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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.

If you still need to take the placement exam, would like to discuss results, need to validate your placement results, or have general questions about studying German, please come to the department to meet the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Kresge 3-317 on Monday, September 24 from 9:30 to 11:30 am. If you are uncertain whether you should study German or want to know more about the German department, we strongly encourage you to visit The Academic Directions Fair will take place on Monday, September 24 from 1:30-4:00 pm in Norris University Center in the Louis Room on the second floor.

WCAS Language Requirement

In order to fulfill the WCAS Language Requirement in German, you will need to have scored at least a 5 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 or only one year, you can sign up for German 101-1, the first quarter of Beginning German. Use the following table as a guideline to determine whether you should take the German Placement Exam  or which course you should take:

Score

Placement

If you have  a score 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 such as German 221 or German 245. Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies with questions.

If you have a score of 4 on the Advanced German Placement Examination (AP Exam):

You will need to take the online German Placement Exam to determine how many courses you will need to satisfy the German Proficiency Requirement. Most like, you will need only one more course (for example 205 Focus Writing, or 221-3 Introduction to German Literature or 102-3 given in the Spring Quarter only), but please check your placement test results before signing up for courses.  

If you have a score of 1, 2 or 3 on the Advanced German Placement Examination (AP Exam):

You will need to take the online German Placement Exam to determine how many courses you will need to satisfy the German Proficiency Requirement. Please check your placement test results before signing up for courses.

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 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 online 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, 2018. 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 in 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, travelers, 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.

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