German Studies is a research-centered and student-friendly department with a challenging curriculum taught by internationally renowned faculty.
The department covers the entire tradition of German culture, history, and politics within a European and global context, from early modern times to the present. Majors in German Studies excel intellectually, they are curious, independent thinkers, and open to the world.
Students of German Studies often have double or triple majors, which gives them an extra advantage over many of their peers and makes them particularly attractive to global employers and the top graduate schools.
The close connection between research and teaching lies at the heart of the department’s curriculum and enables students to develop original contributions at an early stage. Beyond a detailed and historically grounded understanding of German and European culture, students gain intellectual and social qualities that are highly valued in a global knowledge society: logical reasoning, critical thinking, linguistic skills, and cultural competence. German Studies majors often receive Fulbright Grants and continue at some of the best graduate schools in the U.S. and Europe.
The department provides study abroad options in Leipzig, Berlin, and Freiburg/Breisgau, including an intensive summer language course in Leipzig. Particular strengths of the department are in eighteenth- to twentieth-century literature and culture, modern intellectual history and political thought, philosophy, and film studies.
The department is well-known for its regular interdisciplinary and international conferences, covering topics such as Changing Perceptions of the Public Sphere (2005), Humanism and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century (2009), The Place of Politics in German Film (2010), Public Power, Private Spaces (2011), Citizenship and the Future of the Humanities (2012), and Nietzsche and the Ethics of Naturalism (2014). Faculty are involved in the History of Philosophy Workshop, funded by the Humanities Research Center, and the Rice Seminars. They have led research collaborations with the Universität Leipzig, Germany, the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, the University of Cambridge, England, and Rice's School of Architecture, among others.
Faculty have attracted major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Fulbright Commission, the British Academy, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and they have held prestigious fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center to the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin.