Loyola University Maryland

Modern Languages & Literatures

German Major

Language Learning opens doors. As the famous linguist and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein would have it, “The boundaries of my language determine the boundaries of my world” [Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt].

Learning German can connect students with 120 million native speakers around the globe. As the official language of Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein as well as Germany, the world’s largest exporter, German is the language with the largest number of native speakers in the European Union. It is the native language of a significant portion of the population in northern Italy, eastern Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, eastern France, and parts of Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia and Romania. It is the second-most commonly used scientific language and the most widely spoken language in Europe. Germany lies at the center of a European population of 300 million people, taking a decisive role in the political, economic, and educational dynamics of the continent.

Over the centuries, German art, literature, music, philosophy, religion, and research in the sciences have profoundly influenced the cultural traditions of other countries. The political events of Germany's past frequently affected the entire world. The increasingly dominant role in international affairs and the global economic environment played by a unified Germany will be of critical importance to all of us. The study of German culture and literature enables students to understand the spirit of Germany, to trace its roots in the past, to comprehend the crosscurrents in its thinking, and to experience the contributions of German poets, novelists, and authors.

Major and Minor

The department of Modern Languages & Literatures offers major and minor programs in German. The German program offers courses ranging from beginning language to advanced seminars on literature. Elementary German courses require no previous experience with language; students who complete those courses will have acquired a fundamental understanding of German language and culture. Intermediate courses enable students to review and further develop language skills within a cultural context.

The department offers an integrated approach to the study of language, literature, and culture. Our curriculum offers students the opportunity to explore German-speaking Europe’s extraordinarily rich cultural tradition, one that has thoroughly influenced many fields ranging from philosophy to music, theatre, art history, linguistics, history, psychology and sociology. Today, Germany is one of the leading countries in the European Union, and Germany, Austria and Switzerland are actively engaged with the exciting new heterogeneity of Europe.

First year students who wish to continue German after high school should do so in their first semester. It is also advisable to take the classes that satisfy the language requirement in a continuous sequence. Students who wish to begin German in college should start in their first semester so that they have the language proficiency to study abroad in their junior year. Students who arrive with language proficiency should consider taking additional courses so that they can graduate with a dual or double major or a German minor.

Study Abroad

The German program offers courses on campus and abroad in German language and culture, including literature, history, and film for both majors and non-majors. A pivotal component of German-language study at Loyola is study abroad. In keeping with a German tradition dating back to medieval times, German universities today have opened their doors to students from around the world, sharing their research in science and technology, their specialized training in the fine arts, and their rich archival collections in the humanities.

Loyola has a longstanding relationship with the University of Koblenz, where students can spend either a semester or an entire year. Students interested in studying in Germany during their junior year should meet with a member of the German section of the department of Modern Languages and Literatures by the fall of their sophomore year to discuss their options and plan their course of study abroad.

German Studies

German Studies is the interdisciplinary study of the contemporary cultural, social, economic and political life of the German-speaking peoples in their historical and international contexts. The German Studies Program offers both a major and a minor in German Studies.

In our changing global environment, communication is the key to understanding other peoples and cultures. Since the fall of the Wall and the establishment of the European Union as an economic and political power, the question of German identity has again come to the forefront. Its philosophical and literary foundations are crucial to an understanding of the country. German is the language of Gutenberg and Hertz, Fahrenheit and Einstein, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, of Luther, Goethe and Kafka, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Mahler. Studying German offers students access to a culture of scientists and innovators, philosophers and theologians, writers, artists and composers.

In today’s multicultural and global society, Germany is a major player in Europe and has a significant presence in the United States as well. These developments may well have an impact on the lives and careers of many. We invite you, therefore, to consider also a German Area Studies major or minor within the department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Catherine Savell

Catherine Savell

This member of the French faculty started a nonprofit to support children and young adults experiencing poverty in Haiti

Modern Languages & Literatures