The Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic is home to undergraduate and graduate programs in German, Scandinavian studies, and Slavic studies. The department offers courses in the languages, linguistics, literatures, and cultures of these three areas, both in the target languages and in translation. The department provides instruction in more than a dozen languages, including Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Icelandic, Kazakh, Norwegian, Old Norse, Polish, Russian, Sami, Serbo-Croatian, Swedish, Turkish, and Yiddish.

German Program

The German program affords students the opportunity to begin or to continue their study of German and/or Dutch.

Knowledge of German provides access to a culture that for more than a millennium has been central to the history, economy, arts, and sciences not just of Europe but of Western civilization as a whole. In the contemporary world, German-speaking countries have Europe's strongest economies and are playing an increasingly important role in world affairs. More Americans claim German ethnicity than any other, and German-speaking immigrants and their descendants have had an enduring impact on the history and culture of the United States. UW–Madison has been a leader in the field of German studies for more than a century. The university's libraries are remarkable for the depth and breadth of their German-language holdings. 

Knowledge of Dutch provides access to a culture that has been an important force in world history since the Middle Ages. The language of more than 20 million inhabitants of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch-speaking Belgium), Dutch is also spoken in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. It is also an important second language in Indonesia. As major economic powers, Belgium and the Netherlands play a leading role in shaping the European Union. World-class research in the sciences and humanities is conducted at Dutch and Belgian universities, and both countries can boast of a cultural life in which art, music, and theater are all flourishing.

Opportunities for German and Dutch Students 

In addition to choosing from courses in culture, literature, linguistics, and German-American studies, German students can practice the language in various settings on campus, including the Stockwerk Deutsch Language House, which is located in Adams Hall. Other opportunities include the German Club, Kaffeestunde, and Stammtisch. There is also a Dutch Table for students of Dutch. Many German and Dutch students participate on semester- or year-long study abroad programs in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands administered through International Academic Programs, the School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The International Internship Program also connects UW–Madison students to a wide range of internships in German- and Dutch-speaking Europe.

Scandinavian Studies (Nordic)

The Scandinavian Studies Program provides the opportunity to learn a Scandinavian language or Finnish (modern Icelandic only occasionally). The literature, folklore, and culture of the Nordic countries are taught both in the original languages and in English translation. Partly in cooperation with other departments, courses in Scandinavian area studies are offered (history, social institutions, geography, art, archaeology). Students who major in the field may continue graduate studies toward an M.A. in Scandinavian philology, literature, or area studies, and toward a Ph.D. in Scandinavian literature, philology, or folklore.

The program strongly encourages a junior-year abroad in a Nordic country; several exchange programs are available. Students who transfer to this university after a year abroad should contact the undergraduate advisor as early as possible to schedule a placement test.

Slavic Studies

Courses in Russian and Polish are designed to meet the needs of students who begin to study the language in college as well as those who began to study the language in high school. One unit (year) of high school coursework is roughly equivalent to one semester of college work; all incoming students, however, who want to continue their study of Russian or Polish are assigned to courses on the basis of placement tests. These tests may admit a student to a more advanced course, but give no credit toward graduation. Students should speak with their instructor regarding retroactive credits during the first week of class.

Russian Flagship Program

The Russian Flagship Program offers students of any major the opportunity to achieve a professional level of competence in Russian. Students apply to the program directly. Residential and study abroad requirements, course options, and scholarship information are posted at Russian Flagship. To obtain more information about the Russian Flagship Program, students should make an appointment with a Russian Flagship advisor.



Hans Adler, Monika Chavez, Sabine Gross, Rob Howell, Mark Louden, B. Venkat Mani, Pamela Potter, Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor

Associate Professors

Salvatore Calomino, Sonja Klocke, Sabine Moedersheim

Assistant Professors

Hannah V. Eldridge, Philip Hollander, Weijia Li, Sunny Yudkoff

Faculty Associate

Jeanne Schueller

Scandinavian Studies (Nordic)


Susan Brantly, Thomas DuBois, Kirsten Wolf

Assistant Professors

Dean Krouk, Claus Andersen

Faculty Associates

Scott A. Mellor, Nete Schmidt

Senior Lecturer

Peggy Hager

Associate Lecturer

Todd Michelson-Ambelang

Slavic Studies


David Danaher, Alexander Dolinin, Karen Evans-Romaine, Halina Filipowicz, Tomislav Longinovic, Irina Shevelenko, Manon van de Water

Associate Professor

Andrew Reynolds

Assistant Professor

Marina Zilbergerts

Faculty Associates

Jennifer Tishler, Anna Tumarkin

Senior Lecturers

Galina Lapina, Ewa Miernowska


Alexandra Walter

German, Nordic, and Slavic

Professor Uli Schamiloglu

Lecturer Funda Derin