The Department’s aim is to guide students to proficiency in the traditional four skills of language acquisition (speaking, aural comprehension, reading and writing), and to introduce them to the broad arena of culture, including literature, arts, history, and politics. Our strong proficiency based methods of teaching in tandem with the exceptional opportunities for study abroad enable our students to achieve a higher than average level of sophistication in all of these areas.

An integral part of the mission of this department is to encourage as many majors, minors, and other interested students as possible to study abroad. We believe that study abroad in concert with their on-campus exposure to German and Russian studies assists them in thinking more objectively about American culture and language from a distanced perspective and consequently enables them to examine their own attitudes and beliefs more objectively.

In addition, the university’s goal of preparing its students for their professional life is certainly enhanced by familiarity with, and close scrutiny of, foreign cultures, attitudes, languages, and economies in light of contemporary emphasis on global understanding and interaction.


German majors are required (and German minors are strongly encouraged) to take the Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD) examination in their last semester of their senior year. The Wirtschaftsdeutsch als Fremdsprache (WiDaf) is offered at the end of Business German II, GER 330.

Study Abroad

German majors and minors are encouraged to study abroad for at least one semester with IES (Institute for the International Education of Students) in Freiburg, Berlin or Vienna; for a summer immersion course in Jena, at the Flow House in Vienna, Austria, or at the Goethe Institute in Germany. Students may also elect to participate in an internship (3h, pass/fail) with any of the three IES study abroad programs.


The department awards several W.D. Sanders scholarships for study abroad every year. Deadline is the Monday following Thanksgiving break, and students interested in IES or Goethe Institute study are invited to apply.

GER 100/GES 100. German Pre-Orientation Tour

(Audit/1h) One-week tour for entering freshmen, Vienna Austria. Students and faculty stay at the Wake Forest Flow House. Tour includes concerts, museums, palaces and historic walking tours in the city as well as visits to the surrounding countryside and a day trip to the Abbey at Melk on the Danube. All student participants must sign up for GER 100 either as an audit or for credit. In order to receive the one hour of credit, the student must either

  1. register for GER 111, GER 112, GER 113, GER 153, GER 210 or GER 212 subsequent to taking the tour or
  2. complete a short paper analyzing one of the cultural events or excursions offered.

The credit will count towards the German (GER) or German Studies (GES) major or minor. Pass/Fail only.

Study Abroad

Russian majors and minors are encouraged to study abroad for at least one semester. The university is associated with several programs in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Visit the Center for Global Programs and Studies for more information.  


Students may apply for the Lowell and Anne Tillett Scholarship Fund for study abroad. Scholarships are also available from the Center for Global Programs and Studies. 

Semester in Vienna

GER 110Intensive Elementary German4
GER 150Intermediate German4
GER 214Masterpieces of Austrian Literature3
GES 341Austrian Literature in Translation3
GES 350Fin de Siècle Vienna3

Internships (GER 322)

Winston-Salem, Forsyth County Schools

Under faculty direction, a student mentors local German students at the middle or high school level. The intern may tutor students directly or assist in structuring and coordinating German language activities or events as the head classroom teacher requests. Course requirements include but are not limited to:

  1. a journal including a general description of the student’s responsibilities,
  2. a supporting portfolio of teaching materials along with summaries of activities and events,
  3. regular consultation with Wake Forest faculty adviser in German,
  4. a reflective overview composed at the end of the internship, and
  5. an evaluation supplied by the head teacher at the end of the internship. 

Old Salem, North Carolina (1.5 h)

Under faculty direction, the student serves in the Old Salem Archive as a German language specialist, translating documents from German into English. Course requirements include but are not limited to:

  1. faculty evaluation of work completed,
  2. a portfolio of copies of translated work,
  3. regular consultation with a Wake Forest faculty mentor in German,
  4. an evaluation by an administrator of the Old Salem Archive.

German Lab Assistant (1.5 h)

Lab assistant for elementary German classes.


German and Russian courses at the 100-level may not be taken pass/fail unless the student has already fulfilled WFU's language requirement.

Contact Information

Department of German & Russian
Greene Hall 333, Box 7353
Phone 336-758-3493