Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare her major before the end of her sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

The Bryn Mawr Department of German is the Bryn Mawr section of the Bi-College German Department and offers a fully coordinated program of courses with the Haverford College Department of German. By drawing upon the expertise of the German faculty at both colleges, the Department has established a broadly conceived German Studies program, incorporating a variety of courses and major options. The purpose of the major in German and German Studies is to lay the foundation for a critical understanding of German culture in its contemporary global context and its larger political, social, and intellectual history. To this end we encourage a thorough and comparative study of the German language and culture through its linguistic and literary history, systems of thought, institutions, political configurations, and arts and sciences.

The German program aims, by means of various methodological approaches to the study of another language, to foster critical thinking, expository writing skills, understanding of the diversity of culture(s), and the ability to respond creatively to the challenges posed by cultural difference in an increasingly global world. Course offerings are intended to serve both students with particular interests in German literature and literary theory and criticism, and those interested in a German Studies concentration that covers German and German-speaking cultures from multiple perspectives, including those of history, history of ideas, history of art and architecture, history of religion, institutions, linguistics, mass media, philosophy, politics, and urban anthropology.

A thorough knowledge of German is a goal for both major concentrations. The objective of our language instruction is to teach students communicative skills that enable them to function effectively in authentic conditions of language use and to speak and write in idiomatic German. A major component of all German courses is the examination of issues that underline the cosmopolitanism as well as the specificity and complexity of contemporary German culture. German majors can and are encouraged to take courses in interdisciplinary areas, such as comparative literature, film, gender and sexuality studies, growth and structure of cities, history, history of art, music, philosophy, and political science, where they read works of criticism in these areas in the original German. Courses relating to any aspect of German culture, history, and politics given in other departments can count toward requirements for the major or minor.

College Foreign Language Requirement

The College's foreign language requirement may be satisfied by the completion of two courses in German with an average grade of at least 2.0.

Major Requirements

The Department of German and German Studies offers a two-track system for the completion of a major in German Language and Literature or in German Studies. Both major tracks consist of 10 units. After the completion of German 002 (or its equivalent), the German major normally requires two intermediate German courses (101 and 102); two core courses (201 or 202 and 320 or 321); two elective German courses at the 200- and 300 level respectively; and finally one semester of Senior Conference or either an additional 300 level seminar in German or German 403 (Supervised Work) for double majors. Three courses could be non-German credit (at least one at the 300 level) in the broader area of German Studies with the approval of the department. If students are placed at the 200 level, they do not take 101 and 102. They take additional German courses at and above 200 level to fulfill the 10-credit requirement. Within each concentration, courses need to be selected so as to achieve a reasonable breadth, but also a degree of disciplinary coherence. A German Studies major normally takes courses in subjects central to German culture, history, and politics. Within departmental offerings, GERM 201 and 202 (Advanced Training) strongly emphasize the development of conversational, writing, and interpretive skills. German majors are encouraged, when possible, to take work in at least one foreign language other than German.

The Department of German and German Studies offers Writing Attentive and Writing Intensive courses. Majors are required to take two Writing Attentive courses to help them develop critical writing skills and the ability to analyze literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts.

Minor Requirements

A minor in German Language and Literature or in German Studies consists of six units of work. To earn a minor, students are normally required to take the intermediate German courses (101 and 102); two core courses (201 or 202 and 320 or 321); one elective German course at the 200- or 300 level; and one course could be non-German credit in the broader area of German Studies with the approval of the department. If students are placed at the 200 level, they do not take 101 and 102. They take additional German courses at and above 200 level to fulfill the 6-credit requirement.

Senior Thesis Project

All of our majors are required to write a senior thesis in German, or--if they are double majors--to produce a thesis in a related discipline that has significant overlap with their work in German. They typically take a 300-level seminar in fall and write a research term paper which often becomes the foundation for their senior project.

Learning Goals

In writing the senior thesis, the student should demonstrate a) the capacity to conceive a theoretically informed and well-designed research project b) the language skills to research and evaluate primary and secondary materials and to effectively synthesize these, and c) the analytical and methodological skills to produce an innovative and critically astute thesis.

Assessment of Senior Thesis

The quality of the thesis is evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Originality of topic
  • Mastery of analysis
  • Familiarity with primary and secondary literature
  • Creative application of relevant theoretical discourses
  • Clarity of writing


Any student whose grade point average in the major at the end of the senior year is 3.8 or higher qualifies for departmental honors. Students who have completed a thesis and whose major grade point average at the end of the senior year is 3.6 or higher, but not 3.8, are eligible to be discussed as candidates for departmental honors. A student in this range of eligibility must be sponsored by at least one faculty member with whom she has done coursework, and at least one other faculty member must read some of the student's advanced work and agree on the excellence of the work in order for departmental honors to be awarded. If there is a sharp difference of opinion, additional readers will serve as needed.

Study Abroad

Students majoring in German are encouraged to spend some time in German-speaking countries in the course of their undergraduate studies. Various possibilities are available: summer work programs, DAAD (German Academic Exchange) scholarships and the Thomas Raeburn White Scholarship for summer courses at German universities, and selected JYA (Junior Year Abroad) Programs.