Visit the German & Scandinavian Studies website.
513 Herter Hall
German & Scandinavian Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst enjoys a long tradition as a distinguished center of research and teaching at the graduate (M.A. and PhD) and undergraduate levels.
In recent years, feminist studies, film studies, and Black German studies have become central aspects of the UMass program as it has retained its historic and linguistic depth in medieval studies and Germanic philology. German & Scandinavian Studies is home to the DEFA Film Library, an archive and study center. Its modern foreign language program encompasses German and Swedish. Yiddish is also taught at UMass Amherst and the outstanding resources of the Five Colleges area include the National Yiddish Book Center. Recent additions to the German & Scandinavian Studies faculty have solidified close ties with History and with Judaic and Near East Studies; interdisciplinary affiliations will continue to expand in the years to come.
German and Scandinavian Studies teaches languages as well as familiarizes students with the cultural achievements of Germany and Scandinavia and hones their critical thinking through historical, sociological, cultural, and, above all, interdisciplinary methods. We regularly offer Swedish, and Norwegian is available through the Five-College Center for the Study of World Languages. We offer many courses in German film, history, twentieth-century literature, and cultural, Jewish, and gender studies. Our courses are among the most popular at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Undergraduates can work on practical projects with faculty ranging from research assistantships to development of web-based language instruction and course website creation. A number of our undergraduates have participated in prestigious international internships.
The program is structured to set the study of the Germanic languages and their literatures within the contexts of their respective cultures, including their historical, economic, political, philosophical, and cultural aspects. Strong interdisciplinary ties with other departments (music, drama, the visual arts, history, philosophy, political science, business) are encouraged. Members of different American and European faculties appear as speakers before the department or teach as visiting professors. Close cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Boston enriches the extracurricular program and acquaints students with many aspects of contemporary Germany, far beyond the strictly literary realm. German drama is occasionally performed and German film series are regularly offered, often in conjunction with the surrounding colleges. Lectures and performances which are sponsored by the German departments of Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges are open to all students and greatly diversify the cultural offerings in this field.
The German major prepares students for graduate school as well as employment in business, government, and education. The ability to read, write, and speak in a major world language other than English can greatly enhance an individual's career options. In the expanding global economy, most of the nations of eastern Europe and western Asia are using German as their common (second) language, and multinational corporations are seeking highly skilled translators and interpreters on an unprecedented scale. Graduates of the department are employed in many different fields, including law, international management, medicine, comparative literature, film studies, history, political science, book publishing, and organizations concerned with trade and commerce, technology and science, leisure and sports, the environment, and the arts.
Undergraduate Program Advisor:
509 Herter Hall
German and Scandinavian Studies offers graduate work leading to the degrees of Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), each divided into three optional tracks. For an M.A. a student may choose gender studies, film studies or literary/cultural studies as an emphasis. (For information on teaching certification and the possibility of study toward the Master of Arts in Teaching, please contact the Department.) Ph.D. candidates choose among the specializations in Modern German Studies, Medieval literature, or Germanic Philology.
Reflecting the recent dramatic changes in Europe, the move toward globalization and changes in the fields dealing with the languages, literatures and cultures involved, the Department has strengthened the interdisciplinary basis of its modern German studies programs. Courses dealing with issues of representation, historical investigation, and social science methodology are being introduced in combination with literary and cultural studies related to many historical periods. Graduate students in German studies may also pursue interdisciplinary work toward additional credentials, like the Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies as well as dual Master's degrees in subject areas like Anthropology and History.
Graduate Program Director:
505 Herter Hall