First-Year Focus

Welcome to the Department of German

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.

WCAS Language Requirement

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 have  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 language class (AP 4) or a 200-level literature/culture class or 300-level language class (AP 5).  Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies with questions.

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. 205 Focus Writing
  3. 211 Introduction to German Film
  4. 221-3 Introduction to German Literature

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 or Winter 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

The online 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 Proficiency Requirement or to continue studying German for a German Major or Minor. You must take the online German Placement Exam before August 1, 2016. If you have questions regarding your placement, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Majoring or Minoring in German

Once you have fulfilled the Language Proficiency Requirement in German, you are ready to sign up for a German major or minor which are open to all students at Northwestern. Earning a major or minor in German will give you a highly marketable background for a variety of career options. Meet our recent graduates who are all eager to step into what promises to be an interesting and fulfilling career. Reading their short paragraphs will convince you how versatile a German major can be and how many career opportunities there are using your German skills. If you have questions, come to the department and meet the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Franziska Lys, on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 between 3pm and 5pm (Kresge Hall 3317). 

Studying Abroad

Study abroad is a valuable complement to language and culture studies in class. 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 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, global perspective. Those students with special interests and needs are welcome to investigate other programs and discuss them with our study abroad adviser.

Student Mentoring Program

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.