Learning Objectives for the USC German Studies Program:

The student learning objectives of the German Studies Program at USC closely align with the Foreign Language Standards developed by the American Council of Foreign Languages  (ACTFL). The 5 language learning goals (Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities) as outlined by ACTFL are at the core of the program’s teaching philosophy. At each level of language acquisition and cultural proficiency training all 5 language-learning goals are integrated into the German Studies Program. Mastery of the language (the traditional four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking) is informed by cultural knowledge and vice versa.

For more detailed information about the ACTFL Foreign Language Standards or 5Cs, please visit the following website:



The learning objectives for students taking lower division language classes (up to and including German 221) to fulfill the Dornsife College language requirements are:


  • oral proficiency in German on the intermediate level http://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/public/ACTFLProficiencyGuidelines2012_FINAL.pdf), participating in conversations on personal interest and familiar topics. Can handle short social interactions in everyday situations. Presentational language abilities on familiar and some researched topics.
  • writing proficiency in German on the intermediate level on a variety of topics related to personal interest and everyday life. Presentational language abilities on familiar and some researched topics.
  • close reading skills of authentic texts (including written and other forms of texts) in German.
  • the ability to develop effective and some nuanced lines of interpretation of these texts
  • demonstrate insight into significant cultural products and historical events in German speaking countries, evaluating these in a global context considering their impact on a variety of disciplines and world events.
  • demonstrate awareness of cultural and historical differences between the culture of German-speaking countries and the student’s native culture.


The learning objectives for the German Studies minor above and beyond the already mentioned expected learning outcomes are (provided that students who declared a minor do study abroad for at least one semester [which the majority of students does] and that German Studies minors take most of their electives taught in German within the German Studies Program):


  • achieve language proficiency skills on the advanced (low) level (http://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/public/ACTFLProficiencyGuidelines2012_FINAL.pdf), which will allow students to communicate actively, appropriately and effectively in a variety of settings (most informal and some formal). They can express their opinion about topics relating to everyday life and some more complex issues. Students can write on general interest and some academic and professional topics.
  • demonstrate familiarity with a variety of representative cultural products and narratives of German-speaking countries including texts and objects relating to fine arts, literature, film, music, pop-culture, philosophy, history, politics and the economy.
  • develop analytical and critical thinking skills demonstrated in the ability to interpret and critically analyze an array of texts and artifacts while paying attention to the socio-historical context in which they were produced.
  • attain some transcultural competency: an awareness of cross-cultural differences between societies and their economic and political structure, an understanding of how these differences inform cultural/personal identity. Students gain the ability to view themselves and the world from multiple perspectives.
  • develop the ability to formulate basic research questions, to locate and use library and Internet resources appropriately.



  • Britta Bothe
  • University of Southern California
  • Taper Hall 353
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway #255
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-4353