Germany has the largest economy in the European Union (EU) and the fourth largest in the world. The German language holds official status in seven EU countries and, locally, is the third-most-spoken language in Indiana.

The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures offers a German major and minor that prepare you for today’s globalized world—providing the linguistic fluency and cultural competency needed to obtain a broad range of academic, service, and professional opportunities.

Led by native speakers, our German program supports interdisciplinary study with many other Butler departments, programs, and colleges, including International Studies; History, Anthropology, and Classics; Texts and Ideas (T&I); Business; Communication; Pharmacy; and the fine arts.

Join us and take advantage of:

  • Small class sizes, in addition to working one-on-one with advanced-level German tutors, native speakers, and our internationally-recognized German faculty
  • Strong ties to Indiana’s German-speaking community, including festivals and other exhibits celebrating Germanic culture and history
  • Our active, on-campus student German Klub
  • Study abroad opportunities in all German-speaking countries, including Butler-developed direct exchange programs and our annual faculty-led Spring Break Trip to Berlin
  • Internships in the U.S. and abroad, scholarships, and opportunities to present research both on- and off-campus
  • Use of our student Modern Language Center (MLC) and its wealth of movies, technology, tutoring, and lounge areas
  • The option to complete the degree in just three years

Browse our course offerings.

Financial Support

Please read through these lists of numerous Prestigious Scholarship Opportunities (scroll down to “language study”), as well as study abroad scholarships (CIEE and IFSA-Butler) and travel grants.

Check out the annual Liberal Arts and Sciences $1,000 essay contest (typically due by January), the annual Gerstein Holocaust Travel Fund (typically due by January), the annual John Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism (typically due by March), and the annual Corrine Welling Scholarship (typically due by April).

For international students, here’s some advice and information on Scholarships and Grants set aside specifically for you.

If you encounter a short-term, unforeseen financial hardship or immediate expense that’s impacting your academic success, please read about the Butler Emergency Assistance Fund.

Extracurricular Activities

Kaffeestunde and Spielstunde

Enjoy free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, snacks, games, and conversation in German. Held multiple times each semester in our student Modern Language Center for students of all levels.

German Klub

Founded in 2003, this student group provides you the chance to create and participate in German events for fun and for social, service, and academic development—including trips to Hofbräuhaus in Cincinnati and Chicago Christkindlmarket, visits to Perk Up Cafe and Heidelberg Haus Cafe, volunteering at various local events such as making Zuckertüten (IgeL Schule), GermanFest (Athenaeum), and Karneval (Athenaeum), and dinner at the Rathskeller, an authentic German restaurant in Indianapolis.

Visit our Facebook page.


Join us for evening movie showings on our student Modern Language Center’s big screen, where you can enjoy popcorn and snacks, curled up on our comfy couches.

Words From Alumni

“Studying German at Butler allowed me to fully realize the potential of a liberal arts education. Not only was I learning a foreign language, but the classes I took taught me history, social science, literature, and business from a new perspective. What I learned in my German classes directly benefited me in all my undergraduate studies.” —Sean Saxe ’11

“As a part of my German major at Butler, I completed a summer internship with Caritas Jugendmigrationsdienst (Youth Migration Services) in Berlin, Germany. In addition to traveling, practicing German, and living in one of the coolest cities in Europe, my internship also gave me valuable work experience in the nonprofit sector.” Avery Stearman ’12

“After graduating, I spent seven months near Cologne, Germany working for Bayer CropScience, and it was an amazing experience. To immerse yourself in the language and culture of a country not your own—German classes and being part of the German Klub at Butler gave me the foundation I needed to have the courage to do that, and I am forever grateful.” —Sarah Strobl ’12

Service Learning Opportunities

IGeL Schule (Indianapolis German Language Institute)

The IGeL Schule is a school for bilingual children aged 0-12. The school is run by the German-speaking parents and generally meets Sunday afternoons at the Athenaeum in downtown Indianapolis. Children learn and play in groups according to age led by at least two teachers.

Indianapolis German School (Samstagschule)

The Indianapolis German School is a language immersion program for children. It generally meets at Lutheran Child and Family Services. The Indianapolis German School is an outreach program of the IUPUI Department of World Languages and Cultures. Teachers are native or bilingual speakers. Children of all language abilities are welcome.

What Bulldogs Dream, We Do

Julie O’Mara

Julie O'Mara

German and vocal performance double major Julie O’Mara went home, sort of, when she left for her 10-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany.

When she was 9, O’Mara’s father was transferred to Germany, and the family spent five years there.

“I’m so excited to get to go back,” she said. “Since I’ve already lived in Germany, I have some sort of vision of what it’s going to be like. I want to continue my German practice and continue learning the language.

“I want to be fluent. That’s my goal.”

O’Mara won her Fulbright, in part, by discussing her interest in musical theater—including performing in Indy productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar—and how to incorporate musical performance into her teaching.

“If I could get involved or help start a school program where we could do music—that was definitely part of my application,” she said. “That’s what they were interested in as a of teaching English.”

O’Mara came to Butler from Flemington, New Jersey. Butler initially wasn’t on her radar, but then she heard about the University when the men’s basketball team went to its first Final Four.

I fell in love with Butler as soon as I got here. —Julie O’Mara

Primed for Professional Success

German company logos

Achieving a high proficiency in German primes you for success in the U.S. and on the international stage in the humanities, science, business, law, medicine, and more.

Many of the biggest organizations in the western hemisphere are actually German subsidiaries:

Daimler Group, T-Mobile, Siemens, BASF, BMW, Allianz, Robert Bosch, Bayer, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, ThyssenKrupp, Volkswagen, Lufthansa, SAP, and Adidas

Leading, The Butler Way

Gertrude Amelia Mahorney

Gertrude Mahorney

—the first female African-American graduate of any Indiana college or university—graduated from Butler with a bachelor’s degree in 1887, specializing in German. Mahorney then earned her master’s degree from Butler two years later (the same year her younger brother John earned his bachelor’s degree from Butler).

Mahorney was born in Indianapolis near the end of the Civil War. Following a year living in London’s East End in 1877, her family moved to Indianapolis’ east-side Irvington neighborhood in 1879 with the hope Gertrude and John would attend Butler.

Degrees in hand, Mahorney taught German for many years in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).

In addition to teaching German, she translated German stories into English for Indianapolis newspapers.