Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences • Northwestern University

Home • Information for Freshmen



Welcome to the Department of German. We are excited that you are interested in learning more about our department. Whether you are trying to fulfill the WCAS Language Requirement in German, or would like to continue studying German, we have the right courses for you. This page provides the most important information for Freshmen and links to other pages on our website that we think might help you decide which course(s) are right for you.


In order to fulfill the WCAS Language Requirement in German, you will need to have scored at least a 4 on the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in German. You can also fulfill the WCAS Language Requirement in German by taking courses: you will need to pass German 102-3 (the third quarter of Intermediate German) with a grade of C- or better. If you have never studied German before, you can sign up for German 101-1, the first quarter of Beginning German. Use the following table as a guideline to determine which course you should take:

If you hava a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced German Placement Examination (AP Exam): Congratulations! You have satisfied the WCAS Language Proficiency Requirement in German. To continue your studies in German, you may place yourself into a 200-level literature/culture class or 300-level language or literature/culture class (especially for those with an AP of 5). Please contact Franziska Lys or any other faculty member in German for advice on enrolling in German courses or for advice on choosing a German Major or Minor.
If you have a score of 3 on the Advanced German Placement Examination (AP Exam):

Great! You will only need one more course to satisfy the WCAS Language Proficiency Requirement in German. You may place yourself into one of the following four courses:

  1. 102-3 Intermediate German (only given in the Spring)
  2. 211 Introduction to German Film
  3. 221 Introduction to German Literature
  4. 205 Focus Writing
If you had just one year of High School German or less or never learned any German before:

You may place yourself into 101-1 Beginning German (Fall Quarter).

If you had German language instruction before, and do not fall into any of the categories described in the table above, you must take the German Placement Exam before you can sign up for any classes in the German department requiring German language skills.


The German Placement Exam will place a student in the appropriate German class from which he/she will begin work towards either fulfilling the German Language Requirement or to continue studying German for a German Major or Minor. The placement exam is given online and can be access from here: The German Placement Exam. You must take the online German Placement Exam before August 1, 2014. If you have questions regarding your placement, consult the section on language placement on our website or contact Franziska Lys.


Once you have fulfilled the Language Requirement in German, you are ready to sign up for a German Major or Minor. Both, the Major and the two Minors in German are open to all students at Northwestern. They are highly flexible programs designed to introduce you to the civilization of the German-speaking people and allow for a selection of various concentrations, among them Business Studies, Critical Thought, German-Jewish Studies, History, and Culture and Literature. This curriculum will give you a highly marketable background for a career in international law, international trade, or the foreign service, and should be of special interest to those pursuing an adjunct major in International Studies or Business Institutions. Please meet our Majors and Minors who graduated in June 2014. They all have fascinating career plans and are eager to step into the next phase of what promises to be an interesting and fulfilling life. Reading their short paragraphs will convince you how versatile a German major can be and how many career opportunites there are using your German skills.

For course requirements for the Major or three Minors, please consult the appropriate webpages:

1. Major in German
2. Minor in German
3. Minor in German Studies
4. Minor in Business German


Study Abroad is a valuable complement to language and culture studies. The Department of German works carefully with individual students to integrate a period of study in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland into their overall academic plans. Students have the opportunity to not only improve their language skills but also are able to live and interact with native German speakers and foreigners. Students typically return from their time abroad with a much firmer grasp of both written and spoken German. The varied contacts with other students, travellers, and local residents are invaluable for the development of a balanced, international perspective. Please consult the section on Study Abroad for more information. Those students with special interests and needs are welcome to investigate other programs and discuss them with John Paluch, the Study Abroad Advisor.


If you are undecided about a German Major or Minor, or even if you are already a declared German Major or Minor, you will have the opportunity to meet a German upper classman once a quarter for a meal in a local restaurant paid for by the department. These mentoring sessions are designed to give you insights into the program from the point of view of an upper classman: You will learn more about relevant German curricula, programs, undergraduate research, internships, and study abroad opportunities from students who have direct, recent personal experience with these issues. If you have any questions about this program or would like to meet an upper classman for a meal, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies Franziska Lys.


If you have questions, please contact us:

Peter Fenves, Chair, and Director, Graduate Studies (847-467-2966)
Franziska Lys, Director, Undergraduate Studies (847-491-8298)
Franziska Lys
, Adviser, Honor Students (847-467-8298)
John Paluch, Adviser, Study Abroad (847-491-8081)
Denise Meuser, Coordinator, 1st Year German (847-491-8292)
Martina Kerlova, Coordinator, 2nd Year German (847-491-3342)
Katrin Völkner, Coordinator, Business German Exams (847-491-3342)
Ingrid Zeller, Coordinator, Writing Center (847-491-8290)
Kathy Leoni, Departmental Assistant (847-491-7249)


Kresge Hall 2-375 • 1880 Campus Drive • Evanston, IL 60208-2203 • (847) 491-7249 • german@northwestern.edu

Wenberg College of Arts and Sciences

Northwestern University