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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 have never studied German before or only for one year, you can sign up for German 101-1, the first quarter of Beginning German. 

If you had German language instruction or learned German at home, you must take the online German Placement Exam before you can sign up for any classes in the German department requiring German language skills.

You will be notified by email of your placement within 2-3 weeks of taking the placement test. 

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 will find the German Placement test here: Take Questionnaire and Language Test online

WCAS Language Requirement AND AP German or German IB exam

If you took the German AP Exam or you took the German  IB Exam (IB Language A Literature, IB Language A Literature & Language, IB Language B), you will need to take  online German Placement Exam regardless of your score.  The test will determine which class you should take and if you have passed the WCAS Language Requirement. You will find more information about AP Exams and IB Exams, go here.


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, schedule a zoom meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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 by scheduling a zoom meeting with the Study Abroad Advisor (Professor Rob Ryder).

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.

If you 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 schedule a zoom meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  She would be happy to meet with you.