This is the first version of the 2023-24 General Catalog. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

Undergraduate major: German (B.A.)
Undergraduate minor: German
Graduate degree: M.A. in German

The Department of German offers a comprehensive undergraduate program of study in German—in German language and in the culture and literature of German-speaking Europe. Students learn to use German with intercultural competency in fields as diverse as international business, teaching, engineering, medicine, music, museum studies, and linguistics or literature. Courses focus on the cultures of Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland, including migration to and from those areas, to provide an understanding of the historical and contemporary importance of these countries in a globalized world.

The Department of German supports outreach, extracurricular activities, and contributions to the visibility of German-related issues in the state of Iowa. The department fosters an environment of diversity, equity, 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 setting sun behind the cathedral of Freiburg on the edge of the Black Forest, with the Kaiserstuhl and the Vosges mountains in France visible in the background.

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: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 Center for Language and Culture Learning provides a wide variety of facilities and services to the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures (DWLLC), including a 24-computer Instructional Technology Center (ITC), five All-In-One Studios/small group study rooms equipped with video production and editing software, a Computer Assisted Language Learning Lab with 25 computers integrated with Sanako software for language practice, and virtual reality hardware and development space.

The center provides spaces for quiet study as well as for group meetings. Departments, programs, and student organizations are welcome to host conversation hours, film nights, study groups, workshops, and more. Peer education services include peer tutoring programs in many of the languages taught in DWLLC, with both in-person and online availability, as well as the Directed Independent Language Study, through which faculty, staff, or students can be paired with a tutor to learn a language not taught in the DWLLC. Tutors are trained to use the Three Ms for Effective Learning, which include developing a growth mindset, using memory strategies to retain knowledge, and reflecting on learning gains.

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

Graduate students not pursuing a degree in German may take GRMN:2020 Intensive Intermediate German. That course does not count for graduate credit.

German Courses

GRMN:1000 First-Year Seminar 1 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 I 4 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 II 4 s.h.

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

GRMN:1010 First-Year German Review 5 s.h.

Accelerated review in preparation for third-semester German. Requirements: previous study of German, typically one to two years of high-school German. GE: World Languages Second Level Proficiency.

GRMN:1040 German for Travelers 2 s.h.

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

GRMN:1200 Disabilities and Inclusion in Writing and Film Around the World 3 s.h.

Exploration of human experiences of dis/ability and exclusion/inclusion. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as DST:1200, GHS:1200, WLLC:1200.

GRMN:1500 German Cultural Activities 1 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 I 4 s.h.

Proficiency in spoken and written German, German-speaking cultures of Europe; emphasis on speaking and reading skills. Taught in German. Prerequisites: GRMN:1002 or GRMN:1010. GE: World Languages Third Level Proficiency.

GRMN:2002 Intermediate German II 4 s.h.

Continuation of GRMN:2001; proficiency in spoken and written German; German-speaking cultures of Europe; emphasis on speaking and reading skills. Taught in German. Prerequisites: GRMN:2001. GE: World Languages Fourth Level Proficiency.

GRMN:2020 Intensive Intermediate German 4-6 s.h.

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

GRMN:2248 The Invention of Writing: From Cuneiform to Computers 3 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. Taught in English. Same as ANTH:2248, ASIA:2248, CL:2248, CLSA:2048, COMM:2248, HIST:2148, IS:2248, LING:2248, TRNS:2248, WLLC:2248.

GRMN:2275 Scandinavian Crime Fiction 3 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:2550 Mardi Gras and More: Cultures of Carnival 3-4 s.h.

Literature and customs associated with carnival from the Renaissance through present day; readings on theories of carnivalesque; survey of various carnival cultures ranging from Nuremberg carnival plays around 1450 to current traditions in Rio de Janeiro, Trinidad, New Orleans, and elsewhere. Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture. Same as WLLC:2550.

GRMN:2600 Witch Hunts in Fact and Fiction: A Global History of Exclusion 3-4 s.h.

Survey of the phenomenon of witchcraft and its persecution past and present; students read a historical study that sheds new light on the history of European witch hunts while demonstrating that witch hunts are not simply part of European past; how belief that certain people are able to cause harm by supernatural powers endures throughout the world today; discussion and analysis of exemplary works of fiction about witchcraft persecutions, mostly from German background. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

GRMN:2618 Film and Literature of the Holocaust 3-4 s.h.

European and American films (e.g., documentaries, feature films); literature of the Holocaust in English translation (e.g., survivor memoirs, testimony, poetry, philosophical essays, graphic novels). Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture. Same as WLLC:2618.

GRMN:2620 Anne Frank and Her Story 3-4 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. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as WLLC:2620.

GRMN:2630 German Cinema: Greatest Hits 3-4 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:2666 Pact with the Devil 3-4 s.h.

Pact with the devil has served as a metaphor for humankind's desire to surpass the limits of knowledge and power and engage with the forbidden; students explore a variety of works—mostly from German literature and culture—from early modern time to present, and critique different twists that fascination with the forbidden takes with regard to women. Taught in English. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts. Same as WLLC:2666.

GRMN:2675 The Politics of Memory: Holocaust, Genocide, and 9/11 3-4 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 artwork. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

GRMN:2720 Germany in the World 3-4 s.h.

The Federal Republic of Germany's increasing prominence in post-Cold War international affairs against backdrop of 20th-century history; Germany's role in the European Union and the changing relationship between Europe and the United States. Taught in English. GE: International and Global Issues. Same as HIST:2420.

GRMN:2750 The Work of Franz Kafka: Adventures in Language and Imagination 3-4 s.h.

Introduction to the literary works of Franz Kafka; readings in English, with constant attention to German originals and translation difficulties. Taught in English.

GRMN:2785 Cyborgs, Monsters, and the Uncanny 3-4 s.h.

Literature, film, and theory of the monstrous and uncanny from short stories (e.g., Kafka) to science fiction (e.g., A Cyborg Manifesto) and horror films (e.g., Dracula). Taught in English. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.

GRMN:2949 Accountability, War Crimes, and Justice 3-4 s.h.

Introduction to current juridical and nonjuridical approaches to hold perpetrators (e.g., states, state actors, individuals) of war crimes accountable in international criminal and humanitarian law; students examine concepts such as universal jurisdiction, which has been successfully deployed in German courts, and corporate accountability through recent case studies. Taught in English. Same as WLLC:2949.

GRMN:3010 Stories in German 3 s.h.

Stories and other relatively short prose by representative authors; discussion and response; varied topics. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3103 Composition and Conversation I 3 s.h.

Improvement of overall language ability with particular emphasis in areas of speaking and writing; may include vocabulary-building activities and review of selected grammar topics. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3104 Composition and Conversation II 3 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. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3195 German Linguistics Lab I 3 s.h.

Hands-on research experience collecting and analyzing linguistic data. Requirements: at least one linguistics course.

GRMN:3200 Literary Translation from German 3 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. Taught in English and German. Requirements: prior completion of two German courses at the 3000 level or above. Same as TRNS:3200.

GRMN:3214 Business German 3 s.h.

World of German business, role of German-speaking countries in world trade; emphasis on professional communication and workplace culture. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3236 German Film 3 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:3405 German Cultural History 3 s.h.

Major historical persons, events, and places; art and architecture, music, and intellectual life; Middle Ages to 19th century; emphasis on mythical historical persons and places. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3501 German Writers Engaged 3 s.h.

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

GRMN:3845 The Structure of German 3 s.h.

Structure analysis of German words and sentences; emphasis on vocabulary expansion and writing with increased grammatical accuracy and complexity. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:3850 Twentieth- and Twenty-first-Century German Children's Literature 3 s.h.

Exploration of the concept of childhood within broader contexts of history and culture unique to Germany—what lessons are inherent in German children's literature and how has childhood developed accordingly, and what does it mean for a child to be a "reader;" evolution of child-rearing and gender roles over the decades; how Germany holds a solid corner of classic children's literature; examination of canonical texts and more recent child-centered contributions to Germany's literary scene; students connect with local elementary, middle, and/or high schools on a German project. Taught in German. Prerequisites: GRMN:3103 or GRMN:3104.

GRMN:3855 The Sounds of German 3 s.h.

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

GRMN:3860 German Language and Society 3 s.h.

Introduction to sociolinguistics in context of German-speaking countries; major topics include German dialects, regional and social variation in contemporary German, minority and immigrant languages in German-speaking countries, language and national identity, multilingualism, educational policies related to language teaching and learning, linguistic purism, language use in digital contexts, and language change. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002, GRMN:2020, or a higher-level course in German. Same as LING:3860.

GRMN:4195 German Linguistics Lab II 3 s.h.

Hands-on research experience collecting and analyzing linguistic data. Requirements: at least one linguistics course.

GRMN:4315 German Society Today 3 s.h.

Government and political structure, economy, mass media, education, social and cultural life of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from the end of World War II to present. Taught in German. Prerequisites: GRMN:3501 or GRMN:3103 or GRMN:3104.

GRMN:4540 Literature in Film 3 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 Writing 3 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, and Sueskind; gender roles ascribed to women and men. Taught in German. Requirements: GRMN:2002 or GRMN:2020.

GRMN:4800 Seminar in Comparative Literature 3 s.h.

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

GRMN:4850 Senior Seminar arr.

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 Independent Study arr.

Independent work completed under the supervision of Department of German faculty members. Requirements: German major or minor.

GRMN:4910 Peer Tutoring in German arr.

Opportunities to participate in classroom and tutoring activities and engage with students in language learning; for advanced students.

GRMN:4920 Research in German Studies arr.

Supplemental research and writing for introductory German studies courses taught in English (GRMN:2500 through GRMN:2999).

GRMN:4990 Honors Research 3 s.h.

Students work with a Department of German faculty member to identify a topic for an honors thesis; research and preliminary writing. Requirements: three years of college-level German and GPA of at least 3.50 in German.

GRMN:4991 Honors Thesis 3 s.h.

Completion of honors thesis in consultation with a faculty mentor. Requirements: honors standing and GRMN:4990.

GRMN:5000 German Reading for Graduate Students 3 s.h.

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

GRMN:5001 Teaching and Learning Languages 3 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. Taught in English. Same as FREN:5000, SLA:5000, SPAN:5000, WLLC:5000.

GRMN:6635 Crossing Borders Seminar 2-3 s.h.

Taught in English. Same as AFAM:6635, ANTH:6635, COMM:6635, ENGL:6635, FREN:6142, GEOG:6635, HIST:6135, IWP:6635, POLI:6635, SPAN:6904.

GRMN:7000 Advanced Studies arr.

Independent work completed under the supervision of Department of German faculty members. Requirements: German graduate standing.