The Department of German Studies offers an integrated and holistic approach to the study of language, literature, and culture.

This approach embodies Vassar’s liberal arts principle of “going to the source” by engaging with primary documents and by exploring the fundamental debates and processes that have shaped German culture and its relationship to the contemporary world.

Die Worte des Dichters sind Taten.

—Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), östr. Psychiater u. Neurologe, Begr. d. Psychoanalyse

About the Department

Studying German has a long and impressive history at Vassar dating back to the college’s first year, 1865. Today, the Department of German Studies continues that tradition by offering an integrated approach to the study of language, literature, and culture. In particular, our courses offer intellectual engagement at all levels of the curriculum, from Beginning German to senior seminars featuring interdisciplinary approaches that go beyond grammar exercises and the study of literature.

Our majors graduate with the language, writing, intercultural, and critical thinking skills that help them find successful careers and lead an enriching life. Every year, several of our graduating seniors receive Fulbrights and other prestigious scholarships to teach English or pursue their own independent research projects in Germany. Many of our alumni use their knowledge of German in careers as varied as law, banking, the arts, publishing, and museum work, and a number of them have established successful careers in Germany. Several have also entered graduate programs in business, law, and medicine, as well as academic disciplines such as education, sociology, political science, and German studies.