Department of Germanic Studies

Misson Statement

Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin is an interdisciplinary and intercultural program. "Germanic Studies" means, first and foremost, that we cross borders between the German-speaking countries, Scandinavia, the Low Countries, various Yiddish-speaking regions, and beyond. The department is committed to providing all students -- those who fulfill their language requirement in our courses, undergraduate majors, and graduate students -- with a deeper understanding of what it means to study a culture, its literature, and linguistics as part of an ever-expanding world.

Germanic Studies also crosses interdisciplinary borders and thus crosses the lines between departments, various kinds of institutions, and interest groups. "Germanic Studies" intersects with areas such as Women's and Gender studies, film studies, Jewish Studies, second-language acquisition, medieval studies, art and art history, religious studies, musicology, American Studies, architecture, history, comparative literature, government, philosophy and theory, linguistics, international studies, theater and performance studies, gesture and communication studies, anthropology, European Studies, and Russian and Eastern European Studies. Many of the department's faculty members teach courses that are regularly cross-listed with these other areas. Traditionally these cross-listed courses (which are taught in English) contain a significant writing-component in the interest of providing undergraduates (most of whom are not majors in the department) with careful training in critical thinking and writing skills.

The department is committed to mentoring students at all levels (BA, MA, and PhD) intellectually and professionally. In addition to a wide range of thematic courses, it offers practical opportunities such as teaching experience to undergraduates and professional development for graduate students, such as opportunities to design lower-division courses, participate in conferences and prepare works for publication. The faculty strives to provide students with extensive and regular feedback to help them to develop the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in their future careers.

The department is interested in helping students to expand their horizons by studying abroad. Undergraduates are encouraged to spend a summer or a year in Europe through one of the exchange programs, with the help of various grants and endowments. Graduate students are also encouraged to spend at least one year abroad as part of their studies, either through our Berlin Exchange program, or through other international grants.

In sum, the mission of the Department of Germanic Studies is to increase our knowledge of a variety of important cultures, literatures, and languages through scholarship and to teach and mentor students about those cultures using methods from a range of related disciplines to bring them to a better understanding of their world.