Institute for German Studies
Director of the Institute
The Institute of German Studies at the University of Oldenburg is sub-divided into Literature Studies, Linguistics (including Low German), Medieval Studies (German language and literature of the middle ages and early modern times), Specialized Didactics and German as a Second and Foreign Language. The institute offers a host of specializations and research subjects that are also reflected in the range of course units:
Specializations and research projects are represented in the Literature Studies component by Literature of the Enlightenment Period, Literature from around 1800 (Hölderlin, Kleist, reception of Faust), Modern and Post-modern Literature, Children's and Youth Literature and Culture (including media such as picture books, comics and films) and Literary Theory.
The university’s Linguistics programme looks at questions such as how the German writing system works, among other things. Questions range from the shape of letters to the relationship between spoken and written language. Another focus is on the variation in German pronunciation, including intonation. Linguistic studies at the University of Oldenburg also offer a specialized degree programme in Low German as well as Saterland Frisian language course units.
The medievalists at the university analyse issues, for instance the special conditions and possibilities for storytelling in the Middle Ages and the phenomena of mediality and the evolution of media. The link to the present is made by asking what the ‘Middle Ages’, as a historical concept, means in our modern times.
The Specialized Didactics programme in German is represented at the University of Oldenburg by the teaching and research fields of Language Didactics, Literature Didactics and Media Didactics, all of which overlap considerably. It is very important to us that the instruction in German didactics is geared towards research. In this context, we understand German didactics explicitly as empirical and research-based, which is, of course, always guided by theory.
The research focus of the component German as a Second and Foreign Language is on the relationship between governmental monolingualism and societal multilingualism as well as on issues of intercultural communication and German teaching.
Please note: the Institute of German Studies does not offer language courses for the purpose of learning German or improving language skills. In our course units, the German language is an object of scientific reflection. This also applies to the component German as a Foreign and Second Language: here one does not learn to speak German, but rather how to analyse the conditions, processes and possibilities of learning German. All students must have acquired sufficient language skills BEFORE they begin their programmes in Oldenburg.
German Studies in Oldenburg
German Studies is a very popular subject at the University of Oldenburg. Around 1,200 of the 10,000 students at the Carl von Ossietzky University chose German Studies, and a large number of these students chose German Studies with the objective of becoming teachers.
German Studies is the study of the German language and its literature, first and foremost. As part of your German Studies programme, you will acquire the ability to analyse linguistic and literary phenomena in a scientifically sound manner, to methodically interpret and classify these and order them in a historical and cultural context. You will also learn how to communicate expert knowledge in this field and how to present your own research findings clearly and well. We also understand German Studies as the science of teaching and learning German literature (Literary Didactics) as well as German as a native language (Linguistic Didactics) and German as a second/foreign language (DaZ/DaF). For this reason, Oldenburg is an ideal place for future teachers to study.
Content and focus of the Bachelor’s degree programme
Literature and language
We offer a wide range of courses for professionally oriented degrees. This is not only important for the professional competences of future teachers, it also benefits students who have chosen ‘Literature and Language’ as their Major. We offer course units ranging from medieval to post-modern literature, including children’s and youth literature. In Linguistics, we offer a comprehensive educational programme with unique options to expand into Low German.
Education and further education
We also understand German Studies as the science of teaching and learning about German literature (Literary Didactics) as well as German as a native language (Linguistic Didactics) and as a second and foreign language (DaZ/DaF). For this reason, the University of Oldenburg is an ideal place for future teachers to study. Students wishing to teach German in the various school types with a solid academic basis must choose the Major ‘Education and Further Education’. This course unit is mandatory for the Master of Education, the qualification required to become an accredited teacher and which also permits one to work in adult education.
Media and the public
With the third Major ‘Media and the Public’, the university’s German Studies department enables its students to acquire media science and interdisciplinary skills. The emphasis here is primarily on how to control media use, reflect on it and teach it.
German Studies Master’s degree programme
Students may opt for German Studies as part of the degree 'Master of Education', required for the various school types. In this context, students follow course units with literary and linguistic orientations as well as a specialized didactics course unit. Students who are not aspiring to be teachers can follow the German Studies Fachmaster (Master of Arts) which is a more in-depth and scientifically-oriented degree programme with the option of focussing on the different sub-fields of German Studies.