The German department offers courses in the language, literatures, and cultures of German-speaking Europe. We study the cultural, social, and political lives of German-speaking communities in their historical and international context. We attract students beginning their study of German as well as those with more advanced skills. In addition to continually advancing their language skills in comprehending, reading, writing, and speaking German, students in our courses analyze texts, cultural objects, and practices. They become able to communicate the historical significance and transnational impact of the German-speaking world and to evaluate this impact on the United States and in a global context. From the first course they take in our department, students acquire critical, cultural and linguistic knowledge that gives them skills applicable beyond Bowdoin and in their future careers.
Bowdoin’s Department of German has consistently produced one of the largest number of Fulbright Fellows and winners of German and Austrian government fellowships. Graduates have excelled in graduate and law school - proving that in-depth knowledge of a foreign language is one of the most valuable assets and indicators for success - and gone on to distinguished careers: in secondary schools and universities, in business and finance, science, international relations, politics and environmental and health policy.
Our students’ success across many fields draws on the interdisciplinary connections we model in our varied and rich curriculum on campus, and which students are encouraged to create while studying abroad.
The German Department encourages all German majors to study in Germany or Austria. Study in a German-speaking country is the best way for students to become literate in the language and culture as well as gain a better understanding of their own.