Degree Type Bachelor of Arts
Department German
Academic Division The College
Offerings Major Minor
German at Washington and Lee is one of the most dynamic and growing programs on campus. Studying the German language and culture at W&L gives the student unique access to a vibrant culture and the strongest economy in the European Union.


An MIT study published in The Economist in 2014 describes the “earnings premiums” language learners accrue over a lifetime, with German being the most lucrative language.

We offer a major and a minor in German that most students pair with courses in economics, business administration, accounting, natural sciences and others. We offer a mix of cultural opportunities through our active German Club and study abroad options in Berlin and Bayreuth, Germany, and Graz, Austria.

All German Department courses help satisfy foundation and distribution requirements, and we have many course offerings in English that are open to students who may not be studying the German language. No previous knowledge of German is necessary to be a minor or a major.

Both the German major and minor allow you to explore a broader context by taking courses from across the curriculum that will count toward your degree in German, in fields that include law, art history, philosophy and digital humanities, 

Awards, Prizes and Scholarships

The Jim Stump Prize honors a devoted alumnus of the Class of 1953. It is awarded annually at the discretion of the Department of German and Arabic to an undergraduate of exceptional achievement in German.

The James S. Wood Prize in German is awarded annually to honor an alumnus of the Class of 1965 who was killed in Vietnam.

The Rising Star Award is given to a student at the beginning of his or her academic career who promises to shine in the future as a German major or minor.

The Craig Hinkel Prize was established in 2000 in memory of Otto and Ruth Craig Hinkel and is awarded annually to a student (or students) who has (have) a dual interest in English and German literature.

The Stephenson Scholarship is awarded every year at Commencement to a rising junior German major of great promise. It was established in honor of Buford S. “Steve” Stephenson, an alumnus of the class of 1942 and longtime professor and chair of the department.

Dickens-Youngblood Award was established in recognition of two retired members of the German Department, David B. Dickens and Robert Youngblood. It is awarded to a high achieving German major in either their junior or senior year.

Experience in Germany
  • Two Spring Term abroad programs, “Layered Berlin” and “Traces of Empire,” are total-immersion academic programs directed by W&L faculty in Berlin and Graz, Austria, respectively.
  • A semester-long program with the University of Bayreuth in the spring/ summer semester (April-July)
  • Paid, three-month long internships with multi-national corporations in Germany through the German-American Exchange Internship Program, as well as other opportunities sponsored by the Woolley Fellowship and Johnson Opportunity Grant Program at W&L
External Scholarships & Fellowships
  • Fulbright Scholarships and Teaching Assistant Scholarships in Germany and Austria
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE)
  • Congress-Bundestag Young Professionals Program
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Summer Scholarships
  • Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowships

Recent graduates have gone on to graduate school at institutions like Harvard and the University of Texas. Those who have chosen the working world are enjoying exciting and varied careers around the world in areas such as international commerce, finance, law, international banking and education.

Debra Prager

Department Head

Jacque Bruce

Administrative Assistant


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Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.