The primary goal of the German Studies major at Whitman College is to enable students to understand, interpret and critique the language and culture of the German-speaking world. In order to achieve this goal, students' learning will target the following competencies:

  • Communication: Through explicit language instruction as well as the study of German-language cultural products, students will gain the linguistic skills needed to read, write and converse in German in a variety of contexts, attaining at least an "Advanced Mid Level" on the ACTFL proficiency scale. In addition, students will improve their communication, research and writing skills in English.
  • Culture: German Studies courses introduce students to the fundamentals of German-speaking cultures through the study of their literature, history and other cultural contexts. Successful German Studies majors will be open-minded, critical readers adept at analyzing, synthesizing and responding to a variety of cultural products.
  • Connections and Comparisons: Students will gain the conceptual skills necessary to navigate German-speaking cultures, to synthesize and analyze a variety of media and to engage in advanced research with both English and German-language materials. Participating in high-level research will foster connections and comparisons between the student's home culture and those of German-speaking communities. Ultimately these skills will allow students to analyze, synthesize and communicate their understanding of the culture, relying on sound evidence, critical thinking and clear communication skills in both German and English.