Major Requirements: German

The German Studies Major is broadly humanistic, inclusive, and cross-cultural.  Our students are required to develop German language skills at the advanced intermediate level (at the minimum) and cultural literacy skills for a critical understanding of the literary, historical, and cultural traditions of the German-speaking countries: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as Belgium, Liechtenstein, and Luxemburg. The department offers effective preparation for graduate study in German literature and language while also opening up a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives and opportunities.


The major requires German 210 (or its equivalent), German 315, 316 (German Cultural History), and German 495 (Senior Research Seminar), and a minimum of four further German courses, two of which must be courses in German culture and literature conducted in German. Majors are advised to broaden their knowledge of other European languages and cultures and to supplement their German major with courses in European history, politics, economics, and the arts.

We welcome our students’ diverse specializations within the field, most often expressed in their thesis work, as well as in their independent research projects within many of our courses and during the Senior Research Seminar.


German majors have the option of writing an honors thesis on a topic of their choice: under the supervision of a member of the German department faculty, they conduct research or engage in an in-depth analysis of a particular issue or corpus of textual, visual, and performative materials. Students completing a thesis will usually register for a senior thesis course for each of their final two semesters (German 498 and 499). These thesis courses are in addition to the courses required for the major.