Courses

Prof Roche Observing Student With Laptop

All of the courses listed on this page count towards Notre Dame’s Global Engagement Certificate. For more information, visit the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures website

Our courses are designed to help students become fluent in the German language while simultaneously developing deep expertise in the culture and history of the German-speaking world. Faculty employ their areas of specialization and personal interests to create a course of study that ranges from medieval minnesang (a type of lyric and song-writing) to issues of multiculturalism and environmental change in contemporary Germany.

Each semester, the department also offers several courses in English that are open to students without any background in the department.

Courses offered every semester

GE 10101 – Beginning German I

An introduction to spoken and written German, as well as to the culture of the German-speaking world. Aims at the acquisition of basic structures, vocabulary, and sound systems. For students with no or little previous study of the language. 4 credits; meets 3 days a week.

GE 10102 – Beginning German II

Continuation of the introductory course to spoken and written German. Open to students who have completed GE 10101 or have placed into the course via online placement exam. 4 credits; meets 3 days a week.

GE 20201 – Intermediate German I

A course that develops the communicative abilities acquired in Beginning German I and II and provides a more in-depth introduction to the culture of the German-speaking world. Open to students who have completed GE 10102 or have placed into the course via online placement exam. 3 credits.

GE 20202 – Intermediate German II

A thematic class in which students work toward greater fluency, accuracy, and complexity of expression, while simultaneously gaining an appreciation for the role of German culture in the larger world. Serves as the first course that can be counted towards a major or minor in German. Course theme chosen by the instructor. Open to students who have completed GE 20201 or have placed into the course via online placement exam. 3 credits.

GE 30304 – German Literary and Cultural Tradition(s)

This course offers an overview of major developments in the literary and cultural history of the German-speaking world. The course explores significant figures and works of literature, the visual arts, music, and philosophy as well as their interrelationship and historical context. Students read, discuss, and analyze selected texts in German representing all genres, and become familiar with fundamental techniques of interpretation. Open to students who have completed GE 20202 or have placed into the course via online placement exam. 3 credits.

GE 30305 – Contemporary Germany: Society, Politics, and Culture

This course introduces students to the society, politics, and culture of contemporary Germany. The main focus is on Germany after 1989, but analysis extends back as far as 1945 and includes comparisons to other German-speaking countries as well as the United States. Topics include social values, government and media, as well as issues currently in the news. Students also develop interpretative skills by applying them to recent films and literary works. Open to students who have completed GE 20202 or have placed into the course via online placement exam. 3 credits.

Spring 2022 Courses taught in German

GE 20113 – German for the Business World (Denise Della Rossa)

In this course, students will develop written and oral communication skills useful for the German business world. They will become acquainted with various aspects of German business culture and will examine key cultural differences in business practices. The course will include readings and discussions on Germany's role as a global and EU business player. 3 credits. Open to students who have completed either GE 20201, or with permission of instructor.

GE 43203 – Challenges to Self, Society, and the Sacred: German Prose Masterpieces (Mark Roche)

German literature, which is deeply interwoven with philosophy and religion, offers abundant challenges to our understanding of self, society, and the sacred. We will discuss four works across a range of prose genres and styles. We will start with either Hölderlin’s novel of despair and reconciliation, Hyperion, which is both lyrical and philosophical, or Heine’s brilliant and witty essay Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland. We will then continue with Büchner’s absorbing novella fragment Lenz; Storm’s dramatically compelling frame narrative Der Schimmelreiter; and Fontane’s Effi Briest, a beautiful novel of character that indirectly confronts the social norms of late nineteenth-century Prussia. Besides focusing on literary styles, we will engage such themes as identity crises, social critique, historical change, and challenges to God. 3 credits. Open to students who have completed either GE 30304 or GE 30305, or with permission of instructor. Counts for WKLC and WKLI.

Spring 2022 Courses taught in English

GE 30112 – Germany and the Environment (Tobias Boes)

In this course, we will examine the roles that culture and history play in shaping human attitudes towards the environment, taking Germany as our example. Our case studies will range over two centuries, from damming projects in the Rhine valley at the start of the nineteenth century to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster at the end of the twentieth. We will examine novels, films, and philosophical essays alongside works by leading environmental historians. Over the course of the semester, students will develop a richer understanding of German environmentalism that also includes an awareness of its dark sides, such as the role that nature conservancy played within Nazi ideology. 3 credits. Counts for WKLI.

GE 33205/EURO 33205* – Europe Responds to the Refugee Crisis: The Case of Germany (William Collins Donahue)

This course provides an opportunity for students to explore various aspects of German and European policies toward refugees and immigrants. It includes a one-week trip to Berlin prior to the start of the semester. In Berlin, the group will meet with federal, state and local governmental officials, civil society groups, and representatives of international organizations. The issues to be explored include: Germany's and the EU's policies toward asylum-seekers, divergence of practice within the EU, policies to integrate refugees and migrants into German society, and the political and financial impact of these policies. The on-site Berlin seminar is designed to assess the efficacy of current policies, and identify best policy practices going forward. Includes two pre-departure sessions and follow-up sessions during the first half of the semester, culminating in a poster exhibit to disseminate our findings. 3 credits. Counts for MESE. *This course is fully enrolled for Spring 2022 via application due Nov. 1. Please look for future iterations of this course!