Program Requirements and Opportunities

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the 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.

Bryn Mawr German and German Studies is a Bi-College Department with Haverford German. By drawing on the expertise of the German faculty at both colleges, the Department has established an interdisciplinary German Studies program that lays the foundation for a critical understanding of German-speaking cultures in their contemporary global context and their political, social, and intellectual history. Our program investigates the role and global reach of German language, literature, and culture to understand urgent and essential questions of the past and the present. We explore the diverse voices, perspectives, disciplines, and narratives that have emerged from and shape German-speaking regions and their role in the world today.

Students who pursue a course of study in German gain valuable communication skills, intercultural competency, and media literacy essential for all academic areas and professional goals in the twenty-first century. Graduates of the program enjoy careers in law, medicine, academia, translation, public policy, education, journalism, government/foreign service, scientific research, and more. Students interested in other social sciences and STEM fields profit from growing their language and intercultural communicative skills to access academic and professional opportunities and resources in German speaking countries.

A thorough knowledge of German is required for our majors and minors. Our language instruction challenges students from the elementary level to become critical consumers of authentic media and skilled in all modes of communication. Courses at the 200 level explore a variety of topics while concurrently deepening critical writing and reading skills across all genres, and presentational skills. At the 300 level, students embark on intensive studies of key topics, themes, and authors. Cross-disciplinary course offerings reflect both the breadth and depth of our curriculum, expertise of our faculty, and support the academic and professional goals of our students. German majors can and are encouraged to take courses and cultivate interests in interdisciplinary areas, such as anthropology, comparative literature, film, gender and sexuality studies, growth and structure of cities, health studies, international studies, history, history of art, music, museum studies, philosophy, history of science, and political science that engage with German thought. Courses offered in the program draw on these and related topics in the German-speaking context from the premodern to the present.

College Foreign Language Requirement

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

Major Requirements

The Department of German and German Studies offers a major and a minor. A German major consists of 10 credits. After completing German 002 (or its equivalent), the German major normally requires:

  • two intermediate German courses (101 and 102)
  • seven courses at the 200 and 300 level
  • either one semester of Senior Conference (GERM 400) for majors writing a German senior thesis or an additional 300 level seminar in German for double majors writing a senior essay instead of a senior thesis.

Students who place out of 101 and 102 and begin their studies at the 200 level are still required to take 10 credits to fulfill the major requirements. Two of the seven courses at the 200 or 300 level could be non-German credit in the broader area of German Studies with the approval of the department.

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.

All German majors must take at least one 200 and one 300 level course in the Bi-Co German Department. For students studying abroad for one semester, up to four courses may count toward the major. For students studying abroad for an entire academic year, up to six courses may count toward the major. Approval from the department is required for awarding credits from abroad.

Minor Requirements

A minor in German and German Studies consists of six credits. To minor, students are required to take:

  • two Intermediate German courses (101 and 102)
  • four German courses at the 200 and 300 level

If students are placed at the 200 level, they must take additional German courses at and above 200 level to fulfill the 6-credit requirement.

Senior Capstone Project

A senior project is required for all German majors. There are four options available to German majors and double majors to serve as meaningful capstones to their studies:

  • A senior thesis (around 40 pages) in German.
  • A combined thesis (40 + pages) written in English for double majors in a related discipline with a strong German Studies component. A combined thesis has to be approved by the department.
  • A senior essay (20 pages) for double majors, which grows out of a research paper produced in a 300 level seminar. Students pursuing this option will not take the Senior Conference and instead will take an additional 300 level seminar.
  • A project, which may be either a 15-20-minute film or an exhibition with a portfolio and summary in German. The content of the project and portfolio should be equivalent to a 40-page research paper in German.

Senior Capstone Presentation

At the conclusion of their senior year, all majors are expected to participate in a public presentation of their capstone projects. Minors are invited and encouraged to present on a project they have done in their upper-level German coursework.

Department Learning Goals

By promoting a thorough knowledge of the German language and the history, literature, and thought of German speaking cultures, the Bi-College Department of German fosters the skills and literacies essential for academic study and readiness for the twenty-first century. These include:

  • critical thinking to promote real-world and creative problem-solving
  • expository and analytical writing skills built at all levels of the program
  • a command of the critical theories and methodologies used to analyze and contextualize cultural artifacts, texts, and media from the past and present
  • intercultural competence by exploring different perspectives in an increasingly multilingual and multicultural world
  • interdisciplinary connections that grow from the global reach and influence of German Studies
  • skills applicable across all fields and for multiple purposes in multilingual environments
  • for evaluating media, primary, and secondary sources for research purposes.

The departmental learning goals are informed by the learning outcomes of Bryn Mawr College, emphasizing writing skills, research skills, oral communication skills, critical thinking skills, and the ability to view problems and questions from multiple perspectives.

Senior Project Learning Goals

In completing the senior capstone, students should:

  • formulate a theoretically informed and well-designed and innovative research project
  • apply their German?? language skills to research, evaluate, and integrate primary and secondary materials into their project
  • hone analytical and expository writing skills through all stages of composing the capstone project

Assessment of Senior Thesis

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

  • originality of topic 
  • depth of analysis of texts or cultural phenomena
  • familiarity with and selection of relevant primary and secondary literature appropriate to genre of writing and discipline
  • original application of relevant theoretical discourses in fields of interest
  • clarity, coherence, and organization of writing and development of ideas
  • delivery of a clear and compelling presentation to an audience of peers


Any student whose grade point average in the major at the end of their 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 over the course of their undergraduate studies. Short-term and long-term opportunities include:

  • summer intensive German language programs
  • summer courses at German universities funded by DAAD (German Academic Exchange) scholarships, Thomas Raeburn White Scholarship, and Judy Loomis Gould Scholarship.
  • semester and year-long study abroad programs including the Junior Year Abroad in Munich or IES Programs in Berlin and Freiburg
  • or other career-focused experiences arranged independently through study abroad opportunities

Contact Us

Department of German and German Studies

Old Library 103
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5198

Qinna Shen, Chair
Phone: 610-526-7312

Leslie Diarra, Academic Administrative Assistant
Phone: (610) 526-5198

Department of German
Haverford College
370 Lancaster Avenue
Haverford, PA 19041
Phone: 610-795-1756