Skip navigation

German Language Studies

Offered in Washington DC and SAIS Europe

German is the language with the largest number of native speakers in the European Union. As a global industrial power and major force in the European Union, Germany plays a crucial role in international politics and global financial and economic sectors. The German program offers excellence in professional language instruction through the study of German-speaking communities/cultures, current politics, international affairs and economics, while preparing students for their international careers. All students are welcome - proficiency as well as non-proficiency students who want to learn a second/third language.


Novice German (Level 1)
Experiencing the German Language and Culture I
This beginner's course is designed for students with no previous knowledge of the German language. It introduces the daily-life language within the context of diverse German-speaking cultures. Students develop and practice their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills as related to daily-life activities and topics. Basic vocabulary and grammar structures are introduced and practiced with the aid of multi-media, such as interactive materials and educational software.
Intermediate Low German (Level 2)
Experiencing the German Language and Culture II
This course builds on the beginner’s course. Students continue to develop and refine basic vocabulary, sentence, and grammar structures as used in the context of daily life. Social topics of general interest within the German-speaking communities will be gradually introduced together with professionally-relevant vocabulary. More complex grammar structures will be practiced upon with the support of interactive materials and educational software.
Intermediate Mid I German: (Level 3)
Modern German Cultures and Politics
This course engages students with professional topics relevant to German/European cultures and politics, and allows them to acquire the professional vocabulary related to social and political topics. All multi-media class materials are designed to support students’ progress in developing their oral and written expression and in expanding upon their specific professional vocabulary. There is also a contextualized review of basic grammar along with the development of intermediate-level discourse and grammar structures.   
Intermediate Mid II German: (Level 4)

Introduction to International Affairs in Politics and Economics
This course, the highest level of the pre-proficiency sequence, focuses primarily on professional topics. Students explore current politics, international relations, and economic affairs as presented in the German-speaking media. Students continue to expand their professional vocabulary and are introduced to the strategies of debates and public presentations in German. All multi-media materials are designed to expand students’ oral and written expression as well as to refine their grammar and vocabulary. At the end of this course, students are eligible to take the German Proficiency Examinations.


Intermediate High, Advanced Levels of German (Level 5 and above)
Global, European and German Issues in Discussion
Post-proficiency courses aim at refining and perfecting students’ language competence up to the advanced/superior levels. These courses largely consist of language for specific purposes as defined by students’ professional fields of interest. Students are engaged in discussions and debates on political and cultural issues. Authentic materials from German-speaking media, literary texts, and students’ projects are used in class discussion. Other activities may include discussions with guest-speakers and topic-related field trips. 

German can be used to meet the MA language graduation requirements of the Functional Studies Programs and of the European and Eurasian Studies Program.
In order to pass the Proficiency exam, students need to obtain the following levels:

Listening: Intermediate High
Speaking: Intermediate High
Reading: Intermediate High
Writing: Intermediate Mid

PhD students of European and Eurasian Studies can use the German reading proficiency exam to meet their second foreign language graduation requirement.