German Studies

We embrace an inclusive model of German Studies that integrates the study of language, literature, culture, and society at all levels. We offer an undergraduate major and minor, as well as graduate study culminating in an MA or a PhD.

Building on a tradition reaching back over 50 years, the German program has distinguished itself with its responsiveness to the changing face of German Studies in the US. The MSU German faculty is nationally recognized for contributions in the fields of literary, cultural, linguistic, and pedagogical scholarship. In 2013, our program was recognized as an AATG German Center of Excellence for its innovative approach to undergraduate and graduate curricula.

We offer

Interdisciplinary Connections

German majors pursue study abroad opportunities and often combine their studies in German with other disciplines across campus, including International Relations, STEM, English, Music, Art, Social Sciences, and Business, among others.

Ground-Breaking Research

German faculty and graduate students work on various topics of contemporary relevance, such as integration politics, co-curricular learning like education abroad, critical theory, gender and memory culture in contemporary literature, film, and graphic novels. 

Job Placement

German majors have gone on to international careers or work for German-American companies. Our MA & PhD graduates find jobs as K-12 teachers, college professors, and language program directors across the country.

Degree Areas in German STudies

The German major develops global competence, language proficiency, and a deep understanding of the language and culture of German-speaking communities around the world. We provide students with tools to work across disciplines. Classroom learning in a variety of delivery formats is supplemented with outreach, service learning, internships, and education abroad.

The minor in German is an ideal choice for students with limited flexibility in their major course of study.  German minors can still participate in co-curricular activities like internships, education abroad, outreach and service-learning and have access to all courses that majors take. When combined with the Mayen summer program, students often complete the minor in record time.


Our recently reconfigured German Studies PhD allows students to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary work across the humanities. We train graduate students for a variety of careers within and beyond the academy by integrating language and culture study and by teaching graduate students to work with digital technologies that have transformed the production, dissemination, and analysis of language and cultural knowledge. 


Our MA program provides a solid foundation for further advanced graduate studies. It is also well suited for those teaching in the K-12 system as part of their continuing education. Outreach and co-curricular aspects of the program often lead to opportunities in both academic or professional contexts. MA students may choose between a comprehensive exam, thesis, or project to complete their degree requirements.

program features



German Studies for the Digital Age: Our up-to-date curriculum integrates the study of language, culture, and society.

Faculty and graduate students investigate contemporary issues and use innovative methods in their scholarship. 

Opportunities for research, internships, and education abroad keep students’ knowledge of German and German-speaking communities current.



We offer face-to-face and online courses as well as summer classes, so that undergraduates can more easily combine German with their other majors.

We offer year, semester, and summer study abroad choices to fit students’ schedules and budget.

We prepare our graduates for multiple career pathways, and offer flexible curricula based on student interests.



Most of our faculty members have joint appointments in other programs at MSU and conduct transdisciplinary research and teaching.

The Graphic Narratives Network, Language Learner Corpus projects, and faculty appointments in Digital Humanities and Global Studies offer students the opportunity to venture into new arenas and collaborate across ranks.

Study Abroad Programs

Michigan State University sponsors three distinctive study abroad programs and one internship for undergraduates who have completed four or five semesters of college-level German (or the equivalent). Highlights of each program are listed below; visit the indicated program links and click each program’s headline for further details. Which one is right for you?

Academic year in freiburg (full year)

This program for MSU students at the Universität Freiburg combines advanced language instruction, specially tailored program courses, and regular University of Freiburg courses. 


This program is a six-week summer course led by an MSU faculty member and graduate student assistant. Focusing on language training and cultural immersion, students live with host families and go on local excursions. Program concludes with a week-long trip from Mayen to Berlin.


This program at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität is for students interested in German language, literature, and culture. Students take a combination of regular university courses and courses geared specifically toward international students.