German Program

German at VCU

German Language Program of the School of World Studies

Welcome to the German Program of the VCU School of World Studies! In the German Program students achieve a high understanding of contemporary German language and culture as well as the extensive and influential intellectual tradition of the German-speaking world. The small class sizes help students to better develop their speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills in order to further experience and study the diverse German cultures.

The German curriculum offers a rich array of courses in language skills, literature, and culture, allowing students to fully develop their skills in oral and written communication in German. German majors learn about cultural and political history, read masterpieces of German writing, view outstanding films of the last 100 years, gain insight into current social, political, and artistic developments in German-speaking countries, work with media such as television, the web, and contemporary music. Special emphasis is placed on investigating the place of German-speaking countries in the changing landscape of Europe and on understanding the effects of developments such as globalization, immigration, and environmental change. Students also have the opportunity to learn the language and practices of the German-speaking business community.

In today's global environment, the knowledge of other languages and cultures is an absolute necessity. Whatever your career plans might be, German is an excellent language to learn. German is the most widely spoken language in Europe today and is a vital language of commerce, industry, and research for the European Union and beyond. The German cultural heritage is uniquely rich, particularly in the areas of art, music, literature, and philosophy. A knowledge of German can be a key asset in a number of professions, including design, business, engineering, education, government and foreign service, international relations, technology, and scientific careers.

To earn a B.A. in Foreign Language with a concentration in German, students must meet the general education requirements of the College of Humanities and Sciences. The Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language requires the completion of 120 credits with at least 39 credits in the major and concentration. Thirty of the credits are earned in coursework conducted in German at the 300- and 400-levels. An additional nine credits of relevant coursework taught in English are a core requirement for all foreign language majors.   

A minor in German requires at least 18 credits in the chosen language, none of which may be earned at the 100 level. Only six credits of intermediate coursework (GRMN 201, 202 or 205) may count toward the minor. Students with previous knowledge of German take the placement test in order to determine the appropriate skill level prior to registration. If students test into the 300-level of German to begin their coursework here at VCU, then all 18 credits of the minor credits are to be earned at the 300- level or above.

Note: Language Placement Test results cannot substitute for completion of course work. Foreign language minors must take at least two upper-level courses at VCU in the chosen language area.

Students of German learn both in and outside of the classroom, and benefit from the extensive use of electronic resources to supplement classroom instruction. A faculty-led summer study abroad program in Vienna, Austria provides a valuable opportunity to deepen language skills and cultural knowledge. VCU German students also often study abroad for a semester or year. On campus, the School of World Studies and the German Club sponsor a wide range of extracurricular activities including a German-speaking Stammtisch, lectures, excursions, and parties. Classes are small, and instruction is personalized to meet the student’s individual needs.

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • The goal of the program is ultimately to both broaden students’ comparative intercultural perspectives and develop their cross-cultural communication abilities.
  • Students gain proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing in German.
  • Students also gain knowledge and a set of cognitive, affective and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction with the German-speaking world.

Contact Information

Jessica Lonnes

Advising Director
German Program Coordinator
School of World Studies
Franklin Street Gym
817 W. Franklin St., Suite 221
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2021
Phone: 804-827-1111