Concentrations Overview

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures offers a rich and diverse program of literary and cultural studies, including film and music. We offer students the option to pursue a concentration in German Studies, Scandinavian Studies, or a joint concentration in German or Scandinavian and another field. Our goal is to provide students with the enriching experience of studying languages, literatures, and cultures different from their own so they can gain new perspectives on their languages and countries of origin. At the same time, students will learn how the German-speaking and Nordic countries have influenced the development of Western culture and society. By acquiring proficiency in German or a Scandinavian language, students will gain a lasting skill useful in many fields of endeavor. The program is designed not only for students who wish to pursue graduate study in Germanic studies, but also for students who choose careers in medicine, law, government, scientific research, business, the arts, design, and other fields.

Our department has a highly favorable ratio of full-time faculty to concentrators, which enables the faculty to provide students with individual guidance and support. Full-time faculty members oversee much of the tutorial work; and all seniors writing a thesis have the opportunity to work individually with a professor. The department actively supports both work and study abroad, and all concentration options are designed to accommodate them.

There are no prerequisites for the concentration; however, students should first develop their language skills in order to meet the required level of proficiency. German language is offered from beginning to advanced levels; students with prior knowledge of German should take a placement test. Students may begin to study the German language with German 10 (elementary German) or with German 10ab (intensive elementary). Most concentrators in German take the sequence of German 20 (second year) and at least one 60-level course (third year) in order to prepare them for the 100-level courses. The introductory gateway courses, German 101 and 102, count as the sophomore tutorial in German, though students are permitted to postpone this sequence until their junior year. Students interested in the Scandinavian concentration (or the Swedish language citation) are likewise urged to begin their language study as soon as possible. Students with prior knowledge of a Scandinavian language should contact Professor Mitchell for placement. Our program offers Swedish courses through the second-year level, from Swedish Aa (Beginning Swedish Language and Literature) to Swedish Bbr (Special Topics in Swedish Literature and Culture), as well as Old Norse (Scandinavian 160a and 160br). Scandinavian 91r (Independent Study) is available for advanced language students. Danish, Finnish, modern Icelandic, and Norwegian are available as language tutorial courses (Scandinavian 90r.a-c). Students interested in these languages should contact the Director of  Undergraduate Studies for Scandinavian at their earliest opportunity, preferably prior to the start of the academic term when the student wishes to begin language study.

Concentrators desiring to be considered for honors write a thesis of 40 to 50 pages. The thesis is designed to demonstrate that a candidate can read and interpret a literary text or a complex cultural or social phenomenon with authority, insight, and originality, and that s/he is familiar with the major critical writings on the subject. All seniors are required to pass a one-hour oral or a three-hour written examination. The questions for this examination, designed to give students the opportunity to synthesize the knowledge they have gained from their studies, are based on individual reading lists submitted by each senior to a faculty committee. In addition, all graduating seniors are required to take a final language assessment in all four skills: speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

The department offers an AB/AM degree option for Advanced Standing students. Information can be found below; students interested in this option are encouraged to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the Fall term of their third year.



Basic Requirements for All Options

  1. Required courses: See "Specific Requirements" for each option below.
  2. Tutorials:
    1. Sophomore year: Optional, see "Specific Requirements."
    2. Junior year: Optional, see "Specific Requirements."
    3. Senior year: German 99 (two terms) or Scandinavian 99 (two terms) required of honors candidates. Graded SAT/UNS.
  3. Thesis: Required of honors candidates only.
  4. General Examination: Required of all concentrators, including joint concentrators, in the senior year.
  5. Other information:
    • Pass/Fail: None of the courses counted for concentration may be taken Pass/Fail except for 200-level courses.
    • Courses counted for concentration credit must be passed with a grade of B- or above.
    • The degree of honors recommended is based on the results of the general examination, the grade average, and the thesis evaluation.
    • Up to two of the Humanities courses, Hum 10 and the Frameworks courses (Hum 11a–c) may count toward concentration credit.

Specific Requirements for German Studies

  1. Basic required courses: nine half-courses. Up to four courses (combined from C and D below) may be courses in which the instruction and readings are entirely in English. Together, these courses should address a wide spectrum of German culture from the medieval period to the present, and at least one should address a literary genre.
    1. Up to two courses in German at the 60-level (may be waived by Director of Undergraduate Studies on the basis of equivalent preparation).
    2. At least one introductory gateway course: German 101 and/or 102.
    3. Four additional half-courses in German on the 100 level or above
    4. An additional three courses either in German or in related fields with sufficient focus on the German aspect of the field. In consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, students coordinate these courses into a coherent but flexible program of study. Courses may be selected from such fields as English; folklore and mythology; government; history; history of art and architecture; history of science; linguistics; literature; music; philosophy; psychology; religion; theater, dance, and media; visual and environmental studies; women, gender, and sexuality; and others, including German itself.
  2. Courses required for honors eligibility: eleven half-courses. Same as Item 1, plus two terms of German 99 (Thesis Tutorial)
  3. Other information:
    • The concentration is designed to make it possible to begin with Elementary German (German 10 or 10ab) in the freshman year and to complete the concentration without difficulty. 
    • ​​​Up to two of the Humanities courses, Hum 10 or the Frameworks courses (Hum 11a-c), may count toward concentration credit.
    • At the student's request, concentration credit is granted, beyond the basic required courses, for second-year language courses (German 20a, 20b, and 20ab)

Specific Requirements for Scandinavian Studies

This option is intended for students who wish to combine the study of Scandinavian literature and culture with the study of some aspect of Western civilization closely related to a special area of the larger field of Scandinavian Languages and Literatures. Programs in Scandinavian and other literatures (including German), drama, folklore, history, linguistics, or an aspect of the social sciences may be submitted for approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Note that this is not considered a joint concentration and that the level of honors will be determined solely by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. 

  1. Basic required courses: ten half-courses. 
    1. Six half-courses in Scandinavian (may include Scandinavian 91r and Scandinavian 97 and 98).
    2. Four half-courses in related subjects.
  2. Courses required for honors eligibility: twelve half-courses. Same as Item 1, plus two terms of Scandinavian 99 (Thesis Tutorial).
  3. For a list of approved related courses, meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Scandinavian, who must also approve each concentrator's courses. One of the Frameworks courses in the Humanities (Hum 11a-c) may count toward concentration credit.