German Studies

The Undergraduate Program


We are dedicated to providing each student with a rich and valuable learning experience in every course and to fostering humanistic inquiry and students' critical thinking and analytical skills through the study of the language, literature, philosophy, visual art, music, film, popular culture, and cultural history of the German-speaking world.



A rich and diverse curriculum distinguishes the undergraduate program in German at UCI. Learning opportunities range German from beginning language classes to advanced study of sophisticated literary, cultural, and linguistic topics. Our undergraduate program, which includes a major and a minor in German Studies. Each member of our faculty is nationally and internationally known in her or his field of specialization, which includes German literature and culture in numerous periods and genres, as well as linguistics. We teach courses about many aspects of life in German-speaking countries throughout the centuries, as well as about their respective research areas. We pride ourselves on our small seminars and avid attention to the quality of each student’s education. Our students often remark that they got to know their professors in our courses better than in any other courses they have taken at UCI. For more information, see our complete list of recent and current courses.



The German language program at UCI is exciting and innovative in many ways. Our central goal is to help every student learn/acquire German for communication and sophisticated cultural knowledge. In each course we focus on listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, grammatical knowledge of German, and cultural literacy. The lower-division program is comprised of a six-course progression (1A-B-C, 2A-B-C). We teach students to meet practical communication needs in real-world interaction with German speakers, and to develop critical cultural knowledge and skills about life in the German-speaking countries. After six quarters of instruction, we envision our students being able to land in a German-speaking country interacting in German in an enjoyable, culturally appropriate, and most importantly, stress-free manner. We also aim for students to acquire intermediate-level reading and writing skills in German. German 1 and 2 also serve as the solid foundation for advanced study of German and study-abroad programs.

Our language courses are taught by trained graduate-student instructors under the supervision of the Language Program Director. Our instructors are advanced scholars of German literature and culture who bring their sophisticated expertise to the language classroom in a variety of ways. They receive consistently superlative teaching evaluations, and members of each teaching cohort regularly earns distinguished and competitive teaching awards. Each instructor strives to provide a stimulating and rich classroom environment in which language and culture learning is both challenging and enjoyable.

Our German courses are not only about talking in class or ‘just’ reading and writing texts. We integrate film, music, and many aspects of popular culture into our courses using a variety of digital media. Students make frequent and varied use of Internet resources, podcasts, as well as some authentic communication with native speakers through video and text-based chat, e-mail, blogs, and other forms of digital communication. Through these means we believe that students can engage in very real ways while still developing as future German-English bilinguals.



Students who have had no prior experience with German
may enter German 1A.

Students who have taken a German class at UCI
may enter the next level if they have passed the previous level with a grade of C or better. Students may enter the upper-division level if they have completed German 2C with a grade of C or better.

Students who have had any high school German

are recommended to take the online German placement test. Contact the German language program director, Mohammad Rafi, at, for instructions on taking the online German placement test, or go to the Humanities Instructional Resource Center (HIRC) in HH 269 during their opening hours (M-Th 8-6 and F 8-5; summer hours M-F 8-12) and request to take the German placement test. The test takes one hour to complete. Ultimate placement is at the discretion of the German Language Program Director or the instructor.

Students who have taken courses in German at another college or university

who wish to enroll in a German course must take a copy of their college transcripts to their UCI academic counselor in order to receive authorization to enroll in the next course.

Students who graduated from a high school in a German-speaking country

must take a copy of their transcripts to the German language program director, Mohammad Rafi (, HIB 225, to determine where they should be placed.

A student who received a score of 3 on the Advanced Placement (AP) German exam

is eligible to enroll directly into German 2A. A student who received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement German exam is eligible to enroll directly in the German 101-105 series.

Students who have met the UCI language other than English general education requirement with German SAT Subject Test scores, International Baccalaureate (IB) scores, or Advanced Placement (AP) examination

and plan to enroll in a German course at UCI are recommended to take the German placement test.



Just as with our language courses, in our upper-division seminars we have created a diverse, engaging curriculum in which students study the breadth and depth of literature, philosophy, film, visual art, music, pop culture, and cultural history of the German-speaking world. After completion of the intermediate level of language instruction or the equivalent, we offer a range of courses. The Introduction to Literature course (German 101) provides an introduction to genre, periodization and the German terminology used in critical analysis. Students take this course to prepare for the upper-division literature and film courses (German 102, 117, 118, 119, 120 and 130), which range historically from the Reformation to the present and cover a variety of topics and approaches. A further series of courses (German 140, 150, 160 and 170) is taught in English for both German students and those who do not speak the language, and covers topics in German literature, cultural history, and cinema. The German major is composed of 12 upper-division course and the minor comprises 7 upper-division courses, some of which can be completed through study-abroad.

Check out our powerpoint presentation as to why you should Study German at UCI. If you are considering majoring or minoring, you are encouraged to meet as soon as possible with the German undergraduate advisor, Professor Anke biendarra ( . You can also check out our Frequently Asked Questions.



Many of our German majors are double majors with programs in social science, biological sciences, engineering, physical sciences, and of course other programs in the School of Humanities. We encourage students to pursue multiple paths in their education and to acquire multiple sorts of literacy in diverse fields.




Finally, the German major and minor are perfectly integrated with UC’s study abroad programs ( Students interested in studying abroad in Germany should check our Study Abroad information and visit the UCI Study Abroad Center ( We also encourage our undergraduates to pursue mentorships with German faculty within UCI’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP; see Grant aid for study abroad is also sometimes available through the Leindecker Award.

For further information, please contact Professor Anke Biendarra ( German Major/Minor Undergraduate Advisor, and/or Professor Mohammad Rafi (,German Lower-Division Language Program Director, and the Director of Study-Abroad.