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Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (AP) – German Studies

Location: S561 Ross Building, Tel.: 416-736-5016
Affiliated Faculty: W.P. Ahrens, U. Best, C. Kraenzle, H. MacRae, G. Mueller, M. Reisenleitner, D. Spokiene

German Studies is an interdisciplinary program that embraces subjects ranging from language, literature and film studies to intellectual and cultural history, urban studies, political science, museum studies, art history and women’s studies. Students may opt for an Honours BA, an Honours iBA, a BA, an Honours Double Major, an Honours Double Major (Interdisciplinary), an Honours Major/Minor or an Honours Minor. The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics also offers a Certificate of Proficiency in German Language.

Students can choose from the following degree options: German Studies: German Language, Literature and Culture Stream, German Studies: German Culture and Society Stream and iBA German studies. Each of these consists of core courses taught by our faculty.

The degree option in German Studies: German Language, Literature and Culture Stream requires an advanced knowledge of the German language and courses in German literature and culture, most of which have the German language component.

The degree in German Studies: German Culture and Society Stream requires an intermediate knowledge of the German language and courses in German culture, as well as courses with significant German content taught by other departments.

The iBA German studies has the same requirements as the Honours BA German studies and also includes an international component in which students spend at least one full term abroad in a German-speaking country as a full-time student at one of our exchange universities. Students entering this program must make an appointment with the program coordinator of German studies prior to enrolment.

German studies courses are open to students interested in exploring the enormous contributions the German-speaking world has made to world culture in the areas of music, art, literature, film, philosophy, education and science. Students can pursue a variety of major or minor programs or select individual courses to complement their existing areas of study. Students majoring in German also have the opportunity to study in Germany for one year through well-established exchange programs.

German is a vital tool for academic work in numerous disciplines across the fields of humanities and social sciences and is also a major language of business, diplomacy and tourism in the European Union and Eastern Europe. Language classes are open to students in any discipline and are offered at introductory to advanced levels. Students who complete a required number of language courses and pass an oral/written examination can obtain a certificate of proficiency.

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics offers one of the widest selections of languages of any Canadian university: American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Greek (both Classical and Modern), Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Jamaican Creole, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil and Yiddish. The ESL section fosters the developing abilities of domestic and international students to use English for academic purposes, allowing them to engage more fully in their programs. The study of foreign languages and literatures makes communication possible among people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds and fosters intercultural understanding. This enables our students to engage the global community thoughtfully and creatively.

The department also offers courses in linguistics, the discipline concerned with discovering the organizing principles of human language and applying these principles to the description of individual languages. Linguistics attempts to answer questions about the structure of languages, about how languages are alike and how they differ, about how children acquire language, about the relation between language and thought, language perception and production, as well as language and society. As a result, the study of linguistics can provide new perspectives on almost every aspect of the humanities and social sciences.

The department offers courses leading to Honours BA and BA degrees in German studies, Italian culture, Italian studies, linguistics, Portuguese Studies and Spanish, as well as graduate MA and PhD degrees in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics. The department also offers Certificates of Language Proficiency in Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, as well as an Advanced Certificate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The department’s language programs, through their various courses and language proficiency certificates, contribute to a variety of area studies and interdisciplinary programs: African Studies, Business and Society, Classical Studies, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, European Studies, Hellenic Studies, International Development Studies, Jewish Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, South Asian Studies, Religious Studies and Women’s Studies. The department's language programs may also contribute to a variety of graduate programs such as Development Studies. For specific program requirements, certificate requirements and course listings, please consult the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Programs of Study section.

Courses in Language, Literature and Culture

General Regulations

1. Entry to Language Courses

Any student may enrol in a language course at any level, subject to the conditions enumerated below.

a) Admission to a student’s first course in a language at York is by placement questionnaire and/or interview, or departmental authorization slip.

b) In most cases, students who have completed a 1000-level language course with a grade of at least C are automatically admissible to a course at the next level in the same language, but may be pre-tested for purposes of course or section placement.

c) Registration in any language course may be limited at the discretion of the department.

d) Students intending to major or minor in German studies, Italian studies, Portuguese studies or Spanish are encouraged to begin study of the relevant language in their first year.

2. Credit for Language Courses

A language course may be taken for credit in any year of any undergraduate program. Credit is given for a course if a grade of D or better is achieved. However, to advance from one level to another level, a student must achieve at least a grade of C.

3. Language of Instruction

Some literature and culture courses are given in English. In others, instruction is given in the relevant language, and entry to courses and programs depends upon the student’s ability to function in that language. The department may require a student to demonstrate language competence before granting admission to a course. For details, please consult the department’s online supplemental calendar.

4. Frequency of Course Offerings

Not all of the courses will necessarily be offered in any given year. For details of courses to be offered, please consult the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics online supplemental calendar.