning the history and grammar of cinema. Film is also a great way to learn about German culture. In this course, we will study German film vocabulary as well as general German vocabulary, while we enjoy some of the most important and well-known German films of all time. The goals are that students will be able to talk with native German speakers about films they know, as a cultural bridge, and will learn to read film critically. We’ll begin with classics of Weimar Republic cinema, move through film noir, cult classics, children’s films, New Wave cinema of the 1970s, and comedy of the new millennium. Some reading, frequent writing and discussion, and creative project.
Thursdays 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM 
(Taught by Dr. Sterling) What happens in the space between words? How do we wrap our minds around images that can’t be seen? Just what exactly do nightingales, panthers, and sailor-luring river spirits have to do with anything? These questions and more will be at the heart of this semester-long exploration of German Poetry from the High Middle Ages to the 20th century. As we proceed by theme and metaphor, we will discuss historical developments in form across major literary epochs: Medieval, Baroque, Enlightenment/Classicism, Romanticism, Early 20th Century (Modernism), 2nd World War, Holocaust, Cold War. We will compare poems from different time periods to reveal changes in the way society viewed a particular theme (Do flowers represent love, death, yearning, or the search for the mysteries of the universe?). You will become familiar not only with the seminal ideas that define poetry, but with the canonical texts that give us the most frequent references in poetic texts in most western cultures. This course will allow you to play with, pull apart, and dive into the German language, resulting in an incredible boost to your cultural and linguistic understanding.

Mondays, 4:10 PM - 6:40 PM. 
(Taught by Dr. Hoyer)Beginning with the legendary conflict between Rome and the Germanic tribes in 9AD, we will trace historical and cultural developments that consistently pit the “Roman” in the Holy Roman Empire against the “Germanic” in its emperors, all the way to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the beginning of the “Rheinbund” in 1806, and the first stirrings of a German nation-state. Students will have reading homework and questions to answer, periodic grammar homework, one major writing project and one presentation/film. We will discuss everything from war and borders to the development of languages (written and spoken), art, and philosophy, and a lot in between, including the emergence of science, commerce, Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations throughout history, and the development of political parties. Counts towards the major and the minor.
Tu/Th 9:30-10:45 
(Taught by Dr. Condray) This is the literature between the years 1720 1805, which is a period that spans radical swings in thinking about what literature is and what it should do: the Enlightenment, Storm and Stress, and Classicism. We will read the classics of the German literary canon including: Lessing’s Nathan der Weise (a brilliant Enlightenment play about tolerance that was the first play performed in Germany after the fall of the Third Reich), Wagner’s Die Kindermörderin (a tragedy about a child murderess and based on the contemporary problem of young unwed mothers murdering their newborns), and many works by Goethe and Schiller which trace their development from impetuous young men in the Storm und Stress period to their eventual more balanced stance in the Classical period. Goethe and Schiller are like the Shakespeare and Chaucer of German literature; let’s see what they have to offer. Counts towards the major and the minor. Advanced undergraduates may enroll in this course with the permission of Dr. Condray and a petition to the graduate school; while all students read the same texts, graduate and undergraduate students complete different assignments.
Wednesdays, 4:10 PM - 6:40 PM. 
(Taught by Dr. Condray; Dr. Sterling) Affectionately referred to as “German Boot Camp,” since this class will really help get your German into shape. In fact, this course and its companion course (Advanced German II) are designed to help you pass the Goethe Institute exams, which are internationally-given certification exams that you can list on your resume to prove your level of German proficiency to future employers and graduate schools. Students learn higher level vocabulary (the building block of language), how to distinguish between fine shades of meaning, how to write various kinds of texts, and both review grammar and learn new grammar that is used by educated native speakers (what you will encounter when you read newspapers, study abroad at European universities, etc.) This course also counts toward both the major and the minor.
(MWF 9:40-10:30; 11:50-12:40) 
(Taught by Dr. Hoyer) This is an introduction not only to important works of German literature, but also to strategies for how to read and analyze literature in German as a foreign language. We will begin with shorter texts in order to develop vocabulary and grammatical reading skills, and then read three longer works: “Biedermann und Die Brandstifter” (Frisch), “Die Verwandlung” (Kafka), and “Nathan der Weise” (Lessing). Assignments will include daily reading comprehension exercises and grammar work; there are 4 exams. Taught in German. Counts toward the minor and major.
MWF, 11:55-12:40 
(Taught by Dr. Sterling) A man driven insane by subsisting on a diet of only peas. A cat that comes to life and baffles a confused audience with his surreal attempts at heroism. Jealous lovers, palace intrigue, peasant uprisings, and war crimes tribunals. These fascinating topics and more can be found in the dynamic genre of German drama from the 18th century to present. In this course, we will discuss a range of works including comedies and tragedies; satires, social commentaries, and so-called “documentary” theater; and experimental works criticizing contemporary culture. You will be introduced to central concepts of dramatic theory beginning with Aristotle, and exposed to the work of key German-language dramatists like Lessing, Schiller, Kleist, Hauptmann, Brecht, and Jelinek. There are weekly reading quizzes covering basic plot items, a mid-term, and a final. Counts toward the major and minor. All course discussions and texts are in German.
Wednesdays 4:10-6:40 PM. 
(Taught by Dr. Condray) This course will investigate German migration and national identity from two perspectives: 1) from that of Germans living in other countries who are confronted with what it means to be German by examining the differences between their native and current cultures and 2) from that of groups living within Germany who consider themselves German, wholly or to some extent, yet are not immediately recognized as such by other Germans. We will begin by looking at Arkansas in the 19th century as German immigrants made their home here. We will read excerpts from the work of Friedrich Gerstäcker, a novelist who made his living as a fur trapper and trader in Wild West Arkansas during its territorial years and learn about Das Arkansas Echo, a German weekly newspaper published out of Little Rock from 1891-1932. Then, we will move on to works by Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, an Afro-German who chronicles surviving his childhood in Germany during the Third Reich and who eventually moved to America and became the head editor of Ebony; by Stefanie Zweig, who writes about how her Jewish family escaped the Third Reich by moving to a farm in Africa; by Jana Hensel, an East German who came of age just as the German Democratic Republic was disintegrating and knew West Germany only as a foreign and hostile country; by Fatih Akin, an award-winning director who explores Turkish / German relations in his films; and by Wladimir Kaminer, a best-selling German writer and immigrant who has published 24 books in 17 years, although he knew no German when he moved to Berlin from Russia in 1989. The course will incorporate traditional literary narrative, autobiography, film, and music. Counts towards the major and the minor; all course discussions and texts are in German.
Thursdays: 3:30-6:00. 
(Taught by Dr. Hoyer) In this course we will examine the literature and art of a very vibrant, dynamic, and chaotic time period in German literary history roughly corresponding to the 1880s to 1933. It has many different names and classifications that we tend to group together under the idea of the “Turn-of-the-Century,” synonymous with “end of an era” (fin-de-siècle). Massive political, social, and epistemological change creates a great deal of anxiety and chaos, but it is precisely in times of anxiety and chaos that we tend to see artistic and literary production blossom. This era is legendary for its multifaceted productivity. Alongside the writings of such ground-breaking authors and poets as Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Franz Kafka, Else Lasker-Schüler, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Thomas Mann, we will study the theoretical musings of Walter Benjamin, the music of Arnold Schönberg, the choreography of Modern Dance, and visual creations by artist Otto Dix, as well as filmmakers G.W. Pabst and Fritz Lang. We will explore the reasons why the art and literature of this epoch represent so much chaos, upheaval, and anxiety, and work to contextualize and didacticize these works and authors in order to understand the deep social, financial, and existential worries of the late 19th and early 20th century in German-speaking countries.
Mondays, 4:10-6:40. 

German M.A. Program

Graduate students pursuing the M.A. program World Languages with a concentration in German take a variety of courses in preparation for the comprehensive M.A. exam, e.g., the history and theory of literary genres, representative authors of the chief historical periods, and thematic approaches to literature such as Faust, the modern city, literature and film, or the Holocaust. In addition to the course offerings of the German program, students have options in pursuing individual interests in comparative literature, history, literary translation, art history, gender studies, or pedagogy. Students may also wish to take classes in Business German or become certified in community college teaching.

The M.A. program provides a solid preparation for students who intend to go on for the Ph.D., enabling them to compete successfully at highly prestigious schools. Its comprehensive curriculum also provides a sound base for career opportunities in education, government, and in a corporate environment.

A low student-faculty ratio allows our dedicated, professionally-active faculty to offer students support and mentoring. The German Club, the German film series, and the weekly Stammtisch add to the congenial atmosphere and cultural enrichment of the program.

The program requires either an oral interview or a tape of the candidate's spoken German. Teaching Assistantships are also available - find out more about being a TA here.

For more info on the German M.A. program, contact the graduate advisor and TA coordinator, Dr. Brett Sterling. If you're interested in applying, download the German MA Materials checklist for a quick list of everything you need.


Professional & Academic Opportunities for German Speakers

RISE is an excellent opportunity for students in biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering to work in paid summer positions in German doctoral laboratories.  A part of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, German Academic Exchange Service), this program is extremely competitive and open to students in all of North America and Great Britain.  U of A students have done very well in this competition.

The main factors in success are a high GPA and strong letters written by professors with whom the student has conducted laboratory research.  Students must be sophomores to apply.  Positions are available all over Germany and vary in length from six weeks to three months.  German is not required since the language of the labs is English, but since students live in cities in which not all citizens can or want to speak English, at least two semesters of German are recommended.  Students who have taken at least four semesters of German before participating in this program are eligible to earn three hours of conversation credit by Credit by Examination; see Dr. Condray for details.

Cultural Vistas offers internships in your field with German companies during the summer months; pay varies by field, and students can apply for stipends for un-paid internships. They also have options for semester and year-long internships as well.

The more German one knows, the higher the level of the placement.  For example, one logistics major with a good command of German just finished an internship at BMW, and another business major received an assignment in Berlin as a manager for on-line marketing in the American market.  Applications are due in December the summer before one wishes to go abroad.

For more information, please visit this page.

An opportunity to work with scholars and archivists at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

For more information, please visit this page.

This program is open to students of all majors and generally offers typical summer student jobs such as working in a department store, at the front desk of a hotel, or stocking groceries, although there are occasionally jobs in professional fields.  All positions are paid.  The deadline is typically the December before one wishes to work abroad.

For more information, please visit this page.

Three to four week seminars on specific topics such as 3D printing, a start-up crash course, renewable energy, architecture, and film.  There are hundreds of programs to choose from for all majors, and you can apply for stipends to help off-set the cost.

For a list of courses, please visit DAAD's website here.

In the fall of their senior year, students can apply to be teaching assistants for English in either Germany or Austria.  These are paid positions, and assistants generally work 10 to 12 hours a week teaching.  This is an excellent program and as such extremely competitive, but U of A students have done very well in this competition, receiving 19 Fulbrights  or their Austrian equivalents overall.

Read more about programs in Germany.

Read more about programs in Austria.

Fellowships available for those conducting research abroad in Germany.  Students should apply in the fall of their senior year and should contact Ms. DeDe Long (dslong@uark.edu) about their application.

Find more about these programs.

The Humboldt foundation offers a variety of fellowships for conducting research abroad.

Find out more about this fellowship.

Work in the German Bundestag.  Excellent language skills are a requirement, and politically active candidates have a better chance of success.

Find out more about this fellowship.


Recommended Study Abroad Programs

German students at the U of A have the opportunity to study, work, or research abroad for a summer, semester, or year.  The programs that we partner with are listed below, but we also often work with students who are interested in a particular city or field to make sure their credit transfers.  So, for example, one student studied piano in Freiburg, Germany and another art history in Vienna, Austria. 


Whether in one of the programs below or another, students should meet with the undergraduate advisor, Dr. Condray, before making plans to study abroad in order to discuss program aspects and transfer credit.

regensburg german students study abroad

Above: Students of German, Selina and Anthony, during their study abroad experience in Regensburg, Germany. Check out Anthony's blog or Selina's blog from The Study Abroad Office.

 

Direct Exchange Programs

Direct exchanges allow students to trade places with students at institutions abroad, thereby significantly reducing study abroad costs. Students take real university courses with native speakers and live in dormitories. The U of A offers three direct exchanges in German-speaking countries.

Graz is the direct exchange of the University of Arkansas, which means that students essentially pay no more to attend classes in Austria than on our home campus, since they are trading places with Austrian students. Graz is a beautiful mountain town with hiking and skiing that was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Students live in dormitories and receive special help from Austrian student partners who have either studied at the U of A or intend to. Any course taken in German above the B2 level is eligible for German major or minor credit; thus, one student was able to earn 20 hours of advanced German credit during a year’s study in Graz. Students take an intensive preparation class in German language before attending regular university classes alongside native speakers.

Visit the Hogs Abroad Graz Program page for application information.

Regensburg was initially built by the Romans, and parts of the Roman settlement are still standing today, as are medieval sections of the city, since it was largely untouched by the bombing during World War II. 

The program offers an intensive preparation class to help students prepare for the Zulassungsprüfung, or entrance exam; after passing this exam, students can take classes alongside native speakers.  Housing is in dorms, although students can request host families to visit with if they would like to get to know the people and culture better.

Visit the Hogs Abroad Regensburg Program page for application information.

In addition to housing the engineering university that Albert Einstein recommended to his nephew, Darmstadt is also home to the European Space Agency and over 30 other scientific institutions.

This exchange is part of the five-year International Engineering program that allows students to earn undergraduate degrees in both German and engineering. Students spend the fourth year in Germany. In the fall, they take engineering courses at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, which is one of the leading German technical universities in the T9 consortium. Then in the spring, students work in internships at German companies through Cultural Vistas.

Visit the Hogs Abroad Darmstadt Program page for application information.

 

Other Recommended Programs

kansas university programs 

Our German department has been sending students to Eutin (beginning level) and Holzkirchen (intermediate level) for decades; each program offers 9 hours of credit that always reliably transfer.  Included in the program costs are tuition, excursions throughout Germany, spending money, and room and board.  Students live with guest families in an immersion environment.  Eutin is a small city in northern Germany, and Holzkirchen is actually a suburb of Munich, so students can ride the subway into the city to see concerts and go to museums in the evening and on the weekends. 

taos die deutsche sommerschule

This is an immersion language school where only German is spoken in the ski valley of Taos, New Mexico.  Although located in the United States, many students make more progress here than abroad because of its intensive nature; it is ideal for students who cannot get abroad for whatever reason or for those studying abroad for a semester or year who want to polish their German before hand.  Students take the certification exams of the Goethe Institute at the conclusion of the program.

For more information, please visit this page.

 

German Outside the Classroom at the UofA 

stammtisch german conversation club

Stammtisch is a weekly conversation group held every Friday from 12:00-2:00 in the Arkansas Union. 

Because we believe it is very important for our students to have the opportunity to practice their language skills in an everyday, conversational setting, the faculty and staff commit to attending Stammtisch every week.  From native speakers to those who are learning German and just want to listen to some conversation, everyone is welcome.  This is a low-key environment—we’re just chatting, so there’s no stress involved.  Come and give it a try!  

students meeting up for stammtisch


german club activities

Above: Students of German enjoy an evening of cooking authentic German food, the German Club takes a field trip to Tulsa for Oktoberfest celebrations, and a moment from the Kindertag (Children's Day) performance at the Fayetteville Public Library.

Wanderlust und Gemütlichkeit:

The University of Arkansas German Club

The German Club on campus is an organization where university students may participate in and learn about German language and culture. Our mission is to provide access to and foster a love for German language and culture through campus and community-wide programs.

Regular events include Spielabend (playing card and board games in German), a sausage grilling party in the park, and a film festival.

 

 

Useful German Resources and Websites

  • Das Beste
  • Wenn Sie wenig Zeit haben, sollen Sie sich auf diesen Podcast konzentrieren. Er bietet eine Zusammenfassung der wichtigsten Nachrichten des Tages in knappen zehn Minuten. Von der Site: "Ein Best-Of aus den Sendungen der Bayern 2-radioWelt gibt es jeden Tag kurz vor Feierabend als Podcast."
  • Bayern 2: Sozusagen
  • „Bemerkungen zur (deutschen) Sprache.“
  • radioWissen
  • Alles, aber wirklich alles. Beispiele: Shakespeare, Florenz im Mittelalter, Mauern und Grenzen, Griechenland heute, die Stalinallee, jüdisches Leben in Regensburg, Willy Brandt, der Igel, Rapper/Gangster/Agitator, über die Freundschaft, Konrad Duden, u.s.w.
  • Klaro
  • Nachrichten fuer Kinder. (NICHT beleidigt sein! Die Kinder fassen die Themen kurz zusammen und laden Experten ein, die alles detailliert diskutieren.)