German Studies program

Undergrad major Undergrad minor

Lernen Sie Deutsch! Learn to speak German.

German is the most-commonly spoken native language in the European Union. And Germany’s history, culture and knowledge has made its way West and around the world. Have you heard of Einstein's theories of relativity, Beethoven's 9th symphony or Gutenberg's printing press?

A German Studies major or minor is an exciting and practical complement to other fields of study. It increases your employment opportunities internationally, and even helps you understand Wisconsin’s German roots with more than 45% of Wisconsinites claiming German heritage!

Careers that use German

Students with a German studies major or minor find a variety of career paths. Some decide on a career in their major field of study such as business or science, and use German language skills to separate themselves from the pack. German is particularly marketable when applying for careers at businesses and government agencies with German connections. Others may pair their German skills with a teaching degree or other fields such as theatre, history, linguistics,  music, philosophy, political science and more.

What distinguishes UWL’s German Studies program?

Partnership with German university

A strong partnership with a university in Germany, Hochschule RheinMain in Wiesbaden, allows students to share some class conversations with German students and also practice language skills during online gatherings called Stammtisch.

Study abroad in Germany

For the cost of in-state tuition, students can travel to a German-speaking country for a summer, semester, or full year. There is no cap to the number of credits students can transfer back and count toward a German Studies major. UWL has partnerships with schools in Frankfurt and Oldenburg, Germany. 

German club

Students can celebrate German culture and traditions through German Club. This student-run organization is open to anyone regardless of major, minor or language experience. The club plans events, such as culture nights, trips to restaurants, information about German majors and minors, information about job opportunities, craft nights, baking nights, cooking nights, poetry, texts, songs, games and more.

Flexible program with one-on-one attention

The German Studies program has small class sizes, one-on-one advising with faculty, an opportunity to earn up to 15-retroactive credits for previous German study, and the ability to tailor your degree to meet your own needs.

Collaborative language program

German Studies is part of the collaborative language program with other UW campuses, meaning instructors teach both at UWL and at other UW System campuses including UW River Falls and UW Stevens Point. This way UWL students connect with students on other campuses and also learn from both UWL instructor Shelley Hay and an instructor from UW-Stevens Point, Thomas Leek.

Conversation with German speakers

Stammtisch is an opportunity for German speakers from UWL and the wider La Crosse community to connect downtown La Crosse for conversation or virtually. The group typically includes exchange students from Germany, as well as virtual visitors from other UW System schools and UWL’s partner school in Germany.

UWL German instructor is a dual citizen

Shelley Hay, UWL associate professor of German, is a citizen of both Germany and the U.S. She is fluent in German.

Conversation partners

In addition to offering Stammtisch, German students also have the opportunity to meet with fellow German students for 15-20 minutes once a week for conversation practice one-on-one.

Business concentration option

UWL's program offers the option of a German Studies Major with Business Concentration

Areas of study

German Studies

If you want to work in government or do business in Europe, German is the language to know.

Germany is an economic powerhouse. The German economy ranks No. 1 in Europe and No. 4 worldwide. Use your German language skills to take advantage of numerous connections between businesses in Germany and Wisconsin.

German is also a relatively easy language to learn for English speakers because of the Germanic roots of English.

Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for German Studies Catalogfor German Studies Learn more for German Studies

Business Concentration

With this business concentration, you’ll focus your German education on learning to communicate effectively in the business world.

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Business Catalogfor Business

Sample courses

GER 301 An Introduction to German Literature A beginning literature course designed to teach the student to read with depth and critical ability. Emphasis will be on German theatre, the short story, and poetry. Prerequisite: GER 202 or equivalent. Offered Fall - Even Numbered Years.

GER 320 German Civilization: 1870-Reunification A topical and contrastive approach to German culture and civilization. A study of the social and political organization of Germany from 1870 to reunification in 1989, based on an historical perspective with special emphasis on the forces which led to National Socialism and the division of Germany after World War II. Milestones in German cultural history prior to 1870 will be touched on briefly. Prerequisite: GER 202 or equivalent. Offered Occasionally.

GER 398 German Thinkers and Popular Culture A course that critically examines instances of popular culture such as Hollywood movies, reality TV, pop songs, social media sites, and bestselling novels through the lens of various philosophical traditions. Focusing predominantly on German thinkers from the 18th-20th centuries such as Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, and Benjamin, the course explores how their ideas can help a person today find deeper meaning in pop culture, as well as how pop culture might aid in understanding these thinkers' difficult theories. Taught in English. Offered Fall - Even Numbered Years.