Undergraduate major: German (B.A.)
Undergraduate minor: German
Graduate degree: M.A. in German
Faculty: https://german.uiowa.edu/people
Website: https://german.uiowa.edu/

The Department of German introduces students to the cultures of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, including migration to and from those countries, providing an understanding of the historical and contemporary importance of them in a globalized world. The department facilitates development of proficiency in German and fosters critical appreciation of the cultures associated with it, serves to promote awareness of the diversity of languages and cultures worldwide, and to teach skills that are critical for students to become responsible global citizens. The Department of German supports outreach, extracurricular activities, and contributes to the visibility of German-related issues in the state of Iowa, fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion.

Undergraduate students in all majors may satisfy the World Languages requirement of the GE CLAS Core with courses in German; see "Language for GE CLAS Core" below. They may satisfy other GE CLAS Core requirements with courses on German literature and culture that are taught in English; look for courses with the prefix GRMN in the area lists under "Culture, Society, and the Arts" in the GE CLAS Core section of the Catalog. GE CLAS Core courses on German literature and culture also are listed with departmental courses taught in English under Courses in this section of the Catalog.

The Department of German is one of the academic units in the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Language for GE CLAS Core

The department offers several sequences of German language courses that students in all majors may use to satisfy the World Languages requirement of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core. Students who have had experience with German should take the online Placement Test, which helps determine the level at which a student should begin German language study at the University of Iowa. Students with no background in German should begin their study with GRMN:1001 Elementary German I.

The following sequences satisfy the World Languages requirement of the GE CLAS Core. Students using German to satisfy the World Languages requirement should speak with departmental advisors to determine which sequence is best for them.

GRMN:1001Elementary German I4
GRMN:1002Elementary German II4
GRMN:2001Intermediate German I4
GRMN:2002Intermediate German II4


GRMN:1001Elementary German I4
GRMN:1002Elementary German II4
GRMN:2020Intensive Intermediate German6


GRMN:1020Intensive Elementary German6
GRMN:2020Intensive Intermediate German6


GRMN:1010First-Year German Review5
GRMN:2001Intermediate German I4
GRMN:2002Intermediate German II4


GRMN:1010First-Year German Review5
GRMN:2020Intensive Intermediate German6

Undergraduate Programs of Study



Graduate Program of Study


The Language Media Center (LMC) is an essential resource unit for faculty and students in the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The LMC provides a wide variety of facilities and services for traditional language laboratory work as well as for foreign language digital media production and computer-based activities. The LMC facilities include a 50-computer information technology center (ITC), two digital audio laboratories, a multimedia development studio, a One Button Studio for video production, 13 media viewing stations, and six small group collaboration spaces. The LMC also circulates a collection of over 3,000 foreign language, American Sign Language, and English as a Second Language digital media materials.

The Autonomous Language Learning Network (ALLNet), administered by the Language Media Center in the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, offers scholarship opportunities to learn critical and less commonly taught languages that are not currently taught at the University of Iowa. Any current university student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in pursuing language study to enhance their professional research or academic profile can apply for an ALLNet scholarship. With the support of the ALLNet staff, learners design their own study plans to learn basic language skills or improve upon existing skills in preparation for study or research abroad. Upon admission to the program, learners are provided with learning materials and tutorial sessions with a trained language and culture consultant.

An extensive collection of works and periodicals at University of Iowa Libraries facilitates research in all major areas of German literature and Germanic linguistics and at all levels of study.

The Global Mosaic Living Learning Community is an on-campus housing option of special interest to undergraduate world languages students.

Graduate students not pursuing a degree in German may take GRMN:1020 Intensive Elementary German and GRMN:2020 Intensive Intermediate German. Those courses do not count for graduate credit.

German Courses

GRMN:1000 First-Year Seminar1 s.h.

Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities). Requirements: first or second semester standing.

GRMN:1001 Elementary German I4 s.h.

Understanding and speaking "everyday German"; reading and writing skills; acquaintance with the German-speaking world through discussion, readings, videos. GE: World Languages First Level Proficiency.

GRMN:1002 Elementary German II4 s.h.

Continuation of GRMN:1001. Prerequisites: GRMN:1001. GE: World Languages Second Level Proficiency.

GRMN:1010 First-Year German Review5 s.h.

Accelerated course in preparation for third-semester German. Requirements: at least two years of high-school German. GE: World Languages Second Level Proficiency.

GRMN:1020 Intensive Elementary German4,6 s.h.

Elementary German I and II combined in one intensive course. GE: World Languages Second Level Proficiency.

GRMN:1040 German for Travelers2 s.h.

Basic German skills for tourists; for students with no previous knowledge of German.

GRMN:1100 Contraception Across Time and Cultures3 s.h.

Methods and history of contraception and abortion; issues of unwanted pregnancy and birth control in fiction, film, and media around the world. Same as CLSA:1100, GHS:1100, GWSS:1100, WLLC:1100.

GRMN:1200 Disability and Inclusion in Film and Writing Around the World3 s.h.

Exploration of human experiences of dis/ability and exclusion/inclusion as represented in recent international film and popular writing from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; how these experiences contribute to and reflect awareness of the challenges of disabilities as well as public policy; strategies that filmmakers and authors deploy to contain, complicate, and challenge cultural preconceptions of the disabled body; how disability intersects with other major identity categories (i.e., sexuality, nationality, race); tools for researching history, policy, and activism. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as DST:1200, GHS:1200, WLLC:1200.

GRMN:1500 German Cultural Activities1 s.h.

Attendance and participation at events related to culture and history of German-speaking countries; reflection papers in English; includes scholarly talks, film screenings, art exhibits, literary readings, and music or theater performances; most events in English.

GRMN:2001 Intermediate German I4 s.h.

Proficiency in spoken and written German; German-speaking cultures of central Europe, their historical background; emphasis on refinement of reading skills. Prerequisites: GRMN:1020 or GRMN:1002 or GRMN:1010. GE: World Languages Second Level Proficiency.

GRMN:2002 Intermediate German II4 s.h.

Continuation of GRMN:2001. Prerequisites: GRMN:2001. GE: World Languages Fourth Level Proficiency.

GRMN:2020 Intensive Intermediate German4-6 s.h.

Intermediate German I and II combined in one intensive course. Prerequisites: GRMN:1002 or GRMN:1020 or GRMN:1010. GE: World Languages Fourth Level Proficiency.

GRMN:2248 The Invention of Writing: From Cuneiform to Computers3 s.h.

Invention of writing as one of the most momentous events in the history of human civilizations; how the use of written sign systems, notations, maps, graphs, encryptions, and most recently, computer programs have consequences that reach deeply into all aspects of people's lives; how writing fascinates and delights, fosters reflexive thinking and facilitates development of complex societies, and gives rise to institutions of social power and control; students explore the invention of writing and its consequences in broad international and interdisciplinary context. Same as ANTH:2248, ASIA:2248, CL:2248, CLSA:2048, COMM:2248, HIST:2148, IS:2248, LING:2248, TRNS:2248, WLLC:2248.

GRMN:2550 Mardi Gras and More: Cultures of Carnival3-4 s.h.

Literature and customs associated with carnival from antiquity through present day; readings on theories of carnivalesque (Mikhail Bakhtin, Peter Burke, and others); materials from three distinct carnival cultures—Renaissance Europe (Francois Rabelais, German carnival plays), 19th-century New Orleans, and present day Rio de Janeiro. GE: Values and Culture. Same as WLLC:2550.

GRMN:2618 The Third Reich and Literature3-4 s.h.

Nazi literature, literature of the Holocaust and the Opposition, and exile literature in English translation. Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture. Same as CL:2618.

GRMN:2620 Anne Frank and Her Story3-4 s.h.

Analysis of the Diary of Anne Frank, its media adaptations, and related materials (e.g., fictionalizations, additional first-hand accounts); examination of Holocaust in the Netherlands, Belgium, and other countries outside Germany; anti-Semitism, discrimination, tolerance, resistance, identity formation, human aspiration and belief. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

GRMN:2630 German Cinema: Greatest Hits3-4 s.h.

Overview of German cinema; expressionist film of the Weimar Republic; Nazi cinema; post-war cinema; East German film; New German Cinema; post-unification and contemporary cinema.  Taught in English. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.

GRMN:2650 German Nationalism After WWII3-4 s.h.

Introduction to contemporary nationalism and national identity in context of modern Germany; examination of various theories on nationalism. Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture.

GRMN:2655 Muslim Minorities in the West3-4 s.h.

Introduction to lives of Muslim immigrants in the USA, France, Germany, and England; examination of various theories on multiculturalism. Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture. Same as IS:2600.

GRMN:2660 Magic Mirrors, Self-Discovery, and Murder: Gender Trouble in German Literature3-4 s.h.

German literature since Romantic era as an intensifying battle of wits over language in which gender has played a central role; a stark rift open where literary space offers much less hospitable conditions to women writers than to men; exploration of gendered fault line that runs through literary space; how women writers respond to and rewrite language that confronts them; readings from German literary texts (in English translation) from 1800 to present; emphasis on writings of women supplemented with key texts by major authors to which they respond and reread; knowledge of German not required. Same as CL:2660.

GRMN:2666 Pact with the Devil3-4 s.h.

Since early modern times, the pact with the devil has served as a metaphor for humankind's desire to surpass the limits of knowledge and power; students explore a variety of works from German, British, and Russian literature and culture from early modern time to the present, and critique different twists that fascination with the forbidden takes in regard to women. Taught in English. Requirements: RHET:1030 or completion of GE CLAS Core Rhetoric. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts. Same as CL:2666.

GRMN:2675 The Politics of Memory: Holocaust, Genocide, and 9/113-4 s.h.

How contested legacies of genocide, global violent conflict, and 9/11 continue to pose an urgent and generationally mediated challenge for critical politics of memory; various approaches to effective or failed coming-to-terms with injurious and difficult past (e.g., Holocaust, Armenian genocide); analysis of museums, sites of memory, and art work. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

GRMN:2720 Germany in the World3-4 s.h.

The Federal Republic of Germany's increasing prominence in post-Cold War international affairs, against backdrop of 20th-century history. Taught in English. GE: International and Global Issues. Same as HIST:2420.

GRMN:2770 Norse Mythology: Gods, Heroes, and Monsters of Northern Europe3-4 s.h.

Introduction to Norse mythology and related West Germanic mythologies; readings from primary sources in translation (Prose Edda, Poetic Edda, Icelandic sagas); social, historical, and geographic context in northern Europe; reception of Norse mythology in 19th and 20th centuries; incorporation of figures and themes from Norse mythology in works ranging from opera to fantasy fiction and comic books. Taught in English.

GRMN:2775 Scandinavian Crime Fiction3 s.h.

Contemporary Scandinavian crime novel in its literary, historical, geographic, cultural, and social context. Taught in English. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.

GRMN:2785 Cyborgs, Monsters, and the Uncanny3-4 s.h.

Themes of the fantastic and supernatural in German literature; works by well-known authors from 18th century to present (Goethe to Kafka, the Romantics, Magic Flute to latest science fiction or fantasy) in historical context; writers' struggle to define and maintain themselves through tumultuous social and personal changes. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.

GRMN:3010 Stories in German3 s.h.

Stories and other relatively short prose by representative authors; discussion and response; varied topics. Taught in German. Prerequisites: GRMN:2002.

GRMN:3103 Composition and Conversation I3 s.h.

Improvement of overall language ability with particular emphasis in areas of speaking and writing; students explore German crime fiction or another genre of popular writing—an entertaining way to build language skills; may include vocabulary-building activities and review of selected grammar topics. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3104 Composition and Conversation II3 s.h.

Improvement of general language abilities with emphasis in areas of speaking, writing, and vocabulary; content drawn from newspapers, magazines, internet, television, recent films, and social media; students also have the opportunity to explore individual interests. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3200 Literary Translation from German3 s.h.

Workshop and seminar on translating from German to English; emphasis on literary translations and studying existing translations; special issues of German as a source language for translation into English. Requirements: prior completion of two German courses at the 3000 level or above. Same as TRNS:3200.

GRMN:3214 Business German3 s.h.

World of German business, role of German-speaking countries in world trade; emphasis on German business protocol, correspondence. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3236 German Film3 s.h.

Overview 1925-1987; examples of avant-garde films of the Weimar Republic, propagandist filmmaking from the Third Reich, filmmaking traditions of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3250 Brief Texts About Big Events3 s.h.

Twentieth-century German literature in context of major historical events. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3405 German Cultural History3 s.h.

Emphasis on mythical historical persons and places. Taught in German. Prerequisites: GRMN:3104 or GRMN:3103 or GRMN:3501.

GRMN:3501 German Writers Engaged3 s.h.

Literary works from various genres. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3550 The Politics of Remembrance in German Multicultural Literature and Film3 s.h.

Exploration of contemporary literary texts and films by multicultural German authors and filmmakers who deal critically with German collective memory and the politics of remembrance. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3845 The Structure of German3 s.h.

Structure analysis of German words and sentences; emphasis on vocabulary expansion and writing with increased grammatical accuracy and complexity; can be taken concurrently with other German courses numbered above GRMN:2002. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3855 The Sounds of German3 s.h.

Analysis of sounds and sound system of German; practice in listening and speaking. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3865 History of the German Language3 s.h.

History of the German language; its Indo-European roots, important characteristics of the language's major periods. Prerequisites: GRMN:3103 or GRMN:3501 or GRMN:3104.

GRMN:4315 Contemporary German Civilization3 s.h.

Government and political structure, economy, mass media, education, social and cultural life of Germany, Austria, Switzerland from the end of World War II to present. Taught in German. Offered spring semesters of odd years. Prerequisites: GRMN:3501 or GRMN:3103 or GRMN:3104. GE: International and Global Issues.

GRMN:4512 Topics in Global and Transnational Culture3-4 s.h.

In-depth look at a theme in cultural expression arising from interactions between countries and regions; focus on contemporary or historical issues; use of materials ranging from literature and the visual arts to music, mass media, and more; general processes through which cultures are formed in mutual and uneven relationships; research project. Recommendations: completion of a GE CLAS Core International and Global Issues course. Same as ARAB:4512, WLLC:4512.

GRMN:4540 Literature in Film3 s.h.

Representative texts of German literature with film adaptations as specific readings. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:3501 or one upper-level literature/culture course taught in German.

GRMN:4730 Beautiful Souls and Scandalous Writing3 s.h.

Varied works of and about the 18th century; fairy tales, plays, short novels, poems, and other texts by authors such as Lichtenberg, Goethe, Naubert, Schiller, Schlegel, Sueskind; gender roles ascribed to women and men. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:4800 Seminar in Comparative Literature3 s.h.

Focus on comparative, interdisciplinary, theoretical, and/or inter-arts topic; topics vary; required for comparative literature major. Same as CL:4800, TRNS:4800, WLLC:4801.

GRMN:4850 Senior Seminararr.

Capstone course for majors in their last year; online graduation portfolio. Prerequisites: GRMN:3103 and GRMN:3104. Requirements: German major and undergraduate standing.

GRMN:4900 Individual Germanarr.

Requirements: German major or minor.

GRMN:4990 Honors Program in German3 s.h.

Individual work in literature, linguistics, and culture. Requirements: three years of college-level German and g.p.a. of at least 3.50 in German.

GRMN:4991 Honors Research and Thesis3 s.h.

Prerequisites: GRMN:4990. Requirements: honors standing.

GRMN:5000 German Reading for Graduate Students3 s.h.

Grammar review, vocabulary building, extensive reading of sophisticated texts. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: GRMN:1002 or GRMN:1010 or GRMN:1020. Requirements: non-German graduate standing.

GRMN:5001 Teaching and Learning Languages3 s.h.

Readings in pedagogical theory and practice, second language acquisition; experience designing activities for teaching and assessment with critiques based on current theories and approaches; development of reflective practices toward one's language teaching. Same as FREN:5000, SLA:5000, SPAN:5000, WLLC:5000.

GRMN:6920 Multimedia and Second Language Acquisition3 s.h.

Combination of theory and practice regarding use of multimedia and technology to enhance foreign language teaching and second language acquisition research. Same as FREN:6920, SLA:6920, SPAN:6920.

GRMN:7000 Advanced Studiesarr.

Special problems in German literature and linguistics. Requirements: German graduate standing.