Why Study German?
"I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed,
I don't know how I should be able to get on without it."
-Jonathan Harker on his way to Transylvania
in Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1897
The Department of German and Russian Studies offers students the opportunity to explore the language, literature, and culture of German-speaking countries. Many of the greatest thinkers and artists of the modern era came from these regions - Einstein, Freud, Nietzsche, Kant, Beethoven, Marx, Kafka, Goethe - while almost every discipline in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences has a strong German tradition. In addition, Germany plays a crucial role in the European Union, on the world political stage, and in economic dealings with the United States and around the world. Among Europeans, the approximately 101 million native speakers of German greatly outnumber those of English, French, Italian, or Spanish. German Studies offers you the possibility of participating in this vibrant cultural tradition first hand.
The importance of German culture in such diverse areas explains why MU German majors have successfully pursued careers in business, engineering, finance, law, journalism, government service, teaching, medicine, and the sciences, as well as in art, literature, philosophy, music, and film. Non-majors have also discovered that their knowledge of German language and culture complements such fields as architecture, economics, government, history, engineering, and computer science. Whatever your future career, you will find that German Studies, as part of a liberal education, will enrich your professional and personal lives.
German contributions in the sciences and arts:
- Eleven German, Austrian, or Swiss-German writers have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, including Elfriede Jelinek in 2004 and Günter Grass in 1999.
- Scientists from the three major German-speaking countries have won 22 Nobel Prizes in Physics, 27 in Chemistry, 25 in Medicine, and 1 in Economics.
- Seven Germans or Austrians have received the Nobel Peace Prize.
German impact on the world economy:
- Germany’s economy is the world’s third-largest, and those of Austria and Switzerland are also substantial.
- Germany is the world's top exporter and enjoys a huge trade surplus.
- Germany is the world's second-highest creditor nation and also grants the second-greatest amount of foreign aid.
- In 2005, Germany successfully registered 23,800 new patents, more than any other country except the U.S.
- In alternative energy sources, Germany tops all other nations both in wind energy production and in the use of photovoltaic cells to produce electricity.
- In business, diplomacy, and tourism, German stands second only to English in Western Europe, and in Eastern Europe it holds first place.
- On the internet, German is second only to English.