The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina


Why Study German?

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Why a language?

Studying a foreign language opens new worlds and fosters understanding between cultures. More and more companies are looking for employees who speak more than one language. The US Armed Services offer higher pay and often recruiting bonuses for proficiency in certain languages. The Citadel’s upper-division language courses teach many of the same skills that are taught in other liberal arts majors: critical thinking, effective written and oral communication, organization, etc., with the additional skill of a new language—so why not double your return?

Why German?

The Economist: Sprechen Sie Power?

Top ten reasons to study German

Of the languages most commonly taught in the US, German is the most closely related to English. German is a key business language in the European Union, which now has 25 member countries. Germany is America’s largest European trading partner: More than 750 major American firms are doing business in Germany and more than 1100 German firms do business in the US—a large number of them in the Southeast. German companies in the US pay German-speaking employees premium salaries.

German teachers are also in some shortage in the South, as reported recently by the American Association for Employment in Education.

German Majors and Minors at The Citadel

Why I chose to major/minor in German:

“At a time when business majors have constituted the vast majority of nearly every student body, I decided that majoring in German would be a means of making myself unique to employers and graduate instituions alike. I have truly enjoyed the major, as courses have covered a broad spectrum of topics ranging from medieval German literature to contemporary culture and politcs." Travis Hutchins ‘05

“To know another language shows that you respect other cultures. This knowledge is a great boost to any application, plus Germany (along with Austria and Switzerland) is a great country.” Carter Palmer ‘06

“I decided to take a minor in German because it facilitates my major course of study in history, and because I come from a German family and would like to understand my heritage better.” Andrew Schildwachter ‘05

“I decided to be a German minor, because I had taken several German classes for fun, and figured it might be useful in the future.” Ryan Cuthbertson ‘05

“Studying German literature gives me a perfect combination—the intellectual satisfaction of reading and understanding literature and the practical skills of communication in both English and a foreign language.” Drew Brooks ‘06

“I chose to be a German Major because my high school German teacher was excellent. He made studying the language fun and caused me to want to continue studying it in college.” Peter Matonis ‘06

“Knowing a foreign language is the greatest asset one can have in today’s society. I plan to take full advantage of every opportunity.” Allen Ferkovich ‘06

What I like best about the German program at The Citadel:

“This program is renowned for its consistency in producing scholars (in every sense of the word) and allowing one to pursue opportunities that would not arise in other programs.” Andrew Jones ’07

“As a German major, I was afforded the opportunity to improve my overall academic capabilities. It was as if I majored in literature, history, English, and German.” Kyle Packard ‘05

What study abroad has done for me:

"Studying abroad benefited me in many aspects. The education one receives from travel is unparalleled by any education one can receive from a classroom. The interactions I had with German speakers in their native tongue allowed me to further my language capabilities as well as understand their
culture." Travis Hutchins ‘05

“I will always remember my six weeks abroad as a highlight of my Citadel experience. I have never learned as much in that short a time.” Kyle Packard ‘05

“I did Foreign Language Immersion training for the USAF in Garmisch, Germany. I went through five different countries on weekends. My German improved during my month, and I spoke with some older Germans about their history. It was a wonderful experience, and I had a blast.” Ryan Cuthbertson ‘05

“Studying German in Germany focuses and concentrates everything you do beforehand. You are forced not only to think about the language in class, but to consider it a means to an end in your daily life—as necessary a skill as reading a map or taking notes.” Drew Brooks ‘06

The Program

German offers both the major and the minor. Eleven German classes past the 200-level are required for the major, five for the minor. Double-majors are infinitely feasible and positively encouraged. Students majoring in almost any discipline will enrich their academic experience with a double-major or minor in German. We keep the hour requirement for the major low, so that students can broaden their academic experience by doubling their major or adding a minor or two. We strongly encourage students to earn up to 12 hours of credit studying abroad during the summer or spring semester. This makes it even easier for you to complete the major or minor.

Some of our courses: Composition and Conversation, GERM 302 and 301, round out your command of written and spoken German. In our civilization and culture courses (GERM 303 and 304), students acquire a broad overview of German life and thought from prehistory to the present, investigating figures as influential and diverse as Luther and Freud, Marx and Mozart, Nietzsche and Einstein. Literary survey courses (GERM 421, 422, 423, and 424) focus on successive styles and their masters from the epic Nibelungenlied to the politically engaged writing of Gruppe 47. For students considering a career in business, GERM 307 examines organization, marketing, sales, correspondence, and protocol in German companies. It is also an approved elective for the business major. Seminars (GERM 450) vary depending on interest. Recent seminars include “Modern Austrian Literature,” “German Film Retrospective,” and “Politics, Literature, and Film.” A recent addition to our course list, GERM 305, Modern Events in German Media and Culture, examines the interface of media and history. We also offer GERM 441/42: Theory and Practice of Foreign Language Teaching, a practicum in teaching German.

International German Examinations

Twice a year, in fall and spring, students can measure their performance against other students of German from around the world. The ZD, ZMP, and ZDfdB exams are administered jointly by the Goethe Institute and the College of Charleston. Success is rewarded with certificates that are recognized by many businesses (ZDfdB) and universities (ZD, ZMP) around the world.

Your Professors

What students have written about Professor Skow and her courses:

  • “I enjoyed being in a class with such a high level of discussion. It helped me understand the topics.”
  • “She is very knowledgeable, conveys the material well, and fosters a fun learning environment.”
  • “The reading selections were interesting if not bordering on intellectual.”
  • “This class effectively motivated me to think and excel.”
  • “I developed an interest in poetry and other literary works. Previously I had no experience with such literature and have now found an appreciation for it due to this course.”

Summer Opportunities

  • Many of our students successfully compete for Citadel Summer Stipends to study German at various Goethe Institutes in Germany
  • The German Program offers two summer stipends of its own: The German Studies Summer Stipend and the Deutscher brüderlicher Bund Sommer-Stipendium.

Semester-long Opportunities

Students may spend a semester (usually spring) or a full year studying in Germany or Austria. Costs are comparable to the cost of a semester at The Citadel. Most scholarships and financial aid packages can be applied. For students with double majors most departments encourage study abroad and are often willing to award credit for courses taken or projects completed abroad.

Student Achievement

Fulbright Grants

Andrew Lee Brooks ’06 (Köln)

Carter Palmer ’06 (Munich)

Jeff Cunningham ’04 (Marburg)

John Alexander ‘03 (Frankfurt)

Nick Freeling ‘02 (Vienna)

Matt Belcher ‘02 (Berlin)

Jon Hamilton ‘96 (Teaching Fellowship)

David Smith ‘92 (Leipzig)

Congress-Bundestag Scholarship for Young Professionals

Carter Palmer ’06 (turned down in order to accept Fulbright)

Mike Majure ‘97

Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship

Andrew Lee Brooks ‘05

Matt Belcher ‘02

Citadel Summer Stipends to Study German at the Goethe Institute (recent)

2005 Andrew Jones, ‘07

2005 Tara Woodside ‘07

2005 Allen Ferkovich ‘06

2004 Carter Palmer ‘06

2004 Andrew Brooks ‘06

2004 Kyle Packard ‘05

Deutscher brüderlicher Bund Sommer-Stipendium

2006 Jeffrey Creech ‘09

2005 Michael Drozd ‘07

2004 William Seabrook ‘07

2003 Zack Kimble ‘04

The Citadel German Studies Summer Stipend

2006 Robert Murray ‘07

2005 Peter Matonis ‘06

2004 William Seabrook ‘07

2003 Zack Kimble ‘04

2002 Jeffrey Cunningham ‘04

Olmsted Award

2006 Michael Kourkounakis ‘08

2005 Joel Funk ‘06

US Armed Services (selection)

Steve Tumiski ’95 (USN cryptographer, intelligence officer)

Melanie DeSantiago ’02 (USAF Office of Special Investigations, counterintel)

Crystal Spring ’02 (USN pilot, carrier-based)

Nick Sinclair ‘03 (USA armor, currently in Iraq)

Gradutate Study in German (on fellowship!)

Travis Hutchins ’05 (University of Colorado)

Matt Belcher ’02 (University of Pennsylvania)

David Smith ’92 (UNC-Chapell Hill, currently Asst. Prof., tenure-track at Eastern Carolina)

Matt Lange ’94 (MA Colorado; PhD Wisconsin, currently Asst. Prof., tenure track at Wisconsin-Whitewater)

Forrest Senterfeit ’96 (MA Colorado)

Law School (selection)

Jon Hamilton '96 (USMC JAG Corps)

Andy Hendrick '95 (private practice)

Business School (selection)

John Alexander ’03 (South Carolina)

J J Joye '95 (head of locomotive division for General Motors)


Fringe Benefits

    • close working relationship with both professors and other students in the program
    • small classes
    • professors who are there when you need them <
    • help applying for prestigious grants
    • Delta Phi Alpha, National German Honor Society (3.0 GPA, 3.25 in German)
    • Stammtisch (regular evening discussions in German at a local restaurant)
    • once-a-semester social (courtesy of your professors)
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