The strength of the German program at Berkeley is greatly enhanced by the excellence of other departments at the university. The 1995 National Research Council survey reported that Berkeley has more top-ranked doctoral programs than any other university in the nation. Thirty-five of Berkeley’s thirty-six Ph.D. programs were ranked in the top ten of their field. From Art History to Music, Political Science and Rhetoric to Architecture and Linguistics, the reputation of the Berkeley campus is not easily matched by any institution of higher education in the world.
The department also benefits from a wide variety of organizations on campus—the Institute of European Studies, the Berkeley Language Center, the Berkeley Linguistic Society, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and the Center for Studies in Higher Education. The recently established UC Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching, of which Berkeley is a member, affords all those involved in the practice and the theory of second language acquisition an opportunity to share resources and intellectual events.
The Pacific Film Archive, the Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Judah L. Magnes Jewish Museum are within walking distance from the campus. The Goethe Institute is located in nearby San Francisco.
The Main Library contains roughly nine million volumes, with the Germanic collection alone comprising nearly 800,000 volumes. These holdings make it possible to do original research based on excellent primary sources. They are complemented by the collections of the libraries at the Graduate Theological Union, Stanford University, UCLA, and the other UC campuses, with which Berkeley has reciprocal borrowing arrangements. Our sizable departmental library includes a substantial video collection of German films and viewing station, as well as recent German newspapers, magazines and periodicals. It’s an inviting place to read and relax.
The intellectual life on campus—with its steady stream of internationally renowned speakers, symposia, conferences, and (maintaining Berkeley’s reputation from the sixties) rallies in support of local and global causes—is unique. Dozens of working groups, sponsored by the Humanities Center and made up of students and faculty from different departments, meet regularly to explore topics of particular interest. These have proved most effective in fostering intellectual exchange across disciplines and academic cultures within the Berkeley community. Students in the German Department have initiated two of these working groups, one on German idealism and the other on the emergence of modernity.